Saturday, October 30, 2010


Aaron Murray throws three picks and fumbles the ball?

We don't get ANY of their fumbles?

Just another day in Jacksonville. I suppose the Anti-Richt crowd will once again begin to roar.

We haven't looked this good losing in years. Still, we're losing too much.

There's really not much to say other than "Damnit."

Go Dawgs.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Concerned about our Dawgs

Early in the year, this Dawgs team had a major problem - maturity. Murray wasn't a "mature' quarterback, so the offense was fairly constrained. The offensive line wasn't mature enough to ignore all the hype they received in the preseason. The Defensive line hadn't matured into their roles in the new 3-4. The defense as a whole wasn't making great tackles - trusting their "big hits" to take down players with more focus than they themselves had.

In total, our team was immature and lacked focus.

Over the past few weeks, we've seen Georgia play like Georgia should play. We've seen a hungry team come out and chew up its opponents. We've seen Washaun Ealey run how Washaun Ealey should run. We've seen AJ Green be AJ Green. A shuffle in the line has brought some fight into our OL, and we've seen the response in the running game and in a very vertical Aaron Murray. We've seen this team win three blowouts. In fact, in all 4 wins this year, the outcome has never been in doubt after halftime. In 4 losses this year, the outcome has not been decided until the 4th quarter, in three of those games - on the final UGA drive.

This concerns me.

It wouldn't have concerned me before last night. Until our win over Kentucky, I thought the team was maturing well - that they were going to put their feet on the throats of the opposition. I thought I was seeing the turn towards domination that often comes late in the first season of a new defense. After last night, though, I do not know if that's the case.

In the first half against Kentucky, the defense was great - right up until the end of the half. They had played about 28 minutes of great football. They had forced turnovers, and created problems for Hartline. Even on a long successful pass play, our stingy defense ripped the ball directly from the arms of the receiver. Then, at the tail-end of the second quarter, Hartline avoided a light rush by UGA and hit a deep pass for a TD bringing the Cats back from the brink of destruction, to a 28-10 halftime deficit. UGA came out of the half and drove the ball 70 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-10, and that's when the defense should have put the hammer down.

They didn't. The defense gave up 3rd and longs all night, and gave up BIG touchdown passes. I have to wonder if the DBs thought the pass rush would get there, so they didn't work as hard in coverage. Twice Cuff was beat for long scores. On one, he slipped while getting into position to make a play on the ball. That's unfortunate, but it's not a breakdown. The second score on him, though, was. He was called for holding, then didn't make a play on either the ball or the man...and it cost our defense a touchdown. PLUS, he dropped an interception in the endzone which would have prevented a touchdown on the drive.

That's a bunch of points we can hang on one guy, but we can't. It was a mindset thing by the whole defense. They simply lost the focus of crushing the opposition. This is a lack of maturity, and it worries me.

Florida hasn't looked good this year, but they are every bit capable of beating UGA. They have the athletes, they have good coaches, and they've had two weeks to prepare. A third blowout win certainly could have given the Dawgs a bit too much confidence. But then, there's also the opposite - this was a blowout win, but it was in ugly fashion. The defense knows the efort they put in against the 'Cats in the 2nd half isn't going to win a game against the Gators. The gameplan was good - take Randal Cobb out of the game....but some of the execution was a bit lax.

Still, when they pulled within two scores late, we completely shut them down and got the ball back. I have to liken it to the UGA-AL game in 2008. Yeah, UGA made a fight and made it look good in the 2nd half, but when the AL defense needed to make a stop, they did, and when they needed to drive down the field, they did that too. That's what UGA did last night. We drove down the field and put in an icing TD, then shut them down.

We lost focus and maturity for a while, but found it again at the end of the game and completed the win.

There's room to improve, and there's cause for concern - but there's also room for confidence. Three weeks ago, most of you wouldn't have given us a snowball's chance in hell to beat Florida.
Things have changed. If we find our focus again this week, and keep getting better, Florida won't stand a chance.

Go Dawgs!

Win the East? I just don't know.

Ok, so Dawgfans across this nation are in a frenzy right now - and it ain't of the "Fire Mark Richt" variety. No, my beloved red and black blooded fellows and gals are of the belief that the Dawgs can actually win the East in a year that featured a 4 game losing streak - and they're right. The Dawgs were dead-to-rights three weeks ago, and people were saying Richt's team would go 1-11. Well, now we stand at 4-4, are second in the East, and playing some pretty darn good football. We COULD win it. Will we? I don't know - and the signs don't point too favorably for it.

The road doesn't get any easier. Luckily, each team remaining in the East race has its own challenges ahead. We have to play Florida and undefeated Auburn. South Carolina has TN, FL and ARK. Florida has UGA, Vandy and SC remaining.

We'll take it as a given for the sake of this argument that UGA wins out. We need South Carolina to lose twice. Looking at their remaining schedule, I just don't know that it will happen. I had hoped Vandy would take care of business and drop the Gamecocks...but betting on Vandy this year is just a bad idea. They have serious issues at QB and the defense isn't strong - even to Commodore standards.

By beating Vanderbilt, South Carolina has created a scenario where they win every tie-breaker scenario with UGA. Had South Carolina LOST to Vanderbilt, Georgia would have the opportunity to play its way into a 3-way tiebreaker. However, if Vandy wins out and South Carolina loses but one, South Carolina will win the East due to their 2-0 record against the other two teams in the tiebreaker.

If UGA can get past FL and AU, then Florida is eliminated from the East and UGA needs USC to drop two games.

For South Carolina, the Arkansas game is loseable. I just don't know about the other two. Tennessee isn't very good, and this year, neither is Florida. If Florida drops the game to Georgia, they will have four straight losses - but may catch Vandy at just the right moment. Losing to Georgia would be rough on them...but Vandy would give them a chance to rebound before taking on South Carolina.

But, I suppose I shouldn't count out Tennessee. Dooley will be pushing those guys hard, and I just can't forsee a TN team not getting an SEC victory. Maybe it can happen against SC this weekend.

In actuality, UGA could be holding the lead in the East when we head to Auburn on Nov 13. At that point, it would most likely come down to defeating a 10-0 top-3 Auburn squad in order to go to the SEC Championship game. As if that Rivalry ever needs MORE pressure applied to it.

Can these Dawgs pull it off? I just don't know.
but I'd love to see it.

GO Dawgs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What is a Champion?

The first BCS standings are out and to no surprise, people are already discussing possible "controversies." The question is, and has been since last season, if Boise State runs the table, should they be voted into the BCS title game ahead of say, a one-loss Alabama. People claim the BCS system is crap, and that a playoff would better determine who the "true" champion is.

I used to think that way. It was my opinion that championships should be won ON THE FIELD; that the only way to BE the best, was to BEAT the best. However, there is an inherent problem with that line of thinking as it pertains to the playoff format - the problem is the idea that you can guarantee a team is beating the best. So many people argue that a playoff system would decrease the importance of the regular season. I disagree with that. I believe that if you build your playoff system out of conference championships, then your regular season is still incredibly important. In the SEC, it has long been thought that once you lose, you're pretty much done. This is because it is always assumed that the best teams in the SEC will not lose more than one game, so if you've lost one, you're behind the 8 ball. Now, if you make the conference title a condition for getting into the playoffs, you haven't lost anything.


That's not what proponents of the playoffs want. They want the possibility of a Cinderella story. They want Boise State to get a shot at the big boys. And essentially, in a 16-team playoff, they'd have to beat 4 "big boys" to claim the title. Now, say somehow a 4-loss ACC team wins the ACC title and then goes on a crazy run through the playoffs and reaches the NCG against that Boise team....and then beats Boise. Boise is undefeated until that game, but loses. The ACC champ has 4 losses, then pulls out a five game winning streak to finish the season. Were they the best team in the country, or did they just hit a good winning streak at the right time?

Sounds a little bit like the NFL a few years ago. The Giants won the Superbowl, but the Patriots held an 18-0 record going into that game (including a win over The Giants). So, the Patriots and the Giants each were 1-1 against one another in the season, and the Patriots did much better the rest of the year. Still, the Giants were the champions.

Is this what we want in college football?

What exactly IS the champion of college football? Well, right now it's a popularity contest with a small "quality win" factor built in. There are actually people out there who say Boise should be "given a shot" if they go undefeated because they've been in the BCS a lot recently, and they've earned it. Here's the problem with that - the BCS teams of years past are NOT this team. So, what you're saying is that a one-loss Alabama team, with wins over multiple top-ten teams hasn't done as much to earn the right to play for the title as an undefeated Boise State who has played only one team that is even ranked in the top 25 (and that one may not even stay in the top 25). People are allowing the "sexiness" of Boise State cloud their judgment.

So, what do we want to reward?

If the idea of "Being the Best by Beating the Best" is still how we determine a champion, then surely we can't think Boise State could be a true National Champion. Why? Because anybody can have a good game. If you play a pancake schedule, then play one solid opponent at the end of the year - when your team has gelled to its max, and has had 6 weeks to prepare - why does that make you a champion? It's a path-of-least resistance model to a title...and I don't see that as championship caliber.

A few years ago, the BCS formula was changed to include more human bias and less computers. I believe this is completely backwards. Humans can get caught up in the hype. Computers have no hype. I think the main focus we need to have is on the team's resume in the year in question.

Undefeated? Great. Who'd ya beat? Oh, you beat one team in the top 25. Well, this one-loss team beat 5 top-25 teams, 2 of them in the top ten. Their only loss is also to a top ten team. Sorry, they have a better resume. I don't care that you won every game you played, you played crap games.

"But Dukes! Without the human-bias polls, how will we know who the top 25 are?" Well, for the point of this argument, it doesn't matter where your team is ranked throughout the season. It matters what the whole season looks like at the end of the year. This system would require an algorithm that digs deep into not only wins and losses, but the records of the opponents, their opponents, and the performance level of each of these teams as well. So you are undefeated and beat nine teams who all are in the bottom thirty in total and scoring defense? I don't care. This one-loss team beat six teams who are in the top twenty in those categories. They have a better resume.

I guess it all comes down to this -

What is a Champion? Is it the team that wins the most games? Is it the team that has the best resume? Is it the team that catches fire at the right time?

Personally, I like to judge things on the body of work. Playoffs do nothing for me. The whole season is a playoff. Schedule the best teams, and beat them. Then your resume' shines like diamonds in moonlight, and you're worthy of being called college football's champion.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just some quick stats to think about....

UGA (3-4) currently ranks Nationally as follows:

Total Offense: 53rd (395.29ypg)
Rushing Offense: 64th (150.43 ypg)
Passing Offense: 41st (244.86 ypg)
Scoring Offense: 51st (29.71 ppg)

Total Defense: 14th (290.14 ypg)
Rushing Defense: 16th (103.43ypg)
Passing Defense: 30th (186.71ypg)
Scoring Defense: 20th (17.43 ppg)

To finish last year:

Tot Off- 75th - 362.15
Rush- 47th - 161
Pass- 80th - 201.15
Scor - 51st - 28.92

Tot Def- 38th - 339.38
Rush- 36th - 126.15
Pass- 51st - 213.23
Score - 64th - 25.92

If this team is truly improving as the year progresses, there is simply no logical standpoint from which you could say this isn't a better team than last year. True, this version of the Dawgs has lost 4 games, but they've been turning in better performances than last year's team on average. Now, this assumes that they will finish the year as strong or stronger than they are playing right now....and I believe they will. Statistics are fickle, but at the moment, our Defense is giving up 8.5 points less per game than last year's team, and our Offense is scoring just about a point more. That's a difference of over 9 points per game. You have to like that.

Go Dawgs.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Vanderbilt put up 52 points last week. We heard alot about Norman and Stacy coming into the game. The duo picked up 62 yards on the ground. Everyone was scared about Washaun Ealey. He ran for 123, including a 58 yarder, and did not fumble. People in and around Athens watched the rest of the college football day and thought "Dear Lord, we could maybe possibly, if all goes right, win the East."

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We would have to win every SEC game from here on out, and hope South Carolina drops games to two more SEC foes. That's going to be hard.

"But Dukes! The run game is back! The defense is solid. We're gonna be awesome from here on out!"

Be objective, kids. The bottom of the SEC East used to be Vandy and Kentucky. Kentucky has taken big leaps forward, and will be a contender in the near future. Vanderbilt is the one that still lags behind. Don't get overly excited about UGA's success running against Vandy. Vanderbilt is #96 in the nation in Rushing Defense. Luckily for UGA...Kentucky is #87. UK had no answer for South Carolina while Lattimore was in the game. Vanderbilt is 60th in the country in rushing...Kentucky, 57.

We seem to have the edge on the ground.

Vanderbilt's passing offense is 101st in the country. Kentucky's is 25th. Get ready to see our DBs actually be tested this week. Against Vandy, there were throws...but they weren't anything to be afraid of. Mike Hartline is 100x the quarterback Larry Smith is. If we don't sack him, we could be in trouble.

I'm as excited as anyone about the direction in which we're moving - but be ready folks, these blowouts ain't gonna continue all season.

(But I'd love one on Halloween weekend)

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's in a number?

Just a quick thought -

Some people have said you should never take the number of a great player immediately after he's had it. They say you won't be likely to perform well, and certainly not up the standards set by the previous owner. Some people say jersey numbers can become cursed, and that no one who wears it will be a strong performer.

I've never found either idea to be particularly true. I'm sure people will be able to dig into their memory files and find examples that both prove and disprove the theories.

#14 David Greene was incredible. His successor, #14 Joe Cox, wasn't so memorable.
#1 Mohamed Massaqoui was a damn good playmaker, as is his successor, Branden Smith.
#24 Knowshon Moreno was very very good, and #24 Washaun Ealy looked amazing last season.

Then #24 Washaun Ealy became #3 Washaun Ealy and started fumbling the ball in crucial situations, and apparently lost some of his field vision. Who wore #3 before Ealy? Well, that would be Bryan Evans - did Evans "curse" the number?

At the end of the day, the numbers on a kid's back have nothing to do with how successful he can/will be at the game of football....but it's certainly a fun thing to think about.

Can anyone remember a great #47 after David Pollack?
How has the #33 done since Odell Thurman left?
#10 sure created some memories back in the day.

I wonder if any of these kids who have been kicked off the team/transferred out/injured beyond repair, etc....I wonder if they wore cursed jerseys. Who'll do the research? I put it to you.

Go Dawgs.

And if he does...

If the coaches decide that our best chance of beating Vanderbilt involves pulling the redshirt off Ken Malcome and letting the kid tote the rock a bit, there are some things we need to understand.

First, we're in trouble. This isn't Florida. This isn't Auburn or Alabama. This is Vanderbilt. This is a team that Georgia should not have trouble beating. Ever. It's not just because of Georgia's long history, it's not just because they're a higher "academic" institution. It's because those kids just flat-out shouldn't be able to play with Georgia. Most of their starters would not be 2nd string at Georgia or Alabama. Sure, some of them would...but most would not. I don't say the same about Mississippi State or Ole Miss or even Colorado, because those are large state institutions with access to higher-level recruits. Vanderbilt loses most of the best TN athletes to UT, and surrounding state high-level recruits go to their state institutions or those better known for football.

Simply put, if our BEST chance to defeat them is in the hands of a kid who has thus far been deemed as "too raw" to play ball this season, then we are in trouble.

Now, getting past that - do NOT expect this kid to be a barn-burner. He does not have a great deal of top-end speed. Malcome is a bruiser. He has a low center of gravity and he's thickly built. He's a great deal like the other two featured tailbacks in Georgia's rotation. So, if he's in the game, you're likely to not see much difference - except maybe in the specifics of his play. I don't know how well he picks up blockers. I don't know what his field vision is like. I don't know much about him at all. But, I do know that if he were a full-on stud tailback, he'd probably have been playing before a suspension during VANDY week forced him into it.

Don't get me wrong, the kid was a 4-star recruit, and I'm sure he's quite talented. Maybe he's even talented enough to provide a spark to an otherwise stagnant running game. I don't know. I just don't want people thinking he's likely to come in and take over the game. I'm fairly sure that if we're using him, we're using him to spell Ealy. Of course, if you ask me, that's a waste.

If you're gonna burn the kid's redshirt - do it with purpose. Give him enough of the load to make it worth him losing a year of eligibility. If he only knows 5 plays, then put him in the game for twenty plays, and let him block 10 times, and run those other plays a couple of times apiece. Who knows? Maybe he'll hit an off-tackle for 35 yards and a score. My point is, you don't burn a kid's redshirt just so Ealy can take six plays off over the course of a game. If Ealy needs six plays rest, you send in Chapas and Munzenmeier, and you run some kind of roll-out pass. Or, you go empty backfield shotgun.

Also, if Malcome does play, that has to be a good thing for the recruitment of Isiah Crowell. Why? Well, if Malcome plays, UGA has zero freshman on the depth chart next season. Add Crowell, and we have 1. What does that mean? Well, it means that the chance of Crowell himself redshirting is even lower. Whenever you have a top-tier recruit looking at your school, and he sees that you play true freshmen (7 so far this season, 8 if Malcome plays), he likes it. When he sees you play a true freshman at HIS position, he has to like it even more. Why? Because that means there is competition at his position, and most of these top-tier recruits believe they can win those positional battles. Simply put, if Malcome plays, we are telling Crowell that our RB position is not set in stone for this year, let alone next year, and that if he comes to UGA, he can compete for a starting spot. He sure ain't getting that at Bama.

Whatever the decision this week, I'm sure Richt and Co will be doing what's best for the team. You put the guys on the field who give you the best chance of winning the game. If that's Ken Malcome, bring on #24!

Go Dawgs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If Malcome doesn't play...

So, Caleb King's been suspended for two games. First off, let me say that I'm not the biggest fan of just "letting things slide" but if what I hear about this story is true, I think a two-game suspension is a bit much. Now, since Mark Richt is a hell of a lot closer to his program than I am, I'm going to assume that perhaps what I hear about this story isn't quite accurate.

What I hear: King couldn't afford to pay the fine for his speeding ticket. His Uncle said he'd take care of it. He gave the ticket to the Uncle. Unc didn't do what he said. King got arrested.

Now, this doesn't show the best judgment by King. I mean, if I gave a ticket to my Uncle under the assumption that he would pay it, you better believe that at least 2 weeks before my court date, I would call that Uncle and ask if it'd been taken care of. I also might put away a little money each week just in case he didn't come through. But, I don't know King's uncle...perhaps he's someone who generally comes through. Either way, what's done is done - but if that's the whole story, two games seems kinda rough. It's not like he sold a jersey for $500.

Anyway, I said all that to get to this: Ealy now becomes our top choice at runningback. What does that mean? Well, for me it means that our redzone offense is now pass-heavy. Inside the ten, I think the fullbacks should be carrying the ball. I know the coaches have more confidence in Ealy, and that he carried the ball inside the 10 once without fumbling last week (though he did fumble inside the 5 earlier in the game)...but I'd be curious to see what his "fumblin' in side the ten" percentage is. Don't get me wrong, Washaun is a pretty good back. He's not the best in pass protection, but he's a big fan of fighting for tough yards, which I like.

Carlton Thomas is still hampered by a hamstring injury. So, the list at HB gets shorter and shorter. Could Fred Munzenmeier be a possibility at tailback? I say yes. I mean, I don't expect him to get a ton of work there this week, but the kid is a strong blocker, and he's got some deceptive wheels as well. He could definitely spell Ealy from time to time. Plus, I just like the thought of a Chapas-Munzy backfield...that's some serious size. Line up Bruce Figgins at tightend, and let's run some off-tackle!

There's also Wes Van Dyk. Now, I know most of you have absolutely no idea who Wes Van Dyk is. He's a Junior Walk-on who impressed me at G-Day. Any of you who were at G-Day may remember a white kid getting in at TB late in the game, and running straight through the defense. That was Wes Van Dyk. I'm not saying he's some hidden weapon who is primed to become a big-time starter at UGA. I'm saying the kid is a role-player who works his tail off, and could fill-in and get some carries. Plus, the Mark Richt era has always been good for producing some Walk-On kid who becomes a house-hold name...Verron Haynes, Tra Battle, etc. And this isn't a national title game - let's be real...this is Vanderbilt we're talking about.

I know there are some closet Vandy fans out there. Hell, I "coach" Vanderbilt in my PS3 online Dynasty (UGA was already taken by my friend Chris...Damn you, Chris!). I've always kinda liked Vandy simply because they give it their all in a conference they know they'll never win. Love it. Still, this game shouldn't be close. The way Murray, Green, TKing and Troupe can stretch the field, Vandy shouldn't be able to hang around with us. That should open up the run game even more. Left Defensive End Tim Fugger worries be, because the guy likes to cause fumbles. I don't want him anywhere near Washaun Ealy.

Anyway, If Malcome doesn't play, he keeps his redshirt, he keeps learning, and we still have the depth at TB to let Ealy take a break every now and again. Hey, maybe we'll even go Shotgun-Empty some. And, I could definitely see more WR runs in the package this week. I'm a big fan of keeping redshirts on kids once you've decided they "ain't ready for prime-time." Some proponents of playing Malcome think back just a few years to when Knowshon was redshirted. They believe Knowshon should have played his true freshman year. But really, he didn't start getting the majority of the carries until well into his redshirt freshman year. If he was ready-to-go as a true freshman, he would have been getting the carries. Aaron Murray wasn't ready-to-go last year. People want to think he probably was, but he wasn't. You can look at how much he's progressed just from the beginning of the season to now, and from G-Day to now. Then think about how much further along he is BECAUSE he had a year to learn the system.

If the coaches haven't thought Malcome was ready to go yet, then I hate the thought of burning his redshirt simply because of a two-game suspension during a two-game span when we should win games rather easily. Also, do you burn a kid's redshirt simply so he can "spell" your starter? I certainly don't think so. But then, I don't get paid millions a year to make those decisions.

Go Dawgs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

UGA fans drive me damn near next to crazy - Part Deux

I got into the stadium at Colorado as the 2nd quarter began. They scored, we got the ball. A silver-haired (and not because of school pride hair paint) woman in front of me said, "Watch Bobo...we're gonna throw deep on 1st down, when we miss it, we're gonna run it up the middle twice, and then punt." On 1st down, AJ Green took an end-around 40 yards to the Colorado 40. Then Caleb King busted a 32 yard run down to 8. Murray scrambled on 1st down, then on second down threw a ball up for AJ Green, who made the catch of the year so far.

I leaned into the woman's ear and said, "I don't think you called those plays, dear." She replied curtly, "Neither did Mike Bobo." This is the kind of bullshit that I just can't stand from UGA fans. It's like all they want is to believe the negative. Later in the game, when we were driving again, another fan, this one drunk and boisterous enough to have been nicknamed "Georgia Terry Bradshaw" by my friend The Petis, was going on and on about how Mike Bobo wasn't calling the plays, because we were being too successful. I read all the crap about Bobo on the message boards - it's as if people are PRAYING he will fail. Fans want his head...for no good reason.

Look, a few weeks ago, when we lost to South Carolina, I thought maybe, just maybe, Bobo was to blame. So, I did the digging. I did the legwork. I looked into Bobo's offensive production, and did NOT see a significant dropoff from when Richt was calling plays. In fact, I saw an upswing in a few categories. If you haven't read those blogs, you can find them to the right. Just click on "September" and look at the Mike Bobo as OC and Mark Richt as OC links.

I read something this morning from a fellow blogger who I respect, but also differ with in opinion, Andy Coleman, who suggested this week was the first time Bobo has put together a competent gameplan. This simply isn't true. He poses the question - Why has it taken so long to allow Murray to do what he's doing? I love how often I read that. Does it seriously not occur to the fans that maybe, just MAYBE, Murray is doing these things better now than he was early in the season?

Or do people actually believe that Murray hasn't gotten any better - that he was this good on Day 1, and hasn't progressed? Because, if you're thinking Bobo should have called game 2 like he called game 6, then that's what you're saying. Of course....he kinda DID call game 2 like he called game 6. Against TN there was still a heavy dose of playaction with a running game that wasn't consistent. The difference? Well, the line blocked a little better. Murray had time, and he hit receivers. Murray didn't throw behind his tight-end inside the five. Ealy's redzone fumble didn't hurt us this time. TN is not as good as South Carolina, and we beat the slop out of a team we should beat. But in all honesty, the gameplan wasn't incredibly different.

It was executed better.

Fans want to blame the kids' arrests on the coaches. They want to blame dropped balls and missed blocks on the coaches. They want to blame poor angles and missed tackles on the coaches. All of this because the fans are attached to "Georgia Football" with a love and a passion that sometimes makes them blind to the simplest of facts - sometimes, it's the kids.

On Saturday, we didn't start playing option football. We didn't start going to the Pistol formation, a ton of wildcat, an air-raid offense, etc. Bobo's offense is a Pro-Style offense. He's gonna run the ball up the middle, he's gonna play action, and he's gonna mix in some shotgun stuff as well. That didn't change this week. What changed was the way the kids executed that offense. anyone gonna give credit for THAT to the coaches?

Go Dawgs.

UGA fans drive me damn near next to crazy.

Yes, Caleb King got arrested. Is it a big deal? No. The kid got a speeding ticket, then for some reason didn't pay it and a bench warrant was issued. Does this show incredible decision making ability? No. Is it something we should be extremely concerned about? No.


People in the blogosphere are calling for him to be kicked off the team. Are you frikkin' kidding me? You want to end the kid's career at UGA and toss him out of school for failure to pay a speeding ticket?


When a kid is arrested for burglary or for a numerous DUIs or for fondling a co-ed, and then tries to cover it up and such, I get it. I understand that is the kind of thing most of us can't stomach....but speeding? Really? You want to kick a kid out of school for speeding? Get of your high-horse, UGA fans. Most of you probably sped on your way to work this morning. One or two of you could possibly have gotten a ticket. It's something that happens, and it sucks...kinda like when a receiver drops a ball, it gets kicked around, and a DB happens to be there to catch it. The QB gets an interception. That's horseshit. So is the ire at a kid who failed to pay a parking ticket.


Go Dawgs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How soon it's forgotten...

Coming into this year, one of the primary story lines of the UGA-UT game was sure to be the romance between Bacarri Rambo and Da'Rick Rogers. But, in the throws of terrible seasons, it looks like the fanbases have other things to worry about. Rogers has caught three passes at UT. Not exactly the barn-burning freshman year he anticipated. Bacarri Rambo is hardly known for destroying receivers coming over the middle.

Will we see these two take their battle from the Twitter board over to the field?

I don't know, and I don't care. Like most fans, I just want a damn win.

Go Dawgs.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Energizing the Fan Base...

My friend Bob is a writer. We work together and often times finish our day with talks of college football. Bob is an avid fan of Texas and I am, of course, a Dawgfan. Yesterday he posed the question of what happens with Richt at the end of the season. He's been reading the same news across the college football media that says Richt is in dire straits, that he's past his prime, that he can no longer bring the wins. Bob is curious as to whether Will Muschamp might be plucked away from UT and inserted at UGA by our brand new AD, Greg McGarity.

I told him I didn't see it happening. I told him that I seriously doubt the new AD will come in and fire a proven winner who is struggling through a difficult season. He took the contradictory position. He said there's no better way for McGarity to energize the fanbase and get people excited about Georgia football than to fire the Head Coach. This led me to today's blog.

Bob is out of his frikkin mind.

There is a better way to energize the fanbase and get people excited about Georgia Football - that way is TO WIN FOOTBALL GAMES. That way is TO WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. That way is TO TURN THIS THING AROUND.

Changing coaches does not do that. I read Tony Barnhardt's column today with excitement. He's a guy who truly "gets it." I love Mr CFB. He lays it out in plain language so that even the most lay of lay-persons can understand. When you fire a proven coach, you better be extremely careful in doing so. There's not always an Urban Meyer, a Nick Saban, a Mark Richt sitting there waiting for that job to open up. It took Bama a while to get to Saban. Florida didn't find Meyer on its first try. Tennessee botched the deal by taking Kiffin, and may have done a decent job of rebounding with Dooley - that remains to be seen. Chizik at Auburn? They look good right now - how will they finish?

More often than not, when a program makes a coaching change, it gets worse before it gets better. Sure people are excited at the "hope" of something new - but let's be realists, when this season is over, fans will start buzzing with recruiting news. They will buzz about spring practice, and by the time fall gets here, they will be plenty excited about the hope of a new season. That hope and excitement would not be increased by bringing in a new coach. In fact, that would raise even more questions about whether or not the personnel can adapt to a new philosophy, a new scheme. People would wonder what this new coach will do with the old coach's personnel...and how long it would take to get "his recruits in."

Want to see the UGA fanbase get energized? Deliver a win against UT in Sanford - and deliver it resoundingly. Follow that up with a pounding of Vanderbilt, and if at all possible, a shocking win over Auburn.

THAT will get the fanbase energized. THAT will get them excited. Do those things, and maybe - just maybe, Joe Everymangeorgiafan will start to see that this downturn has light on the horizon. Yes, there will still be the negative crowd who won't be able to help themselves when they scream "Why haven't we been playing like this all year??!" Yes, there will be those who bemoan the thought that Richt will have bought himself another year to right the ship. Still, there will be a great many more who will simply be excited to see the "W" column start to even out with the "L" column. They will cheer, and chant, and buy t-shirts, and look forward to 2011.

I will be among them.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yes, your honor..I'm still defending him.

People are saying our program is in a decline. Mark Bradley says the problem is Mark Richt, that he's outlived his usefulness. Many who haven't had a good lesson in the history of UGA football are siding with him. They see simply what has happened with Meyer at FL and Saban at AL, and wonder "Why not us?" Well, if you remember, Richt jumped out to a pretty impressive start at UGA. In another season, his 13-1 record of 2002 would have given him a national title. However, it wasn't so. His longevity has become his enemy. It will be interesting to see how Meyer's doing 10 years down the road....and Saban as well. People forget that a true Longevity Coach is hard to find. Some are saying we're on the way to continual losing seasons. In response to the idea that we're on the way to the "Coach Butts era, when we were 4-7, 5-6 etc", I penned this:

In that Butts era you mention, there were MANY championships. There was [also] a stretch from 48-58 with only three winning seasons (5/6 losing seasons from 1953-1958), then in 1959, a 10-1 SEC title season. Butts had 14 winning seasons, 7 losing seasons, and a .500 season. He claimed 4 SEC titles and one Natty. I wasn't around, but were the titles worth the painful years?

You also lived through the Vince Dooley era, where there were stretches of 6-6 seasons. In fact, the stretch from 1977-1979 was 5-6, 9-2, 6-5. Then.......12-0. Was the program in a decline? Was it the players not being talented, or the coaches not coaching them up? What was it?

Butts - 22 seasons - 5 title seasons...that's one every 4.4 seasons.

Dooley - 25 seasons - 6 title seasons...that's one every 4.16 seasons.

Richt - 10 seasons - 2 2title seasons...that's one every 5 seasons thus far.

To be fair, if you cut Butts or Dooley to only their first ten years, you get two title seasons for Dooley, and three for Butts.

What am I saying? I'm saying that as much as many of you hate to realize it, you have a coach in Mark Richt who is every bit the coach that Dooley and Butts were. Dooley and Butts both had their ups and downs, but they were the right men for the job. They were longevity coaches - men who could weather the storm of painful years, make adjustments, and bring the team back up. When Richt says "keep the faith," he's not saying that the fanbase should trust in God to set the Dawgs back on some righteous path of winning. He's saying that the fanbase needs to realize that these ups and downs happen, and you need to keep faith that though we're in a valley, a peak is on the horizon.

I was in Boulder this weekend, I didn't get the invite to Mullen's wedding - I guess this shows that I've also lost the faith of my fanbase :) - and while watching these kids play, I was shocked at the outcome. I wasn't shocked at the progression of the game...but I was absolutely shocked at the outcome. There was never a point during the game when I believed we would lose. I watched our defense dominate those guys for most of the day. I watched our offense move up and down the field. When we got the ball that last time, I was certain we would drive down and win - and then, we didn't. And that sums up much of this season..."And then, we didn't."

When I was in High School, we had some pretty talented players on my football team. A bunch played D-1 ball, and a few have reached the NFL. When I was a sophomore we had one of our most physically gifted teams. We went 5-5. Our two best linemen graduated, one went to Purdue on scholarship. Our best linebackers graduated. Our star tight-end graduated. The next season, we went 6-4. Again, we lost great talent to graduation. One of our OL was drafted by the Boston Red Sox organization. One went to play at Furman. Our best corner got a scholarship to Kentucky. Our star tailback moved on. In all, we lost 4 OL, 2 DL, 2DB, 2LB, TB, WR, TE to graduation and such.

The next season was my senior year. Our best option at Center? Me. I was 6' and 200 lbs at the time...and not the greatest athlete known to man. Our Guards? Two sophomores. Our tailback? A freshman kid named Bruce Thornton (yes, THAT Bruce Thornton). We went 10-0. I don't think I played in the second half of a game after week 5.

The coaches didn't change.

We didn't suddenly become more talented.

We weren't suddenly bigger, faster and stronger.

The corps of that team had weathered some seriously crap seasons, and had come together as a unit. We had put in the work, and we believed in one another. That coach...the one who coached us out of that crap into the 10-0 season, he went on to be the Georgia Coach of the Decade in the 2000's, winning a couple of state titles. He also had a 1-9 season, and I believe a 2-8.

Football is cyclical at all levels. Even when you look at the NFL. That's why "Dynasties" are so rare. No team can stay on top for too long - but the best teams will always rise back up. Georgia has done that before, and will do it again. THIS is the faith you need to have. I know as a fanbase we've grown weary of saying, "There's always next year." We want next year to arrive. We want our Dawgs to come out on top. We squandered that during the second cycle under Richt. He made bad decision in hiring Willie Martinez as BVG's successor. Now, he has corrected that error. Though the defense hasn't been stellar, let's be honest - they gave us chances to win each of these games. With the exception of South Carolina, we have had the ball with a chance to win late in the 4th. And in the case of SC, if we only give up 17, we should win. So, people have turned the ire toward Bobo...and while I did that myself after the USC game, I have tempered that anger in the following weeks. Bobo called a very good game in Boulder. He mixed things up. He used his playmakers. He didn't stick to I-formation play action when the run wasn't working. He exploited weaknesses in the opposing defense. This team will be better for what it's going through right now. And THAT is the faith Richt is telling people to have - will we? I know there are some who will not. Of course, that's up to each of us to decide for ourselves.

Go Dawgs.

"I said I was Sorry"

This was the theme of my weekend trip to Boulder, and I'm certain it's echoed by Caleb King, Brandon Boykin, Mark Richt, Mike Bobo, and many others. In my own group of friends, this sentiment was tossed about for various reasons, not the least of which was when, during a rousing "Georgia - Bulldogs" cheer, I brought my chair down directly on the sandal-clad toe of Matt, a member of our group. He did not yell. He did not scream. He did little more than say, "GEORGIA! (you're on my toe) GEORGIA!" It was something to behold.

It's this kind of patience I hope the fanbase will give to the team which is bringing them such pain in this season. "GEORGIA! (you're really hurting my pride) GEORGIA! (c'mon guys, win a game) GEORGIA! (please turn this around)"

I think reiterating "Nobody's happy" 1,000 times does none of us any good. We all know we aren't happy. The fanbase isn't happy with the mounting number of "L"s in the second column. Richt and Co aren't happy with the performance of the team. The team itself isn't happy with the results they are getting. And why should we be? There has been very little to be excited about.

Well, kind of.

As I mentioned earlier, I was in Boulder. I didn't actually make it into the stadium until the second quarter, just in time to see Colorado score to go up 14-3. Then, AJ came alive, and so did the rest of the Georgia team. Let me say this, at no point during my viewing of the game did I ever think we would lose that game. I saw us go down 14-3. Then, moments later, it was 14-10. We shut them down. Then we were up 17-14. This was what I had expected. We drove down the field again, and looked poised to take a 24-14 lead into halftime. Then.....the "interception?" I haven't had the benefit of examining it on tivo, but on the day, it sure looked like that kid was standing about 2 yards out of bounds when he got control of the ball. I guess not. Still, we intercepted them right back and were again in business.

That's when Aaron Murray made a freshman mistake and got greedy. The team lined up in split-back Shotgun, a formation that has been very successful for us over the years. I saw Carlton Thomas lined up to Murray's left, and two wideouts to the left as well. I guessed at the call. I said, "He's gonna hit Thomas on a swing pass." The play started, and AJ Green and the other Wideout (I think it was Troupe) ran downfield, taking the two DBs in man coverage with them. No one covered Thomas as he slipped into the flat on a swing pass. No one was within ten yards of Thomas - but Murray never looked in his direction. He had AJ Green in 1-1 coverage, and wanted the points. He threw a half-second late, and the DB caught up with AJ, knocking the ball away. Had Murray seen Thomas, the play would have been good for a first down, maybe even a score. Bobo will show him that in film, and he'll see it next time.

Still, we looked ready to take a 20-14 lead....until a rare Walsh miss.

Coming out of the half, we added another score and were up 24-14. Again, I felt like this is where we should be - riding our talent to score after score. But, somewhere along the way, players lost focus, perhaps a referee did as well (did a single Bulldog touch that kicker?), and we didn't get it done. That's what the fumble at the end of the game represented - a loss of focus, and just not getting it done.

People ask how I can still be positive about the Bulldawgs, given the on-field product we've seen this season, and the off-field issues as well. These questions come from those who've never been in the arena as well as those who have. It's hard for any of us to put a finger on why we should be optimistic. But, I'll tell you what I see. I was in that stadium, and I watched a team fighting, scratching, clawing. Against MSU last week, I saw Boykin go in and strip the ball from Relph before he took a knee, only to find out that the ref had blown the whistle to stop the play - for no particular reason. Against CU, I saw the defense laying the hammer down. There were hits out there like I haven't seen in YEARS for UGA. We got after the quarterback. Boykin and Smith made reads and hits that would make Thomas Brown cringe. Dowtin picked off a pass. It just didn't seem to all come together at the right moments.

And that happens. You have those games - and sometimes, you have those seasons.

But, teams learn from these types of seasons. They gain trust in one another and pull together. Kids learn the new defensive scheme, and improve. Kids learn about reading defenses in live action, and improve. Kids scratch and claw and fight and eventually find a way to win. And then they truly begin to believe - in each other, in their abilities, etc.

The reason we always look forward to next year? Because in next year, there's hope. In this year, there's pain. Here's to letting this year's pain pay off in dividends next season. I told you I thought we could be big winners this year. I was wrong. But, "I said I was sorry."

Go Dawgs.