Saturday, September 5, 2015

Two keys to a warhawk cupcake walk

Welcome back to college football in Athens y’all! On Saturday morning I traditionally give a couple keys to victory and on Sunday I try to follow with a recap, time permitting. Here’s what it will take to make us smile through the Labor Day weekend.
  1. - Keep Chubb under ten carries. And really, ten might be too liberal an estimate. If we need 27 to win this game our problems are varied and far-reaching. Far, far reaching. Getting the other aspects of the offense involved is a real goal for Schottenheimer - the other backs need work, the receivers need live reps, and who am I forgetting...oh yeh, Lambert needs some live looks too.
  2. - Defensive ears stay pinned back. ULM does not have a good offense and will start a redshirt freshman quarterback. Pruitt has gone on record this week saying his defense doesn’t need to be externally motivated. If that’s true he should be able to stay pretty much in a base defense and let his playmakers do their thing.

Score points. Rest starters. Give two deep live, gameday experience.

Seems easy enough. Let's pack the car and hit the road!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Misery - another offseason's discontent comes to an end

When frenzied anxiousness mixes with sheer joy, it can be a dangerous cocktail. Similar to waiting your first sixteen years of life to be able to drive a car in which you control the radio, the windows, and the speed with which it transports is a seemingly endless task. But when the moment arrives, and the ignition is in the process of turning over, the excitement and the nervousness both make the palms a bit sweaty.

Which is why when it is finally time - you sprint! You run as fast as you’ve run in just over a year. You chug along as if you have a shot at breaking the 4.4 in the 40 and every NFL scout is watching. You dart towards The Start of Actual College Football as if being chased by Richard Tardits and Bill Stanfill’s lovechild.

It’s here. Grab it tight now in case it decides it’s going to leave you behind.

"Please have identification and completed calendars ready for check in...."

Yes, you wake up one day and there it is - the day you circled on the calendar 247 days ago. One evening you fall asleep in the same state of misery you've endured for several months and when the sun beams through the blinds again - it's here!

Yes, the wait is over.

You eagerly take your place at the end of the line, taking a moment to absorb the chill in the air and the crispness of the breeze. You lift your face up to the skies and yell at the top of your lungs “SCREW YOU AUGUST HUMIDITY AND YOUR FAT BASTARD FRIEND NO BREEZE!! THERE’S A NEW OCCLUDED FRONT IN TOWN!!!”

You’re not even sure if that makes any damn sense at all, but you can't take the smile off your face. And that’s okay. Neither can anyone else. You look at the guy that has taken the place in line behind you and say, "We made it!"

Highfives. Fistbumps. Hugs. Tears of joy.

"Thank you for your interest in the 2015 College Football Season. Current wait time for this checkpoint is no longer than...Herschel Walker minutes."

You stand on the tips of your toes, both literally and figuratively, and crane your neck to catch a glimpse. Ahead you can make out what appears to be Leonard Floyd doing warm ups. You think you can hear the Redcoats, but it's still too far away to be sure. It might just be the same recording of the fight song you've been restlessly listening to since New Years Eve.

The line moves up some and that's when you see the security guards running after some dipshit in an Auburn t-shirt. They encircle him but he dives through their grasp and sprints through the gates.

You consider the prospect momentarily before gently shaking the thought from your mind. You whisper to yourself, “Patience. We’ve made it this far. Don’t panic and everything will be okay.”

The self advice rings somewhat hollow. And yet you still abide.

"Attention: here at the Southeastern Terminal, participation is always religiously encouraged, but satisfaction is never, ever guaranteed."

Yes, but this year could be the year! Word is the whole team has bought in and has practiced hard. You've read all about the new freshmen that are expected to contribute. Plus, Coach even smiled at you at Picture Day when you asked him if this was the year.

"Could be son. Could be."

You're really close now. You take yet another moment to triple quadruple quintuple check that each day of your calendar is marked off; a testament to your patience and perseverance. Right on cue you hear a scream from the back, "DAMMIT BUTCH!! HOW COULD YOU FORGET TO MARK OFF A DAY IN APRIL??!!?? I DON'T CARE HOW EASY IT IS TO FORGET!!"

When you turn back around, the queue that remained in front of you is now completely behind you. Yes, it’s your turn!

Good morning sir. Welcome to the next season.
*gleeful giggles*
I need to see your registration, identification, 2015 calendar, and hear your team's 2015 password.
The smiling lady in the sharp blue blazer is not even finished with her opening greeting before you’ve already offered the documents to her and scream, 


And it’s then that your olfactory sense takes over. The sights and sounds were true, but the smells! Oh God in Heaven the smells!

Slowly burning leaves. Bourbon. All of the meats suspended over glowing charcoal embers. The ladies decked out in team colors who gave that extra splash of perfume. And of course, simply Autumn itself. Sweet, blessed Autumn. How you’ve missed the nape of her neck.

It’s all there. Both a wave of memories and a wave of hopes and aspirations collide in your brain. The result is euphoria.

You knew it would get here. But all of the waiting breaks you down until your soul is a dark clump of doubt. You kept looking out of your window but all you could see were bare trees and empty, lifeless mascot costumes. So you do exactly what you’ve done every year since 1892 - you draw the curtains and watch old game tape on Betamax. Worley runs all over Jacksonville until you fall asleep in your armchair.

Sir? Sir! You okay?
Oh, sorry. Yes. I’m great."

Good.” She hands your documents and calendar back. “Everything’s in order. So here’s your pass. Have a great season!...NEXT!!

The first thing you do is point directly and menacingly at Coach McElwain, but you're not sure if he can see you through his hair. Chubb shakes your hand without breaking it. Oh, and there's Malzahn tying Muschamp's shoes. You ask Derek Mason to refill your solo cup and make your way towards the tailgate.

From behind you a voice lifts up above the din of Saturday morning noise. You turn around to see Larry Munson lift his cup in your direction.

"Don't sleep on this Louisiana Monroe defense Bernie. They're gonna come in with bad intentions, mark my words."

Yessir. Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fifteen years and only four with QB competitions

This is my last thought on Lambert being named the starter, until Sunday.

If you look back during Richt's tenure there have been few (true) competitions for the starting quarterback role. His first five seasons he had Greene and/or Shockley. In 2008 and 2009 he had Stafford entrenched as the starter. From 2011-2013 we had the height of Murray's reign. Last season there was much debate among us outside the arena, but there was never much question that Mason was the guy.

That leaves these years:

  • 2006. Was a true competition, but one that was more about how quickly Stafford could pick up the playbook as well as the speed of the game at this level.
  • 2009. Actually very similar to last August in that fans debated about how much Logan Gray might be used and whether Murray/Mett might avoid a redshirt, but it all ended with little doubt that Joe Cox was entrenched as the starter.
  • 2010. A very real competition between Murray and Mett ended in a Remerton bar before it gained a full head of steam. There may have been some talk about Mason entering the mix, but Murray was the guy.
So this is just Richt's fourth August with an open battle on the QB depth chart. He said yesterday he was ready for the "zoo to be over", which to me speaks to the importance of whomever he and Schottenheimer elevated to the starter needed as few distractions as possible. Given that this topic has been running its course since December 31st, "zoo" may not have been a strong enough analogy for what might have ensued over the next few days prior to kickoff.

How this competition was handled - from spring reps, to Park leaving, to pursuing a graduate transfer, to naming said transfer the opening game starter - is a debate for another day. The key to this season, at least in terms of the quarterback, may be how Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta handle being veterans to the campus but second fiddle to the huddle yet again.

And really, who better to empathize with that feeling than Mark Richt and Brian Schottenheimer.

Humpday Hilarity - Grizzard's rivalry jokes

If you don't mind football players going to class as long as it's basketball season, or didn't have enough pimples to get into the North Avenue Trade School, then you'll enjoy this one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Nick Chubb and his mom's wasted kilowatts

Georgia's sophomore running back evidently harnesses the power to run over, around, and through would be tacklers from his bathroom light in Cedartown GA.
 He's like a complex onion. And I love watching each layer get pulled back.

Greyson Lambert, intangibles, and UL-Monroe

Greyson Lambert probably hasn't even finished unpacking his boxes. And yet, the former Virginia Cavalier is the new starter for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Much has been made about Lambert finishing the spring in Charlottesville as the backup. Even more has been made of his stats - 10 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. I bet if I had the chance to ask Lambert about those two numbers he'd own them. But the truth is Charlottesville is not Athens. There's better coaches and much better talent in Athens.

So for my analysis, I'm doing just what Richt and Schottenheimer did when Lambert decided to transfer and throwing what the guy did last year out the window.

I'm not going to say last evening's news shocked me. For the last week the idea of Lambert edging out Bauta and Ramsey had gained plenty of traction. But for nearly a month I had just resigned this QB race to playing itself out in the first couple games.

That being said, naming the Virginia transfer the starter before the opening game was a little shocking. And it posed a lot of questions in my head.

Namely, what does that say about our recruiting at the position the last few years that a guy can step onto campus and a few weeks later is atop the depth chart? One thing is abundantly clear - Brice Ramsey may have finished the season as the man, but he is not Schottenheimer's man. Coach Bobo leaving for Fort Collins impacted Ramsey's grasp on the position.

There's also been a lot made about Ramsey never taking the reins off the field either. However, Richt has made comments about the quarterback's improved work ethic and ability to lead. In the end it wasn't enough to hold off Lambert.

Faton Bauta on the other hand, at least according to his teammates, out-works everybody. He's been considered a longshot to win the job though mostly due to his counterparts' ability to stretch the field with their arms. Even before Lambert transferred, it was clear that although Bauta had the overall skills and mindset, both Jacob Park and Ramsey had the stronger arms.

So it appears in Lambert both Schottenheimer and Richt have something that could be considered the best of both - a strong arm, experience, and a readiness to work at getting better. That's why I found DJ Shockley's tweet last night quite insightful:
All that aside, it's still a race. As I've mentioned before, even going up against Louisiana Monroe is a bigger test than a scrimmage. Both Bauta and Ramsey have played in front of 92,000. I think I can speak for all us when I type that we're anxious to see how Greyson Lambert does on Saturday in fornt of that many "expert quarterback coaches" like myself.

Miami Hurricanes bringing sexy back

OMG. Did y'all see this? (h/t AHD)

And that's just one of the many interesting poses the team had. They've got a long way to go to catch up with Vanderbilt's PR nightmare, but dude....why?

Monday, August 31, 2015

My apologies Mr. Pollack

Hope to have some more on this development tomorrow. But for now, just owning up to being wrong.

Give Lambert some credit, even if this was Ramsey's job to lose, Greyson transferred in and went right to work.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Patience, a noun. (part two)

Coach Richt has been patient. And before you take that the wrong way, my meaning is that he's waited to have the support, financial and otherwise, that he now enjoys.

The rambunctious energy that surrounded the Belk Bowl turned in the old coach's favor. Ever since he's been letting it ride and watching the cash stack fat.

Way fat.

Coach Richt bashers and Coach Richt apologists alike have to agree that the level of support for the football program in Athens is at a level that is unprecedented. Gone are the days of those that put Richt on a pedestal saying things like "Well, if only they'd let the man have the support staff he deserves..." or, "I mean jeez, Richt got caught paying his own staff out of his own bank account!"

In short, it's time to put up or shut up. No excuses. Morehead helped McGarity open the coffers. And now there's a lot less office space in Butts-Mehre.

No, I'm not declaring 2015 a Natty or bust season. But the investment should show some measure of return, no?

In the very least, I'm anxious to see how our team performs with all of this influx of support. We've all been patient. Let's see what happens the next couple seasons now that UGA is finally all in.

Patience, a noun. (part one)

"In this day and time, patience gets your butt fired."

Tracy Rocker, ladies and gents. Please, try the veal.

There's been little question that Trent Thompson is gonna have to be the key to helping stop the run and making plays that eluded Pruitt's first Georgia defense in losses to Florida and Tech last season. But it's nice to know two things: 1) Thompson's being groomed by President of the Athens Chamber of Hardasses, Mr. Tracy Rocker, and 2) Mr. Rocker plans to rotate his d-line.

In 2012 we had two future NFLers at nose and Grantham wore Jenkins and Geathers down to the point where in the SECCG they couldn't stop Bama from anything they wanted to do on the ground when it counted the most. Glad Rocker is bringing his talent along as it develops.

All of that aside, "patience" is an interesting word for this season. Let's look at that a little closer in the next post...