Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two keys to a pig-pick'n

Last Sunday morning, No Gurley, No Problem. This morning, No Gurley, No Problem?

1. Utilize the tight ends. They won't have one of their leading tacklers (actually he's questionable), but if we allow them to creep up on the line of scrimmage then their defense is good enough to force our hand towards passing downs. So Bobo should get Rome and Blazevich involved early and look for Bennett and Conley on some intermediate routes to keep those Razorback linebackers honest.

2. Lean on em late. Arkansas is an improved team. But they're still learning how to win football games. Out of conference wins are good, but winning in the SEC often comes down to the fourth quarter. If the game is close at that point, we should be able to show that we are the deeper more experienced team.

If you're hungry for a third point it's obviously special teams. Especially if this turns into a low scoring/field position affair. Go Dawgs!

The Pruitt Way

I'm not a guy you'll hear saying "Just wait til next season". Mostly because I probably have more football seasons behind me than I do in front. And normally I wouldn't even attempt to make this point the day of a key SEC road test. But I know we're all frustrated with the program and the ones who oversee it. We had hoped to have answers this week and little if any came.

But I find comfort in these thoughts and quotes that Loran Smith passes along from his feature on our defensive coordinator:
He would rather work with a player who wants to learn to excel by doing it the right way, no matter his level of ability, than one with all the ability, but cannot conform to a disciplined approach to playing the game.
 “We are beginning to realize that it is like an important performance. You can’t do the show if you haven’t rehearsed it. Over and over again.
“You succeed,” he says, “by forgetting what you have accomplished and knuckling down for the next guy. Arkansas is, by far, the most physical team we have played to date.”
Things are changing. It may not be as swiftly as we hoped. But it's clear to me that we once again have a defensive coordinator that not only talks the talk, but walks it with authority and discipline.

And with a winning attitude.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Misery - People of Walmart speak Hoganese

Wednesday: interrupts casual dinner conversation, "Dad, so is Gurley gonna play Saturday or not?"
Thursday: interrupts science test review, "Seriously Dad, is Gurley going to Arkansas?"
Me: "Honey, go get the mother f---kin swear jar. Daddy's about to donate some goddamn benjamins."

Little Rock and the Jabberwock.
Arkansas is a state. (Yes, in this union. I checked.) More importantly, it's the birthplace of Prez Clinton, Maya Angelou, John Grisham, and Houston Nutt. (Giggity.) So it also gave us a blue dress, Oprah Angelou, Matthew McConaGay, and the end of Danny Ford's tyranny. (Giggity!)

But mostest importantly, the state of Arkansaw has given us Walmartians. You know, the people that dress up, leave the house in whatever rotted out El Camino from their front yard that will still crank, and head to the place that sells the mostest shit for less. These People of WalMart go there for more jewelry, IceHouse Light, eggs, prom dresses, cigarettes, deodorant/scented car trees, and also their paycheck.

But others go there to find their babysitter.

The following Monday Lil Earl sat out at recess with what
his pediatrician would later describe as a "wrenched up neck".
I don't know which city Walmartians were born in, but we know they're educated in Fayetteville. So I reached out to Professor of Anthropology at UArk. He answered my questionings about their unique civilization as such: 

"We a fine foke what enjoys a goode state fair or even a trip over to Bentunville to look at the pretty WalMart Museyum." 
"WalMart Museum? You're shittin' me."
"No, now it's a fine history closely tied to our state's job markit and our flagship educashunnal place as that's where we leanr to put our pig hats on correctly what with the pig snout facing forward and what not. It's also where we leanr that a propur and true WPS!! is gonna have I reckon about an 8 secund WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..." (continues on for another thirty to forty seconds without taking a breath...passes out...)
"Okay, Professor Hickey. Thanks for your time."

That was like walking upstairs backwards - ridiculous and just don't make no damn sense. Look, here's all you need to know about Arkansans: they backdoor their way into SECCG's much like they do the next Steven Seagal movie, and they'll get around to pulling up their drawers once the battery finally gives in.

"Says here it'll fit inside my pocket. Reckon they
mean 'tween my navel and thigh tattoos."
Meanwhile, on campus, Coach Bert's in year two of his South of Milwaukee Tour (and he don't mean Racine y'all) and is sporting an extra thirty pounds since last summer. Now, maybe that's just over exposure to fried southern cuisine, but I hear it's written into his contract that he gain enough weight to render any two-wheeled transportation vehicles inoperable. Cautious people those Ozarkian lawyers are.

And he's also introduced a new and improved, non-native tongue to his new disciples. It's called Hoganese. It's two part coachspeak and one part Jabberwocky from what I can tell. Now, no one knew Bielema was a Lewis Carroll fan. But I imagine after enduring several months with John L. Smith smiling all the time, Arkansas officials would've accepted about anyone not named Nutt. (GIGGITY!!)

"And has thou slain the Jabberwock Crimson tusk? Come to my arms my beamish half-back! Oh frabjous fumblous day! You dropped said ball! Callooh! Oh shit he missed yonder afterpoint kick! Callay!" Bertus chortled swore in his joy deepest sorrow.

Huddle up
Shut the hell up! Look. Missouri wasn't shit. When you're done glad handing and circle jerking and patting yourself on the back you might just start to realize we have another goddamn football game. If you're not too fat from feeding off the WESOOOAWESOME!! teet maybe you can figure out a way to block a blitzing linebacker. That's right, while we've been gorging ourselves on positive press and tweets and texts and calls these razorbacks been starved to the point of desperation. They want a win more. They NEED a win more. If you don't believe that go find your seat on the bench, bitch.

I'm looking at you Pyke and Kublanow. I'm challenging you Theus and Andrews and Houston. We ain't got THAT guy, but we got THESE guys. And they need you to pancake some pigs.Those paper tigers laid down. These Hogs ain't. If we want to stay in the driver's seat we got to hunker down and make em earn it.

Now, shall we bow our heads? Lord, please pass the sauce and let the Boss loose. Please let eh rump cook evenly and fall off the bone the way the Lord Baby Jesus intended. And also please keep Penn Wagers the hell away from the Ozarks. Amen.

Hogs...up all night to get truck'd yeh.

When I'm in a dark place, and I'm feeling down. I watch this 2,439 times straight.

Then we truck right into some I can't stop...

They can't hang. Feed em Bobo. Feed. Them.

In Chubb we hope.

Hadn't seen this stat yet.
We gotta feed this kid tomorrow night. But, we also have to save him for the fourth quarter. So it's also time to go WildHonkey!

Bring it, bitches.

"When I won the Heisman..."

"...I hope it stood for more than just me playing football." - Herschel Walker

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Breaking non-news on Gurley - UPDATED

Waited an hour, so there had to be something. Except there wasn't.


And then this happened:

Safe to say the ball is still in UGA's court. But I'm trying not to read much more than that into it.

Gurley status: null

As you were.

It's always week to week with Pruitt

Last week it was Brendan Langley. Who will it be in Little Rock?
For the fifth time in six games, Georgia sported a different starting defensive backfield. Seven different Bulldogs have earned the nod at the beginning of at least one game.
Senior cornerback Damian Swann doesn’t expect that trend to change as the season progresses.
“(Pruitt) wants to play the guys who have the best week in practice. Not to say (guys who aren’t starting) didn’t have a good week in practice,” Swann said. “But I think everything that goes on with the different lineups, that’s coming from Pruitt. Whatever Pruitt wants, that’s how we’re going to play. Every week, guys are competing for playing time." (via Benjamin Wolk)

Finishing the fourth quarter drill

Arkansas is a team desperate for an SEC win. And a lot of the reason they haven't won a conference game this season and even going back to the end of last season is due to the fourth quarter.
Arkansas spent two weeks working on its fourth quarter flaws after suffering a 35-28 overtime loss to Texas A&M. The struggles – at least on offense – didn’t end in the 14-13 loss to Alabama in Razorback Stadium last Saturday.
Arkansas was scoreless in the fourth quarter against a Southeastern Conference opponent for the third time this season. Auburn, Texas A&M and Alabama have now outscored the Razorbacks 38-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I saw drives that didn’t get going, drives that stalled out,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Monday. “It’s kind of been a continuing theme for us, unfortunately, in SEC play and it’s something I really began to hone in and be aware of last week and tried to make certain adjustments. But it’s something I’ve challenged our offensive staff with, and our players. Obviously, the biggest failure for us overall is to not put points on the board in the fourth quarter and to win close games.”
The Razorbacks could manage only 35 yards on 16 plays against the Crimson Tide, struggling to move the ball with the game on the line. Arkansas had four possessions, but went three-plays-and-out twice, was stuffed on fourth down on its third chance and quarterback Brandon Allen threw an interception at the end.
Thats a team that's learn in how to win. And they're close.

And a lot of people feel that's is exactly what the game is going to be - close.  If they're right then any mistakes in the last fifteen minutes are amplified. Georgia is first in the nation in fourth quarter scoring; the Razorbacks are 85th.

It might just be the point where Brandon Allen or Hutson Mason is asked to make a throw to win it, while the team with the lead leans on it's speciality of running the ball.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Billy Bennett knew of eBay back when Gurley was in 3rd grade

I faintly remember the story, but this tweet caught my eye the other day:

Here's a blown up version of the pic which gives you part of the article. If nothing else, it goes to show this auctioning of "amateur" athletes' likenesses (whether signed jerseys or authenticated locks of hair) has been a steadily evolving situation that Athens has been central to.

By the way, couldn't find a modern digitalized version of the story. If you happen to have a link, share it in the comments.

Razorbacks' Collins looking to rebound against Dawgs

Sophomore sensation Alex Collins is in the throes of a "bad stretch". Missed a couple of workouts, suspended for a quarter, and then had his worst game of his career - just six carries for 13 yards. After the heartbreaking 14-13 loss to Alabama, Collins and the Razorbacks are ready to move forward.
Collins is expected to resume his role in the backfield with Williams and Marshall as the Razorbacks prepare for Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs. Once again, the Razorbacks will face a run defense that hasn’t allowed much production this season.
Georgia, which is coming off a 34-0 win at Missouri, is 12th in the NCAA in rushing defense (101.7 yards a game). The Bulldogs allowed 50 rushing yards last week.
If you dig into that article a little further there's a cute quote from offensive coordinator Jim Chaney about how Bama made them one dimensional. As if they weren't already.

And that is what makes this matchup intriguing. I think we can keep their ground game contained, at least as much as Bama if not better. But make no mistake that the Razorbacks have a stable of backs that they can keep fresh into the fourth quarter. Collins is the more talented of the three. And there's no doubt he'll come to Little Rock hungry.

Like yesterday, let's throw it over to Ramik for his take on the Razorbacks' run heavy offense:
“They are a physical team, but with the game plan we got this week, it’s gonna be fun for us.”

Humpday Hilarity - "You poked my heart."

Even if you've already seen this, it's always worth another chuckle.

I swear, women learn so young to be manipulative with their tricky vocabulary and pokey fingers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kirby comes home....??

Some of y'all been wanting it to happen. Now you've got a date!

"We are going to be something different and give the same effort."

Yesterday I mentioned how successful Pruitt's 4-2-5 look was against Missouri, but that going into Little Rock it would likely be something different. Take it away Ramik:
Georgia will be seeing a totally [sic] offense, than it did in Columbia, Missouri. While Missouri runs many four and five wide receiver sets, Arkansas often lines up with two and three tight end sets. 
And even though Missouri was held scoreless, the members of the defense know that it is a new week and a new, different opponent.
“It’s a new week. We barely looked at Missouri,” Wilson said. “They are a physical team, but with the game plan we got this week, it’s gonna be fun for us.”
"Get a big neck."
While Georgia came out with a three-safety defense against Missouri, this week’s defense figures to be more conventional,  given the opponent. Wilson knows that the defense is going to have to adjust, while still putting up results similar to Missouri.
“We are not the same defense that is gonna come out every time,” Wilson said. “We are going to be something different and give the same effort.”
When summing up the matchup between Arkansas’ rushing attack and Georgia’s rush defense Johnson also was brief.
“It is going to be an all-out fight."  (via R&B)
I especially like the "same effort" part. And given that Arkansas is first in the league in rushing the football, it's gonna be a Mambo Gook kinda night in Lil' Rock.

Arkansas defense takes a hit

Likely to lose one of their leading tacklers for Saturday's game.
Arkansas starting middle linebacker Brooks Ellis will likely miss the Razorbacks' game against No. 10 Georgia on Saturday.
Ellis suffered "a pretty significant bone bruise" on his knee during a game against Alabama, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Monday. Bielema said there is a slight chance Ellis will play against the Bulldogs, but will likely be out a while.
The sophomore is the Razorbacks' second-leading tackler this season with 39 tackles. Josh Williams would likely start at middle linebacker if Ellis can't play. Williams has six tackles and one sack this season.

Razorback military insurgents?

Quick suggestion Arkansas. I know your student information system probably outdates the Iraqi jihadist state, but perhaps its time to change the name.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tom Petty raises three fingers for Gurley

I thought this was brilliant.

Pruitt's no-name defense taking shape

The offense may have been without Todd Gurley in Missouri, but the defense added Brendan Langley. And he started at free safety. Now, Langley only had two tackles on his stat line, but played a whale of a game in coverage. Even when he was being thrown into the fire early last season I liked Langley's ability and upside. He has good size and long arms. It was great to see him contributing back there Saturday.

That being said, it was much more than Langley moving back over from offense that put together this shut out. Let's start up front where Pruitt started with Thornton, Drew, Floyd and Jenkins at the line of scrimmage with Wilson and Herrera behind them. Georgia was able to contain Mauk, pressure Mauk, and take away Missouri's run game quite effectively. The rest was left to Langley, Mauger, Sanders, Swann and Bowman. And they all did a great job staying with their men and leaving little room for Missouri to get a passing game going.

By the way, Mauk came into the game with a 144 passer rating, and Georgia held him to a 43. In a word, that's dominance.

But if we know anything about Jeremy Pruitt, in our short time together, it's that he's creative. Sure, he's going to put the best guys on the field that can give Georgia a chance to win, but he's going to adapt to what the opposing offense is doing. Arkansas is running the ball two-thirds of the time they snap the ball. I wouldn't be surprised to see Corey Moore back in at safety Saturday as he's more of a downhill run stopper. Pruitt might also go back to using both Toby Johnson and Mike Thornton on the line, which moves Jenkins back to the "Jack" linebacker.

We'll see. The really interesting thing for me is seeing how differently Pruitt preps for each opposing team and his commitment to taking away certain aspects of what they are trying to do. On Saturday that was giving Mauk looks that made him uncomfortable releasing quickly which allowed the pass rush to catch up to him in his progressions. This Saturday it will likely be something much different. Again, we'll see how the defensive coordinator prepares and adjusts.

All I know is it's something we haven't seen in nearly a decade. And I'm very excited for the future.

There's a first time for everything.

Makes me kick myself for not going.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Thoughts on Grown Chubb Football

Georgia wins, Missouri loses, and Sakerlina doesn't win. So pretty damn good day.

- My first thought after the game was over was that if we thought we showed them some Grown Man Football in 2012, we were wrong. Dude, that was just a whoopin'.
- Possible I missed a few, but I had the number of times Gurley was mentioned about even with Chubb.
- That being said, "Baby Gurley" made me puke a bit in my mouth every time I heard it.
- I guess the big question for us is, "When did your nervousness relent?" Only getting a couple field goals despite two early turnovers was uneasy. Then the Tigers came out hot in the second half and I found myself reminding my kids (who had pronounced the game over about an hour prior) that this was a team that came back from twenty down to beat the one team that beat us.
- But Bobo wasn't done. Nick Chubb and Brendan Douglas weren't done. And Pruitt wasn't done either.
- So...turnovers, pressuring Mauk, or time of possession...where do we start? Logic and reason say with the pressure applied to Mauk.
- The defense yesterday was a thing of beauty. Pruitt mixed in different looks for the Missouri quarterback and let his guys go to work. As a result, Mauk spent much of the afternoon on the run with not much of anywhere to throw the ball.
Hey dude, you want this? Here you go.
- And the run defense was much better than I anticipated. Those are two good running backs and as a team Missouri was averaging 178 yards a game on the ground. Georgia held them to 50 yards total.
- Back to the pressure up front, Missouri was 0-7 on third down and Mauk finished 9-21 for 97 yards. Oh yeh, and four interceptions. When he was on the run (when he is the most dangerous and the most likely to covert third downs) he only completed one pass that I remember.
- Overall, a confident defense playing lights out on the road? Yes, I think I like that a lot.
- Next, turnovers. The secondary just seemed to always have the play in front of them. The Missouri receivers are not what Pinkel usually has in terms of talent, but the Pruitt's defensive backs were rarely trailing the play like in previous games.
- The beneficiaries were Mauger, Swann and Sanders. Mauger had two picks!! They just always seemed to know where Mauk was going.
- And the Mauk fumble, man, God bless Leonard Floyd's long arms! (Just watched that play again while typing this and the wife would like to add that he was obviously being held too.)
- The time of possession was skewed heavily in Georgia's favor, mostly due to being +6 in the turnover margin. 42:23 to 17:37. Wow.
- Missouri had 12 drives, only one went for more than four plays. Only four plays in Georgia territory, three of which were interceptions. They were never even in field goal range and only sniffed the goal line once on the last play of the half, a play that ended with a dropped pass that was perfectly placed. And a holding penalty.
- The only word to describe it is dominating.
- And while that word can be used to describe Georgia's punishing rushing attack, it can also be used to describe Hutson Mason's afternoon. Yes, he "managed" the game well, but he also made some throws we haven't seen much of since the bowl game. That touchdown pass to Bennett was perfect. And Bobo used Mitchell well on the outside to stretch Missouri's defense enough to create room for Chubb and Douglas.

Great game. I'm hopeful we'll get Gurley back for the next game. Regardless, Little Rock presents a difficult road test. Halfway through, it's been an eventful season and a very tumultuous week. But Georgia now is firmly in the driver's seat nonetheless.

Go Dawgs!