Saturday, September 6, 2014

Questions. Answers?

Even after a convincing win over a ranked opponent to start the season, by Sunday afternoon I was staring at a practically empty pitcher of kool-aid. Now here we are a week later with nothing to do but watch our competitors eat cupcakes. While we wait, here are my concerns/comments/observations/questions.

First, how good is Clemson? In all honesty, and as our own head coach has clearly intimated, we don't know the answer to that question any more than we know how good Georgia is. We know Clemson wasn't good enough to win on the road last weekend, but that's about it. We may not be able to answer this question with any conviction at all until mid-October after the Tigers have gone on the road to Tallahassee and finished a homestand that includes a couple North Carolina teams and Louisville.

My guess? That defense will rebound, at least enough to win them several games in the ACC. The offense is the bigger question. And I think it depends on how soon Chad Morris can feel comfortable enough turning over the reins to DeShaun Watson.

So then, how good is Georgia? Easy answer is better than Clemson. The proof will be in the chicken pudding. Nothing like an early road test, especially with a game that will have so much on the line. Don't wet the bed again at Williams-Brice and we could be laying the foundation for a great season. Kick the OBC in the nads and suddenly all the hype and glad handing seems nearly deserved.

How much is that purely dominant fourth quarter hiding the flaws? I think the answer is a lot. This defense has much work to do. They will face an offense that is better than the one they dominated for 15 minutes. Maybe even as soon as a week from now.

And Bobo's offense doesn't have an identity yet. If Mason torches Carolina a time or two, well then, the sky is the limit. After all, feeding it to Gurley 30 times a game will eventually become a necessity. Right?

Does the week off before the conference slate starts actually work against us now? I can think of seasons where I'd prefer to get right back out there. But this doesn't strike me as a team that needs its ego stroked in order to keep the momentum. A cupcake in between opening games would only take away from the focus of such an important conference opener.

So I like that the coaches have had a week to break the team back down. I like that Bobo is challenging his quarterback and Pruitt is suggesting much room for improvement. I like all of that and more. But I love that it's being played out publicly, even the slightest bit.

Lastly, what does this season remind me of thus far? Ever since the clock drained last Saturday I've been thinking about 2005. The similarities, at least at this very early point in the season, are seemingly endless. Shockley and Mason. Hyped up home opener against a difficult opponent ends in a dominant win for Georgia*. New defensive coordinators, and both coach(ed) the secondary.

Now, Shockley had played more significant minutes than Mason had up until the Kentucky game last season. But that Boise State win proved to everyone that that was DJ's team. I've read and heard that ever since Gator Bowl practices began last December outside the shadow of Aaron Murray, there was a definitive shift toward this being Todd Gurley's team. Saturday night's victory over Clemson only solidified that idea in the local, regional and national psyche.

The 2005 national title campaign was derailed in Jacksonville when Shockley came out on crutches. Keep Gurley off those things, and well..

*Yes, the 2005 opener was clearly a dominant win as Georgia had their foot on the Broncos' throats from the start. Whereas Clemson was within a field goal to start the fourth quarter. However, the wins mirror each other in excitement, hype, opening rankings, and national attention in my opinion.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Remarkable family and an amazing young man. Check it out.

Bye week blues

The schedule sucks this weekend. And the SEC leadership expects us not to eventually revolt in the name of a nine game schedule? Jeebus.

I've decided to make enough bar-b-que to last until Sakerlina time, drink some brown liquor and talk like a pirate all weekend. But no, I'm not overlooking the bye week. As I said right after we beat Clempson on Saturday:

I'll be back tomorrow with some questions to ponder. Other than that, y'all make yourselves useful. Go Dawgs!

The one where Gurley > Herschel

The comparisons between the two make me uncomfortable to tell you the truth. Different backs in different eras. Of course, similar impacts. But I digress.

I hadn't thought of it until reading this Emerson piece on special teams, but Herschel wouldn't have returned kickoffs had Todd Gurley been born in the early to mid-1960s.
Walker returned 14 kickoffs in his three years at Georgia – six each as a freshman and sophomore, and two as a junior. He never reached the end zone, averaging 17.6 yards per return. When Walker got to the NFL he had 198 career kickoff returns, returning two for touchdowns.
Gurley has now eight career kickoff returns for an average of 42.9 yards. One-quarter of those returns have been for touchdowns, each a 100-yarder. He only got one chance on Saturday night; the first two were touchbacks, the next was the touchdown, and then Clemson booted it short to open the second half, having seen enough.
Of course, the bigger story is the fact that Richt approves of sending his all-world tailback out there in the first place. Who the hell is this guy anyway?

Read more here:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Richt 1, Clemson Travis 0 - UPDATED

Mark Richt has the last postal retort... (h/t AHD)

via Deadspin



#CMRHLCO his own handwriting.

One (flawless!) quarter does not a season make

Been working on a post that I just can’t seem to finish. Kinda caught between the lasting excitement of Saturday night’s victory and the reality that it was just one game. It’s not often you get to witness 15 practically flawless minutes of football when the offense is unstoppable and the defense is dialed in and off the chain. So the excitement regionally and nationally is somewhat understandable.

But the other side is that really the only thing that Saturday’s game proved was that Clemson’s flaws were greater than Georgia’s. It’s encouraging that the defense is further along than we’d hoped. It’s encouraging that the offensive line was able to lean on a quality opponent so late in the game. Those two insights give me great hope for the 2014 season.

So we wait. An off week this early is a good thing right? As much as I’d like to see the team build on that 4th quarter’s energy by getting back out there as soon as possible, I’m also appreciative that the coaches get an extra few days to break those guys down and teach them back up.

And that’s what is most encouraging – teaching. If we learned anything in that second half it’s that this coaching staff, and consequently the team, is about teaching and learning. They are about adjustments and doing what’s going to work instead of sticking with what is most definitely not.

In short, I’d love to be packing for South Carolina right now. But I can wait.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wanna see what Stephen Garcia looks like jumping the shark?

Nearly as magnificently awkward as you would expect. (via)

Theus to return to practice on Monday - UPDATED

After a Tuesday knee injury and according to a source.
Theus was held out of action on Wednesday when the Bulldogs practiced in 95 degree weather. He was riding a stationary bike while wearing a brace on his left knee during the observable part of practice.
According to a source who could not go on the record, Theus suffered the knee injury in practice on Tuesday. Despite the injury, Theus was able to finish that practice. The Georgia coaches are holding him out to rest his knee so he will likely miss Thursday's practice as well.
The good news for Georgia is that Theus is expected to return to practice on Monday.

Or maybe an ankle injury, as Weiszer tweets during the Richt post-practice interview:

Gamecock tickets

You wanna join us in Sakerlina? I checked the prices through the blog's ticket broker this morning and they are likely lower now than they will be next week. Use this link to check out the different seats that start as low as $116, or $133 apiece for two together. And that's with Ticket Monster's guarantee of course, plus email delivery.

And if you're looking for tickets to any other game on the schedule (home or away), check out the schedule and tickets link at the top whenever you're ready to find the best deal.

Sanford Stadium noise: a new era

Your average blogger won't admit when he's wrong. But as I've proven time and time again, I'm not your run of the mill typist. So....Reader....I was wrong. The music Saturday was timely and helped get the stadium energized for big moments. The first half left a lot to be deserved, but that wasn't the stadium staff's fault by any means.

I guess I had two real reasons to be opposed to the idea of playing canned music through the PA in Sanford. One was because I felt it would elbow out the sound the Redcoats provide. I'm old school and those guys and gals are a big part of the experience for me at each home game and an even larger one on the road (when they're allowed to travel). But the truth is that the music played over the speakers against Clemson was very well balanced with the Redcoats. In other words, for us older fans, I don't think it minimized the traditions and experience we've come to love about our home games in Athens GA.

The other reason I was opposed to this shift in practice was due in large part to my experience in Knoxville last October. The music was just too damn loud. It didn't add anything to the game except noise. We left with headaches. But this past Saturday night the music was a part of the game, a part of the experience. Again, it was timely and appropriate and not just something being blared into your ear drums. 
Perhaps that is in part due to the improvements in the sound system. But it's also because Sanford is miles ahead of that shithole of an erector set called Neyland.

Other changes that were noticeable:
  • Cell phone signal was vastly improved. I didn't take a poll of any other fans that use something other than AT&T, but I had become used to losing 90% battery power just by trying to send a text as I enter the stadium. On Saturday I always had LTE signal on my phone and left the stadium with more than enough battery to send out awesome tweets while the wife drove my drunk ass home.
  • Karaoke Cam?!? Oh, hell yes! You mean I get a whole commercial intermission to play air guitar, scream at the top of my lungs and embarrass the hell out of my kids? 
  • The TVs in the concession lines are no longer from a 1970s lab in the Psychology building. They're still a little small, but you can actually see the action and it might even be in HD. Seriously, once I refilled my bottomless stadium cup (which is still Sanford's best added feature since indoor plumbing was installed on October 12th, 1929) I actually stopped in my tracks to watch Pruitt's defense complete another three and out.
Other things not as awesome:
  • Entering the stadium took a while. I usually get to the stadium in enough time to get settled and take in the pregame. I guess lots of people were trying to do the same this time as we were honoring the Greatest Bulldog of Them All. 
  • The bathrooms are the same as they've been for quite some time.
  • The cotton candy dudes were scarce. (throwing that one in there in case the kids read this one)
  • Someone said there's a place to buy a sammich from Sonny's. If true, that's a blasphemy.
  • They didn't play "Devil Went Down to Georgia" on Karaoke Cam. But there's time. There's time.
Enough from me yelling at people to get off my lawn. How was your experience?

*Bonus points awarded if you can pick out the sentence that Mrs. Bernie helped me finish.*

Humpday Hilarity - Irish band-aids

Sean staggered home very late after another evening with his drinking buddy, Paddy O’Neal. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Kathleen.

He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.
Managing not to yell, Paddy sprung up, pulled down his pants, and looked in the hall mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding. He managed to quietly find a full box of Band-Aids and began putting a Band-Aid as best he could on each place he saw blood.

He then hid the now almost empty Band-Aid box and shuffled and stumbled his way to bed.
In the morning, Paddy woke up with searing pain in both his head and butt and Kathleen staring at him from across the room.

She said, ‘You were drunk again last night weren’t you?’

Paddy said, ‘Why you say such a mean thing?’

‘Well,’ Kathleen said, ‘it could be the open front door, it could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but mostly ……. it’s all those Band-Aids stuck on the hall mirror. 
(h/t Mac)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Day to day. Step by step.

It'll be bigger news if he's jogging on an actual sideline anytime soon, but there was Malcolm Mitchell sighting today. As well as a Justin Scott-Wesley.



Evil Richt gets Wyatt Earp-y

via BassinDawg

Your co-SEC players of the week

Very special field position

While Morgan tied a record and while the crowd eyed the return men anxiously, it was another aspect of the special teams that had an equally important impact Saturday night.
Field position was key in this game. Clemson’s average starting spot was its own 18. Georgia’s was its own 42.
Marshall Morgan had only one touchback so the coverage team certainly did its job. A pooch kickoff worked out, too, with Clemson starting from its 22. Collin Barber averaged 45.4 yards per punt, including that booming 60 yarder.
A twenty-four yard advantage in starting field position? Yes. Please. More of that!

Of course it felt as if Georgia's offense was gearing down for pretty much all of the third quarter as time after time the defense forced a punt from the shadows of Clemson's own endzone and yet Bobo's crew was not able to capitalize. However, it all paid off in spades in the fourth when the gameplan really came to fruition and the Tigers wilted. Hard.

Makes you realize that Saturday night was more than just the headlines that Gurley and the defense earned. It was a victory complete from all three phases of the game.

Kate Upton is a Gurley Girl?

After his first touchdown, Todd Gurley celebrated with a little salsa move. The pic of it escaped the internet evidently. So I chopped a video from the replay.

Impressive. Now check out the supermodel:

Nothing against the lovely and talented Ms. Upton, but I find Gurley's even more attractive.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Muschamp already lobbying

Hey, I guess when the seat is hot you have to point to any morsel of progress in the right direction. Even if the game only a few seconds longer than Urban Meyer's mystery illness.
“As everyone saw with that opening kickoff, I thought that our guys were ready and fired up to play. We appreciate the fans coming out and supporting us and sitting through several weather delays.
“It was amazing the energy and passion shown in the stands all night. The Gator Nation showed why they’re the best fans in the country, starting with one of the most enthusiastic Gator Walks that we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Clempson post mortem ad nauseum

First, my apologies. Yesterday's post wasn't even up to the low standard I've spent the last six seasons developing. When I went back and read it yesterday afternoon it looked as if I had typed it half-drunk at one in the morning. For instance, I didn't even finish the thought about the offensive coaches using Grantham's towels. Did anyone else notice that?

Anyway, a few more points to make on a great season opener after re-watching it in all its Glory Glory.
  • Enough is being made of all the defensive stands and incredibly efficient toss sweeps on offense. So let me use the next few bullets to point out some (comparatively speaking) concerns that showed up on the replay.
  • Like the fact that the offense, looking at a three point lead and seemingly never ending gifts of great field position, just could not do anything to pull away in the third quarter.
  • There were times when the quarterback and the receivers were not on the same page and times when Mason had to rush a decision based on the pass rush. Some of that can be explained to freshman jitters, like Sony Michel not turning around to receive a swing pass. Some of it will need to be addressed in the off week.
  • The offensive line absolutely the fourth quarter. Here's one question: Outside of Clemson being dog tired late, why was the blocking so much better for three running backs compared to one? Maybe I'm missing it, but it didn't appear to me that Keith Marshall did anything wrong. But his average per rush is vastly different than his position mates.
  • However, on Gurley's 50 yard touchdown to make it 38-21, I still don't see how he saw any daylight at the line of scrimmage. (2:05 mark)

  • Really ashamed of myself for not mentioning Taylor Maxey yesterday, even though I mentioned his great game on Twitter Saturday night. He came out of nowhere to fill in some pretty big shoes. There were times when I really thought Merritt Hall was just in a different jersy. And that's about as big of a compliment as I can give. 
    Richt giving me the thumbs up. (via)
  • One more offensive point, and we'll dive more deeply into this later, but I thought Mason did a great job of managing the game. There's an adjustment we have to make as fans to the way in which he quarterbacks y'all. Him going 18 of 26 for 131 yards without an interception was just what we needed.
  • Special teams were great. Not a lot that I caught on tape that we don't already know. Was nice to see Reggie Davis field the punts with confidence. Isaiah McKenzie may have another gear to offer though. We'll see.
  • We all kinda knew that having the defensive backs press at the line of scrimmage could go a long way towards fixing what 2013 ailed us. But my goodness was it good to see it play out on the field.
  • That's not to say there weren't issues. Like Swann getting beat off the line by Mike Williams. Now, Williams has about five inches and thirty pounds on Swann. But as we get more acclimated to Pruitt's style (read: purging ourselves of past transgressions) it will be interesting to see 1) how much we press and in what situations 2) how well our current db's progress from soft zone stances and 3) if teams like Sakerlina can exploit this as some sort of weakness.
  • Sometimes I'm accused of being overly critical of the fans. I have a separate post coming that will address the entire opening day experience. But in terms of noise level, some of you have very short memories. My feeling Saturday night from my seat was that fans got loud, really loud, but that it took 45 minutes to get there. Watching the replay confirms this.
  • Any bias aside, Sanford Stadium remains one of the most beautiful venues to watch a game. But the fans are largely disengaged in comparison to other places I've experienced.
  • However, I will say I was proud that my 92,000 friends didn't boo an opposing player during an injury timeout, much like what we saw in Death Valley a year ago. In that regard we did out perform our Clemson counterparts.
Great game. Great atmosphere. I may watch it again just because it was so splendiferous. But we always need to take a moment to temper our emotions a touch. After all, we haven't won an SEC game since Aaron Murray was carried off the field. 

Somehow, that feels like years ago.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Thoughts on Gurley and his committee

It's an embarrassment of riches in the Georgia backfield. 2009 called and said "WTF?"
Gone. (via)

  • I thought this graphic the Senator put up by Brenner of the Post and Courier told the whole story. ANd was largely the reason why I felt pretty confident going into this opener. But Clemson came to play and gave Georgia all it could handle. For about 30 minutes.
  • I was mostly disappointed in our pass rush in the first half. Stoudt (and Watson) had plenty of time even though the Tiger offensive line was beleaguered and very green.
  • But man oh man. When they clamped down on that offense in the second half and the pass rushers were able to pin their ears back....Katie bar the door.
  • Todd Gurley deserves as much positive press as he can get. And I will get to him in a moment. But I'm officially convinced that there is not a human being on God's green Earth that can block Leonard Floyd.
  • I'm proud that after all the talk this off season, this is my only bullet devoted to the defensive secondary. They appeared out of place at times and didn't turn to the ball as much as I would hope. But they only missed one tackle. And y'all...they clamped that shit down in the second half. That has to make you feel good.
  • Clemson really rushed the ball well in the first half by pounding it up the middle time and time again.
  • The other big concern I had was the offensive line. And they too were a tale of two halves in many ways. Really dominated the line of scrimmage the second half.
  • How big was that three and out on Clemson's second series?
  • There was a lot of buzz around the stadium as Gurley mostly rested during the first half. But holy shit on a shingle their defense looked incredibly tired the second half. As least compared to Gurley's fresh legs.
  • Special teams were solid. And that was very cool. The coverage teams were especially disciplined.
  • Did anyone else notice that Grantham's towels were alive and well with 
With an off week I'm looking forward to rewatching this game. It was a great day to be in Athens. Almost as good as it was to be a Georgia ball carrier.