Saturday, November 15, 2014

Free at last.

From @Dawgfan__1980, the DawgWalk with some strong play already this morning.

Two keys to victory: Auburn edition

Huge game. Win, and there's a good chance we're in Atlanta in a few weeks. Lose, and it's a long cold walk back to the car.

1. Touchdowns. A punt is a loss and a field goal just means you're not trying hard enough.
2. Win the turnover margin. Securing the football means you're giving Malzahn less chances to run the football, ergo score.

Auburn is in a curious position. They're coming off a hard loss that brought many questions to the surface. We know Malzahn is a great coach. Did he press the right reset button this week? I expect a loud raucous crowd and a back and forth slugfest. The coaches that did the best job preparing their team for that kind of game will be riding high tonight.

Have fun. Stay warm. And most importantly, Go Dawgs!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The twenty-four hour jitters

As usual I'll give you my keys to victory tomorrow. But here just 24 hours until kickoff, I have one big worry.

Can the crowd stay in the game?

I can see this turning heavily in Georgia's favor somehow. Much more likely I think it will be a close affair with one team taking control in the final stanza.

What we can't afford is for the electricity to wane if Auburn takes control early. So many college football games have little to do with the crowd noise and participation. They just don't. The teams determine the score in a sterile environment.

Tomorrow ain't one of those games. The fans have to be in it to win it from fifteen minutes before kickoff until the end of the game.

In fact, you only have to look at how Auburn's last game ended to envision some communication problems and confidence breakdowns at key moments. In that regard, like I've been saying all week, get there early and get there with your loudest voice. And then get louder.

Battle ready.

I alluded to this edition of the Georgia-Auburn series earlier. With three picks on the day Tra Battle caught almost as many Brandon Cox passes as Tiger receivers did (the AU quarterback finished 4-12 for 35 yards and four interceptions). It was a monumental effort from the Georgia safety as Georgia went on to shock #5 ranked Auburn 37-15.

If you want to watch the whole game, here it is. You weren't going to get anything more done today anyway.

Go Dawgs!

That's cool Gurley. But don't quit your night job.

Of course he did. Just surprised there were only five.

The Friday Misery is ready to BAT THAT SH*T DOWN!!

How do you get a WarDamnTiglesman to stop writing funny checks from under the table?
You bat that shit down.

We ain't ready. Not me. Not you.
We spent all week fighting over our own colors. We ain't ready. Our hashtags and our tweets and our lunch time chats and our phone conversations and our message bored typing and our emails and our BookFace posts and our dinner table conversations were all full of piss and vinegar and disdain for each other. We ain't ready. In a week when we should've pulled together, all we did was pull ourselves apart. We ain't ready. A day before the biggest damn game of the season and you're more worried about what I'm wearing tomorrow night than spending every goddamn second hating Auburn. We ain't ready. On the eve of the schedule's biggest nationally televised showdown and I'm more worried about whether there's enough bourbon in my tailgate cup to make it so far into the evening than I am about measuring just how high the Auburn tree grows without branching. We ain't ready. We had all week to do nothing but hate Auburn, and we just pissed that shit away. We ain't ready. We were kicking Kentucky's ass so hard it afforded us an extra couple hours to look down on our ugly ass step-sister from Opelika and yet all we did was beg Coach Richt to arrange our wardrobe. We ain't ready.

We ain't ready. But we're gonna get there. Tighten that belt. Drain that drink. Clench that fist and set that jaw. The days are up and we're down to hours now. Let's go...

Proof. Ain't the size of the Dawg in the fight, but
the size of the fight in the Dawg.
It's not the colors on your back that matters, because it's what's in your heart that makes a difference. I give you my word and I raise my hand. Please, let's ready them as one and let's steady them for the storm of emotions. Let's prepare our hearts and minds to weather the tumult below our feet. It won't be given to us so we must prepare to take it, to earn it with every moment and every snap of the ball. Just to say we are ready is not nearly enough. We must breathe it with every word and we must clench it against the cold November night air.

We've spent 41 days on the road away from home. We withstood obstacles we didn't know existed. We fought enemies we thought were vanquished. They said we were a team but with just one player. They said we were a program without merit. They said we couldn't and yet we did. They said we'd perish and yet we survived.

Our flaws were exposed for the world to see. And yet we scored. Yes, we scored against the odds and while he sat; we scored when they said we wouldn't and we scored when they said we couldn't.
We are one.

Talk is cheap and it said Mason wasn't ready. Talk is dirty and it said that other team "was due". Talk was for Saturday mornings and we came to play on Saturday afternoons. We didn't do it all but we did as much as we were able. We proved to be an imperfect team and an imperfect fanbase. Our vulnerabilities were displayed, at times embarrassingly. But together we're Georgia. Together we are one. Together we move forward, because divided we will lose.

They are Auburn. Their spring practice is writing checks and building "steeples". While we work, they copy answers and get the better grade. Lady Fortuna may have been born on Toomers' Corner, but she doesn't have a ticket to this game. She tried to hand me money but fumbled it on the snap.

They are Auburn. They cheat for the chance. We fight for the honor. They steal for the spotlight. We grind for the Glory. They are only Auburn, but we are always Georgia. Tomorrow is one more opportunity to stand beside you and with Munson in our ears and bourbon on our breath, hunker it down one more time you guys!

When the Dawgs take the field we will raise our eager hands and lay our voices down upon them as one. They will know we mean hard business when the earth beneath them shakes. There, in Sanford, we will stand side by side. Our voices will be one and our spirit will remain unbroken. We will bring everything we have to Athens, prepared to lay it all down.

Yes, the opportunity was there last year and it fell horrifically from our fingertips. This year, in Athens...tomorrow night, in Sanford, we're gonna BAT THAT SHIT DOWN!! Because we are Georgia, and because we are one.

Bow your heads please...Dear Lord, please protect the toilet paper dispensers in Athens this weekend. As well as our local livestock. And whenever you have a spare moment, hand Todd Gurley the ball. Again. Amen.

Pat Dye and two-ply Charmin

Just because I haven't used the blog to hate enough this week..

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drop what you got.

Preach brother.

Auburn's defensive breakdowns

I don't know about you, but I haven't seen much of Auburn yet. What I've gleaned from the media this week is that the offense is still very good but the defense is struggling. Sure, I could go pore over the stats - scoring 38 and giving 24 - but I'm a visual learner.

So I found this video with some highlighted breakdowns from the Texas A&M game. Now, it presents itself as a really bad comedy routine initially, but eventually Cubelic gets around to some worthwhile analysis.

What I found particularly interesting was how the Aggies' quarterback kept the Auburn defensive backs off kilter with play action and pump fakes. Now, play fakes haven't been Hutson Mason's area of expertise, but he's improved a lot there since September. Part of that is gaining confidence in his offensive line; another is having more targets running routes.

I can see this being a close game. In fact, I expect it to be. It may even come down to whoever has the ball last. But there's a part of me that thinks Georgia could really come out and give the Tigers sixty minutes of sheer hell. If Bobo establishes the run early (like we expect he will given Gurley's return), then those intermediate and long routes are going to be open.

And that's when things could really get fun.

Scott-Wesley could do "something anytime now"

NCAA rulings aside, one of the more curious side stories this season has been the health, availability, and lack of production of Justin Scott-Wesley. He's gone from suspended but maybe not all that healthy to ready and sometimes even on the field. What's entirely missing are any stats to speak of in his junior season.

And sounds like Richt has been waiting like the rest of us.
Wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley has played in three of the last four games, but still hasn’t caught a pass this season. “He’s getting there, he’s working hard,” Richt said. “ I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do something anytime now, but it wouldn’t have surprised me last week or the week before.”
A tip of the cap to the head guy's subtle motivation needle. And honestly, there'd be no better time than Saturday night if you ask me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Richt "hopeful" on Michel

You and me both! 

Gurley's return notwithstanding, it'd be nice to have some "lightning" to go with the "thunder".

Auburn week - news and notes

Some headlines between Athens and Opelika. No two-ply needed.

- Cory finds Georgia's run defense improved over its performance against Florida, but still a ways to go.
- Kimberley remembers when Sugar fell from the sky.
- Shhhhhhh. Don't talk about it.
- sUGArdaddy reminds us of some chaos that surrounded the 2012 matchup between GEORGIA-auburn. And to hide our wallets.
- Relatedly, Spears breaks down the A&M-Missouri game.
- The team is stepping up for Gurley on the eve of his return and admitting "We're all human."
- Booker has some nice photos and a couple observations from yesterday's practice.
- With D'haquille Williams week to week, Quan Bray is expected to step up for the Tigers.
- And from the FYI File, ticket prices for Saturday have dropped significantly since I checked on Monday. Down from about $180 in the top deck to $148 and up.

Go Dawgs!

It's simple really. Just be loud.

Set your jaw. Bring your voice.

And we're all good.

Humpday Hilarity - a Barner's hex

Remember to watch for this guy and his seemingly innocuous pocketful of spiritual energy. (y'OOOooooooooOooKay then...)

Texas A&M...boy y'all dodged a bullet. Mr. Needham must've been trying to complete a sentence...or simply taking a sip from his Capri Sun during those two fumbles last Saturday.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

You can make me lol Spencer Hall, but I still hate you.

Sure, it's not his fault Georgia shit a brick in Jacksonville, as Bulldogs are occasionally wont to do. But still, the pain, it lingers. Mostly between the ears now. Or what I like to call early to mid-Novemberness.

Mooooving on.....THIS HERE, [corrected link] it is brilliant. It contains references to a sexually eager armadillo, Napoleonic Code, a step stool, and of course Lane Kiffin. However, I recommend reading Spencer's account after reading the official one in its entirety. For full effect and all that.

Carry on now.

Malzahn vs. Pruitt, a prelude to a sequel

On his radio show last night...
Keys to a win at Georgia? "The big key is we obviously have to stop the running game and offensively we have to run the football."
If either defense did a whole lot stopping of the run I'll be surprised, but I get his point. However, if this does turn into a purely offensive, high scoring affair, then the real keys will be special teams/field position and protecting the football.

That being said, one of the interesting undercurrents for Saturday is the head to head matchup of Malzahn against Pruitt, a sequel of sorts to last season's national championship game. I have that game queued up for tonight, time permitting. But what I remember of FSU's defense from that game is a lot of disciplined and well coached d-backs protecting the deep field as well as the sidelines.

Hunker down y'all.

Closing thoughts on 'Tucky

Had a chance to rewatch the game yesterday and really felt compelled to go into great detail about how dominant an effort it was Saturday in Commonwealth. But that would be too much I suppose. Still, there's a couple things I think I should add some weight to after seeing the game on television.

First, let's take a moment to give Sony Michel some credit. I suspected he'd make the trip to Lexington just due to the running back depth chart. But I didn't expect he'd get more than a few snaps just to test out the legs after missing a few weeks. But man, that kid came to play and barreled into a group of defenders right from the start. I saw many comments about the freshman possibly being "fragile" after his shoulder injury so early in his career. After Saturday it's safe to say the guy isn't going to shy away from contact. Impressive day for Michel.

Almost as impressive as Carter's coming out party. Leonard Floyd should feel some pressure now for sure. There were rumblings of a shoulder issue being the reason Lorenzo Carter started and played so much. I think it's clear Carter is close to passing if not having already passed Floyd in terms of what Coaches Sherrer and Pruitt want to see from the "Sam". They're currently listed as co-starters. Against a team as good at running the ball as Auburn is, and after Carter played so well against the Wildcats, I'd be surprised if we don't see more and more out of this week's SEC D-lineman of the Week.

Lastly, the play I rewound and rewatched the most was the kick coverage team trying to corral that (non) fumble. Marshall Morgan really, really wanted that ball y'all.


Monday, November 10, 2014

I'll be honest. I would start Chubb.

I asked you yesterday. And now I've made up my mind. But first, Emerson sets the stage:
Of course, Georgia’s running game hasn’t suffered without Gurley, as freshman Nick Chubb has rushed for 600-plus yards the past four games, and fellow freshman Sony Michel looked good in his return Saturday from a shoulder injury.
It’s a fair question whether Gurley will even start, although Chubb said Saturday, “I know I haven’t taken his spot. I’m looking forward to Todd getting back on the field and playing with him. I miss him out there.”
Richt said he and the coaches haven’t even discussed the starting job but indicated that Chubb, Gurley and Michel will play. Georgia’s head coach also said he has no concern about Gurley being rusty, pointing out that he has been practicing the entire time.
“I think he’s stayed in pretty good condition while he hasn’t been playing. I don’t think you forget how to play football in five weeks,” Richt said.
Trust me, I'm as excited as anyone to get Todd Gurley back this Saturday. Some antiquated rule has robbed us of four games getting to see the best offensive player to wear the G in decades. It pisses me off.

But if I'm Coach Richt, when I talk with my offensive coaches about who starts against Auburn I'm pondering two other very important points: 1) Todd Gurley knew it was a rule and broke it to the point that the NCAA gave him four games in purgatory, and 2) we haven't missed #3 that much in terms of production.

And that's because of one Nick Chubb. I think he's earned the start and I know I would give it to him.

Sure. Yes, you're right. I get it. Todd Gurley is the best player in the nation and it seems senseless not to start him in the biggest game of the season. More importantly, you're also right that it really doesn't matter; both Gurley and Chubb will get their carries in the game.

Still. I'd send #27 out there. If for no other reason than the fact that he's earned that honor and that this game would not have near the importance that it does were it not for these other numbers - four games, 102 carries, 671 yards, and five touchdowns.


WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Todd Gurley can commence doing Todd Gurley type things again!!


Current state of the Bulldog Nation...WOOOOOOOOOOO!! Get your cold cuts! Put your 3s UP!

War Damn Eagel!

Its officially Auburn hate week. Let's get started with a relly kool war eagel tat.

Night game. Two ranked teams, both fighting for their SEC divisional lives. Fans want a blackout. Players want the black jerseys. Richt wants us all to shut up.

But all I want is for you to be there. And be there LOUD. Cuz we're gonna bat that shit down in Sanford! Go Dawgs!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday thoughts on the Commonwealth bounce back

In many ways this game shows you all you need to know about the 2014 Georgia Bulldogs. Flawed, often to a fault, but incredibly talented. And from the outset it was way too much of the latter for Kentucky to expose enough of the former.

- You can't start this without talking about Isaiah McKenzie. The opening kickoff was as much about great blocking as it was McKenzie's speed. But that punt return showed both his elusiveness and his ability to create seams.
- Mason had about as good a day passing the ball as one could expect. Comes at a good time too as we want him entering the showdown with Auburn confident. 13/16 and four touchdowns will do just that.
- And Brice Ramsey carries a nice mop, going for 80 yards on 5/5 passing with a touchdown.
- Even as the fans were calling for Gurley's return in the stands, anxious for the running back's return, it was impossible to not appreciate what Nick Chubb has done during the four game suspension.
- I ask you, what's more impressive, his five touchdowns, the 671 yards or the 102 carries? There's probably no correct answer. But that was fun to type out.
- Which begs the question, does Gurley start Saturday?
- Defensively, the intensity was there and that led to much better tackling. Probably most impressive was that they held Towles to 139 yards through the air. And a lot of that was coverage.
- If there's something that Pruitt is pointing to its Kentucky's 81 plays from scrimmage. That can't happen next week.

About to hit the road for home, so that'll do for now. Nice road win to wrap up a brutal span of time away from Sanford. It'll be good to be home. Real good.

Go Dawgs!