Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two keys to victory

Plain and simple:

  1. pressure their quarterback.
  2. be loud.
We do those things and Clemson will need a near perfect game to win.

New faces we'll see tonight

It's time. As I aim the truck east, let's take a moment to introduce ourselves to some of the new players we'll see tonight.
  • Lorenzo Carter. Definitely will see some snaps at OLB. Which is impressive since all we've heard are good things about Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd as well.
  • Isaiah McKenzie. Really sounds like Richt will pull the trigger on letting us see what all the return game hub-bub has been about.
  • Dominick Sanders. Look for him in nickel sets in the "star" position.
  • Nick Chubb. Can he block on passing downs? Do we have specific sets designed for his skills? Does it even matter?

  • Sony Michel. More likely to see him on kick returns, but could also see him in the backfield as well, where he's been neck and neck with fellow freshman Chubb.

  • Shattle Fenteng. A local kid returns after going away to junior college, and should play in the secondary.
  • Rico Johnson. True freshman that came to Athens via the prep school route and he has evidently been very steady for Coach Pruitt in camp.

Others to look for who might come into the game under special circumstances: Dyson Sims (77, OL) and Isaiah Wynn (55, OL) have had good camps; has Jeb Lazevich (83) impressed enough at TE, or are there enough injury concerns for Rome and Jordan Davis?; Malkom Parrish (14) is another DB we might see.

Other than those, who'd I miss that ou expect to see tonight?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Misery - 241 days of Coach Pruitt not doing sh*t

h/t tbone226

Getting right to the point
I love this rivalry. I think I've made the reasons why I love it very clear. But right now I'm mostly miserable that this might be the last time I get to enjoy this series between two great programs that reside so close to one another and in which one has completely dominated the other. Tomorrow, after we kick their ass, that sadness will intensify and somehow become a comorbid condition with the sheer and utter joy of witnessing winning football again in Sanford Stadium.

Until then, I'm simply tired. Tired of words. I'm even tired of being glad that Grantham is gone and tired of writing about being glad that Pruitt is here. It makes me even more miserable because truly, what has Pruitt done for me lately? Nothing. I'm seriously thinking about benching him. Dude, do something! Georgia has zero turnovers so far this season. None. And don't get me started on Todd Gurley. I can hardly remember the last time he even scored a touchdown. It's ridiculous.

Let's all DO something! Let's nip something in the goddamn bud. Coach Magill was 93 years old and he still was getting after after it. You, me, her, them, and especially that dipshit over there with a thumb up his ass and an index finger on the mouse clicker, we haven't done a damn thing in months.

Except talk. And I'm sick of words. And apparently so is this guy:
Talking is for yesterday. The time for football is here. Like our friend Garrison Smith says, #TeamNoTalk. You want something done? Well then DO IT! Stop listening to these dumbass bloggers with their laptops and their wifi connections and their fistfuls of tater tots. Stop being message bored. Stop telling Coach Ekeler and Sherrer and this Jeremy Pruitt fella how awesome there are. Seriously, when you see that guy at Costco this afternoon with a buggy full of steak and potatoes and a case of Old Spice aftershave I want you to march right up to him and scream in his ear "KEVIN RAMSEY'S DEFENSE HAS MORE SACKS THAN YOURZ COACH JERRY PRUITTT!!!"

It might give you an uneasy feeling, and to be perfectly honest you may even get arrested, but it's for the best. You know what those gamechickens were doing all day Wednesday? Talking. You know what they were doing right before Kevin Sumlin cracked a can of Whoopass? Yup. Talking. It's the Friday before the season opener. It's time to lead with actions. Because words are for [redacted]!!!

The greatest gimmick IPTAY ever pulled...
"Good morning, Coach Swinney's office."
"Hey, I'd like to buy a plot in his cemetery. Preferably one next to the freshly laid Ohio State one. You know, keep it consequential 'n all."
"Sir. Those aren't for sale. They're...for motivation. But I'm sorry for your loss."
"My loss? Heh. I wanna buy it for y'all."
[long awkward silence]
"Um, is this Coach Spurrier again? Because I faxed you that letter from my doctor after your last prank in November and..."
"Spurrier? No. This is Bernie. I'll bring my own shovel if that'll..." [line goes dead]

Stay cute Clempson. Yes, your team won the meeting last year. Yes, Sammy Watkinson was an incredible tackle football player. Yes, you're right, Georgia is an SEC team. Yes, again, Herschel never scored on you. But that feather in your hay bill is awfully old. Is it not? Besides, while you were tweeting that for the 7,846th time this week, Gurley scored on you. Again. In his sleep. Wearing nothing but Scott Woerner boxers. While casually whistling a little James Brown. Perhaps you can put that on your defense's epitaph.

Speaking of Herschel, I want vindication. And I will grasp it within my sweaty palms like the Chapel Bell's rope, and laugh maniacally as the clock drains. I've waited impatiently for 34 weeks. The off season will end with this ... the next ... in two more sentences and we will step lively into another season of college GOTdamn football. We will spring to action towards another game that will be settled not with words, but with an old fashioned hunkering down 'tween the hedges.

Take it away Woerner!

Endzone celebration that pre-dates the "Clempsoning" era.

Is this a morning in which you would like to hear Magill and Munson talk about Georgia and Clemson?

I know I would.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Coach Magill helmet

Saturday is going to be even more emotionally draining than your usual opener.

Clempson preview - turning over a new leaf

One of the things I meant to but never got around to doing this offseason was spending some more time looking at how (the lack of) turnovers affected the wins and the losses last season. Put plainly, the inability to create turnovers played a key role in Willie Martinez's departure after the 2009 season, and Grantham's ineffectiveness in 2013.

If you want to be able to tell if a defense is sound fundamentally, is playing with confidence, and is playing with aggressiveness, all you have to do is look at the number of fumbles covered up and the number of passes picked. If a defense is tackling well, fumbles are going to happen. If a defensive back is in position to make a play, interceptions will undoubtedly follow.

As Tyler mentioned earlier this week, predicting how Pruitt's first defense in Athens will fare on Saturday against Chad Morris' revamped offense is a hard proposition. A quick look at the numbers shows Clemson giving the ball away about twice per game (mostly due to the fact that they handed South Carolina the ball 6 times) and FSU taking it away about three times a game last season.

Can Pruitt's first Bulldog defense, in their first game, come close to duplicating his unit's effort in Death Valley last season, gaining two fumbles against the Tigers and two interceptions as well?
 He gone? 

What weighs in our favor?
  • Quarterbacks. On one hand, both squads have new signal callers. On the other, Georgia's is about to make his third start whereas Cole Stoudt will be making his first in a hostile environment on national television. Add in the fact that they will also throw a freshman in the mix at some point (probably) and it's something that Richt and his staff should be able to take advantage of.
  • Offensive line. Both teams have question marks here. I'm glad ours gets to start this season at home.
What weighs in their favor?
  • Vic Beasley. You've been hearing his name a lot this week for good reason. The Tiger defensive end is coming off a season where he had 13 sacks, four forced fumbles and 23 tackles for loss. He makes his living in the opponents' backfield. He proved as much in the last matchup.
  • Luck. Because she hates our ass.
Starting off the season by protecting the ball on offense and getting greedy with the ball on defense would be a great way to start the season. Am I right?

Never mind. It's all good.

Forget I mentioned it at all. Because this happened.
This year is the 30th anniversary of Kevin Butler's 60-yard field goal to lift Georgia over Clemson. Could it happen again? The circumstances would be hard to duplicate, but Georgia has the kicker to do it.
Marshall Morgan, who made field goals from 56 and 55 yards last year, nailed a 60-yarder in practice the other day, according to head coach Mark Richt. It happened as the team simulated the final play of last year's Iron Bowl, the infamous missed long field goal that led to Auburn's touchdown return.
Except Morgan made the field goal.
"We could've just had him kick short. But I told him, You try to make it, and then we'll make sure that if you do make it we'll flip the ball back there to whoever's back there so we can get a return out of it, so everybody can know what to do if it happens," Richt said. "And he drilled it."
As my kids say, "well shut the front door!"

Read more here:

Repost: The Clempson Anecdotes - "Touch that Rock son!"

*From about a year and a half ago, I put this here to help explain how truly awesome this rivalry is and how much I will truly miss it after we kick their Tiger ass Saturday night.

Okay, so I promised to clarify a little. But as I sat down to type this out I realized that there was more than one post here. So let's make it into a series. That's something I learned my second junior year of blogging school.

The year was 2003. Georgia had renewed its rivalry with Clemson and once again the Tigers had been disappointed; losing by a Billy Bennett field goal in 2002 and getting absolutely outclassed a year later. But even more importantly Georgia was creating some traditions under new coach Mark Richt. One of these was the Dawg Walk. With a renewed sense of energy in the tackle football program after an impressive SEC Championship run, the Dawg Walk (where the team is dropped off on Lumpkin adjacent to Clark Howell Hall and the Tate Plaza to enter the stadium amid thousands of fans, the Redcoats, Hairy Dawg and the cheerleaders) was starting to draw good numbers. Add to that the fact that South Carolina was in town and the fact that it was a big time night game and the atmosphere was electrified tenfold.
Thomas Davis make Charlie go BOOM!! (via)

Mrs. Bernie and I had decided to take in the Dawg Walk prior to taking our seats in the stadium. New to this tradition we got there late and had to stand about six deep as we waited for the buses to arrive. While doing so there's really not much to do except people watch and listen to the band hammer out songs that enliven the crowd even more. A group of guys had gathered in front of us and in the middle one of them was wearing a Georgia helmet. At first I thought that he was quite the superstitious fan to wear headgear on such a hot day. But then again, this was well into an afternoon where many beverages had been consumed around campus. Judging from their behavior they had enjoyed their fair share. Perhaps even more.

Prior to the team coming through, a large group of recruits were escorted in and I kept hearing a familiar phrase. "TOUCH THAT ROCK SON!! You know you want to!" My ears had to be deceiving me. Why would a Georgia fan tell a recruit to touch Howard's Rock, the chunk of granite Clemson players grope as they enter the stadium? How drunk was this guy?

As the scene played out and I gathered more context from the friends around him I began to realize that this Georgia fan was actually a Clemson "grad" who had surely lost a bet in Death Valley two weeks before when Greene, Gibson and Pollack had dismantled the Tigers 30-0. He was now paying the price by being paraded around in Georgia gear for everyone to see and take pictures of with their brand new flip phone.

Or was he paying any price at all? He knew a lot of the recruits by name it seemed. And here he was not so subtly recruiting for a rival program, at least in terms of recruiting trails. The novelty of the sight grew to the point that some of these kids acknowledged him and smiled. Why were his buddies letting him get away with this?!?

On the other hand, we beat them 30-0. And it wasn't even that close. This clown probably should've taken Charlie Whitehurst's place. Wouldn't have done any worse.

Repost - "Clemson: next game in an old rivalry"

*From about a year and a half ago, I put this here to help explain how truly awesome this rivalry is and how much I will truly miss it after we kick their Tiger ass Saturday night.

Recently I was asked...
Other than Herschel, who is your favorite Bulldog and why?

Scott Woerner. Although I grew up in Athens, I was raised in a Clemson household. Dad often took me to their games when I was young to show off his alma mater. But Woerner single-handedly beat Clemson in 1980, returning a punt 68 yards for a touchdown and an interception 98 yards to set up another score. He's the player I've looked up to the longest as a fan of college football. I love to watch my dad twitch uncomfortably in his seat when I simply mention Woerner's name. Number 19 played with skill, smarts and a ton of heart. Damn Good Dawg!*
Tuesday's news really got me amp'd up to tell you the truth. I'm excited that the opener is a nationally televised contest. But we pretty much expected that with two teams that will be highly ranked, most likely. Still, it was like a rich echo in the cavernous valley of the off season, chanting my name and telling me that college football will be back soon. (soon...soon...soon...)

Of course the reality is that it is still 176 (??...I think) days away. But I'm probably as excited for this opener as any other in recent memory. Playing Clemson means playing against family. Nearly my entire immediate family lives up there. I made my parents sign a four page contract before they could have my daughter there for the weekend, unattended. To this day there are still pictures floating around somewhere that my lawyer has yet to successfully subpoena. I'm sure of it.

Yes, this rivalry is deep rooted. Although I grew up within minutes of Vince Dooley's house on Milledge Circle, it was Clemson games blasting from the radio on Saturday afternoons as dad worked in the garage or in the back yard. Of course Munson's voice found its way through the house as well.

Which is why this is so big for me. And why I'm already so excited. More so than usual. Are you with me? Of course you are. Let's go touch that rock and GATA!

*Many thanks to the folks at BulldawgIllustrated for the acknowledgement.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Going deep...??

Bobo's players are confident they can still get deep when needed, even without Scott-Wesley and Mitchell in the opener.
Still, Mason and the Bulldogs express confidence in the passing game, and the deep threat, based on a couple of reasons.
First, Mason is used to not having Mitchell and Scott-Wesley. They were long gone by the time he took over last season and have basically been absent from practice this spring and preseason.
Second, having speed isn’t the only way to complete the deep ball, as everyone points out.
“Sometimes you don’t have to have blinding speed to go deep, sometimes it’s just a matter of getting off the jam and getting the guy cut off,” head coach Mark Richt said. “You know all these guys have pretty good game speed not many guys just run away from people. But you know we have had a good history of placing the ball where our guys can catch it.”
Put another way, the hope is that Mason can hit Bennett, Conley or someone else on a nicely placed pass after the receiver puts the move on a defender.
I get that. And I believe there are yards downfield that Mason and his receivers can grab. But having just re-watched the Gator Bowl where deep passes and especially completions were hard to come by, I'm very eager to see it play out.

Clempson preview - special teams

In oddsmaking parlance, home team gets three points. And that was the exact difference last season in Death Valley. Why? Well, special teams. Clemson was sound. Georgia was a train wreck. Yes, unless you were a Georgia fan lucky enough to be under a rock at the time, you'll recall what happened as we lined up to tie the game at 31 late in the 3rd quarter (cue 2:50 mark).

But it wasn't just having a new long snapper, new holder and a backup kicker that made a difference in the outcome. Last season's opener went a long way toward a few months of shedding light on a phase of the game Richt had lost touch with in recent years. No longer aggressive in the field position game. Spending as much time selecting a fair catcher of punts as a gunner on punt coverage. Not letting your placekicker aim for the back of the endzone.

via AJ Reynolds
With the turn of the calendar to 2014, a new emphasis was put into special teams. On Saturday we should get an early indication as to if this new emphasis can translate into results such as touchbacks, punt returns, better kick coverage, better punt protection.

Having Marshall Morgan in this rematch against Clemson is huge. He's a legitimate Groza Award candidate after an amazing sophomore season. And now he says he can add plenty of touchbacks to his other placekicking stats, which could help Georgia climb out of the cellar in the SEC in terms of kick coverage.

Other things to look for:

  • Who fields punts and does the coaching staff employ them in all punt return situations? In short, is there still an arm waving specialist?
  • Also, when we do have a punt return on, do we have someone that can break a couple ankles and get that first level of separation? Think Damien Gary here.
  • How quickly are punts getting off? Sounds like Barber and Erickson are still in a tight race for the duty, but last year the time it took to get a punt off sometimes exceeded what the protection could provide. 
  • Do we have a kick returner that can get in the neighborhood of 25+ yards? Hell, even just 20+ might be enough in what could be a tight game. As a reminder, Georgia was dead last in the SEC in kick return last season.
  • For Clemson, they'll be breaking in a new kicker this season as Chandler Catanzaro is gone. It looks to be Georgia native Ammon Lakip, a junior from Johns Creek.
I keep hearing that for the Georgia defense in Pruitt's first season there is nowhere to go but up. I would echo those sentiments. However, the same can be said for Georgia's special teams which were a profound disaster last season, especially in the opener. Having our all-SEC placekicker back should stabilize some things. But a new attitude in this third phase of the game would be very refreshing to see.

Humpday Hilarity - "I'm looking for The Catcher in the Rye...??"

h/t Heath

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clempson preview - the Dawgs of War

Watched this video -

- over at DudeYouCrazy yesterday and felt both pumped up as well as a bit nostalgic. This series has known some giants among men. As I watched all the highlights I started to try and list some of the greatest in my relatively short time living during the series. So here's my list of the greatest ever Georgia players this rivalry has known.
  • Scott Woerner. His is the name that strikes fear in the hearts of all Tiger fans, so this list can only begin with the guy that nearly single handedly won the game back in 1980. 
  • Kevin Butler. He kicked it a hundred thousand miles back in 1984 to seal the win.
  • Fred Gibson. Between TD catches and kick returns he had a gear that no Tiger could accelerate into.
  • Thomas Davis. Just ask Charlie Whitehurst.
  • Eric Zeier. His only crack at Clemson was as a true freshman when he came on in relief of Greg Talley in 1991, but he made the most of it throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
Now some honorable mentions for Dawgs that could add their name to the list with a win this Saturday.
  • Todd Gurley. Was dominant in running with the football in last year's loss to the Tigers.
  • Quayvon Hicks. Was dominant in blocking Tigers out of the way of runners with the football as well as running with the football himself in last year's loss to the Tigers.
  • Marshall Morgan. After missing last year's loss to the Tigers, Morgan could be called upon to kick one two hundred thousand miles Saturday night.
  • Keith Marshall. Just have a feeling he's more than ready and able to finish what he had started last season back in Knoxville.
Who'd I miss with either list?

"Just working on getting my knees up better."

Trying not to beat this horse to death before the season even starts, but I can't think of one player I'm more excited to see Saturday than Keith Marshall.

Ok, a couple things and then I'll leave this alone. At least until tomorrow. First, he was just emerging from his buddy's shadow last October when he was lost for the season. He's as dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield as he is taking a handoff. He's faster than he was. He's stronger than he was. And he just has to be more determined.

Lastly, watch this and tell me Clempson shouldn't be worried.

[post edit: I didn't realize last night when putting this together that the ESPN video was one of those auto play ones, and I can't seem to get it to NOT autoplay. So I've un-embedded it. Just use the link and I apologize to anyone who hates autoplay vids as much as I do.]

The Ramik Wilson situation

This has been building for some time. Really ever since Wilson missed his first practice with a concussion. Richt hinted at it. Ekeler hinted at it. And yesterday it became official - Wilson is an All-SEC linebacker, but is second string on his own team.

Of course, "official" is a strong word when it comes to pre-season depth charts. My guess is Pruitt told the Sports Information desk that he didn't have anyone worthy of a depth chart, much less his first team.

But I digress. Back to Wilson, I believe he ends up starting Saturday night. I think he's being pushed by his coaches as well as by the younger guys behind him. The line of people wanting to see more of a rotation at inside linebacker last season was a long one, and it started with Coach Richt. Most likely, guys like Kimbrough and Carter and Rankin have been showing progress since last summer. In the last couple weeks apparently, they caught up to last season's leader in tackles.

The spin is that Wilson has slipped, that he's overrated considering the attention he's garnered lately. But the truth is his coaches believe in him. He went to SEC Media Days. He's been around to see plenty of live action. He's experienced. This latest development is just another testament to the fact that this August is different than last August. Now, all players must earn their snaps. And in the end, everything will work out. The defensive coordinator will substitute exponentially more than last season. That spells progress if you ask me.

Besides, when it comes time to truly tee it up and buckle that chin strap, Wilson has something those other guys don't...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Let's get started.

"It's a great day to be a Bulldog!"

With one highlight of Bill Bates flat on his back, a freshman from Wrightsville would set the bar for all future tailbacks at the University of Georgia. But more than fifty years prior to that night in Knoxville, something even more momentous happened.

Daniel Hamilton Magill fell in love with UGA.

And it was a love affair that spanned from the Great Depression through 15 presidential terms. Of course, Herschel would go on to be affectionately referred to as The Goalline Stalker. And it was Magill who coined the moniker. Yesterday the University of Georgia lost its longtime publicist and greatest representative. Coach Magill was 93 years young.

Publicity was always Magill's forte. If carrying the football was an effortless task for Georgia's greatest running back, then carrying the torch for UGA for the better part of a century came even easier for Dan Magill.

He built collegiate tennis and made Ag Hill its epicenter. He once held three jobs within the athletic offices and still found time to give free tennis lessons to local kids of the Athens community. He retired as tennis' all time winningest coach, and as amazing as that feat seems, it was just a drop in the bucket as to his impact at UGA.

The greatest example of his tenacity and incredible loyalty is likely just a couple of asterisks. During World War II, Georgia's football team was depleted due to its men enlisting to fight over seas. Still, the game went on and in the rivalry with Georgia Tech we saw lopsided losses in both 1943 and 1944. The combined score of 92-0 could mostly be attributed to Tech's ability to recruit naval officers to its campus while Georgia's lettermen (ie. Frank Sinkwich, Charley Trippi) were fighting the war. So Magill had the facts added to the history books.
"There's no question about it, there's no way they are true Georgia-Georgia Tech games," Magill said. "There's no question about that. We had a freshman team.
"We still carry the scores, we just have the asterisks to explain the facts."
So when the discrepancy in the records both Georgia and the North Avenue Trade School offer is inevitably brought up again, you can tip your cap to ol' Coach Magill. He had our best interests at heart before most of our hearts even started beating.

No, no one has understood and lived out UGA Athletics like Dan Magill. Running backs have passed through Athens without ever clearing the hurdle #34 set. Probably, no one ever will. The same can be said for any and all fans of the Georgia Bulldogs. UGA will never have an alumnus greater than Coach Magill. It will never have a bigger fan and it will never have a more passionate torch bearer. If you truly bleed red and black, you understand that as fact. Because every piece of history you've come to know and appreciate, every highlight from years past, and every moment when an athlete wearing the Georgia G went toe to toe with an SEC foe, Magill was there.

And he shouted "It's a great day to be a Bulldog!"

No, we'll never be a greater Georgia Bulldog than Dan Magill. But we'll try. We'll always try, because that is what he would have us do.

No slogan for the new era

The seniors opted not to adopt a catch phrase for this season's run for Glory.
That means there’s no “Focused on the Final Four,” or “Playing for the Playoff.”
When the Bulldogs’ seniors got together this offseason, they decided to ditch branding the 2014 season with a mantra heading into the era of the four-team College Football Playoff.
“We talked as seniors that we didn’t want one,” said center David Andrews, entering his third year as a starter. “All of that stuff doesn’t matter. Just go out and win and take care of your business.”
 So really, it's just win the SEC and leave any doubts behind. I can jump onboard with that mindset.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dan Magill, the greatest of all Dawgs, passes away.

Herschel can grab all the highlights. Dooley all the pictures on linemen's shoulders. And Erk the bloodied foreheads. 

But there will never be a coach, fan or man greater in the eyes of Dawg fans than Dan Magill. I'll have more on his life tomorrow. For now, Coach Diaz has a fitting tribute.

With anther backup turned starting QB, can lightning strike twice?

Hutson Mason is hoping so.
Mason has been pointing to this season since the moment he sent Shockley that text in January 2012, revealing that he had decided not to transfer. He would stay, redshirt that season, then be in position to replace Aaron Murray for the 2014 season.
It worked out, and here we are, the fate of Georgia’s offense now resting on Mason’s right arm. As the season has drawn closer, Mason has found himself reflecting often on his decision to stay. Sometime at morning or night or during his prayers, he does some reflecting.
“Just kind of meditate on what I’ve been through, what I want to accomplish,” Mason said. “The legacy that this team and I can leave, as far as doing something so special, as D.J. did.”

Read more here:


Cuz a gatuh gonna gatuh y'all.