Sunday, September 6, 2009

We took it on the chin...

To all those Dawg fans out there calling for the heads of Mike Bobo, Joe Cox and Willie Martinez, let's take a step back. . .

Georgia went into Stillwater as underdogs for a reason. I have, and always will say this. The guys in Vegas (and wherever else lines are made) are very, very good at their job. They make money on "locks" and "hunches" every week because they study the facts.

So, lets look at the facts:
1. Oklahoma State was opening a new stadium.
+1 for OSU on emotional advantage.
2. OSU met Georgia at home in, what they claimed to be, the biggest game in the history of Poke football.
+1 for OSU emotional advantage.
3. OSU returns potential all-americans at QB, WR, LT, and RB.
-any questions? (see Robinson converting with his legs, Hunters explosiveness and Dez Bryant's mid-air catch in the endzone.
4. Georgia essentially opened the game with a first time starter at QB (coming off of the flu) and RB.
5. Our experienced offensive line is still unbelievably young.
6. Our defensive line in respected because we have a ridiculous DT rotation and a very very mediocre pass rush off the edge.
7. Our best linebacker is extremely talented but criticized for being undersized.
8. Our defensive backs are as athletic as any in the nation, but either inexperienced or chronically a step late.
9. Our offensive coordinator is still finding himself as a big time assistant.
10. Our biggest weapon is a type of player who NEEDS a quarterback who can augment his physical talents with an accurate and timely pass.

So, you take all of this and you understand why we were almost 7 point dogs to this team from Stillwater.

Did we drive down their throats to start the game? Yes.

Did we hold their vaunted offense under 30? Yes.

Is there a lot to be disappointed about? Yes.

We can be completely dejected by the loss (and I am) but I am also confident in the future because Joe Cox can't look much worse, we won't play a better triumvirate on offense all year, we are now battle tested (in week 2) and we have a chip on our shoulder for the rest of the year.

Demarcus Dobbs said this year's team was a brotherhood and I guarantee you that the brotherhood is pissed off to high hell right now. I see us losing 2 more games this year. One to a Florida team that is a perfect storm of recruiting talent and coaching and an LSU team that plays a brand of physical football that we are not quite ready for.

We end the season 10-3 with another bowl win in Orlando. The question is who will be leading us under center when we get there?

BTW, how will the BCS matchups look with Notre Dame, Boise State and a terrible Big East team receiving bids? Shoot me now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post G-Day...

I will stick to my words. I think the Dawgs will be more that okay next year. Will we go undefeated? Probably not. Will we lose 6 games? Not likely.

Joe Cox will be everything you need in an SEC quarterback (though he may not be much more athletically). His energy on the field is evident along with his uncanny ability to lead his teammates. This program is in need of that emotional leader and Joe Cox may be that player.

Our offensive line and running backs will also be everything we need to get by. We probably won't have a 1,000 yard rusher but we most certainly won't be a pass-because-we-can't-run-it offense.

What I like is the return to discipline in between the white lines and a code of conduct off the field. This team has the potential to be everything we love about Georgia Football. Yeah, I loved Stafford's big time arm and Knowshon's highlight reel talent just as much as the next guy. To me, however, Georgia football has always been about a defense that wants to wear you out so our offense doesn't have to. A team that feels just as proud about dominating a game 16-3 or dominating it 50-10.

This team has the potential to be that type of good. Not Leinart-Bush Sportscenter good. Just solid-because-we're-good good.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Basketball Coaching Search Thoughts...

1. Money talks- DE said money would not be a factor in bringing a coach to Athens. That means he is committed to bringing a coach in who (he believes) will lead the program to the next level.

2. Facilities are not a deal breaker- Yes, Stegeman is 40 some years old and only holds 10,000 people, but the place would be on fire if, for example, our "40 Minutes of Hell" was taking Kentucky to the woodshed on our way to the NCAA tournament. Also, if anything, a coach can use the gym for leverage as the negotiate a contract. Why wouldn't a coach say, "I agree to the terms of the contract as long as the proposed renovations are completed by 2011" ?

3. We don't want a coach who will simply bring more in-state talent to Athens- To me, the definition of a "home-run hire" is a guy who makes Athens an attractive city for players nationwide. Everyone knows that doesn't happen overnight, but Mark Richt would not have the success he has had without kids like Stafford, Moreno, Massaquoi, Owens, Weston, etc. (Sorry for the football reference but it is true.) Damon Evans knows this. Whether he is successful or not with the hire remains to be seen but I promise you he is looking for that program changing guy. The last thing he wants to do is settle for a Plan B.

4. Our program's prestige right now is not the limit- Just because we have yet to realize our potential as a basketball program does not mean we will not achieve elite status. Gonzaga, Arizona St., Virginia Tech, and Baylor are not historical basketball powers. Yet, with Mark Few, Herb Sendek, Seth Greenberg and Scott Drew all of these programs became "relevant" in the last few years. In basketball, a coach can make a significant difference in only a few years time. I understand it is an extreme example but where was Baylor's basketball program a few years ago? Again, Evans realizes the importance of the right hire.

All of this being said, it doesn't matter that Kentucky is looking for a coach or that Anthony Grant would sell his soul to be in Gainesville rather than Tuscaloosa. What matters is that UGA is committed to improving its  basketball program (or so say the powers that be). We will see how serious Damon Evans was when he said "I'll say this: Our commitment and my commitment to build Georgia basketball is strong, and when I say strong, I'll add very strong onto that. We're going to go out and find the best possible person for this job. That may mean we commit more resources than we have in the past but we're not letting that hold us back from doing what we need to do to have a successful men's basketball program."

In 5 years, will top 100 recruits want to wear the "Mighty G"? Who knows?

I will say this, if we don't hire a man who sees that as a legitimate goal, Damon Evans did not do his job. 

Go Dawgs!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Like Predictions.

So here's my prediction for next year.

Thanks to 24/7 for all their accomplishments and fine play over the past few years. We'll miss the devastating cuts, spinmoves and 75-yard outs.

In all honesty though, and I hope I'm not wrong on this, but I think the 2009 version of college football in Athens will be a return to football the way we like it.

Joe Cox, Logan Gray, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger: whoever lines up under center will not be Matthew Stafford. We all know that. Will he make mistakes? Yes. Did Stafford inexplicably decide to throw a touchdown for the Jackets a few weeks ago? Yes. We will be ok. Our QB situation is far from the nightmare many Georgia fans are envisioning.

RB: Caleb King, Dick Samuel (although I'm not convinced he shouldn't line up next to Rennie), DJax, Carlton Thomas, etc.: These guys aren't Knowshon, but like I said about Stafford, who is? However, we do have a bunch of guys who can get the job done and an offensive line that won't make monumental mistakes. Hell, our offensive line may be one of the best in the SEC (if not the nation) next year because of our surprisingly youthful depth.

Getting Searels back will make this team one to be reckoned with. In the game of football, controlling the line of scrimmage can make a mediocre football team into a very, very good football team. We will dominate the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball like a hard-nosed football team should.

On the defensive line, the possibility of Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens taking a play off to let someone better than them get some reps is not that far fetched. Unlike 2008, we will not have a porous run defense. Geno, JO, Kade and co. are simply too good.

Our linebackers and secondary need to step up. They will probably be better than 2008 if we find some semblance of a pass rush, but I would love to see more physical man-coverage and more fundamental tackling. If we tackle the way a Division I football player should tackle, we will see PPG and YPG stats back in the top 20 in the nation.

Special teams scares me. Walsh has a powerful leg on field goals but is somewhat inconsistent. Do we lack confidence in our athletes to the point that we cannot tell walsh to boom it down the middle on kickoffs. I promise our guys can tackle the opposing return man before the 40 yard line--we kicked the ball out of bounds and gave the other team 40 yards of field position what seemed like a dozen times this year. Our punt return is non existent because we are forced to fair catch nearly every punt. Even when we are not in punt block formation, there seems to be little to no effort in blocking.

We have an offseason fix our weaknesses and improve our strengths. We have an offseason for our players to stay out of trouble. We have an offseason to mold a new recruiting class into the future of the Red and Black.

Most importantly, I believe, we have an offseason out of the spotlight. We are not preseason number one and we are not home to current Heisman hopefuls. This team will have to get it done with defense, special teams and offensive execution.

I predict we will. Is it September yet?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

No it wasn't the Germans, or even the Japanese, that bombed Athens on the night of September 27th, it was the fighting Bear Bryant's, err, Nick Saban's. All seemed lost for dawgsontop after that pivotal matchup. Not only were we beaten in our house, we were down right trunk-stomped. Yea, yea we only lost by eleven, but at the time it seemed like eleventy-billion. I was nervous about unbeaten Vanderbilt coming into town and ruining homecoming once again. Boy was I wrong.

We didn't dominate fat Phil like we should have and we forgot how to get in the endzone against the nerds but we got exactly what we needed, W's. We once again had hope for the future heading into a tough matchup against the Tigger's in the earthquake zone. Then came the offensive explosion we have been waiting for. Fifty-two on LSU in Baton Rouge? Not sure but a quick check of my sources, a.k.a. my brain, and it reveals that has never happened before. What's that you say? Florida exposed them and dropped fifty-one in the process the week before? You're right, playing LSU in Gainesville is the exact same thing as playing in front of the drunkest people on the face of the Earth this past Saturday, besides me.

Hope? Maybe that's all we have right now. Penn State is a virtual lock to be undefeated come season's end. Texas has a great shot at getting in, even with a loss. They have played one of the most difficult schedules I have ever seen. That's not a lie. Oklahoma has a nasty offense, so does Texas Tech, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Get through that with only one loss and you still might be the best team in the country.

Oh yea, we also have a game to play this Saturday. I forgot about that. Florida has been steamrolling. Sixty-three on that Kentucky D? Sheeeeeeeeeeyat, could have been seventy-seven. I was once a college coach, I was awesome. I won thirteen straight National Championships with the dawgs. THIRTEEN! Yet no matter how sick nasty I was on playstation 2, I don't believe I scored 152 points over three consecutive SEC games (I probably did, I was super like nintendo).

So yea, maybe hope is all we have right now. But like my main man Andy Dufresne dropped some knowledge on that playa Red between the walls of Shawshank, I will now drop on you. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My take on "where we go from here"...

I'm worried. I have been worried since the opening kickoff and it took a embarassing first half against Alabama for me to admit the worry. 

I thought we would be very good this year. Let me change that. I convinced myself we would be very good this year. I thought Stacy Searels would repeat last year's coaching job and the offensive line would mature in weeks. I thought our defensive line would step up and continue to surprise the nation--much like a high-motor David Pollack, hardwood recruit Quentin Moses, and undersized Marcus Howard did. 

I thought our linebackers and defensive backs would be scary good. Rennie has flown around the field and shown Knowshon type excitement at times but it hasn't been enough. We have bent and broke as much in this young season as I thought we would all year. 

I thought Matthew Stafford, MoMass, and Knowshon would be an unstoppable air and ground attack that would rival Fedex. So far, I have seen more "Draft Day 2" out of Stafford than "See you on Sunday". Don't get me wrong, the kid can play. He has all the physical tools. We've all agreed on that since he was a junior at Highland Park. But...I have yet to see the leader CMR talked about all preseason--the kid who will pull the team together and say "we will not lose today". 

That is what we need as we enter the UT, Vandy, LSU, FLA gauntlet: we need the swagger the team played with last year. The swagger that had Georgia fans worried that, although we may have never lost again, we would have been compared to the U.  We all wanted to be on ESPN everyday, we got there, and lost. Now what?

Fulmer's squad sucks this year. Flat sucks. They waxed us last year and have to come into Sanford after the Dawgs crapped the bed against a talented Alabama team. There is no reason we don't beat this team by 35. The restoration of confidence began in the second half of the Bama game and will continue against the Vols. Fat Phil may be Tony Franklin'd at halftime. 

Vandy is another example of a new trend in college football. Well coached teams are beating the big boys because the big boys tend not to show up a few times a year. Vandy will not fly under the radar. We almost lost to them last year and though this team is young they do not forget that. Dawgs roll again. 

LSU and Florida play this weekend. Watch closely. Georgia will finish in time for all of you to sit down and dissect both teams like I will. You will see two beatable teams playing each other. Two teams that compare very well to the Georgia team they play in the subsequent weeks. 

For now I say the Bulldogsgo to bed November 1st with 2 losses. I hope I am wrong, but 1-1 right now with LSU and FLorida is a very acceptable proposition. 

That is all. Athens Saturday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Glory, Glory to Ol' Munson

Well, it was bound to happen. I for one wish he could go out on top with this one coming up, but hey, sometimes you just have to call it quits when it's not happening.

I didn't grow up in Georgia or in the SEC. Hell, I barely knew about Georgia football until I started looking at schools for college. But if there was one thing I understood about the Dawgs, it was Larry Munson. Georgia isn't the only program to take notice to this fine man. He is a legend in the media world, and an idol in all of our hearts.

His greatest calls sit in my TV stand, his voice rings in my head, and his history will forever be in all of us.

Good luck, Larry. Thanks for supporting the Bulldog Nation for so many years.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Looking Ahead Before Looking Back

Before we get to the good stuff from the weekend, lets get to the great stuff about next weekend.

We all know Nick Saban and 'Bama are coming on Saturday.

We all now know that ESPN's College Game Day will be in town broadcasting from around the stadium (more on several locations speculations later).

Now, reports are coming in about Mark Richt's press conference today. Per The Red and Black:

During his Sunday teleconference, Georgia coach Mark Richt announced that Saturday's game with Alabama will be a "blackout."

ESPN's College GameDay crew will also be making the trip to Athens for the 7:45 p.m. kickoff.

"The seniors asked me if we could black out the game and since it's not a day game where heat could be a factor we're going to ask our fans to black out the stadium again
our players will be wearing the black jerseys," Richt said.
OHHH mah gawd.

Not only will Game Day be in town for the first time in eleven years, we're continuing the tradition of the blackout. And what better time to do it? National media in the morning. Prime time coverage at night. First home SEC game. And against Nick Saban.

Not to mention The Tim Baldwin Foundation's annual Tim's Tailgate throwing down over on Bloomfield. Per the Tim's Tailgate Facebook group:

Come join us for the biggest tailgate of the year in Athens before the Alabama game. Stewart and Winfield will be playing. $15 in advance $20 at the door covers all you can drink beer and mixed drinks, and all you can eat catered food.

All proceeds go toward the Tim Baldwin Foundation which in the past have benefitted numerous charity organizations such as Camp St. Francis of North Georgia, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home in Atlanta. Tim's Tailgate has been a huge success in the past and we only expect this year to be our best year yet!
Get your pom pom's and bourbon ready. This one could get ugly.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

IS this the same old Dawgs?

Jury's still out, but we got a big one Saturday.

The Spurriers made obvious some glaring deficiencies within our offensive and defensive lines. Is it time to panic? Certainly not. Just because we are making some changes on the OL this week doesn't mean the coaches are panicing either. Change is necessary for improvement and unless you missed last Saturday's scrimmage, change is a necessity. I firmly believe, as do the coaches, that we have the talent level on our roster to be one of the best OL's in the country. Keep tinkering and we shall see marked improvement.

As far as the DL is concerned I saw a stat today that made my frown turn upside down. Through 6 games last year we had 9 sacks. 9!!!! in 6 games against mostly weaker competition. We ended the season with 40 plus sacks. After 3 games this year we are ahead of last years pace with 6. I will admit that that is nowhere close to what it needs to be, but if we follow last seasons pattern we should start picking it up sooner rather than later.

Now on to Arizona St.

Boy are these boys going to be pissed, right? Coming off a loss to Grand Mama, Stacey "plastic man" Augmon and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels these fella's know they got something to prove. What? Wrong sport? You got me, Jerry Tarkanian's basketball rebels of the early 90's would possibly beat the 2008 version of the UNLV football team. This makes me wonder, how in the world did a top 20 team that could score on anybody lose to a team that got blasted by Utah (not too bad) and scraped by Utah State (horendous)? I'll tell you how, GEORGIA. I'm not saying they were looking ahead to the Dawg's coming to town, but they were looking ahead to the Dawg's coming to town.

They are saying this game is going to be played in Arizona but from everything I'm hearing on the radio and TV it might as well be the ol H E double hockey sticks. They're saying it's going to be 198 degrees out there. That's not Farenheight. No, not even Celsius. It's Kelvin. Do you know how hot that is? Well neither do I. I'm guessing just past smeltering.

If, and that is a large, bold and italicized IF, we can play up to our abilities, get pressure on Rudy and dominate in the run game, catch catchable balls and adjust to the heat, we will win. We will win big.

I'm saying we won't do all those things, but we will do enough of them to win.

Dawgsontop, 31-13.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Well, a Win is a Win...

I haven't seen the game from the TV's perspective yet, but I can assure you that as sober as I may have been at the game, I've got a bad taste in my mouth.

And for several specific reasons.

While I am happy we escaped a very emotional battle in Columbia and very glad to see some strong points, there are a few glaring questions I have for this team. And unfortunately the bad may very well outweigh the good. I should probably wait to address my concerns until I watch the game from a different perspective (and mindset, for that matter), but here are a few things that immediately come to mind.

1. Mother f@$%ing dropped f#@%ing passes.

Sure, Stafford throws a laser. It's a heat seeking bullet traveling over the line of scrimmage. But my God, when it hits your hands when it really counts, it has to count. This is the f-ing SEC. This ain't no ACC. In my opinion, Chandler's first two dropped passes almost cost us the game. One was even a pivotal 3rd-down conversion that put us within scoring range in the first quarter, which would have given the entire team a confidence boost. Stuff like that puts the offense out of sync, and maybe gets into Stafford's head a little bit. If he can't rely on his tight end, a man that is supposed to be a consistent and stable option and the quarterback's best friend, it puts the quarterback in a difficult position. Stafford then feels that he has to rely on the power of his arm, maybe forcing a throw here and there or trying for the deep ball when it's not available. Durham probably shouldn't receive as much heat, as his ball, if caught, would have been a spectacular catch in the endzone in my opinion. Still, it did hit his hands, and we all know that if the ball hits your hands then...

2. The play of the defensive backs under pressure

For three quarters Georgia's defense was swarming. Save what appeared to be a beautiful ball delivered to the corner of the endzone from Smelley, Spurrier was throwing fits. Stephen Garcia had to be inserted several times to attempt to change the pace of the game. Nothing seemed to be going right for the SC offense. Rennie Curran and crew were swarming the field, attacking every player with the football. The rushing defense held the 'Cocks to under 2.0 YPC, an extremely valuable stat in SEC play.

But with 10 minutes remaining in the game, a 7 point lead, and the pressure on, they looked like dog crap. Slants, zone reads, screens, out routs... everything seemed to work. 6'5" TE Jared Cook seemed to be everything Tripp Chandler isn't - a match-up nightmare for the defense. He looked like an 8' tall superman, grabbing all sorts of passes and running all over the field. Moe Brown also found the holes in the defense all game for several big gains. Now I can understand a few break downs here and there from a defense, but it seemed like there was one every play in the last 10 minutes, whether it be a huge completion or a penalty (which is another story). If there is one thing that makes a team champions, it's their ability to shut down an opponent in crunch time. And this game didn't look good. Good thing Spurrier doesn't have a Matthew Stafford, or we would have been torched. A few bad throws by Smelley is what eventually won us the game.

3. The penalties

118 yards? That should be the total over at least two full games. Unacceptable. Practice tomorrow better not be fun, or we're going to continue to have issues. While there were a few phantom calls here and a few bad calls there, which you'll see every game, there were too many bad ones. And costly for that matter. 118 yards of penalties will not win you the game against the LSU's and Florida's of this world. Hell, may not even beat the Vandy's or Kentucky's. These issues should have been sorted out by now, which makes me wonder how much better it's going to get.

Now, I've got to be pleased with the way this team fought the emotional roller coaster. I have to be especially pleased with the play of Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and A.J. Green. Stafford fought through four sacks and several dropped passes to deliver some great plays, including some incredible runs. Knowshon fought extremely hard and deserved every last inch of his yardage. A.J. Green continues to impress me with his downright God-given ability to go out and grab a football. Stafford's beautiful hook-up with Green for 39 yards in the first half saved us from a 3rd and 20 or so.

To continue on the A.J. Green note, him and MoMass absolutely deserve to and need to see the field more. No more of this rotation. Stafford seems to have a unique rhythm with these two, and they're the ones that have gone out there and made plays on a consistent basis. Michael Moore and Kris Durham have proved valuable, but Green and MoMass are the ones getting it done every chance they get. Keep them on the field for God's sake, let them get their touches and see the big plays increase.

Now that I've vented, it's time for some sleep. I still need to watch the film, but man were there some glaring issues in person.