Monday, September 28, 2009

I love UGA...but we aren't GREAT right now.

I've been a bit absent from the blogosphere for the past few weeks, dawgfans...and I apologize. But, I've been trying to get a handle on the Dawgs. I've always said that you can't really tell what you've got until you're about 4 weeks in...and well, I don't have great news.

We don't have a great team.

Now, I am a believer that a team is equal to the sum of its parts...players+coaches=team. A great team isn't the result of pristine weather or the right playing surfaces. A great team isn't the result of its competition. A great team is a result of players having talent and attitude, and the coaches coming up with the gameplan to put them in position to win, and the players executing that gameplan.

Right now, Georgia is NOT a great team.

I don't think we'll find anyone who disagrees with that. There are a host of 1-loss teams ahead of Georgia. And, if you look at some of the resume's of these teams, they aren't incredibly impressive. But, they had something Georgia didn't.....a high pre-season ranking. Georgia has, thus far, performed up to the preseason expectations. We were picked to be a mid-10 team, and we've looked like such. Actually, I don't agree with that. I think that we've performed like a sub-top-25 team. BUT, we've had the results of a mid-10's team. With one exception, we have won our games. Still, we are forced to look at the problems this team is having and attempt to diagnose them.

There is absolutely no doubt that we have talent that will stack up with the best in college football at many positions. At wideout, we have the best receiver in college football. And, we are finding more and more targets every week. Everytime the defense attempts to take away a receiver, another steps up (Michael Moore, then Tevarres King, then Rontavius Wooten). We have two corners with speed that rivals the Roadrunner. Our new Tight-ends are becoming weapons who draw double and triple coverage. We have 4 NFL Defensive Tackles right now. Justin Houston is emerging as a solid DE. Our linebackers are a very strong group.

We lack in the offensive backfield, and somehow our OLine hasn't been dominant.

Also, our team is riddled with penalties and turnovers.

People scream at coaching. But, there is very little you can do to coach against fumbling the football. There is little you can do to coach against false-start penalties. At some point, we have to hold players responsible. Coaches identify talent and coach that talent, and put that talent in position to perform. It is then the players' responsibility to perform up to their talent. The O-Line is currently not doing that. The runningbacks aren't doing that. Joe Cox has days where he does, and days where he doesn't.

On defense, the problem doesn't lie entirely with the players...but it also doesn't lie entirely with the coaching.

PLAYER: Bryan Evans - consistently out of position, gets burned, says he is sometimes "lacksidasical about getting into position" and at other times "doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing."


In the game against ASU, Bacarri Rambo got much more playing time, and made some big plays, including UGA's only turnover. Out of the three turnovers (pathetically low) UGA has made this year, 2 have come by younger players. These talented younger guys will be the foundation of a stronger defense in coming years, and playing them more NOW will pay huge dividends. Martinez himself has gone on record as saying Rambo should've been playing more all along. I fully expect we'll see less and less of Bryan Evans as the year goes along, and that's fantastic. He's been getting beat up in pass coverage for years.

PROBLEM - Big Play vulerability

COACH - we're dedicated to stopping the run. This leaves us vulnerable to play-action, as the safeties get a little lead-footed in coverage.

PLAYERS - Need to read-and-react better.

COACH - lack of tight coverage leads to qb being able to make reads and fire the ball faster

PLAYERS - Need to show better route recognition and ball-attacking skills so that we won't rely as much on loose zones.

COACH - lack of pressure allows qb time to find open receivers. Blitz might help.

PLAYERS - need to convert to pass rush faster. Need to shed blocks faster. Four-man rush is effective if players execute.

Here's the fact.....4 games in, we're 3-1. Everyone is pointing to the next four games as being the serious "gauntlet" for UGA. We have LSU, TN, Vandy and FL. I don't know why this is a gauntlet. LSU is suffering from many of the same maladies as UGA. TN has shown me absolutely nothing other than a respectable defense. They live and die by the run, and UGA is very good against the run. Vandy doesn't have it this season. FL is very good. We'll see how they do in the coming month, with Tebow recovering from a concussion, and the passing game rather unimpressive thus far. Some seem to think that 2-2 would be good for us in this stretch. I'll be disappointed if we don't go 4-0. And that's said with realism. Vandy and TN shouldn't have a chance against us. LSU is very beatable by UGA's game. FL is the toss-up for me. I haven't seen evidence of them being the bohemoth they were last season, and much of that is probably because they haven't had a big test. They'll have a few before they get to us, and then we'll REALLY know who these gators are.

Finally, I'm tired of hearing "if we cut out the penalites and the turnovers..." and I'm even guilty of SAYING it. Here's the fact....we don't seem CAPABLE of cutting out the penalties and turnovers. What we have to do, is be better at weathering them. Yes, we've done well at keeping teams out of the endzone when they have a long field....but I believe they're getting into the endzone about 50 percent of the time after a turnover....twice on the turnover themselves. That's not good. Our D has to force field goals in those situations. Also, our D has to force MORE turnovers in order to equalize the playing field in that respect. It's very simple...the more possessions we have, the more opportunities to put points on the board. The more times we give the ball away, the better our opponents' chances of staying in the game when they shouldn't.

I don't have any answers, I'm saying alot of what you're reading everywhere else....If we stop turning the ball over, we can't be beat. But, we're going to turn the ball over.

So, this team, which was known at the beginning of the season, as one with no stars, who didn't have a real shot at anything, is now becoming known as the strong-willed and resilient team who is finding ways to win. I'll take that. I'll take 8 more games where we find a way to win. You don't have to be great to win a don't have to be the best team in your just have to play a better game each saturday.

We don't have to be better than Florida. We have to be better than florida on one day. We don't have to be better than Tennessee. We have to be better than Tennessee on one day. We don't have to be better than LSU. We have to better than LSU Saturday.

If we can consistently do that, we won't have to be the #1 team in the country. We'll have to be better than the #1 team on one day in January...then we'll Be Champions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Season Not Lost, but a LOOOONG way from over.

Calm down, dawgfans. Show a little poise. Our team lost a game by performing just about as poorly as they possibly could, and they lost by 14. I don't know any of you who believed this team was going to go 14-0, so I don't understand all of the ire at the loss. If we had to lose a game, wouldn't you rather it be THAT one? Wouldn't you rather the loss be to a team that has absolutely no impact on the SEC race? Let's assume for a moment that Georgia makes some huge turnaround and finishes off the rest of the season with 11 straight wins....won't we still win the SEC? Wouldn't a 12-1 SEC Champion still be damned attractive heading into the BCS? I think it would.

Now....I know what you're thinking...."Dukes! I watched the team Saturday, there is NO WAY we can win games like THAT!"

And you're right. We can't win games playing them like that on offense. We absolutely can not.

"Dukes, face it, we lost...the season is over!" I wonder if people in Norman are saying the same thing. Somehow I doubt it. Why? Because they know that a single loss doesn't remove you from contention. But, Georgia fans have become increasingly negative and pessimistic. People calling for the jobs of Mark Richt and Mike Bobo? Well....those people should visit their proctologists, because driving around with your head up your tukkus is quite dangerous.

Now, this is not to say that I'm at all excited about what I saw from Saturday's offense. I'm still trying to assess what happened. The opening drive was fantastic. 80 yards. Five minutes. Cox was 2/3. 7 points. BOOM. Then, the defense came out and shut down OSU's first us the ball back, and the anticipation was high. But Bobo apparently picked up another week's gameplan or something, because the playcalling changed drastically. Instead of coming out and flexing our power, we tried to finesse our way against the Cowboys, and fell flat. The defense held strong again, but when we got the ball back, it was more of the same flat offense.

I didn't understand it at all.

I'm not going to sit here and praise the coaches. I won't. I'm not going to call for their jobs, but I can't explain why the offensive gameplan should have changed when the initial gameplan was successful. I don't know why Tony Ball decided to play only three of his six available wideouts. I don't know why Logan Gray only came in for two plays.

If you ask me, this game was supposed to be enormous for OSU, but it was Georgia's staff dealing with puckered butt cheeks. Samuel looked good at times, breaking 6-9 yard runs consistently...but never could pop the huge one. Cox couldn't get much going...every time they showed his stat line he seemed to be one or two completions over 50%....and his final stats had him directly at fifty. Ok, he had the flu...and that can explain a lot. BUT, I can't allow "the flu" to explain away the problems our offense faced. If Cox wasn't in his best playing shape to get the job done, coaches should have pulled him. I think if Cox leaves that game, and Gray or Murray doesn't get it done, the fans aren't nearly as upset.


I also think people are missing something very important in Joe's performance. He didn't toss up passes that put us in bad situations. He did have the fumble. But, his lone interception was a three-time batted pass that was first DROPPED by a Georgia Receiver. Aron White inexplicably dropped a pass when he was wide open behind the coverage in the fourth quarter. Some will say Cox overthrew him..if he did, it was by an INCH. White could have made that play, and didn't. Orson Charles dropped what would have been a huge first down. There were many opportunities left on that field Saturday, and while it's not what we like to see, it will serve a better purpose.

Whatever blind confidence the coaches had about our offense going into Saturday is GONE. Tony Ball said he didn't realize he only played 3 receivers. Bobo said he doesn't know why he changed things up so much. Richt said "That offense sure looked good for a second, didn't it?" Well, they've all been smacked in the face by reality, and it's time to see how they react. Ball has said the freshmen receivers will be playing. So, it looks like one coach has learned from a mistake. Let's see what Bobo does. Will he stick with a gameplan and return his offense to the type of numbers he delivered last season? If not, there will be big problems in Athens.


The Dawgs lost, the Cowboys scored 24 points, and no one seems angry at Willie Martinez. That's because the defense we saw is more like what we want to see out of the Dawgs. Yes, the three touchdowns were not what we wanted to see. But, two were results of horrendous calls on the parts of the officials. I'm not saying anything like "the refs cost us the game." That's just plain stupid. But, it is rather unfortunate that the refs had "tricky vision" on a 4th down when the runner didn't make it to the line, and when Rashad Jones delivered a powerful and 100% LEGAL hit. Both of those plays gave life to the Cowboys when the Defense had stopped them. Awful.

Still, the Cowboys actually mustered less pass offense than the Bulldogs did, if you can possibly believe it.

We didn't have a strong enough pass rush, that's for will be interesting to see how that changes next week, when we face a team who DOESN'T spend the majority of the day in a 4 or 5 wide set.

The measure of a champion is often determined by how the face adversity. Well, adversity has struck in week one. It's time to see how we respond. Personally, I'm excited. I want to see what the coaches come up with. Cox himself said that he felt like he was timid, trying not to make a "Bad play" and that others on the team were doing the same.

I guess SMITH is the one guy who wasn't hampered by that. Should he have tried a return from 7 yards deep in the endzone or leapt up in an attempt to secure a punt, thus knocking it into the endzone? No. HE shouldn't. BUT, he was playing fearlessly...and I'll take that. When I was at Georgia, our coaches used to say, "If you're gonna make a mistake, make it going 100 mph."

So, how will the Dawgs handle the adversity? Only time will tell...but with Steve Spurrier comin' a knockin', they better get it figured out in a hurry. I can accept a week one loss to an out-of-conference top-10 team. A week two loss to South Carolina, though....unacceptable.


btw...I hate, hate, hate, HATE day games.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Hey Dawgfans!

After many many long months of waiting, speculation and beer-hall arguments, FOOTBALL SEASON IS FINALLY BACK!

I just read something that's really stirring my butter. Apparently there is a consensus among SEC Head Coaches that Georgia's TALENT LEVEL has slipped.


We've never had a better wideout than AJ Green. Our lines are the strongest they've been in years. Our quarterback was a very highly touted recruit, who has NEVER LOST A GAME IN HIS CAREER (31-0 in HS, 1-0 in College). Our linebacking corps is led by the SEC's top tackler. The speed on this team is ridiculous. Where is this talent drop off?

Apparently, whoever wrote that (Ivan Maisel) is either a) not a big fan of Georgia, b) not a big fan of the SEC coaches, or C) succombing to the media backlash against the Dawgs for making them look foolish last year when they picked Georgia to be all-everything. Well, I'm gonna go with C. Georgia has been very much forgotten about in the past 12 weeks or so, leading up to the season.


The Oklahoma State Cowboys - a sexy pick to be the "surprise team" in the National Title hunt this year. They boast a win over a Texas Tech...and that suddenly makes them amazing? The Cowboys were 1-4 against Ranked Teams last year. They had amazing scoring proficiency...against crap teams. Much is being made of the Cowboys' 40.8ppg average last season...but when you take a closer look at that, you'll find that the Cowboys averaged closer to 24 ppg against big-time foes with winning records and 55ppg+ against those with losing records. In case you didn't know...UGA is a team with a winning record. I simply don't envision the Pokes getting into the endzone all that often.

So many people have been downplaying the ability of Georgia to have a decent year this year...but after tomorrow's thorough pasting of Oklahoma State, that will change. Don't be surprised to wake up Sunday Morning and find the Dawgs in the top 10. Why? Because the question marks are as follows:

Can Georgia replace Knowshon Moreno?

Can Joe Cox lead the Dawgs' offense?

Can anyone cover Dez Bryant?

Will the Dawgs find a receiver to replace Mohamed Massaguoi?

Will the Dawgs' defense improve from its abysmal finish last season?

In short order,


This Georgia defense has something to prove, and how better to come out and deliver a statement, than to absolutely GROUND the high-flying cowboys offense? I'm not saying OSU has never seen athletes like they'll see tomorrow...they certainly have. They play DO play OU and TX. Still, the STYLE of defense played in the Big-12 is a bit different...not quite so smash-mouth as it is in the SEC. Texas is where they've seen the difference...where Wil Muschamp, an SEC boy, is the DC. To my recollection, OSU didn't fare too well against Texas. They pulled within 4 in the fourth quarter, but rarely saw the ball again, and had an extra score shoved down their throats for good measure.

Our defense was ravaged by injury last season, and as a result, fell apart as the season wore on. Tomorrow, a healthy, strong defense will trot out onto that field. There is a great deal of veteran leadership on this defense, a great deal of young talent as well. I expect to see some great things from them!

On the offensive side of the ball, there's really not much I can say that I haven't said in previous blogs.

Joe Cox is a winner. You'll see.

Richard Samuel - he excites me! A big, powerful back who wants to run over people? I like it!

AJ Green - Scary Good.

The O-Line- Deep, Experienced, Talented, HEALTHY.

TEs - The return of the Hybrid! I love it! We finally have some athletes out there akin to Ben Watson. I played with Ben...that guy was an absolute FREAK. Physically, Mentally, Motivationally...he just GOT it. Now we have some more guys in that vein. They're true pass-catching athletes. When a defense has to cover AJ Green, Mike Moore, Marlon Brown and THEN account for the likes of Aron White, Orson Charles or Arthur Lynch....where is the matchup?

You already know I'm going to say we're going to score more than OSU...but I dare say we're going to beat them in EVERY PHASE OF THE GAME.

I haven't seen anything in the OSU defense that makes me think they're going to be able to stop our offense. Nothing. And I've seen plenty out of our defense that makes me think they're not going to fare too well. Many fans have a memory of about 6 games. I have one that is SEASONS long. I remember what Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins did when they were together last. I remember what our running game looked like behind a solid line. I remember what Mark Richt and Mike Bobo can do with a 5th year senior at QB. The whole playbook is wide open, y'all! This is going to be a looser, more exciting bunch to watch than what Athens served up last year.

Get ready, ABC....the Athens Bulldogs are Comin!

Dawgs Roll - 42-10.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The 2009 Dawgs...Who Do WeThink We Are?

Ahhhhh autumn...the kids go back to school, the weather starts to turn cool....and the JUNKYARD DAWGS tee it up to make another run at an SEC TITLE!!!!!

Hey there Dawgfans! It's that time of year start talking about what I see coming up from the newest edition of Georgia Bulldog Football. So, without further delay, my preview of the season:

First off, I LOVE this team. Folks have been bemoaning the losses of Stafford, Massaquoi and Moreno...but I DON'T. Don't get me wrong, all three were great players. But, there are definite chinks in the armor for each.

People are making a big deal about losing "one of our leading receivers, MoMass. Come on. I mean, yeah, he was big-time receiver, for one season. His 920 yards in 2008 were more than he gained in his sophomore and junior years combined. Why? Was it because he was suddenly THAT MUCH better? No. It's because he had AJ Green on the field. Defenses had to prepare more for Green, and that openend Massaquoi up much more. I think you put ANYONE on the side opposite AJ Green, and their play will automatically increase. Mohamed was a very GOOD receiver. He made some amazing catches. I'll never forget some of the leaping acrobatics he pulled off in his debut season. But, for one reason or another, he didn't really take-over games. AJ Green Does.

Knowshon Moreno is a once-in-a-generation back. Or is he? Surely some of those moves were absolutely ridiculous. I mean, come on, he HURDLED people. He was fast, strong, and elusive...three great talents. I would have loved to have seen him behind this year's line. But, at the end of the day, our team's Rushing yardage has consistently hovered around the 1950 yard mark ever since Richt's first season in Athens (with some variation...ranging from about 1850-2050). The scheme is what wins at UGA, not the player. While Moreno will be missed, and the electrifying, dazzling moves will remain forever in our minds, the rushing game will not suffer greatly.

Matt Stafford. What more can be said about a guy who came in, won the starting job his freshman season, went on to lead the Dawgs to three bowl victories (no titles) and then get drafted #1? Plenty. The guy had a hell of a lot of talent...but there were intangibles I didn't see. I saw his overconfidence get him into trouble a few times...and I never really got the "Rallying Cry" feel from him. He just seemed to lack that fire in his belly, that spark, that many great leaders share. This is a guy who's always been "The Man"...from highschool, through college, and now apparently in the NFL. His talents have gotten him where he is, and his attitude leaves a bit to be desired. In about 17 years, we'll probably be watching ESPN with bated breath, to see which team he'll decide to unretire and go play for. (Yes, it's an overt comparison)

So, then, with these guys gone...what's left?

Let's start along the offensive line, where the Dawgs will be incredibly strong. Trinton Sturdivant comes back to bolster a line LOADED with experience. Three of the starting five led the team in 2007. The other two were absolute FREAK freshmen in 2008. As a unit, they have more starts between them than probably the entire rest of the team. They will be, without a doubt, UGA'S strongest unit. And THAT is a good thing.

Behind them, we'll have some unproven folk. Richard Samuel will start his first game at tailback on Saturday. He's been solid and impressive. I've heard him be compared to Maurice Clarrett...though his work ethic is much better. He's a strong, fast runner who likes to bowl over people....that's what we love to see! With a line that will be opening big holes, I anticipate a number of isolations against LBs and DBs. That bodes well for a big-bodied back.

Joe Cox will get the second start of his career against the Cowboys, and I for one can't wait to see it! Cox completed 73% of his passes last year. Now, while that was on just 15 attempts spread out over three games, it's still 73%. I know plenty of guys who won't hit 73% in practice - against air. Cox also tossed the only TD in last year's tilt against Florida. Many folks will say, "Yeah, the game was put away by then." Maybe so....but do you honestly believe Meyer told his boys NOT to stop the Dawgs? Come on, now. A good play is a good play, and that was a good play. We've seen flashes of what he can do, and they've generally been pretty sweet....he was just unfortunate enough to run up against a guy with all the eggs in his basket. Still, with five years in the system, you have to like the fact that there will be absolutely NOTHING in the playbook that he doesn't know. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Cox outperform Stafford statistically and in win percentage. Let's not forget, the only game Cox ever started was a victory. Right now, he's batting 1.000.

AJ Green. He's better than MoMass. Not a little bit better. WAAAAAY better. He's bigger, stronger, faster. Word is, his route running has improved...which is great. He was hurt last year, and still had better numbers than the Browns' newest receiver. Now, he'll have Marlon Browne (whose talent and upside is also greater than Massaquoi's) on the other side . The downfield possibilites for this offense are just scary.

Factor in the addition of big-time pass-catching Tight Ends, and you have some hard-core weaponry!

Bobo has a chance to have the best offense of his young career this season. Many fans are mourning the loss of the names...but I'm urging you to look at the TEAM. It's so much harder to prepare against an entire offense than it is to to prepare against two or three standouts. Tripp Chandler will no longer be on the field - that automatically helps bring down the number of dropped passes. Aron White, all this guy has done is make great catches. Add to that the new boys, Orson Charles and Arthur Lynch, and you have a nice new mid-field threat.

Seriously, look for the '09 Offense to top '08's lofty numbers. A healthier, more powerful line will improve running game and take pressure off the quarterback. Last season, Moreno had to make moves just to get back to the line of scrimmage...and then gain 3 yards. If the line keeps the DL out of the backfield, those three-yard runs are going to become 7 and 8 yarders. Count on it. With a solid running game, the play action will be DEADLY. I DARE a Safety to come up in run support and let Green or Brown or Moore or King past him. Oh, and like I said earlier...don't forget about those Tight Ends. They were the cornerstone of UGA's offense for years, and I think you'll see that kind of play returning this season. One thing's for sure...last year's film won't show much of a TE other teams may not be ready for it!


Oh, I excited about THIS?!?!?! You're damn right I am! Jeff Owens is back. That guy just plain gets AFTER it! The Atkins-Owens tandem is NASTY! As an offensive line, you have to choose a guy to double team...and that leaves the other guy in one-on-one. Both of these guys are good enough to whip folks in one-on-one protection. So, here's how it shakes down. You need three guys to block these two. If you don't do that, your qb gets sacked. So, now you only have two guys left to block our defensive ends. Well, I think you'll find that this year's DEs...without being marred by injury again, will be good enough to beat single blocks as well. So, again, better sack numbers. Then factor in a blitz or two....and you'll really start to see why an opposing offense is going to have trouble against this defense. If they go 5-wide, they're gonna have to throw fast...because the QB won't have a ton of time in the pocket. That eliminates the deep ball. So, what we have to protect against is quick-hitting slants and WR screens. The speed that our defense has in reacting to screens is amazing. They very rarely work against us. So, that leaves the slant. The best way to protect against a slant is to have seasoned linebackers who know how to jump routes. Did I mention that our linebacking corps is full of Juniors and Seniors?

Ok, let's assume they keep a rb in to aid in blocking for the QB...essentially, that gives the defense 4 pass catching options. That's 4 guys against our 7 in coverage. I like our chances.

A year ago, our defensive front was ravaged by injury. We couldn't get to the quarterback, and had to employ linebackers on blitzes too often. This weakened the pass defense, and at times, put LBs out of position against the run as well. The result was a defense that was horribly sub-par. Having a healthy line this year will do WONDERS for the defense as a whole. It all starts in the line. We have four legitimate starters at DT. They'll be subbing frequently, keeping fresh legs underneath them. This means, as the game wears on, they'll be even stronger against the OLine than they were in the 1st quarter. Look for opposing offenses to struggle in the fourth quarters of games.

So many publications are stressing our lack of a "proven" pass rusher. I think they'll find out just how wrong they are in the opening weeks. Rod Battle, back after surgery to repair his nagging shoulder injury from last year, is poised for a standout senior season. Opposite him is Demarcus Dobbs...a name not too many people were familiar with last season, as he was a backup in the majority of the games (playing in 9, starting 4). But, he did have 2 sacks and 9 quarterback pressures, coupled with 2 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown). He's a big, strong, athletic end...and I think folks are going to see just how good he is in this, his Junior year. A few weeks in, Georgia will welcome the return of Justin Houston, who is serving a suspension for breakin' some rules....and Dawgfans are gonna love him. He came on strong at the end of last season, and has been labeled as the big-time rush end we lacked last season. He has good speed of the perimeter, and good moves. Plus, the kid has MOTOR. I'm not saying he's a Pollack....but he'll be fun to watch.

Rennie Curran leads a solid group of LBs, who are further bolsetered by the return of Darrius Dewberry. The depth here is fantastic, and Curran just may be one of the most talented LBs in the country. He's an undersized stick of dynamite and the vocal leader of this defense. He walks with Swagger...and teams have a tendency to mimic their leadership. If Curran is any guide, expect to see this defense have some SERIOUS attitude.

The defensive backfield - the move of Bryan Evans to safety last year may have saved his career. He lacked some of the coverage skills necessary to be a solid corner, but his experience and speed give him some advantages at safety. Prince Miller is a solid CB, and he's the one that I noticed time and again was always going for THE BALL last year. He wanted to create turnovers, something UGA lacked last season. It's been the focus of Willie Martinez in the offseason...and let me say one thing about that. The last time Willie Martinez said he focused on doing better with turnovers, was in 2005. It was his first year as coordinator, and the team was coming off a year in which it had only 4 interceptions. The first game saw the Dawgs intercept 5 of Jared Zabransky's passes. So, if Willie says that's been the focus this year, I have to like what's coming.

Oh yeah, and our defense has a guy named Rambo in it. RAMBO. Honestly, if anyone scores points...he may kill them.

To sum it all up, I feel FAR AND AWAY better than I did last year. When a rash of injuries hit in preseason last year, I tried to keep my spirits up. I thought the team would be strong enough to weather that storm...but the injuries continued to mount throughout the first few weeks, and our season slipped away. I was never sold on Stafford as a LEADER. As a talent, yes...but hey, I even started Joe Cox on my Playstation NCAA football team. I've always liked Joe Cox...there's something in him that sceams WINNER. People like to make fun of Tebow for his tearful press conference after that loss to Ole Miss last year. It's definitely something you'd never see Stafford do. But that's because Tebow has a true PASSION for does Cox. To me, it feels like Stafford does it because that's what he's good at. Cox does it because he loves it.

And maybe, at the end of the day, THAT is why I love this team. I wasn't the most talented player when I was at UGA. There were guys there who were far more talented, more naturally gifted. They looked at everything as work. Many of them would avoid workouts if possible, would take plays off during practice, would be there just because they had to be. I was there because I LOVED being there. I lived in the weightroom and on the training field because I wanted to do the best I could possibly do....even if it was only to prepare those other guys to go out and play. We were 8-4 every year when I was at UGA. Then, two years later, the guys I played with were 13-1. The talent level didn't change much...but the attitude did, and so did the results.

This year, the talent hasn't changed drastically...but the attitude has. I, for one, can't wait to see the results! I put $20 down on the Dawgs to win the BCS this year. Hey, it's paying out at 25:1 right now, so why not? I think they can do it. No one's looking for it. No one's expecting it.

Get Ready NCAA, here come the Dawgs! Who do we think we are? Champions!

Yeah, Come On!

No Handshake....Exactly what is Gundy Saying?

Ok, I'll admit it....when the Coaches' Association came up with the "brilliant" idea to have non-mandatory handshakes before the first week's games, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. I still do. If you had tried to tell the guys I played with that we'd have to go shake the Vols' hands before that historic whoopin' we put on them in 2000, I'd have told you where you could pucker up and place your lips. But, what's done is done...and I think Richt had the perfect response - "Whatever they say, is what we'll do." He put the decision firmly in Gundy's hands, as well he should. It's OSU's home game, their stadium...the pre-game "niceties" should be completely up to the OSU football team. So, what exactly is Gundy saying when "after much deliberation" he decides AGAINST having his team shake the hands of the Bulldogs? His public statement says that he worries it could cause some kind of altercation before the game.

So, this begs the question...Just which team does Gundy believe lacks the class to properly handle this situation?

I can't imagine that Gundy is saying he has such little control over his own football team, that they would act out against his instructions. I know he's not saying that his own players would start some kind of brawl before their highly-anticipated home opener. It can't be that he thinks HIS guys are going to be the ones "startin' stuff." Surely they wouldn't test the mettle of Mike Gundy. He's a Man. He's 40 (plus).

So, that leaves me with only one other option. Gundy must be saying that he doesn't trust the Dawgs to behave themselves. He must be saying the Dawgs are a bunch of hooligans, thugs, malcontents, guys who just plain "ain't right." He must be saying that Mark Richt's team lacks discipline and control - and that THEY would be the incendiary component in the powder keg of emotion at the opener. He's just GOTTA be saying that the Dawgs are a classless bunch who wouldn't hesitate to risk their own team's future in order to get in a few cheap shots on the opponent.

If I were a player on this Georgia team, I would be using this to pump the rest of the guys up. It might as well make the bulletin board. I'd have to stress the POUNDING we should all give these guys ON THE FIELD. Who wants to fight before the game? That's stupid. You can't really hurt somebody - they're all wearing tons of padding. But, earhole a quarterback on a blindside blitz...and I promise, he's gonna feel it. A big hit IN the game is so much more rewarding...not only from the feeling of doing it, and the oohs and aaahs it brings from the crowd....but also because you can see it again and again on Sportscenter. That's WAAAAAAAAY better than slapping a player in the face pre-game. It all boils down to this - All offseason, the focus of this Georgia team has been "doing things right." There haven't been arrests or really even many small disciplinary matters. They've all been working hard on the little things. Now Gundy has the GAUL to suggest that the Dawgs would come in and cause some kind of commotion?


I want the Dawgs to roll into Stillwater and absolutely DECIMATE the Oklahoma State team. I want to see Zac Robinson's head spinning faster than Colt Brennan's. I want to hear the moans from the DLine as Richard Samuel bolts past them - to hear the crack of a safety's pads on the turf as #22 bowls over him! I want Joe Cox to be the ridiculously accurate passer he's made out to be and connect for his first 22 passes in a row, with 4 tds (one to Munzenmaier, please) before stepping aside and letting Gray get some meaningful snaps....the first of which should be a 60-yard option keeper for a TD. At the end of the day, I want to see a Bulldog-Dominated scoreboard hanging high in Boone Pickens Stadium, reading Georgia 63, OSU 10.* Then, the world will have de facto proof of what Gundy is already suggesting....the Cowboys ain't quite ready for big-boy football.

Then, I want to see the post-game interview where Holly Rowe asks Mark Richt why he called a pass play on first down at the OSU 19 with 15 seconds to play, and scored that final touchdown. To which the response shall be..."You know, they could have just shaken our hands."


* - This is NOT a score prediction...simply something I'd love to see.