Monday, December 26, 2011

Caleb King to play for Vikings

Yes, it's official - Caleb King is better than a one-legged Adrian Peterson. Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL this week, and former Dawg Caleb King has been signed to take his roster spot.

Good luck, Caleb.

Go Dawgs.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Dawgfans!

Sending a hearty Merry Christmas out there to all of the readers who stop by the page. Thank you so much for giving me a forum in which to express my thoughts, and for being responsive to them as well. I feel blessed to be a contributor, and honored that you continue to be entertained and informed by what I do.

Merry Christmas, and may the Dawg New Year be a very very happy one!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

For Mr Sanchez, who doesn't believe I am Me...

Mr. Sanchez has now suggested that I am an internet fraud, that I am holding myself out to be "Ben Dukes" while in fact, not being who I say I am.

Now, while it's true that I could grab photos of "Ben Dukes" from the web, from "his" facebook (, from "his" website (, from "his" youtube (; and while I could do research on "him", and maybe get a few facts wrong and thus do a poor job of pretending to be "Ben Dukes" while not being "Ben Dukes",

I doubt I could find this picture posted anywhere unless I made it myself:

oops. Guess that's me.

Go Dawgs.

A note on blog censorship...

A couple of days ago, my lil blog was visited by good ol "Mr Sanchez" of Sports and Grits infamy. Now, he apparently took some offense to my mention of their blog in a recent post, when I "implied" that perhaps their blog sometimes utilizes catchy headlines and then fails to deliver with a quality post, or indeed one which even has any real bearing on the title.

I didn't mean to imply this...I meant to say it outright. There's no secret that the S&G boys and I don't see quite eye to eye on many things. Mainly we don't see eye to eye on their apparent thought that it is best to be incendiary as opposed to sensible. Then again, I've been waging the war against idiocy in sports-fandom for some time now, and am fully aware that it is a war that can not be won.

Anyway, I have received a few emails and texts about the back-and-forth between myself and Mr Sanchez, mostly because a few of his posts are missing, having been deleted by the author (Mr Sanchez himself). Now, I was unaware these posts had been deleted, as I am informed via email when posts are made, but not when they are removed. So, I was a bit shocked to learn that he removed them. I don't like censorship - even self-inflicted. So, for those who is the back-and-forth, in its entirety (posted as Comments to my blog, "All 21 of Georgia's Missed Opportunities":

So many clicks. I guess your headline writing still needs work Fat Rudy.
Posted by Mr. Sanchez to This Dawg's View at December 12, 2011 9:38 AM

[Ah, the term "Fat Rudy" - I'm 6'3, 230 lbs...and have less that 12% bodyfat...not sure where the Fat term comes in...but the Rudy part I take as a compliment. Though, it is a bit inaccurate. Rudy didn't dress for a game until the last game of his senior year. I dressed and played in games my first season with the program, and lettered as a Senior while winning team awards as a Junior and a Senior.]
Mr Sanchez - professionalizing irrelevance since 2010!
Posted by Ben Dukes to This Dawg's View at December 12, 2011 9:47 AM

To be irrelevant, we wouldn't matter enough for you to take cheap shots. But then, that's something people learned at UGA when they didn't have the benefit of athletic tutors and ideal scheduling.
Posted by Mr. Sanchez to This Dawg's View at December 12, 2011 5:07 PM
[Deleted, and replaced by]
Maybe that bevy of tutors and easy schedules you get as an athlete made the difference man, but "professionalizing irrelevance"? For a college graduate, you seem woefully ignorant of the meaning of both words in that phrase.
Posted by Mr. Sanchez to This Dawg's View at December 12, 2011 5:09 PM

Took two tries for that one, huh? Nice. A couple of quick things for ya, genius...

1) I know well when I am inventing terms...the usage of that one was quite intentional.
2) Never needed a tutor. AD honor roll, Dean's List every quarter, Academic All-SEC as a senior, and an Honors Program graduate of the Terry College, with a degree in Management Information Systems. So yeah, the brain works just fine thanks.
3) Easy schedules? Sure. If, by that you mean up at 4am for training, in class by 845, early lunch around 1130, then class, then meetings at 2pm, then practice til 6, and then labs, additional class, or campus activities (such as Professional Fraternity, honors society, etc) in the evening. Yeah, thank God I coasted by on that one.
4) You're right - your blog is completely relevant. The complete lack of competent writing is right up the alley of the ignorant masses who would follow you.

Not so long ago, your blog was trumpeting the cause of hiring the likes of Gary Patterson and Dan Mullen. Now, you back Coach Richt and hope readers will forget. You are as fickle as the fanbase and thus will receive no respect.
Posted by Ben Dukes to This Dawg's View at December 12, 2011 6:10 PM

Or the first one went a bit farther than I wanted. Unlike you, we're a little more respectful than you've ever shown to be.

1) Maybe you need to learn what the word "inventing" means too. Since you didn't "invent" anything, those words already existed. With meaning that is almost at complete opposite from how you attempted to use them.
2) Clearly, from the words you use here. So smart you can't even spell the name of your own teammate in the post before this. Academic All-SEC just the once? And playing offensive line, right?
3) I'm sure you did that year round too. With no help, no tutors, nothing, you super Rudy you. Did you have to walk up Baxter hill, both ways, too?
4) For lacking relevance, we sure get plenty of attention from know-it-all sunshine pumpers like yourself.
Your intelligence shows in that ignorant final paragraph too, that completely abandons reality of what we say or how we say it.

Don't get your respect? I'm devastated, however will we proceed.
Posted by Mr. Sanchez to This Dawg's View at December 12, 2011 6:32 PM

I think my favorite part about this last one is #4. I mean, he is absolutely correct with #2 - I did misspell Jon Stinchcomb's name by adding an "h" to his first name. Damnit if I don't screw that one up all the time. And I'm not sure what he's saying about "year round" in he suggesting that the schedules in the off-season are drastically different? I don't know...from what I recall we had offseason training, followed by spring practices, followed by voluntary workouts after spring practice concluded. I guess in the summertime it wasn't quite as strenuous. Of course, there's the obvious inaccuracy with me playing "offensive line." Then again, I believe this was probably just him being ironic. That, or moronic, but whichever. No, it's #4 that sticks out to me the most...simply because he's either A) Denying that his blog was all for Gary Patterson coming to Athens and delivering his hard-nosed take-no-shit brand of football or that his blog called out Dan Mullen as a quality offensive hire; or B) implying that they were saying all of that tongue-in-cheek as a way of supporting the present regime in Athens. Well, to that I say: Horseshit. The first option is an outright fallacy, and the second would be backpedaling at its best.

On my blog I have theorized and postulated many things over there years. At times, I have been incorrect. In those instances, I have owned up to being wrong. This is called being a "man"...not a "cold-blooded sausage-maker" (whatever that means). Do I expect the "cold-blooded ones" to do that? Nope. I don't. I don't expect them to come out and say, "Hey, maybe we were wrong about Coach Richt." They call me a "sunshine blower", but the fact remains that I take an objective look at the way our team plays football, and the way the program is run. Coach Richt runs a damn good program, and our boys played some damn good football this season. That, my friends, is the uncensored truth.

GO Dawgs.

Friday, December 9, 2011

All 21 of Georgia's Missed Opportunities

Oh man, did that title get you to click? Oh, how tricky of me! I should start writing for Bleacher Report or Sports and Grits! I don't have the missed opportunities you're out of luck. HA!

Seriously, though...I was inspired by a video that is spreading quickly throughout the Dawg Blawgs. The video shows each of Aaron Murray's 33 touchdown throws. I can only imagine the one we'll see in 2014, after his final bowl game (and yes, I mean 2014...because that follows the 2013 season), depicting all 120+ touchdowns from his career. That video will probably sell for 29.95 on EBay. Yay, fans!

But, the video got me to close were we? I mean, perhaps it's a video compilation that would have served us better in 2010, when the fanbase en masse was angry with a team it believed to be horribly mediocre, and showing no signs of hope for the future (fanbase was wrong). Still, I'd like to see video clips of every single dropped touchdown, missed field-goal, dropped interception, fumble, interception, etc. I'd like to see someone put together THAT video.


Because we'd see where we missed. We'd see that if this moment or that moment went the other way, things could be different. This is how teams learn, and it should be how fans do as well. When we were entering the 2nd half of the SEC Title game, my friends were excited about the prospect of possibly shutting the LSU offense down for another half. But, as I've said many times before, the hardest thing for a dominant defense to do is come out and keep that dominance in the second half. The reason for that is the offense is going to make adjustments. As a defense who has held their opponent without a first down, it's going to be very difficult to make adjustments. When nothing goes wrong, what do you change? The question always becomes whether or not you can make your adjustments quickly enough to prevent damage.

In that game, our defense had only 25 yards in which to make adjustments because we fumbled the ball to LSU on the opening possession of the third quarter. That's asking alot. Then, we forced the Defense to attempt to hold ANOTHER short field after a 3-and-out and a huge punt return. We asked too much.

As fans who love our team, it's easy to get very frustrated...but when you go back and look at that game, we didn't lose it in the second half. We lost it on two dropped touchdowns, and at least one dropped interception, all in the first half. But, we forget that. We think only about the way the game was blown apart in the second half....not how we blew it in the first.

So, who's the amazing youtube guru out there with every single game stored on his hard drive? Who wants to compile this very helpful video for us? Anyone? Anyone?

Go Dawgs.

Oh, and if you missed it, I made this post late last night, but it didn't seem to hit all the sites that aggregate Dawg Blawgs. Give it a read.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crowell and Marshall: Shoulder To Shoulder

In my years on the UGA football team, I met a lot of young men. When there's over 120 players on your team, and there's turnover every season, you're greeted by new faces in the locker room every few months. Some appear in the fall, some appear in the winter...some show up for the first time during the summer. It's not an every-year seems to be an every-season thing. I met guys my first spring at UGA who were gone before school let out. Some went to greener pastures in places like Oklahoma. Some went to smaller schools to begin working towards a coaching career. Some just gave the sport up altogether. I made some friends in those days, a few that I keep up with. We talk on facebook, we chatter on twitter...and on the rare occasion that I return to Athens, I am always sure to bump into someone at a bar, or at the stadium. I've even run into one or two in Los Angeles from time to time.

We aren't the best of friends. A few of these guys, in fact, may have absolutely hated me. But, when we see each other, we do have the common bond of Bulldog Blood that will always run through our veins. It's more than attending the University, though I don't want to discount the love that so many of the fans hold as a result of that. It's more than simply playing the sport, though playing it at any level definitely gives you perspective on what goes on. No, there is something special about the sweat that drips from you in Butts Mehre. There's something remarkable about the blood you shed on the Woodruff fields. There's something forever changing about your whole self the first time you run from that tunnel in Sanford Stadium and are hit by a wall of sound from over 90,000 screaming fans.

These are the things that MAKE a Georgia Bulldog. You put your heart, your soul, your body on the line - and the guy next to you does the same. John Stinchcomb had a nickname for me - he called me "Duke Nukem"... it was because I was the annoying walk-on who tried to blow him up on every snap in practice - whether we were "full contact" or 3/4 speed. It didn't matter. The way I saw it, I had to go all-out: I was a 230 lb DE. He and some of the other linemen surely tired of it...but I kept pushing. I felt like they hated me.

But, when I trotted onto the field against Ole Miss my senior year, to play some mop-up fourth quarter downs, John yelled at me, "Hey Dukes....Nuke 'em." Funny how that's something that sticks with you. Even those who appear to be your adversaries can be your greatest supporters.

Now, I am not writing this entry to tell you about me. Honestly, my experiences at UGA probably did very little to progress our program. But, I am writing this so that those out there who have already written off Isaiah Crowell and are looking to Keith Marshall as the only possible future for our TB position will take heed. Marshall is going to enroll in January. He and Crowell will go through their first off-season workouts together. Sure, Samuel and Harton and Thomas will have been through it, and will offer their leadership...but I think the relationship between Crowell and Marshall will be the most compelling story of the winter. These guys, who will be in competition for not only a job, but also the admiration of a fickle fanbase, will be shoulder-to-shoulder in drills. They will have to run together. They will have to lift together. They may have to monkey-roll together, I don't really know. What I do know - is they will have plenty of time around one another. This time will be valuable. They will come to learn that when the chips are down, they can count on one another. At some point during the 2012 season, it's going to come down to a moment when one of these guys has to look the other in the eye and say, "Hey - this is why we went through all that pain in January and February. This is why we got up at 4am. This is why we took pictures of all our meals. This is why we worked ourselves to exhaustion - to be right here, right now, with this opportunity. Now, YOU get out there and finish this thing off. I'll get the next one."

The fanbase is creating a competition in its collective mindset, and it is already beginning to suggest that Crowell will crumble under the pressure and leave town. I don't see that happening. I see Crowell fighting to keep his job. I see him working hard in the weight room and on the practice fields. I see him working to become the back he believes he can be...because what he believes he can be is an NFL back, and there's not a better place to be if you want to prove that. Even our third-stringers end up with Super Bowl rings (no, seriously...look it up you'll be impressed). I also see Marshall coming in with the mindset that he can play right away. He wants to split carries, and he wants to be in an offense where he can use his skillset to its greatest potential. He has this at UGA. The fanbase wants to set these guys up as adversaries. In reality, they're teammates - shoulder to shoulder.

Adversaries? They'll face 14 of them - and I'm willing to bet they'll Nuke 'em.

Go Dawgs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We Won't Be Any Better Next Year

I have been reading a few comment threads and message board posts around the interwebs, and what I'm seeing is that the rabid anti-richt crowd from pre-season is still very much in existence. Yes, they are licking their wounds after a ten-game win streak...but the 2nd half humiliation against LSU gave them just the ammunition they need to feel relevant here at Season's End. The primary Meme they chirp today is, "10 wins against nobodies, 2 losses to good teams, and one loss to SOUTH CAROLINA. Richt Has To Go."

1st off.... idiots.

They believe the 2011 Georgia Bulldogs were not a better football team than the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs. Now, these are the same people who amid a 6-7 season claimed that the ONLY WAY to determine a team's worth is in WINS AND LOSSES.

So, by their own definition, the 2011 team is better. The 2011 team is 4 full games better, with a bowl game to go.


Now, let's look at it all a little deeper. Let's look at the common teams we faced in 2010 and 2011.

South Carolina - 2010: L 17-6 , 2011: L 45-42
Mississippi State - 2010: L 24-12 2011: W 24-10
Tennessee - 2010: W 41-14 2011: W 20-12
Vanderbilt - 2010: W 43-0 2011: W 33-28
Florida - 2010: L 34-31 2011: W 24-20
Kentucky - 2010: W 44-21 2011: W 19-10
Auburn - 2010: L 49-31 2011: W 45-7
Georgia Tech - 2010: W 42-34 2011: W 31-17

With the exception of South Carolina, every single common opponent we faced in 2010 and 2011 scored fewer points against Georgia than they did the year before. With South Carolina, you take off a punt return for a touchdown, an interception for a touchdown, and a fumble return for a touchdown, and you find that their offense scored 24 points...only one touchdown more than in 2010 (and that touchdown was on a 9-yard drive after another fumble return).

Now, here's another angle - our offense also scored fewer points in all but three of the contests - the loss at South Carolina, the Win at Mississippi State, and the Win at Auburn.

Some would say this was a result of scheming - the "Let the defense hold the line" ideal where we play ultra-conservative to maintain a lead and not give the game away (probably made all the more necessary after the South Carolina Debacle). Others would say it's a performance issue due to lack of real game-breakers with experience, and some erratic play by others. Still others would find fault in the offensive line, saying that if they could block, we would score at least two more touchdowns in every game.

But here, my friends, is what I find so interesting:

A team that lost its most potent playmaker and its most solid go-to 2nd man, a team that had to rely on a group of untested and shaky runningbacks, a team that had to use no less than 8 offensive line combinations - this team finished the season at 10-3, with an SEC East OUTRIGHT Title. This team had to break in young linebackers in a hurry as the corps was quickly depleted by injury. Still, they played on. This team had to use a former walk-on runningback as its primary ball carrier for a stretch due to injuries and suspensions. This team had to do all this while being constantly told they were playing for a lame-duck coach who was past his prime and could not bring them to the Dome again.

But he did. They played on. They fought. They won - in bunches.

To say that you think next year's team will be no better than this year's team is to echo the refrain we heard at the end of that dismal 2010 season. You were wrong before, and if you continue to sing it, you will be wrong again. Do you know why this year's defense was so much better? Because it was full of guys who were veterans of their 3-4 scheme. They weren't confused. They were flying around, making plays. For the first time in 9 years, an SEC offense was held WITHOUT A FIRST DOWN for the first 30 minutes of play. Yes, it fell apart after that...but you can't look at that and not be impressed. You can't say these guys aren't solid players. They need more behind them...and they will be there. Grantham and Co. have developed a lot of young talent this year, and that will pay dividends next fall. I point that out, because a good number of the playmakers in the offensive side of the ball were pretty new to the game this year as well. Malcolm Mitchell, Isaiah Crowell, Michael Bennett - these are guys who hadn't been on the field in 2010. Dallas Lee was very good on the offensive line, and he hadn't had a snap in 2 years (get better, son!) Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates are also young (not Freshman, but young). Another year with Will Friend will do all of these Dawgs good.

And then there's Aaron Murray. He's been sacked more this year, he's thrown more interceptions, and has a lower yardage total than last season. However, he has thrown the most touchdowns in the SEC and sits just below 60% completion. Outside of the stats, you can tell Murray had a better grasp of the game in his second season. He did cost us possessions and points at times by trying to make plays when he could have been safer. He did take sacks when he should have thrown the ball away. But he also gave his team someone to rally around - someone to have faith in. The third year in an offensive system is often when the light comes on for a quarterback. The first season is often a "trial by fire"- you have to get used to the speed of the game, and just remembering the plays can be a struggle. In the second season, you know more about diagnosing defensive calls, and where your options are going to be. In the third season, you really get a sense of knowing what the defense is doing before the ball is even snapped. In fact, you often have a good idea before you break the huddle, because you've seen every situation hundreds of times (except for maybe 3rd and 57...that doesn't happen too often). Good quarterbacks will take a big step forward in year three.

I haven't even mentioned the possibility of impact players joining the roster and coming off redshirts next season. And there are people who thing UGA won't be better next year?


GO Dawgs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another #1 Tailback

So, Keith Marshall just Verbally Committed to UGA. Always nice to have a good new RB coming in, especially to a team that proved it can win games without a strong running attack. Of course, we can't win the "big ones" without a strong running attack (See: Boise State, SECCG). I'm excited that UGA brings in another top-rated RB recruit with Marshall, but I'm also hesitant, as I always am, to annoint him until he's played a few games. For now, bask in the glow of a big recruiting win, Dawg Fans....and just hope we can hold him for the next two months.

Go Dawgs.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Big Game" Aaron Murray

You can attempt to blame this game on Mike Bobo if you wish, but here's the cold, hard fact - when we absolutely could not afford a mistake, Aaron Murray fumbled the ball. In junk time, when we needed one yard for a first down, Aaron Murray threw a pick-six. All day long, Aaron Murray threw very bad deep balls. On a first quarter drive, Aaron Murray thew behind Malcolm Mitchell, and then threw high to Tavarres King, and we ended up with a field goal.

I'm not an advocate of sitting Aaron Murray, but I have been cautious about anointing him as an excellent quarterback. He is certainly good...but he has absolutely not proven that he is a go-to guy in Big Games.

Let's be real - Georgia, for all our excitement over the now-over 10-game win streak, has not faced any Big Games since the South Carolina matchup, until today. Sure, you can count the game against Kentucky, when we had to win to take the East - and Murray played poorly that day as well.

We had drops today, Mitchell should have scored a touchdown in the first.

We had bad luck (2-missed blocks in the back and a kid tossing the ball out of the endzone on the same punt return), the fumble, etc.

But, THE player who had to play absolutely lights-out today, absolutely did not.

He improved between his Freshman and Sophomore years, and hopefully will again. Still, the question remains...when it all comes down to the wire in a big game, will we be able to trust Aaron Murray? Will he become a "Big Game" Quarterback? I guess only time will tell. For now, he's a guy who won 10 games in a season, took an East title, and threw his way into the Record Books.

Is that enough?

Go Dawgs.