Saturday, September 19, 2015

Two keys to frying chicken

1. Manage the game. Spurrier will bring the house and everything it was built on. Then he'll take out a loan on something to bring what you're not expecting. And that's the thing. You HAVE to expect it. Fake kicks, fourth downs, Nunez in the red zone, onside kicks, halfback passes, end arounds, Cooper being used in new and inventive ways, statue of liberty,...anything and everything is fair game. Be ready. Be cognizant. Don't have your head up your ass.
2. Don't turn the ball over. Or in the very least, win the T/O margin.

See y'all in Athens. Go Dawgs!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Beat the Cocks.

Part of what makes college football great is how it connects with its fans on a more intimate level than a professional version of the sport itself.

Part of what makes Georgia Football's videos so awe-inspiring and chill-inducing is that it captures that intimacy perfectly.

Every. Time.

The Danger from Georgia Football on Vimeo.

So tell me, after watching that, don't you feel as if you are going to be an active, vocal part of tomorrow's game? Don't you feel connected and responsible on some level for the game's outcome? Don't you feel like throwing a block that just lays some poor bastard out?

Tomorrow is a chance to eliminate South Carolina from the race in the SEC East. If you can't get up for that, stay at home and watch some more Finebaum on the DVR.

Go Dawgs y'all!

PS. If that one wasn't enough for you, here's the Game Trailer to remind you about a half inch....

Congrats Rex!

Hopefully you've already heard the news, both Richard Seymour and Rex Robinson are this year's UGA inductees into the GA-fla Hall of Fame. (h/t Gayle) The ceremony will be October 30th, leading up to the annual rivalry on the St. Johns. As the game between the Dawgs and the gators is historically recognized as one of College Football's greatest games each year, I'm sure both Richard and Rex are especially proud to be honored in this way.

And as he's been a friend of the blog in the past, I'd like to especially congratulate Rex. When this little blog was going through its teenage years and I was having trouble grasping some place kicking concepts, Rex was gracious enough to not only respond to my email, but suggest I call him for a better explanation. A half-hour or so on the phone with a Georgia legend was a humbling experience. Like, did you know Erk Russell recruited him out of high school? Or that Rex once tackled Herschel in practice, stripped the ball loose and ran it back for a touchdown?

Ok, I embellished that last one a little. But mostly what I took away was that Rex bleeds for his Dawgs. He loves everything about Georgia, especially his former teammates and fellow lettermen. He's both a knowledgeable historian in Georgia Bulldog history and also keeps current on what's going on in Athens and around campus. All in all, a Damn Good Dawg!

But he also has a deep passion for kicking. And he appreciates all kickers, from those pimply faced kids first learning the mechanics and techniques to the guys getting paid on Sundays. (And dare I say even some that may wear orange!) Rex can connect to what they're doing right and wrong, what they're thinking and what they're going through before and after the ball leaves the tee.

In short, Rex is one of the great guys that remembers where he came from and is a great person to talk to about some of his passions, like Georgia football and kicking. Which is why it's so great to see #5 honored this way.

Much deserved kudos and a well-earned fistbump sir! GATA!

the Friday Misery talks about that awful noise comin' outta tha woods

This week's episode is not steeped in communism. It loves cold beer on a Friday night, will defend Zac's dog Pete, lives for the love in his woman's eyes, and understands that losing a chicken can lead to quite a nice supper.

Let's dig in, shall we?

"I told that de Leon fella don't drink the water!
But I hear he died of dysentery, which is sad
of course."
The Ol’ Ball Coach is so old Uncle Verne sits on his lap. He’s so old he remembers when Bill Snyder recruited actual high school players, because he was one of them! He’s so old the local Piccadilly is cleaning up from breakfast when he sits down for dinner. Spurrier’s so old he remembers when USCe fans had reasonable pre-season expectations for their hen houses and their outhouses. Lastly, he’s so old he once wrote a scathing letter to the editor of the Gainesville Early Times when he found Ponce de Leon nekkidly submerged in the Everglades singing some song about Fuente de la Juventud….

Little known fact, but true. Look it up. Or for you whippersnappers, google that shit yo!

Yet I digress…

The gamecocks are so bad they lost to Kentucky. (No, the actual Kentucky football team!) They’re so bad somewhere in a Del Boca Vista Wal-Mart pharmacy aisle covered in spittle Lou Holtz is second guessing his own proclamation that Sakerlina would win both the SEC and the Republican nomination. (He also wonders aloud why the hemorrhoid cream tube has to be child proof, but that’s a post for a different kind of blog.) The gamecocks suck so bad their own fans think they may only be a four seed in the CFBOMGPLAYOFFS!!™ on their way to winning it all this season.

Well, most of their fans. The other 10% believe their beloved cluckers will back their way into the Independence Bowl, fire Spurrier, and then hire Donald Trump to rule the roost. Except they spell (and pronounce) it Donul Trunc.

Bring out the butter AND the flour

I’m sorry. Please take that previous section that was dredged through a platter of bullshit and then shaken in a bag of lazy entitlement and toss it right in the trashcan. Ashamed I wrote it to be quite honest with ya. Disgusted at my logic and embarrassed by my own reasoning. Let’s agree to forget I even brought it all up. Because Steve Damn Spurrier don’t give no mind to his own age. 

And you know what else? 4 of 5. Four. Of. Five.

That’s right. In case we forgot, the chickens have won four of the last five against us. So we can talk a big game all week. WE CAN PUFF OUR CHEST OUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH TOMORROW AFTERNOON, acting like somebody who’s proven something beyond beating some misplaced yankee school anchored down in Nashville TN. Go ahead Dawg fans, PRANCE AROUND AND TALK ALL YOU WANT about how Nick Chubb wears red, not garnet. Blather on and on about Jeremiah Pruitt and how he’s gonna unleash his Wolfpack on poor little Perald Orth until that kid ain’t got an arm to throw with and his ball coach is PICKING THAT SUCKER OUT OF THE GODDAMN DIRT!!

When you’re done dancing JUST YOU SIT YOUR ASS DOWN HOTSHOT AND BOY LEMME TELL YA WHAT!! You know who don’t care NOT A DAMN THING about the birthday candles on his next Krogers sheet cake? The one with the icing shaped like a golf ball landing perfectly through the opening of a Coors Banquet beer? That’s right. Spurrier don’t care how old he is. Hell, ask him to do twenty push ups and he’ll drop right down and pound em out while he tells you ALL ABOUT PISSING IN COACH GOFF'S BOWL OF COCOA PUFFS way back when.

Oh, UNC’s little ball carrier ran for ten yards a carry on the Gamecocks did he? THAT'S COOL! And you’re right, that Hood fella ain’t no Chubb. But you just go on into the stadium with that same smile tomorrow night and you’ll be WIPING THE BLOOD FROM YOUR LIP BEFORE YOU EVEN FIND YOUR SEAT!!

Speaking of which, I SAID SIT DOWN!! Jesus and the Mother Mary you’re awfully dense this week. ACT LIKE YOU'VE BEEN HERE SON. I don’t care if South Carolina lost to Kentucky’s tackle football squad or their bass fishing team. They’re coming to Athens for a fight. Their backs are to the wall and you need to stop whistling Dixie, open your eyes, and FACE THE FACT THAT JUST SHOWING UP MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TO CUT THE F---ING MUSTARD.

Lil’ Ol’ Petey one day had enough of that stupid chicken. That awful noise COMIN' OUTTA THE WOODS probably was around the same time that he too decided FOUR OF FIVE IS ABOUT FOUR GOTDAMN TOO MANY!! Watching that peckerhead twitch and twist and turn on that far sideline while he urges some BEHEMOTH DEFENSIVE LINEMAN TO RUMBLE DOWN THE FIELD ON A FAKE PUNT PLAY HE HAS WRITTEN ON THE UNDERSIDE OF HIS MAROON VISOR WHILE THE REST OF US DROP OUR JAWS AND HOLD OUR HEADS IN DISBELIEF IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO YOURS FRIGGIN' TRULY!!

We’re Georgia. They’re Carolina. We’re that Junkyard Dawg that’s had enough of some filthy feathered rooster pecking around our side of the fence. We’re in control of our dreams and aspirations. They’re a few weeks away from a forced retirement at the miserable end of a career that once was all fun and guns.

You remember. The Head Clucker once hung half a hunnerd in Sanford. Tomorrow let’s fry that bastard to a crispy golden brown. Dredge his visor through the flour, light a fire under the oil ‘til it sizzles and cracks with anticipation, drop them sonsabitches in and….GET THAT NAPKIN OUTTA YOUR SHIRT COLLAR FANCY BOY! THIS IS AN SEC TILT DESIGNED TO BE MESSY, GREASY, DIRTY AND DOWN RIGHT CHICKEN FRIED!!

Thank you. Now, as I was raised up beneath the shade of a Georgia pine, let us bow our heads....dear Lord, please don't let us Quincy this thing tomorrow. I'm hungry and Mrs. Bernie swears if we don't win nobody eatin' til Bama week. Go Damn Dawgs! Get after that ass chicken feathered butt.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Can I get a fistbump?!?!?!

Gamecocks' defense - hit em early and often

Josh Kendall has a nice look at how South Carolina is a Jekyll and Hyde situation defensively.
South Carolina’s defense has given up 37 points in the first half of two games this year and zero combined in the second half. (Kentucky’s two points Saturday night came on a fumble return on special teams.) The yards allowed discrepancy has been almost as dramatic. First half: 550. Second half: 296. And the real story is in the yards per play – 8.73 in the first half vs. 4.29 in the second half.
Taking our last game 'tween the hedges into mind, perhaps we can have a lead built before the lightning strikes...somewhere out towards Elberton.

Lambert, Ramsey, and Bauta walk into a huddle

Here are four scenarios for how the quarterback position could play out. And really, I think I'm okay with any of them. Also, feel free to provide your own if you think Leonard Floyd can throw a spiral hand it to Chubb.

Lambert takes the reins
It’s a key moment in the game. Something like it’s third and medium distance, or we’re backed up to our own goal line, or it’s fourth down at midfield, and the coaches put the ball in their starter’s hands. They send in a play that immediately tells Lambert -If you want this team, here are the keys. We need you NOW!

Big throw to Malcolm Mitchell for a big gain. And not just a tunnel screen or one of those quick outs where 26 is one on one and he beats the defensive back’s attempt at a tackle for more yards. No, this one is all 11. Deep throw that is on the money and moves the chains or adds to the scoreboard.

Ramsey finally steps up
He’s had his moments. And he’s made some big throws. But a moment arises when he’s in the huddle and he makes a play. And unlike “Lambert takes the reins”, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a key moment, but if it were it would only add to the confidence level I’m sure.

What I envision is a long drive that puts all of Ramsey's talent on display. There’s a big throw down the sideline. A quick out to move the chains. A key block when Sony suddenly reverses field. There’s a line of scrimmage audible when he sees something he doesn’t like. Then, as the clock drains towards halftime, it’s third and three at the 25 yard line. Timeout by Richt to give Schotty time to come up with a play. A field goal would extend the lead to a touchdown. Can we get more here with just a few seconds left? Sensing a handoff to Chubb one safety cheats towards the line of scrimmage just before the snap. Ramsey looks the other safety off and then fires to the slant route on the wide side of the field. Right between the 8 and the 1. Touchdown!

Bauta’s patience pays off
Lambert sustains an injury while Ramsey throws a pick. Or vice versa. Either way, Bauta enters the huddle and moves the chains, most likely with his arm and his feet. In fact, it starts with a run on a zone read play very similar to the play Lambert scored on in Nashville last week. Defense keys on a handoff to Chubb and dares Bauta to throw. But he does neither and scrambles for 15-20 yards.

On the next play we max protect and Bauta hits Mitchell on a crossing pattern right over the blitzing safety’s head. Now the defense is on its heels and Chubb gashes them with two carries for another 30 yards. Bauta hits Blazevich on a drag route that appears to be heading for six, but replay shows the tight end’s foot was out at the three.

No worries. Naked bootleg and Bauta powers over a crashing defensive back and dives forward across the line for a touchdown.

Status quo
Lambert continues to start with Ramsey coming in at designated times for a complimentary drive of TBD length/time/yards/points. The playbook eases open a little more each quarter and both the running game and the passing game benefit. During the game against Southern, all three quarterbacks get live work in and have good days. This makes the receivers especially happy.

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. The only question becomes can Lambert make the throws with the weight of the game on his shoulders. Because that exact moment is coming sometime in October, if not sooner.

See y'all, we got this. Bring on the 'cocks!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Our thoughts and prayers...

A grim reminder that there are things much bigger than football. Can't imagine the pain Coach Sherrer and family are going through.

Humpday Hilarity - Ol Ball Coach, Gangham Style

Or so he thinks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It's Torso Thrust Tuesday, do you know where your exercise ball is?

Vandy rewatch

In an effort to not belabor a seventeen point road win, some bullets:

- If there's ever been a better pair of sophomore running backs to grace one campus at the same time than Michel and Chubb, I'm forgetting their names as well as their vision, drive, speed, power, change of direction, blocking technique, versatility as a receiver, etc., etc...
- There was a lot made around me in the stands of Schotty continually running the ball in between the tackles. But, can we blame him? Chubb averaged nearly ten yards a carry. I'm anxious to see some pitches and counters too. However I also understand the desire not to show the Gamecocks anything more than we need to. And Saturday there was no need to.
- Hope the tight ends can get more involved going forward. They were targeted a few times and both Blazevich and Harris had nice catches. The more yards our running backs get they more those guys should be able to find some open space.
- The offensive line played better against the Commodores than they did against ULM.
- Remember when so much was made about freshmen receivers not seeing the field until they could block? Yeh, thankfully those days are gone. Godwin may not be very big, but he got in the way of at least three Vanderbilt defensive backs on Michel's long touchdown run.
- The wife and I nearly threw up watching the officials get paychecks for absolutely no reason. Seriously, how hard is to see Leonard Floyd's helmet being wrenched in unnatural directions?
- But she took some measure of solace seeing Richt mouth the words "That's targeting!!" when they vaulted over the line to tackle Lambert before the snap. Because she had yelled the same thing from the stands Saturday.
- I felt good not great about the defense walking away Saturday. For all the quarterback pressure and tackles for loss and interceptions, we gave up a lot of dinks and dunks. Rewatching it I feel about the same. They set their jaws in the red zone and the first string (if there is such a thing under Pruitt) did not give up a touchdown. But I keep asking myself How much of that is Vandy's offensive ineptitude?
- Not sure why teams run to Malkom Parrish's side. He's good in pass defense. He's great in meeting the ball carrier at the point of attack.
- Easy to see why Mama Jenkins was saying her son Jordan's game was good but could've been better. His momentary shock at not getting blocked (at all!) on a couple plays meant the ball carrier only lost two yards instead of three.
- Semi-sarcasm aside, if Lambert can take his offensive line out for ice cream, Floyd and Jenkins can take Mayes and Co. out for steaks and mashed potatoes and pork loins and macaroni and cheese.
- Can Collin Barber kick field goals too? I'm not joking when I say that if it weren't for Chubb, Barber would be the team MVP to this point. As we struggle to find answers at quarterback, we're going to need 32 to keep his game at this level. At some point the South Carolina or Alabama or Tennessee or Missouri games are going to drop down into field position games...much like the first quarter in Nashville.
- Davis took the blame for the uncovered pooch kick. All I'll add is that was awfully generous of him.

I'll have a post on the quarterback situation later in the week, so I'm not going to say much else about Lambert on Saturday. I understand the nervousness fans have watching him work through his progressions (although honestly, there were many times he was only watching one receiver). but I do think too much is being made about his 0-fer first half. There were some drops in there that could've been big plays and given Lambert some much needed confidence early on.

In a nutshell, weird things happen in Vanderbilt Stadium. And sometimes that includes 17 point wins that light up message boreds.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Is Orth an improvement at QB for Gamecocks?

Full disclosure: I watched most of their game against UNC and very, very little of the loss to Kentucky. So I dove into the statistics last night and immediately started to wonder if Orth might be an improvement as Connor Mitch recovers from his injuries.

Completion percentage and yards per attempt favor Orth:

Regardless of who Spurrier trots out, the goal is always to force third and long. South Carolina has a 65% completion percentage on first down. That goes down to 35% on third down overall and 25% on third and 4+ yards.

One thing's for certain, Orth is a big reason South Carolina was still in position to win that game Saturday night in Columbia. Well, him and the Gamecocks defense that pitched a second half shut out. But don't be surprised (and really, how could you?) if Spurrier comes to town with some other options at quarterback up his sleeve.
“I think Perry threw some nice balls last night,” Spurrier said. “We have confidence in Perry. Unfortunate Connor got hurt, but you have to move on to the next player. That’s what we’ll try to do. We actually moved the ball with Perry in there the second half.”
Freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, who had two carries for 40 yards against Kentucky, “probably” will be the backup quarterback against the Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SEC), Spurrier said.
“He and Michael Scarnecchia, yeah,” Spurrier said. “Lorenzo could play some, we will have to wait and see.”
Nunez is their future at the position. He has two carries for 40 yards and is an athlete that can make some plays. Would the old ball coach trust the kid on the road against the Dawgs? I'd bet on seeing Orth for the most part, unless it's time for a wrinkle or there's been an turnover or two. With the help of four interceptions, Georgia leads the conference in turnover margin after just two weekends. If we are to beat the Gamecocks for just the second time in six meetings, we may need to add to that interception total and see if we can get that visiting visor thrown in the dirt.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Thoughts on a disgruntled sigh of relief

Credit to the Commodores for playing a much better game than they did in the opener.

Credit also to the refs for finding new and inventive ways to make things interesting in Vanderbilt Stadium.

There's a lot to work on this week. Special teams, quarterback decision making, not running ball carriers so often up the middle, covering 40 yard onside kicks. What else? I'd like to hear that the starting QB position is back to being open for competition. But honestly, it appears the job is Lambert's for better or worse.

But you have to be happy with the win. That's something Gamecock fans can't enjoy this morning. Which means they're already focused on giving us all we can handle come Saturday night.