Saturday, December 13, 2014

Early look at potential Dawg draftees

All that's left of the 2014 season is a bowl game for Georgia. So with many looking at the 2015 NFL draft thought we'd take a moment as well. There was quite a bit of talent on the roster for the Bulldogs this year. Here’s a look at a few potential draftees.

Leonard Floyd

Most mock drafts seem to be sold on Leonard Floyd to be the first Georgia player off the board, should he decide to declare early. He might not go very high, but he is a pretty talented player who could play either defensive end or outside linebacker at the next level. He probably will not be taken until the 2nd half of the 1st round at the earliest, but he is a very talented pass rusher.

Todd Gurley

The trend in the last few years has been to wait for a running back in the NFL draft. Despite his recent knee injury and subsequent surgery, Gurley could be one of those rare guys who goes in the 1st round as a very dynamic running back in 2015. He has a chance to be a fantasy football superstar, and that is enough of an incentive for a playoff team to take him near the end of the 1st round. There is a chance he slips to the 2nd, but if rehab goes well, he is still the most dynamic running back in the draft.

Ramik Wilson

A lot of different teams in the NFL need help at inside linebacker, so Wilson will be talked about as early as the middle of the 2nd round. At this stage in the game, he is probably going to go somewhere in the range of middle of the 2nd to middle of the 3rd. He is a very solid player who has good discipline at his position. Expect him to earn playing time right away.

Jordan Jenkins

Yet another pass rusher that is draft eligible, Jenkins is obviously a step below Floyd right now in the draft gurus' eyes. He is going to find a spot in the NFL though, whether it's in 2015 or following his senior season in Athens. And if its sooner rather than later, he could sneak into the last part of the 2nd round if he works out well. More than likely, he will fall into the 3rd round and provide decent value for any team willing to give him a look.

We'll continue to look at some more of the draft eligible Dawgs in the coming weeks to see where they may land to continue their playing careers.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hey Toddles, the truth is in the statisticals man.

When writing about an upcoming matchup, I'm one that usually falls back on statistics to find some angle or glean some other curiosity. And that's what Brad did here when comparing Grantham's run defense to Bobo's rush offense.

Here's the crux of his findings:
Georgia, of course, did much of their work while many of its stable of running backs missed several games for a number of reasons.  So it would seem that while the numbers look even going in, that the Bulldogs do have a decided advantage in the rush game vs. the Louisville defense.
Just like when Grantham was here in Athens, a lot of smoke and mirrors.
And ol' Todd has been blowing a lot of smoke about his defense. To his credit, they have been impressive in his first season. But Brad's right that the truth is in the numbers. At least right up until kickoff. A large part of why Georgia's rushing attack was so consistently dominant, despite the state of flux at the running back position, was due to the offensive line having such a great season.

The Bobo vs Grantham angle will continue to be the more intriguing story leading up to the bowl game, and most certainly during it as well. But Georgia's offensive coordinator is going to need those hosses up front o have a game more like Auburn than Georgia Tech if the Dawgs are going to get to that 10th win.

Hawkinsville's own Charles Johnson

Always love to hear of people giving back to their community. Down in Hawkinsville, a former Dawg great is helping to rebuild his former school.
In recent years, the Lumpkin Street School in Hawkinsville, Georgia, one of 500 Georgia equalization schools built for African-American students during segregation, has fallen into disrepair. The town’s Deacons and Stewards Association wants to turn the space into a community center and museum, and a former Georgia football player is helping to make that happen.
Charles Johnson (M ’08), through the Charles Johnson Foundation (CJF), has issued a $25,000 challenge grant to renovate the school. The challenge, which states that CFJ will donate $25,000 to match the $25,000 that the Deacons and Stewards Association raises, has been instrumental in gaining donations for the project from other organizations.

This isn’t the first time Charles Johnson has helped out his hometown. The captain for the Carolina Panthers has donated funds to support Parent Cafes for single mothers, sponsored women to attend the Pulaski Tomorrowprogram, donated to other middle Georgia foundations, and has provided scholarships to Pulaski County students during his organization’s annualCommunity Weekend in Hawkinsville.
Thanks to Katherine of the ALumni Assoc. for sharing this story. And keep up the great work Mr. Johnson!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bowl practices are on a rigid diet

Something I just can't get my head around is Georgia only having nine practices leading up its bowl game against Louisville. Casually mentioned it yesterday, then listened to Emerson and Estes talk some about it on their podcast. So I looked, but can't seem to find anything from Louisville on what their schedule will be like.

Usually there's about a week of practices before travel/Holiday break time, then about a normal week of practices before the bowl. Once school is out the coaches aren't limited by NCAA restrictions on time. However, the academic calendar coupled with the earlier bowl slot on December 30th is cutting into the practices on the front end, the ones in Athens where coaches can get back down to fundamentals.

For what it's worth, Louisville's exams end one day before UGA's. From my glances through the Cardinals' local media it doesn't appear that they're practicing right now (exams started yesterday). I guess on one hand I'm concerned that the preparation may not be equal for the Belk Bowl. On the other, it'd be nice for some of the younger players to get more reps than they'll get in Athens late next week.


UPDATE - Weiszer shared that at the Belk Bowl press conference yesterday Petrino said Louisville would start bowl practices Friday and then go daily on campus beginning next Wednesday. So it sounds like they will get at least a couple more practices in than Georgia.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evil Richt rips down teams' stockings

As Emerson reports, Christmas is canceled.
Georgia's coaching staff has elected to report to Charlotte on Dec. 24 for the Belk Bowl, and hold its first practice the next day. Yes, that means practicing on Christmas Day, and being away from family, unless they make the trip too.
Unless, this is all a ruse to take the team here...

I'm kidding, of course. (I think.) But can you imagine the meltdown on the Dawgvent if that actually happened? Whoa Nelly.

Louisville unworthy...??

Maybe I couldn't hear those of you complaining about playing little ol' Louisville above the noise of the rest who have been complaining about going to Charlotte instead of Tampa. (Like that's even a real argument.)
But that situation has been settled so now the order of the day is to defeat Georgia. This is what the Cardinals need to gain respect in the college football universe. Already the Georgia fans are belittling the opposition as unworthy of an SEC power like the Dawgs. Good! It reminds me of the Alabama fans (1991), the Michigan State fans (1993), the BYU fans (2001), the Florida fans (2013 and the Miami fans (2013). LOL. [emphasis added]
"LOL" is right Jack. You need to check your sources down here. Real Dawg fans are excited about the challenge of Petrino's offense going up against Pruitt's young defense. Sure, Petrino may not have the arsenal of weapons he'd prefer on his roster yet. But still, his scheme stretches defenses and forces them to play solid, fundamental football.

Plus, dude. You never even mentioned the Grantham angle.

Ahh. Good times.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

At least it wasn't Steckel

The Broyles Award, which somehow omitted Mike Bobo's name as a finalist despite being at the helm of an offense that once again saw numerous injuries and suspensions yet still averaged 41.7 points per game, went to Ohio State's offensive coordinator Tom Herman. The Buckeyes saw their own difficulties and overcame them, most notably losing Braxton Miller to injury, and still averaged 45.7 points a game.

Yes, that was in the B1G. But at least Missouri's Dave Steckel, who Bobo shellacked back in October, didn't win it.

The JJ Green proposition?

McGarity and Bobinski had themselves a text-chat. What emerges may need to be named after the former Georgia defensive back.
Athletic directors Greg McGarity and Mike Bobinski spent quite a bit of time on the phone this week conferring about their schools’ respective transfer policies in light of Green’s decision.
“Mike and I have been in communication and, moving forward, we’re in agreement there should not be any reasons to not grant the wishes of any student-athlete who might want to transfer between our institutions as long as there has been no tampering,” McGarity said.  “As long there’s been nothing done to recruit a current student-athlete, as long as it’s on the up-and-up – which is the case as I understand it with J.J.
“What’s the downside? The only downside is that student-athlete may come back and have a great game against you. But if they’re not happy at the University of Georgia, they should be happy somewhere else.”

Grantham, Petrino, and then all the whining

1) say what you will, but the Cardinals have really bought into Grantham.
Louisville ranks 68th in total offense (83rd in rushing and 50th in passing) and ranks 6th in total defense (3rd in rushing defense and 30th in passing yards allowed). Louisville ranks 41st in scoring offense (32.6 points per game) and 18th in scoring defense (20.5 points per game allowed). (via Dean Legge)
Sure, the lesser opponents' narrative holds some water there in terms of explaining the defensive rankings. The Wake Forests, Boston Colleges, and Syracuses of the CFB landscape aren't going to move many chains and score many points. But as I'm preparing my own outlook for this bowl matchup, I think it starts with Kentucky as the Wildcats scored plenty of points to win both the game in lexington against Georgia dn then one on the road against Louisville.

(addendum - a quick glance shows that unlike the game against Georgia, Kentucky scored in each quarter against Louisville. Something to look at a little more closely when evaluating this common opponent.)

2) On the offensive side the Cards have had much changeover at quarterback and an old nemesis at running back.
The Cardinals do have some impressive talent elsewhere on their offense, headlined by senior receiver DeVante Parker, who is getting attention in NFL ranks as a potential first-round type of guy in the upcoming Draft. The 6-foot-3 Parker only played about half the season because of a broken foot in the preseason, but he still managed to catch 35 passes for 735 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 122.5 receiving yards per game. He's joined by 250-pound senior tight end Gerald Christian (30 catches, 359 yards), who transferred from Florida. In the backfield, Louisville features former Auburn running back Michael Dyer (110 rushes for 482 yards) and 5-foot-9 sophomore Brandon Radcliff (125 rushes for 648 yards), a talented duo that has split carries much of the season. (via Gentry Estes)
Dyer and Radcliff's numbers are inconsistent. Of course, Pruitt's defense has had some trouble stopping the run. But I still see the story here will first be how Louisville's receivers match up against Pruitt's secondary, and then who will be throwing them the football. Even though Petrino wants to run the football (and a lot, as he averages nearly ten more rush attempts than pass per game), he will want to be able to keep Georgia's talented linebackers honest.

3) The fans moaning about the bowl selection is a time honored tradition. But it's one I'm tired of entirely. The facts are that Georgia has a better record (overall and head-to-head) than many teams in seemingly better bowl games, but this year's selection process is a completely new one. Essentially, after the Citrus, all the bowls are the same. And while that will take some time for fans to get used to, it didn't take long for many to gripe openly about the location, payout, opponent, name of the bowl, etc.

My response: Get over yourself. Air your dirty laundry to the people that count. That starts with the SEC offices, Butts-Mehre and even Coach Richt if you're still pissed off about the record that landed us in Charlotte as opposed to Miami or Atlanta. The rest of us are kind of over it. Move along. Don't go to Charlotte. Don't watch the game. Whatever. The other fans and especially the players don't need to hear the griping and the yapping and the tweeting and the whininess.

I mean, do guys like Boss Andrews and Chris Conley deserve to hear y'all share your butthurt with the rest of the world in the days leading up to their last game as a Dawg?

"1980 was a pretty damn big year."

Lindsay Scott, speaking the truth. If you know of someone who hasn't added 1980 Dawgs: The Inside Story of the National Championship Season to their DVD collection, I would once again like to highly recommend it. Here's a trailer to whet your appetite.

For more information including how to order a copy, visit 1980

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bowl tickets

Prices are higher than they should be right now. Although that's typical of bowl games I was still a little surprised at the prices last night as I made initial arrangements.

The blog's broker has them cheaper than directly from the UGA, but if you're looking to save even more money then it's probably wise to wait until closer to December 30th.

Right now UGA has two ticket prices - $85 regular and $125 for club. If you ordered as a Hartman Donor your order is being processed and sounds like tickets will be mailed next week. If you're in the group that is looking for something today, Ticket Monster's start at $78. If you're in the group that is waiting, pull up a chair. It might be awhile before they fall to reasonable levels.

Fifth Annual Bowl Pool - Festivus4TheDawgNus

Welcome newcomers! The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances!

You're on strike from H&H Bagels. You find tinsel distracting. Or maybe you just got out of the schvitz and the lighting is bad on the porch. Regardless, Festivus is your heritage George! It's part of who you are.

So follow these ten simple steps:
1) Air your grievances.
2) Click the link.
3) Enter the password. (duh)
4) Pick your winners for all of the bowls!
5) Follow me on twitter for even more updates!!
6) Trash talk freely. It's encouraged, and almost required actually. "Heeeeyyy no-bagel-no-bagel-no-bagel-no-bagel-no-bagel!!"
7) Share the link to the group and the password (duh) with others as you see fit. Any friend of yours is welcome at my table.
8) Watch each and EVERY bowl game.
9) Continue to trash talk about your feats of strength, both in person and on the internets.
10) Then just sit back, relax, and admire how much better my picks are than yours!

Seriously though, winner gets a stylish t-shirt to help you embrace your roots. So follow the link to join and pick carefully.

PASSWORD = thehumanfund (all lowercase, duh!)

What is Festivus? Glad you asked.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Belk Bowl bound!

It's official. Toddles is getting a new towel!

Go Dawgs!

Post season predictions

Here's where I am as we head into the afternoon of college football playoff discussion.
Going to be interesting to see where the committee actually comes out on the TCU, Baylor, Ohio State argument.

As for Georgia, most of the "experts" are saying they expect Georgia to head to Tampa for the Outback. I think I'll make a sandwich, pour a beer and then maybe take a nap.


And remember to come back to tomorrow to enter in the annual Bowl Pool. Happy Festivus!