Sunday, December 2, 2012

I want to be angry...

... But I can't.  Yes, it'd be easy to blame Murray for not spiking that ball.  But to be honest, he had the back-shoulder throw to Mitchell open...the ball was tipped.  I could blame Connely for catching it, but he's a RS freshman receiver who's always been caught to catch the ball...he's not going to think to knock it down.  I could be pissed that our defense allowed so many rushing yards...but when they had to make a stop, they did.  They gave the offense the ball in the 4th with a chance to win it.  That's what you ask for in a game of that magnitude against an opponent of that quality.

In the weeks and months to come, we'll scrutinize our defensive scheme.  We'll look at the huge rushing yards given up in some games this year, and we'll wonder if it's a scheme thing or a performance thing or a talent thing.  

At the end of the day though, we went toe to toe with the best football program in the nation for four quarters, and came up a few yards shy of a victory.  Is that something to be happy about?  Hell no.  Never be happy with losing.  That's for losers.  

But, it's a hell of a statement about the state of Georgia football.  We want a program that can compete for championships annually.  We have that.  We've dropped our last two SEC Championship Games.  That hurts.  

Still, as a program, we're in as good a position as we've ever been in my lifetime as a fan.  Two years removed from a losing season, we were moments away from a National Title.  I experienced every emotion during that game, and I'm now left with the most powerful one - longing.  

That longing will carry me into January, and then into a fall of excitement.  Do I wish we'd win tonight?  You're damn right I do.  But, I'm also damn glad to be a graduate of UGA, and a member of a fraternity of lettermen from this school.  Tonight, we lost...but it's still great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Go Dawgs

- Dukes

Post-Script:  This was written immediately after the game last night, before it came to light that Murray checked with Richt, and Richt told him not to spike the ball.  I don't have a problem with the decision, as I said above.  But, the outcome truly blows.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

That Explosive Offense Thing...

All year long we've heard about how explosive our offense can be (provided we don't mention that night in South Carolina).  So, I decided to peek into that stat just a bit.  I found some interesting results.  Here's how Georgia ranks nationally and in the SEC on Long-Plays from scrimmage.

10+ Yards:  201 plays - 23rd FBS, 3rd SEC (TA&M, UT)
20+ Yards:  75 plays - 7th FBS, 2nd SEC (TA&M)
30+ Yards:  38 plays - 3rd FBS, 2nd SEC (TA&M)
40+ Yards:  24 plays - 2nd FBS (Baylor), 1st SEC
50+ Yards:  13 plays - 3rd FBS (Miami, UtahState T-1), 1st SEC
60+ Yards:    7 plays - 5th FBS, 2nd SEC (Vandy)
70+ Yards:    2 plays  - T-38th FBS, T-6th SEC

Looks like we really need to work on our 70+ yard offensive gameplan.

We're also tied for 9th in the country with 62 Touchdowns, which is 2nd in the SEC behind TA&M's 72.
(Alabama is in 12th at 61)

Go Dawgs.

That Pesky Ol' Stat...

At the beginning of the season, I wrote a blog about the Georgia Defense's failure to stop opponents in the red-zone.  In fact, until the Missouri game, we hadn't stopped any opponent in our redzone since Florida in 2011.  That's horrible.

Well, folks....

Things are better.  Looking up our opponents' redzone scoring percentage today made me pretty happy.  Georgia ranks 13th nationally, and second in the SEC (AL #1 Naitonally, #1 SEC) with an opponents' scoring percentage of 71.05% (AL 60.87%).

The interesting part for me, though, is in the Opponent's TD percentage, where Georgia (15 Nationally, 4th SEC) LEADS Alabama (18th Nationally, 6th SEC) 47.37% - 47.83%.  Of course, we can see how small the difference is, but still, it's nice to know that from the standpoint of Redzone Touchdowns, our defense is on par with what is seen as the defensive standard in college football.

Naturally, these statistics are only hard-number statistics, and do not factor in anything like garbage-time points, quality of opponent, etc...but our defense is playing at a hell of a level right now, and it'll be interesting to see how they square off against the crowned-king of Bama.

Go Dawgs.

Victory Helmet Updated

Sorry it's taken me a while, folks...but you'll see the 2012 Victory Helmet is now fully updated.  Feel free to steal and share the image if you'd like.

Go Dawgs!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fire Mark Richt? Kiss My Class.

Oh man, he just keeps winning football games.  The Anti-Richt/Bobo crowd has got to be kicking itself in the balls....all the way to the Georgia Dome.  That's right, kids...ANOTHER appearance in the SEC title game.  Last time that happened?  04-05...when Georgia lost the '04 contest, then won the '05.  Back-to-back victories against Florida.  Last time that happened?  1988-1989.  Shutout Auburn.  Last time that happened?    1976.  Eight victories in eleven tries against Auburn.  Last time that happened?  Not since the game was played in Columbus Georgia in the 40's and 50's.

Sorry haters, Richt is a Good Damn Coach, and he ain't goin' anywhere.

There are those who hate his style and his demeanor, who complain that he's too much of a choir-boy.  There are those who hate his benching of players as a measure of discipline.
There are those who wish he was more of a mean sommommabitch, because you know, that's what it takes to win.

Well, I think you haters can just pucker up and Kiss His Class.  Richt wins, and he does it the right way.  We're a few weeks from finding out if he can go up against the "best" coach in the SEC and beat him (as he has a couple times already) and possibly get a chance to play for the elusive BCS title.

But even if he doesn't, I think it's fair to say that Richt is back in a big way, and that this latest crop of young players (Gurley, Marshall, Mitchell, Jenkins, Swann, etc) may be the best he's brought Georgia.  Bright things are on the horizon, and when the spotlight is already on the program, that's a pretty great thing to be able to say.

Go Dawgs.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Better, but not Best

Aaron Murray, God Love Him.

Did he lift the monkey from him back?  Hard to say for me.  To call Murray's performance yesterday a good one, I'd have to have one less eye and a Disney-Dawg's heart.  I will, however, give him credit where it is due.  Mike Bobo put the game in his hands in the fourth quarter.  We were only up by one, y'all.  We were holding on by one little point and Bobo decided to go with the passing game.  He picked the guy who had already tossed three interceptions to go out and win the game for us.  He decided that Florida may gang up on the run, and so the throws would be there.  Bobo bet on Murray....

and Bobo won.  So did Georgia.

Unlike previous big-game performances, Aaron Murray looked great on the final drive.  Of course, that was largely due to Malcolm Mitchell's clutch catch-and-run.

Did we get lucky with a penalty?  Yup.  Did fortune shine on us with an instant replay overturn?  It did.  Still, the final big throw had to be made.  Murray had to throw a back-shoulder pass (his specialty) to a receiver running a stop-route against tight man coverage.  In the past, Murray might have let that moment overtake him.  He might have sailed the ball over Mitchell's head.  He might have thrown it too far inside, and had the ball picked by Purifoy.

Not this time.

No, this time Murray made the throw.  He overcame three first-half interceptions.  He overcame a couple of big drops by his receivers.  He stood in the face of the blitz and tossed a pass that put his receiver in a position to break the game open with an amazing run.

The final statline is not impressive.  50% completion for 150 yards, 3 interceptions and 1 touchdown.

But, the one touchdown was a huge one.  When Aaron Murray absolutely had to make a throw, he made a hell of a throw...and Georgia won as the result.

Like I said, I don't know that the monkey is off his back....but it looks like the thing's grip is pretty damn strained.  The good news?  We should see the other Aaron Murray for the rest of the season...  you know, the one that plays amazing against bad defenses.  And maybe...just maybe, he'll prove to be the SEC's best in the SEC title game.

Go Dawgs!

Just call him Clutch

A kid who was known as a hell of a playmaker had not quite taken the fanbase by storm.  There were mixed emotions.  We saw the potential.  We had seen some results.  But, in crucial moments in the past (namely big games like the SEC title game), he had faltered.  Many thought perhaps we'd just been caught up in the hype of another highly-rated recruit, who seemed to have all he needed on the field, but perhaps not everything he needed between the ears.  Perhaps he wasn't the kind of player who will win you the game in the waning moments.

I'm talking, of course, about Malcolm Mitchell.  (See what I did there?  You thought I was taking a step back on my disapproval of BigGame Murray.  Nope.)

With about 7 minutes to go in the first quarter, Malcolm Mitchell caught his second of two consecutive passes.  He wouldn't catch another until Georgia's final scoring drive.  In the interim, he would frighten fans by catching a punt with three gators surrounding him and no fair-catch called.  He would inexplicably run the ball out from six yards deep in the endzone on kickoffs.  After his first catch on that final drive, he would even talk trash, and cost his team ten yards.  He didn't look like a player who was going to win the game for Georgia.

Then he made a clutch reception on 2nd down.  The play was initially called incomplete, but careful review showed Mitchell pull the ball in, turn, and touch his knee to the ground (ending the play) before the ball was stripped.  This gave the Dawgs a 3rd and five instead of a 3rd and ten, which was the key in the final play.  Because the Gators had to defend only five yards instead of ten, they couldn't sit back in deep zones.  They would have to play up on the Dawgs receivers, so as to not allow a quick-hitter for a first down.  Purifoy, the best cover-corner on Florida's roster, covered up Mitchell and played bump-and-run.  What's the best route-pass combination for that coverage?  A stop route, with a back-shoulder throw.  Murray made the throw, and that's why you may want to lean toward calling HIM clutch...but it was Mitchell's run-after-catch that was truly the gamebreaker.  Not only did he run a fantastic route and make a fantastic catch, but he read the men in front of him, made his cuts, picked up enough of a block to get a crease, and then exploded into the endzone.

It was clutch.  Bobo put the game in the hands of Aaron Murray and Malcolm Mitchell.  Murray had been struggling.  The receivers hadn't been helping.  But when the game was on the line, they came through.  Murray made a few throws, and then Mitchell helped his qb in the best way possible - by scoring a TD that would prevent the much-maligned Junior from needing to make another decision.  Murray wouldn't have to decide what coverage he was seeing.  He wouldn't need to go through his progressions and worry about forcing a pass.  No, Malcolm Mitchell had scored a TD that put the Dawgs ahead by 8, and Murray's big-game woes were gone.

That, my "Clutch."

Go Dawgs.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shot at Redemption

Collegiate athletes face more public tests of their ability than most people face in their entire lifetimes.  Every week, a player can be a hero - or a goat.  Not so in the lives of so many fans.  Also uniquely theirs, is the opportunity to spin perception on a dime.  In the early part of the 2012 season, Aaron Murray was seen as somewhat of a Heisman Candidate.  Many thought he had truly matured and become a championship-caliber quarterback.  He would finally be able to win the big games, to lead the Bulldogs back to the promised land.

Then South Carolina.

For the first five weeks of the season, the offensive line had looked quite strong.  They were opening big holes for young running backs.  They were holding their own against the pass rush, protecting Aaron Murray.  They were getting out to their assignments on the edge and allowing runs to get big yardage.

Then South Carolina.

A young pair of runningbacks dominated early competition.  They exploded for huge runs.  They ran out of arm-tackles.  They punished defenders instead of taking punishment themselves.  They garnered the love of a fanbase, and even of the media.  They found a nickname - Gurshall.  

Then South Carolina.

After the South Carolina game, the fanbase soured.  Our shot had been lost in many eyes.  We were again underachieving.  For the 8th time in 10 tries, UGA had lost to a ranked opponent.  That's not a record that instills a great amount of confidence.  Georgia was behind the eight ball.  We were forced to sit and wait, and hope that a miracle would happen.  We would have to hope that the team that had so thoroughly dominated our squad in Columbia that night would falter, that they would fail, that Steve Spurrier had not yet coached them into a position to run with success, but rather that being so unaccustomed to it, they would let it slip through their hands.

Then South Carolina....lost....and lost again.

So now Georgia, the team whose offense crumbled against South Carolina, stands poised to once again take the reigns of the SEC East Race.  The Dawgs did not impress against an overmatched Kentucky team.  Oh sure, Aaron Murray was back to early-season form...but what else would we expect?  He was facing a team that had no chance to match up with his receiving corps.  He wasn't in a "big game"... so naturally, he was going to light up the scoreboard.  A career day for him, but the stain from the USC game lingers.  The running game wasn't on point against Kentucky.  How then, can we expect it to be strong against Florida?  The defense was slashed-and gashed against Kentucky.  Surely Florida fields a better offense than the worst team in the SEC.

This is Georgia's "Rocky" moment.  This week is one of two things - a coming out party for a beleaguered team who will finally stand up and slap down a ranked team, or further proof that against the best competition, we just plain don't get it done.  After the South Carolina game, we were left broken and bloody on the mat.  But here we are, two weeks later, back on our feet with a chance to knock out the apparent champ, and pave our own way to center-ring to square off with (most likely) Alabama.

Can these athletes once again spin their perception in a 180?  Can they now shake the horror that has been the UGA-FL game for the better part of 20 years?  Can the young offensive line "Man-Up" and get it done?  Can those young backs once again remind a fanbase why they made all those grand comparisons to a bygone hero?  Can a quarterback, much maligned by writers such as myself finally stick it in our face and show us that on one day, on one great Saturday, he can play his best, against the best, and finally BE the best?  

Saturday is a shot at Redemption.  I'll be glad to eat crow if these guys can do it.

Go Dawgs.    

Monday, October 8, 2012

Shame On...

The fallout from the USC debacle has been substantial, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon, I'm sure.  The "Fire Richt" crowd is elated, as they now have fuel.  It's been a difficult row for them to hoe ever since that ten-game win streak last season.  Even the loss in the SEC-Title game was defendable by the apologists.  But now, now they can stand up proudly and thump their chests and say "See, we told you Richt sucks.  We lost to South Carolina!!!!"

Shut up.

In the wake of that loss, there have been a number of fingers pointed, a great amount of blame placed, and an uncountable number of sofa-A.D.s calling for a regime change.  There was poor fan behavior.  There was poor blogger behavior.  None of it, though, will do anything towards making the season any better from here on in.

And neither will this blog.

But, what I want to offer here are just a few opinions about the state of things Georgia Football.

Shame On ...

1. The fans who egged and rolled Christian Robinson's home.  You're almost as classy as an unshaven Gator Fan in jorts vomiting beenie weenies on himself.  Way to go.  The saddest part is that you were likely in a bar downtown just minutes later bragging about it.  I hope those who heard you telling that story inform the players of who you are, and where you live.  And I hope the ACCPD, GSP and Campus Police all forget to investigate the ass-whooping you take (which will be eerily similar to the one that inspired your actions to begin with).  Shame on classless fans.

2.  The Murray's Father excuse.  I'll start this by saying that I feel for Aaron Murray.  My own father had medical issues while I was at UGA, and I know how wholly distracting and troubling that can be.  So, it's not the fact that he's dealing with this that I say "shame on".  I'm saying "shame on" those who are using it as a an excuse.  I don't know when Murray found out about his father's condition, but I know that I read he found out "Just before the game."  Ok - that's awful.  That's awful for multiple reasons.  A), if it's not true- it's an awful thing to say just to excuse poor performance.  B), if it IS true, it is HORRIBLE that he was informed of that just before that kind of game.  I'm sorry, but unless his father is in danger of death (and thus Murray should leave Columbia and go be by his side), you shouldn't tell the kid about the procedure.  There's nothing he can do.  Let him play the game, then tell him, and he'll be able to deal with it.  C) If he knew for the days leading up to the game, he was in a bad position...but I'd have to wonder if the distraction manifested in practice.  Either way, it shouldn't be an excuse.  Shame on those who use it as such.

3.  My desire to believe.  I had almost turned a corner with AM.  Those who've been reading me for years know that I've held a "jury's out" opinion of him, because I've seen the amazing talent he has, and yet the tendency to wilt under pressure.  With the Tennessee win, I thought he had moved beyond it.  I saw a Championship-type bounce back in that game.  That was the first game (going back to the beginning of the 2011 season) where Murray had a pick-six and a fumble, and we didn't lose.  I did not blog about it, though...because at the end of the game, when we needed to prolong drives to seal the victory, he missed badly on a few passes.  I was cautiously optimistic.  Then the USC game.  Shame on me.

4.  The "if a few plays went our way" crowd.  Forget that.  That game was a T-Total Asswhipping.  Yes, if Bacarri picks that ball off the game coulda been different.  Sure, if Wooten gets into the endzone maybe we get something going.  Of course, if Commings picks that ball off, we would have had a shot.  Naturally, if we block Clowney better maybe AM throws better balls.  Absolutely, if Robinson could outrun Shaw they don't sustain their drives.  Yeah, if the block-in-the-back is called on the punt return, we're only down 14-0.  Sure, if we just keep running on that drive in the 2nd, maybe we punch it in.  That's a hell of a lot of maybes, y'all.  No, this wasn't a result of a few plays not going our way.  This was not a result of bad luck.  This was just an annihilation, plain and simple.  Shame on those (including some of our players, from the post-game interviews) who think otherwise.

5.  Bobo.  Now, you guys know I'm not a Bobo detractor.  In fact, I've probably been one of his biggest proponents ever since doing an entire series on whether or not he was cutting the mustard as an OC.  He's called some brilliant games this season.  This past Saturday featured some classic questionables, though (as did one series in particular against TN - but I digress).  For instance, Murray was having trouble with his accuracy.  That was obvious.  So why, then, did we continue to go back to the WR screens he wasn't completing?  He was constantly throwing behind his receivers on those.  Made no sense to me.  Then, when we had a chance to score, with 1st and goal, we ran the ball twice and picked up yardage each time.  Why did we stop?  It seems to me that this season he had been "going with what works" and "moving on from what doesn't"... but that seemed to change here.  And damn it, can we stop running end-arounds that get us two yards?  My guess is he's using it to set up something later in the season...but damn, it's frustrating to see a play develop so slowly and then get us very little.  Shame on Bobo.

6.  Whoever decided C-Rob should Spy a running QB.  There's really not much to say on that one beyond the fact that it's a poor decision.  Perhaps whoever is our "running qb" on the Scout Team doesn't have the quicks Shaw does.  I don't know.  When I watched the game, it was clear after one run that Robinson doesn't possess whatever it is that is needed (I'm guessing speed) to effectively spy a good running QB.  Let's cut that out. (btw...both of our next two opponent QBs have been known to tote the ball from time to time)

7.  The Fire-Richters.  We lost a game.  Going back to 1892, Georgia has lost a game in every season outside of (I believe) three.  Shut up about it.  In fact, since I've been familiar with Georgia football, the only "good times" that have existed (outside of my own playing years, which were incredibly fun even though you guys call them a disappointment all the time), have been under Mark Richt.  I'll admit, I'm not a lifetime Georgia fan.  In fact, I'm not really a Georgia "fan" as it were.  I love the Dawgs.  I played there, and I will always cheer for them.  But, a loss doesn't ruin my day.  It doesn't destroy my world.  I don't really have to deal with it.  Know why?  I'm not playing.  I'm not coaching.  I'm simply watching the game.  So are you.  If your life is so void of accomplishment that you have to live vicariously through a bunch of kids whom you don't even know, you need to rethink your decision making paradigm.  I've said it 100 times, I'll take Richt 10 times out of 10 over a coach like Gene Chizik.  I may live my entire life and never see Georgia win a title, but as long as Richt is in the driver's seat, I know the program will be one I'd be proud to have my Son be a part of.  Can't say that for many of the programs out there.  Shame on the Fire-Richters.

8.  The Apologists.  We lost a game.  Got our butts kicked.  There's no "ifs and buts".  There's no "coulda shoulda woulda".  There's no "at least we have a great man as our coach."  There's no "young team".  There's no "suspended guys are rusty."  We got our butts kicked.  Now the team will have to figure out what happened, correct it, and work to salvage the season.  No apologies.  Just fix it.  Shame on You.

9.  Our Defense.  I'm not referring to players, or coaches, or playcalling or anything other than the actual PRODUCT that I see on the field.  I don't know where the blame can be placed.  Bacarri Rambo, a hell of  a playmaker, went up for a ball and didn't bring it down.  That's getting outplayed.  Jarvis Jones, a hell of a playmaker, got straight embarassed by Shaw's fakes.  That's getting outplayed.  Our pass-rush was ineffective for much of the night.  That may be a scheme thing, it may be a player thing, I don't know.  I'm not re-watching the game to find out.  Whatever it is, the defense isn't getting it done.  Say what you will about the end of the tennessee game, because I was there with you.  I said "when we had to get them off the field, we did, with three straight turnovers."   But then I also said, Championship Teams force field goals when their offense turns it over in the redzone.  We don't do that.  I watched Florida versus LSU and all I kept thinking was "Why doesn't our D fly around like that?"  They used to.  I feel like they were more intense last season.  I don't know.  I watch Florida's Elam just BLOW PEOPLE UP and always be at the ball and I, it'd be nice to see that in a Georgia Uniform.  Don't get me wrong, we have some guys who are making plays all over the field.  We have some strong young talent that I look forward to watching play for years to come.  BUT....against South Carolina, in the second half, when we absolutely HAD to get them off the field, we didn't do it.  Championship Defense do that.  We didn't.  Shame on our Defense.

10.  Bloggers like me.  The poison I've seen coming out of some of the blogs has been immense.  I'm not standing "above the fray" on that line either.  I know that for a fact.  Some of the things I write are seen as "picking on a kid."  I'm not.  I say things that are valid statements about gameplay.  You won't find me saying a kid is a bum with no work ethic.  You won't see me saying the kid doesn't care about Georgia Football, but only himself.  What I say is, this kid got outplayed, this kid didn't do his assignment, this kid needs to work on this thing or that thing.  These are all criticisms, and they're ones that I believe any sane player could read, and while the criticism could sting, he could also take it to heart and improve upon the play that inspired the comments to begin with.  But, the DisneyDawg crowd out there doesn't want us to say anything that can be seen as "negative"....ever.  They want us to accept everything with a smile and a "Thank You, Can I have another?"  Well, I don't really want another butt-whipping like that.  Shame on bloggers like Me.

Go Dawgs.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Worst Part of the USC loss...

will be the idiots who blame Richt and Bobo for Murray's ineptitude.  I will agree however, that it is absolutely their fault that he is still our starting quarterback, and that we do not have a different option.  "Time will tell" is no longer the answer IMO.  "Time has told."  The kid is now 2-8 against ranked opponents, and is terrible in big games.

Murray will graduate from UGA with records, records, records.....but if he doesn't do a complete 180 on his Big Game performance ability, he will never win a championship.

And, it's quite possible that he may submarine his coaches.  But then, they are the ones who hitched their wagons to him.

At least Chizik bet his whole future on Cam Newton.

Painful loss.  Now, a week of figgerin' out just what the hell happened, and getting ready to take on the rest of the slate.  Hold onto your hats, fans....this could get bumpy.

Go Dawgs

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lest We Forget...

It hasn't been that long since a Georgia Team faced off against Tennessee expecting our defense to have every answer for what their offense could bring.  Sure, we respected their ability, but we were certain that our veteran defense would be able to handle what the Vols would bring.  TN was 2-3, 0-2.  UGA was 3-2, 2-1.  We felt good about our chances to get back going after a tough loss to a #4 LSU team who we'd had until the final moments.

We prepared to load-up the box against Montario Hardesty, the Vols' biggest weapon.  They weren't going to be able to run.  Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins were locking down the middle.  Linebackers Dent, Hebron, Gamble, and Dewberry would be bringing the pain.  Justin Houston was going to come off the edge and hit a not-so-elusive, not-so-talented pocket quarterback.

Enter the enigma that is Lane Kiffin, versus the futility that is Willie Martinez.

Jonathan Crompton (who has, since being drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, been signed and released over 7 times from 4 different teams and their practice squads) lit up the Georgia defense for 310 yards and four touchdowns by utilizing Play-Action passes.  It seemed like the defense had never heard of the concept (off of which its own offense bases its passing game).  Jonathan Crompton, of whom no one outside of the southeastern portion of the country had ever heard, was suddenly a national name.  Jonathan Crompton stepped out of obscurity and into the vaunted position of hero for being the man who delivered Lane Kiffin his first SEC win.


This is Tyler Bray.  He's a whole hell of a lot better than Jonathan Crompton.

What killed us that day?  We thought we knew what they were going to do.  We were certain it would be Montario all day long.  Montario did carry the ball 20 times.  The damage, though, came from Jonathan Crompton's 20 completions.

Now, you're definitely thinking that our team today is much better than our team then.  And you're thinking that our Defensive Coordinator is definitely better than our Defensive Coordinator then.  On both accounts, you're correct.  But, all people are prone to succumbing to their own beliefs.  So, our dawgs have to be careful not to believe TOO much in what they THINK Tennessee is going to do.  Yes, Bray is their biggest weapon...but if all we're looking for is the drop-back pass, you can bet there are going to be a fair amount of screens, draws, and maybe even a collection of roll-outs built to throw of our upfield pass rush.  They may decide to come out and try to ram it down our throats, and use the excitement of our defense in our OWN HOME STADIUM to draw us offsides for cheap yards.

It is imperative for our guys to know that they can't know what's coming.  They must prepare their gameplan, know their technique and fundamentals, and play at top-speed.  Then, our coaches have to make adjustments based on what comes that we didn't expect.

And, THESE GUYS need to remind the players today about the debacle in 2009...

Branden Smith
Aaron Murray
Tavarres King
Blake Sailors
Marlon Brown
Rantavious Wooten
Bacarri Rambo
Sander Commings
Richard Samuel
Rhett McGowan
Chase Vasser
Shawn Williams
Christian Robinson
Michael Gilliard
Dallas Lee

Because these guys were all there in 2009...when our defense was bested,


Never again.

Go Dawgs.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On Second Thought, No Thanks...

So, after the play-by-play of the first quarter of UGA-VU took me about 2 hours to break down, I remembered why I didn't love doing those.  It's simply too much of a time suck.  So, I'm not going to break down the rest of the season, nor even the rest of the game in that manner.  What I'm considering now is more of a "turning point plays" breakdown or "big plays" breakdown or "impact moments" breakdown.  For instance, in that first quarter, the touchdown plays and why they worked, and a couple of the playaction passes, and why they worked...and then maybe a few of Vandy's successes and why they worked.

That's it.

I hope that will be enough for those of you out there who are still interested in these play by plays.

Go Dawgs

UGA - VANDY Film Study: Quarter One

Ok, The Film Study returns.  I know this series had some fans out there last season, and now that the games are appearing on youtube, I'm able to return to it.  So, here we go...I'm about to watch the UGA-VANDY game everyone's talking about.  I'm frikkin' Giddy.

UGA 0  -  Vandy  - 0

Georgia Kickoff, returner takes the ball in the endzone, returns it to the 14.


1st and 10 at VU 14

Vandy in a Shotgun-wing formation, three wide (twins left).  We're in a Nickel that looks like a 2-4-5 alignment.  False Start.  Can't get a good read on what they wanted it to be, because it appeared they let us through like a screen, but that could have been reaction to the whistle.

1st and 15 at VU 9.

Vandy in Shotgun Doubles Tight with Stacy offset.  Dawgs still in the 2-4-5 Nickel Look.
Inside handoff to Stacy.  Doesn't penetrate much.  Dragged down by a host of Dawgs after a gain of 3.

2nd and 11 at VU 13

Offset-I formation Normal TE left.  Dawgs in 3-4.  Both OLBs are coming.  Strong-side Option. Vasser reads it, plays responsibility of QB.  Pitch goes to Stacy.   It looks like we were in man-coverage, which explains why Stacy has room to run here.  Because Vasser has to take the QB (assuming that's the proper assignment) and BSmith is covering the wideout (whom he had given a 7-10 yard cushion), we lack another outside presence.  Shawn Williams  has to come down from his safety spot.  He gets picked off by a blocker, and our pursuit is unable to get to stacy.  Williams ultimately makes the tackle near the 1st down marker.

3rd and 1 at VU 23

Penalty on Vandy.  Illegal sub.

3rd and 6 at VU 18.

Offset-I formation Normal, TE right.  Dawgs in 3-4.  They go strong-side option again.  This time, Vasser steps outside of the oncoming fullback, forcing Rodgers to cut upfield instead of pitching.  Herrera drives him down at the 20.

4th and 4 at VU 20.

Penatly Vandy.  False start.

4th and 9 at VU 15.

Punt.  Mitchell returns about 24 yards to Vandy 46.

UGA 0 - Vandy 0


1st and 10 at VU 46

Dawgs come out I-Formation Normal TE Left.  Gurley at Tailback.  Lynch comes in motion and WRs shift.  We're now strong right.  Quick toss back to Gurley who takes it around the right side and picks up 7.  Really good hat-on-hat blocking.  In fact, it's possible that Burnette blocked his guy too well, as he drove him laterally into Gurley coming around the edge.

2nd and 3 at VU 39.

I-Form Normal, TE Right.  Same play as previous.  Gurley makes a great backfield cut, breaks a couple tackles, and gets the 1st.

1st and 10 at VU 35.

I-Form Normal, TE Right.  Murray fakes to Gurley, hits a wide open Tevarres King.  All linebackers and the safety got sucked in on the play-action.  Just great.  King gets down inside the 20.

1st and 10 at VU 19.

Shotgun Ace, Trips Right.  Murray fires the bubble screen over to Marlon Brown.  Gain of 8.  Chris Connely gave him a little room to make something happen, but it looks like Vandy was playing a 2 or 3 deep zone, so Marlon couldn't break it wide open.  They were able to rally to him.

2nd and 2 at VU 11.

Pistol Ace, Twins Left, TE Right.  Handoff to Gurley, who takes it to the right for a gain of five.  Nothing horrible on this play, but a couple of little things could have resulted in a bigger gain possibly.  A couple of our OL lost their footing, and as such couldn't be as solid on blocks.  Gurley might have gotten another couple yards, but I doubt he would have scored.

1st and Goal at VU 6.

Announcer talking about Georgia's down-hill running game says, "If they bring that element, along with the passing game, I don't know if they [Vandy] have a chance tonight."  Prophecy with 10:39 to go in the 1st,

Shotgun Ace, Twins left, TE left, Gurley set to the right.  Murray checks the play to a QB run.  He had the seam, but their DT did a good job of reading it and getting off his block for the tackle.

2nd and Goal at VU 4.

Looks like Ace-Twins Left, TE R.  The broadcast didn't cut wide fast enough to see it pre-snap.  Disheartening is the fact that on my freeze-frame, linemen, Murray and Gurley are all moving.  All receivers are still in their stances (including Lynch, who can definitely hear the snap count).  Handoff to Gurley who finds a huge hole on the left side and takes it in for a TD.

UGA 7 - VU 0

Great shot of Uga IX.  Russ is a badass.

Kickoff taken a yard deep, and he's cut down at the 16.  They're not good at running it out.  Take the ball at the 25.


1st and 10 at VU 17.

Vandy in an Ace Cluster-Left formation with a single wideout to the right.  Dawgs in the 3-4.  Short pass on what looks like a quick-post to beat Man coverage by Smith.  Smith not great at re-routing the receiver, and actually gets pushed pretty good himself.  Gain of 9.

2nd and 1 at VU 26.

Offset-I Normal TE right.  Dawgs in 3-4.  Handoff to Stacy, who takes left to no opposition.  Two things happen on this play that killed us.  First, Jarvis was reading for pass.  He didn't take a deep drop, but it was enough to slow his progress toward the runner and allow a lineman to get on him.  Second, the DE (numbers elude me on this one) got caved-in at the point of attack.  The result was a LOT of running room for Stacy.  Great backside pursuit by Amarlo Herrera.

1st and 10 at VU 35

Shotgun Ace, Twins R TE Left, Stacy to the R.  Dawgs in 2-4-5.  Designed QB run for Rodgers.  Our D does a good job of beating blocks on the line and limiting the run to only a few yards.

2nd and 8 at VU 37

Shotgun Wing-right, doubles right, Stacy offset R as well. (damn the right is loaded) Dawgs in 2-4-5.  Counter-Left to Stacy...looks like a play they'll use to set up Play Action later, as Rodgers carried out a roll to the right.  Cornelius Washington comes plowing upfield and takes on the pulling lineman with his upfiled shoulder.  This allows the lineman to wash him out and open a hole for Stacy.  Washington recovers and gets a hand on Stacy but can't bring him down.  Gain of 5.

3rd and 3 at VU 42.

Gimmick Formation with TB Wesley Tate in Shotgun and at least 1 OL in the backfield as an additional blocker.  Basically a Shotgun-Heavy Left with Tate instead of Rodgers taking the snap.  Dawgs line up in 3-4 with Williams down in the box, almost on the LOS. Tate keeps, they do a good job of blocking man-up, and he squirts through for a short gain and the first.

1st and 10 at VU 46.

Offset-I Right Normal.  Tate now at TB. Dawgs in 3-4.    Rogers drops back, we rush with 4 guys, Jarvis nearly makes it home, but not quite.  Rodgers throws deep, intercepted by Branden Smith but it looks like P.I.  Yup.

1st and 10 at UGA 39.

Offset-I Right Normal.  Dawgs in 3-4.  They run a quick handoff to Tate, but Jones takes on the pulling guard and stones him three yards deep in the backfield, forcing Tate to take it lateral.  Vasser's backside pursuit gets there for a loss of 4.

2nd and 14 at UGA 43

Shotgun Ace Trips Right.  HB set to the Right.  Dawgs in 2-4-5 with safeties at 10 and 12 yards.  Corners are at 6 yards, with the exception of the boundry corner (Swan?) who is on the line.  Penalty on VU - False Start.

2nd and 19 at UGA 48

 Shotgun Ace Trips Right, HB set to the Right.  Dawgs in 2-4-5 as before.  Rogers throws jump-pass behind Tate, and Amarlo Herrera drops a possible INT.  Aurgh.

3rd and 19 at UGA 48.

Shotgun Ace Doubles.  Dawgs in 2-4-5 All DBS playing at least 6 yards off.  Williams is 15.  Rodger's pocket breaks down as Jones is held coming around the left side.  A pileup of bodies gives him room, and he takes off to the right, pushed out of bounds by Damian Swann after a gain of 9.

4th and 10 at UGA 39.

Mitchell back to return.  Ball rolls out of bounds at the 12.

UGA 7 - Vandy 0


1st and 10 at UGA 12.

I-Form Twins Left.  Gurley at TB.  Quick toss back Gurley who takes it for a gain of 4.

2nd and 6 at UGA 16.

I-Form Twins Left.  Gurley at TB.  Penalty - Vanderbilt.  Offsides.

2nd and 1 at UGA 21.

I-Form Twins Left.  Gurley at TB.  Long handoff to Gurley who runs over a guy to gain a couple and the 1st.

1st and 10 at UGA 23.

Penalty - Georgia.  Substitution infraction.

1st and 15 at UGA 18.

Shotgun Ace Doubles.  Marshall in at TB.  (Announcer just said "This crew IS aggressive with their penalties."  Does anyone else love that an SEC OFFICIATING CREW is known for being aggressive - and Penn Wagers is nowhere to be found!)  Murray throws a Swing pass left to Marshall, blown up by DE Walker May.   Looks like Murray read Man coverage, and expected the LB to get Marshall, but the LB actually blitzed, and May had the coverage assignment.  Tough mis-read.

2nd and 20 at UGA 13.

Shotgun Ace Doubles.  We run the same play to the right, and they run a similar defense with linemen dropping into coverage.  This one doesn't have the wheels, though, and Marshall finds room for a gain of about 16.

3rd and 4 at UGA 29.

Shotgun Ace Doubles.  They bring a four man rush and the pocket breaks down when Theus falls.  Murray tries to stay alive, but gets brought down for the sack.

4th and 8 at UGA 25.

Punt to the Vandy 30.  Flag down.  Roughing the kicker. Announcer says our punter acted.  He didn't.  He landed on a defender.  I disagree with the call, and with Announcer (I believe this is Andre Ware...who is a dreadful announcer).  We benefit.

1st and 10 at UGA 40.

Shotgun Ace Doubles.  Counter-right to Marshall, blocked very well and Marshall gets about 8.

2nd and 2 at UGA 48.

Ace Twins Left, TE Right.  Marshall still at TB.  Looks like a Zone Read play for Marshall, who picks the right hole on the left side, and takes it 52 yards for the TD!!  Bad snap on PAT, no good.

UGA 13 - Vandy 0

Kickoff taken five yards deep and brought out to the 15.  Holding on the kickoff results in half-the-distance penalty.


1st and 10 at VU 8.

Tight Wing Formation.  Georgia in 3-4.  They run a well-blocked power option that Vasser reads correctly. But, because the wing back is able to get up on Shawn Williams, we can not make the tackle on Stacy before he picks up 13.

1st and 10 at VU 21.

Ace Twins Left, TE Left.  Dawgs in 2-4-5.  They run a simple handoff to Stacy, but there's no room whatsoever.  Gain of 1.

2nd and 9 at VU 22.

Shotgun Wing Normal.  Dawgs stay in 2-4-5.  Herrera moves outside Jarvis and shows blitz.  The tackle steps out to get Herrera and the TE has no chance to slow him down.  Sack.  He's a badass.

3rd and 14 at VU 18.

Shotgun Doubles.  Dawgs in 2-4-5.  Penalty - Vanderbilt.  False start.

3rd and 19 at VU 13.

Shotgun Doubles.  Dawgs in 2-4-5. We rush four and the pocket holds - but they were attempting a screen which Jarvis killed by driving his blocker into the runningback.  With no options, Rodgers throws the ball away.

4th and 19 at VU 13.

Punt.  Returned by Mitchell for no gain.  And when I say No Gain, I mean he called fair catch, and tehy tackled him, and the refs decided it he didn't call fair catch.  Horseshit.

UGA 13 - Vandy 0


1st and 10 at UGA 43.

I-Form Normal TE Right.  Murray fakes to Gurley then fires to Tevarres King for a gain of 12.


What am I seeing?  I'm seeing a shaky, scared Vanderbilt team who hasn't bought into James Franklin's "new culture" just yet, because at the end of the day they haven't done anything of merit to support it.  They're getting pushed around and aren't doing much of consequence when they have the ball.

The officiating has not been great, but now we've been the recipients of a bad call, and the victims of a I guess it's fair and balanced in THAT way at least.  This is what I expected to see in this game.  The Dawgs are just better.  That's all there is to it.

Go Dawgs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Just Flew In From Vegas, and Boy is Our Scoreboard Tired

Loved watching the scoring updates on my ESPN College Football App (a decent app that could be better, but one that is worth suggesting to iphone users).  I'm about to enjoy for the first time the butt-whipping that was the UGA-Vandy Game.  Play-By-Play to follow (most likely tomorrow).

Go Dawgs

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just a little something I cooked up.

I don't know if any of you will want it, but if you do...feel free to steal this pic.  I'll be adding a new sticker with every opponent we defeat.  Here's to the Dawgs filling the whole helmet with a 12-0 season (13-0...14-0)!


Monday, September 17, 2012

You, too, can write meaningless drivel

Scanning through TheDawgBone used to be entertaining and informative, but in today's blog-obsessed sports world, it's become nigh-on demoralizing.  I've gotten to the point where a headline will completely fool me into a giving an article a click...right up to the point when I realize who the author of the piece is, and I quickly hit my "back" button.  Simply put, the pundits are being strangled out by the pidiots.

Don't get me wrong - there is still some high-quality writing about the Dawgs, most of it not from the "official" sources, but the saturation of the blogosphere is threatening to destroy the casual reader's interest in it.  Fie on you, writers who post seven posts in a day, none of them with an ounce of true analysis of the game, but instead based solely in some hypothetical construct existing only in your own mind where you know more about football than any coach or player who has ever been involved with the game.  Fie on you, writers who fully admit your own pathetically shallow understanding of the game, but still make pleas regarding the "fairness" of being sure everyone has played in a particular blowout.  Fie on you, so called "student-of-the-game" and "lifetime-fan" who thinks he understands the problem facing our "beleaguered" defense, and that they simply need to "MAN UP" and play "GEORGIA FOOTBALL."

I know, I know, I know... at this point, you're asking yourself why the hell I'm being so self-righteous on this one, especially considering my lack of writing anything of substance recently.  I don't know.  I guess that while attempting to swallow the barrage of garbage opinion  info I've been choking down, I simply didn't like the taste of it.  Even Sports and Grits seems to have left the game ... theirs was never the most well-thought-out blog, but at least it had true entertainment value.

I apologize for my absence of late.  I will soon give those of you who've enjoyed my words something tasty to digest.  As for those of you who don't like me at this point, or never did, or have never read me before and now really don't want to read me again...I bid you adieu.  Enjoy the conjecture of the bloggers you find so enthralling ... oh, and tell me again how Richard Samuel deserves a spot in Butts-Mehre's trophy room because he made a tackle on a fake punt.

Go Dawgs.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Did anyone mention this?

I haven't kept up with all the bloggers over the past two weeks (Sorry EC, Senator, Corbin, PWD, S&G, etc) so I don't know if anyone mentioned the thing that the Georgia defense did against Mizzou, that it hadn't done since playing Florida last season.

The Dawgs made a stop in the redzone.  Not only was it a stop, it was a turnover!  The Dawgs got a fumble inside the redzone, officially creating the first redzone stop against an opponent in an excruciating TWENTY attempts.  Indeed, it was the ONLY redzone stop of the game, as Mizzou was able to score each of the next three times into the redzone.  Still, it was nice to see our D stiffen up.

All-in-all, I haven't been overly upset with the play of our D in the first two games.  Yes, they gave up three redzone scores to Buffalo, and three more to Mizzou.  That's 6/7 on the year.  Not excellent.  But, it should also be noted that there have been three touchdowns and three field-goals.

At this moment, UGA is giving up TDs 47% the time that teams get into the redzone...

Alabama is at 50%.

Again, stats are deceiving...because Bama has only allowed two drives within their 20.

Anyway, just glad to see us get a redzone stop.  That's something to build off of.  With our defensive starters returning, I expect to see more of those.  God Bless you, Connor Norman...I think Rambo has a bit more range.

Go Dawgs.


Meet Jarvis.
He's a big, badass monster who you just plain want on your team.

Hey all...I've been missing for the better part of two weeks, and I apologize.  Still haven't purchased my DVR so that I can start the game breakdowns....perhaps against Tennessee.  Something tells me I'm going to have PLENTY to break down on that one.

Great game against Mizzou.  Loved it.  Jarvis Jones made a hell of an impact, as we all knew he's capable.

As a result, I named the F150 I bought the previous night after him.  On a hilarious sidenote, as I was sitting at the dealership getting Jarvis detailed on the morning of the game, one of the salesmen noticed my "G" shirt.  He decided to share with me that he's a Missouri Tiger, and that his team was about to show the world what they were made of.  "Y'all don't respect us" he said.  I replied with, "Hoss, I don't care.  At the end of the day, it's not about SEC pride or the new guy vs. the old guard.  It's Missouri Versus Georgia - and I don't think y'all got it."

It was pretty great seeing him tuesday night when I stopped back in.

Go Dawgs.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tough To Get A Mad On

Growing up, I was never the most aggressive kid.  I was kinda chubby, kinda slow, and didn't really get "mad" about much in life.  I was fortunate.  My Dad had a good job, we had a nice house, and I didn't want for much.  Mom never saw fit to lock the pantry, so Nilla Wafers and peanut butter were ready for the taking.  Simply put, I was happy.  And that was good ... because I'm a different animal when I'm mad.

My next-door neighbor and good friend, John, knew this.  He saw something in me and knew that I changed when I was mad.  When we'd work in the yard, pulling vines off trees, and one was too stuck for him to get, he'd just piss me off, and I'd rip the thing down...sometimes with branches attached.  If we were clearing trees, he'd set me off, and I'd give 'em hell with an axe or a bat, whichever was closer at hand.  I was a bit destructive when angry.

That came in handy in football.  A fairly placid player, I didn't do much when I first started playing.  Then, something in me changed.  I don't know if it was teenage angst, or the team bully, but I learned to focus my anger on the football field.  When I did, things were different.  I could suddenly run faster.  I could suddenly hit harder.  I took better angles.  I focused more.  The angrier I was, the better I could play.

And then we played McIntosh.  McIntosh wasn't a powerhouse of football.  To be honest, I don't know if they won a game in any season they were on our schedule.  Their style of football was almost "Cute" - the coaches knew we weren't going to take them seriously.  It was going to be tough to get a mad on.

The Dawgs face a similar foe in Buffalo.  As much as their writers and bloggers like to trumpet their respective achievements, they ain't been in this kind of fight before.  The only recent experience these guys have with the SEC (other than a 2008 tilt with new-member Mizzou) is last year's debacle in Knoxville, losing 41-10.  41-10 and TN wasn't incredible.  So, anyone with a shred of true objectivism will go ahead and admit that the Bulls don't stand a chance in this one.  I'm not that interested in the pre-determined win.

What I'm going to be interested to see this weekend is whether or not the Dawgs will come out angry.  The season ended with a fizzle in 2011.  They lost very little of consequence as far as personnel is concerned.  Apparently, they gained a ton in the strength/speed categories.  So, the question becomes one of attitude.  Will these Dawgs come out hungry, and more importantly, ANGRY?  The media has been so over-focused on the "weak schedule" that they've glossed over the fact that the team ain't all that bad either.  That ought to make a few guys mad.  The linemen have been told they're a big question mark once again.  That ought to get under their skin.  Aaron Murray has been praised by his coaches, but targeted by bloggers (myself included) at times for choking when faced with the big one.  That ought to downright piss the kid off.

And then there are those kids like me - the ones who rarely get a chance to see the field.  They've worked their asses off right beside those scholarship kids all summer.  They've given everything they can to the program...and all they hear is how the team is crap because there aren't enough SCHOLARSHIP players on the roster?!?!  Well kiss my lilly white one, buddy.  Those boys, should the starters do their jobs, should be playing by the mid-third.  And if they are, they damn sure better be angry.  They better be angry that they've been overlooked.  They better be angry that they had to wait so long.  They better be angry at every stat-loving recruiting-board junkie that thinks nothing of their talent.

They better get a mad on.

And then they better Man Up and take it out on a Buffalo team who didn't do anything to them other than accept a sizeable paycheck to lay on Sanford Altar and be sacrificed to the gods of SEC Football.

If 2012 is to be The Rreckoning, then our boys need to put a mad on and be the Wrecking Ball.  I don't care who's on the other side of the field.

Go Dawgs.

btw- We beat McIntosh 55-10.  It was 42-0 at halftime (if memory serves), and we starters didn't touch the field after the first possession in the third.  That's when the younger kids got THEIR mad on.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

He's 17 and in High School = I don't care

Friends of late have been filling my inbox with recruiting information.  I am fully aware of how important recruiting is to a football program's success.  It's isn't hard to look at five years' worth of recruiting rankings and determine which programs you'll most likely find residing in the top 15 of the polls over the same period.  You gotta have the Jimmies and Joes to go along with the Xs and Os.

That being said, I don't care what Bryce Ramsey did on Friday night.  God bless the kid.  I hope he has a great season, I hope he wins the state title and more accolades than his bedroom wall has room for.  I hope he stays solid on his commitment to Georgia, and I hope his girlfriend gives him "star treatment" after every win.  But, I don't care.  I'm not paying attention to it.  I'm not combing every statistic and reading every half-written article about his performance hoping to glean a little insight into what his career as a Bulldog will be.

Why?  Because I've been around football long enough to know that what you do when you're 17 does not dictate what you do when you're 21.  What you do at Camden County does not dictate what you'll do in Death Valley.  By all accounts, many of the recruits for Georgia's 2013 class are "the real deal"...something I believe I read practically every season.  Then comes attrition, and injuries, and non-qualifiers, and thugish behavior like driving around with unregistered weapons.

I think I've gone on record enough times stating that what I care about is Georgia Football...and Georgia Football, for me, exists in the time period between game one and our bowl game every season.  It exists on a 100x53.33 yard field.  It exists in the space between 15:00 in the first quarter and 00:00 in the fourth (and the infinite clock and down makers of college OT).  That's Georgia Football to me.  Until a recruit dons the red and black, runs out of that tunnel, steps of the sideline, and performs in a game, he doesn't have an impact on my life.

When he does, though, I'll cheer as loudly for him as anyone else in the stadium/bar/living room where I watch the game.  At that point, he's not only a bulldog, but He's My Dawg ... and I love the kid.

Go Dawgs.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stats are lying bastards

"The Stats Don't Lie"

You hear that all the time.  Well, I suppose that's true.  The Georgia Bulldogs DID have the 116th best redzone scoring percentage...or, the 5th worst as some would call it.  Yes, they allowed the opposing team to score 91% of the time that the opponents got inside the 20.  That's horrid.

Nevermind the fact that the raw number was 29 scores...which was actually good enough for #22 in the country.  Oh, and only two teams (Alabama, Boise State) gave up less than 20 scores from within the redzone.

So we're clear, Georgia only allowed their opponents into the redzone 32 times.  32 times in 14 games.  That's less than 3 possessions per game.  Let's not forget turnovers inside the 20, either.  I can remember a few of those (how about losing to South Carolina after a couple?).  Six teams in college football allowed their opponents to enter the redzone less often.  Six.

I'm not trying to sing high praises on our ability to prevent scores, I'm really not.  Doing further digging, I found that Georgia allowed their opponents into the redzone 8 times in every month of football.  8 times in September (Aug/Sep actually, due to the first game being in Aug), 8 in October, 8 in November, and 8 in December (December/Jan...yay bowl game).  What's scary?  The D allowed 7 scores in Aug/Sep, 6 in October, and then 8 in Nov and 8 in Dec/Jan.  After GA/FL, our defense did not stop ANYONE in the redzone.

Yup, that's frightening.

Let's look at it....

1st game after Florida - New Mexico State... 2nd quarter, NMST gets to the 11, pushes to the 5, and settles for a field goal.  4th Quarter, playing against reserver, NMST hits a big pass to the 10, then scores on a run.  (2nd TD is from outside redzone - long pass from 22)

2nd game after Florida - Auburn - 1st quarter, AU gets a HUGE pass of 45 yards to the UGA 10.  Then, they get some penalty help, and on a 3rd and 4 hit the FB/TE freak Lutzenkirken for a TD.  They don't sniff the redzone again.

3rd game after Florida - Kentucky - 1st quarter, UK gets a HUGE pass of 46 yards to our 15.  They end up with a field goal.  2nd Quarter, Malcome fumbles on the UGA 27.  A couple passes and a pass interference penalty later, and KY has a 1st and goal at the 2.  The Dawgs give up the score.  And, Kentucky ends their redzone attempts.

4th game after Florida - Georgia Tech - 2nd Quarter GT drives the option game down to the UGA 9.  Three plays later, they kick a field goal from the 4.  Then, a steady option drive goes 80 yards in 7:07 and results in a score.  ouch.    4th quarter, GT hits a 36 yard pass to our 17.  Two plays later, they score on a 16-yard run against our backups.

5th game after Florida - LSU - We're up 10-7 in the third when the wheels come off.  Murray fumbles on our 26.  Two plays later, Hilliard hits a 15 yard run for a TD.  The next drive, we three-and-out, punt and they return it to the 17.  Three rushes (and an incomplete pass) later, and they score again.  We throw a pick.  They get a few good runs, including a 20-yarder to our 9.  Jefferson hits a pass for TD.  The final two LSU scores are off a 49-yard run, and a pick-six.

6th game after Florida - MSU - 3rd Quarter, Murray throws a pick at our 48.  They have a good sustained drive, and score.  Murray throws a pick-six for their second score of the quarter.  4th quarter, they hit a 50 yard pass to our 9.  On third down, they hit a seven yard TD pass.  Later, they drive from their own 15 to a 1st and goal from our 1 on a mixture of medium and long runs and passes.  Maybe the defense was gassed.  Either way, we give up a TD for the tie, sending us into OT. In OT, they kick a field goal from the 18 and a field goal from the 11.

In summation, yeah, it wasn't the way you want to end a year on defense.  Every time an opponent got into our Redzone, they scored.  Sure, it was only 16 times in 6 games, but that's still too many.  But, what did we learn our greatest weakness is?  Well, it appears to this casual observer that if we eliminate redzone turnovers, and huge passes, we reduce the number of opportunities even further.  Also, the two OT possessions are pretty much gimmies anyway.  The drives start on the 25, so all they need is five yards to get a "red zone" possession...and a fieldgoal from 20-and-in is considered a gimmie.

Does our redzone defense need to improve?  Of course it does.  But, was it as dire as the stat of 116/120 would lead you to believe?  Not a chance in hell.

Go Dawgs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Former Bulldog Walk-On Lands in Spotlight

Yep, this is a self-serving post.  For those of you who are completely unfamiliar with my efforts outside of football and blogging, allow me to introduce myself...I'm Ben Dukes, and I sing country music.

A couple of months ago, while on hiatus from blogging, I had my first small stroke of success in the entertainment world - I performed my National Television Debut on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

If you want a practical explanation of just what in the hell that could possibly have to do with Georgia Football, I'll tell you.  First off, I played Georgia that could be relevance enough.  Further, though, I learned something through Georgia Football that has been incredibly valuable in my life since the red and black gridiron.  Those who do not know my story may be interested to learn that it took me a year and a half to earn a spot on Georgia's football team.  Until the spring of my sophomore year, the coaches had never even seen me in pads.  I'd been constantly redirected to the weight room and sent away without so much as a skills test.  When it looked like that would happen to me for a fourth time, I said no.  I told Coach T that he'd never seen me play football, and that I was a better football player than weightlifter.  He let me participate in spring practice, telling me the guys on that field could knock me through a wall.  Four days later, Rodney Garner told me I'd need to be ready for fall camp - in four days, I showed my position coach that I belonged on that field.  I worked on the scout team, pissing off the scholarship guys by going too hard...I was Rudy, with a little more size.  Those were hard days...but they taught me the value of sticking through and not taking "no" for an answer.  Ten years ago, I moved to LA to pursue entertainment. I've had my share of doors closed in my face, heard a hell of a lot of "no's"... but here I stand, ten years later...and I've played MY MUSIC on National TV.  

I've spent my life in the shadows of others, riding the pine...but on that day, I was able to be the star of the show.  Not too shabby for a kid from LaGrange, Georgia.  

If you like what you see/hear above, stop by my webpage OR, if you're a facebook user, LIKE my facebook page .  Hoping to do a tour through Georgia next year.  If you know anyone who wants to book some good old-school country-rock, hit me up!

Go Dawgs!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Elite 11 ... Years Later

I saw a post on facebook today, urging me to watch the Elite 11 on ESPN tonight "if I'm a football fan."  I gotta say, my football fanship is not in danger of being revoked by not watching it.  I'm not saying that I have no interest in the abilities of 11 kids who may or may not end up contributing at all to my own personal entertainment in the future (ok, maybe that's precisely what I'm saying) but rather that this is not football.  This is a competition which exists to build hype around players, increase their exposure, and perhaps grant them opportunities for scholarships where they previously would not have existed.

Aside from all of that...I got to thinking about the validity of this "Elite 11" concept...and wondered how many "Elite 11" QBs go on to be "Elite" in college.  Of course, not wanting to dive into a 2-week research project, I simply looked at the college careers of the QBs in the class with Aaron Murray, our current Elite-11 prospect.

I recognized some of the names, and some I've never seen before.  You can imagine my surprise and happy disposition when I realized that our own Aaron Murray stacks up pretty favorably against the majority of the NIKE Elite 11 of 2008 (which, I may add, did NOT include Matt Barkley for some reason I don't recall).

Of the 11, only three played in 2009, and only one as a starter.  Tom Savage started for Rutgers in Big East in 2009, before a 2010 injury sidelined him and derailed his career.  He has since moved to AZ, where he sat out a year, and then to Pitt, where he will sit for 2012 as well.  By the time he starts his final season of eligibility at Pitt in 2013, he will have been out of the game for over 2.5 years.  Garret Gilbert was highly praised in 2009 for the way he "didn't screw it all up" in the BCS title game, and that he was a plucky replacement for the injured Colt McCoy.  His sophomore season produced more INTs (17) than TDs (10) and he was replaced as the starter in his Junior year.  Richard Brehaut, UCLA, was a backup in 2009 and has seen his completion percentage drop every year since.  He has amassed 12 TDs and 9 INTs in three years as a Bruin.

Three of the Elite 11 have no stats to speak of in the three years since their distinction.  Raymond Cotton (Ole Miss) and Eugene Smith (WVU) have apparently been unheard of by ESPN since.  Zach Mettenberger  (UGA) showed promise during a redshirt season and the following spring, being locked in a battle with current starter Aaron Murray.  However, certain indiscretions derailed his UGA career and he was removed from the team.  Last season, Metts wen 8-11 for 92 yards and a TD while playing for SEC Champs LSU.

In actuality, the battle for "Most Elite" of this group appears to be a three-way race between Clemson's Tajh Boyd, UGA's Aaron Murray, and Bama's A.J.McCarron.

Going by titles, McCarron is easily Head and Shoulders above the other two. He wears a big ring to prove it.

When you look at their most recent books of passing work, though, you'll see some striking similarities.

So I guess it begs the do we apply "Elite" status?  McCarron completed a much higher percentage of his passes, but threw for over 500 fewer yards than Murray, and almost 1200 fewer than Boyd.  He also didn't throw 1/2 as many TDs as either.

But he has a BCS title.  They don't.

Who won?

Go Dawgs.


Amendment - The Petis pointed out to me that the player once known as "Eugene Smith" has come to national prominence as "Geno Smith."  And, when doing research on THAT young man, well....

I mean, he's a pretty clear-cut above the rest of the competition in most categories.  One has to wonder how he'd fare in any conference other than the Big East... but still, he's gettin' it done.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Walk Ons, Scholarships, and...hey guys, I'm back.

I read the news yesterday that a number of Walk-Ons were granted scholarships.  I love it when this happens.  I know all the recruit-niks out there will scream about roster mis-management and about how we should never be in position to grant so many scholarships to Walk-Ons.  However, when I hear things like that ... I think of names like Verron Haynes and Tra Battle.  There are always talented kids who don't get scholarships.  Then, there are turds who do.  When the turds who get scholarships wash out, sometimes the overlooked athlete gets a shot.  How can you not like that storyline?

I have to admit, I feel particularly happy with the news that Rhett McGowan received a scholarship.  I say this, because two years ago when I was at G-Day, I noticed this kind of lanky-ish receiver making a ton of plays.  I had to look him up to figure out who he was.  He was a walk-on, buried on the depth chart, and an afterthought on the roster.  But, I told my friend The Petis right then that this kid was going to earn a scholarship and at some point in his career could very well factor into a game.  I said that, because from the club-level seat where I sat eating my hotdog and chicken fingers, I could see Rhett's heart.  He was taking the opportunity he was given, and absolutely making the most of it.  Now, we probably have one of the more talented receiving corps that we've had in recent memory.  The corps is so good, they can toss Malcolm Mitchell over to defense.  So, the opportunities to make plays on gameday may be slim for Rhett.  But, he struck me as a sure-handed kid with a big heart and some good athleticism.  Unsung Heroes are made of such stuff.

Go Dawgs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Dawg will return...

Been getting some mail lately from concerned fans who are curious as to why I've been silent since January.  I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating....I am not a very active blogger out-of-season.  In my humble opinion, there's not really anything to blog about when football isn't being played.  Too many people share too many opinions on the personal lives of these kids, and I don't care to add to it.  When football returns, so will I.  I didn't get to G-Day, so I have no new input to add over what I saw last season, and my thoughts are pretty well documented on that.

Thank you everyone for reading.  With any luck, I'll be able to start my Post-Game summaries up again this season.  But, that's up in the air.  Need to find a place that has full-game copies online as I currently live without DVR.


- Dukes

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not to bag on an old point...

But I was watching ESPN this morning, and Kiper has us as his #5 team coming back. The reasons? A Defense that loses one starter, and Aaron Murray.

Now...just a little realism.

Our defense, while stout at times, did give up big points against Boise and LSU (probably the two best teams we faced all year).

And Aaron Murray, well....we lost 4 games. In three of them, he had a pick-six and a crucial fumble. Yeah, he throws a bunch of touchdowns against not-so-excellent teams. But, he's really going to need to mature in his decision making over this off-season if he hopes to lead us back to Atlanta and beyond. And sorry, you can't argue on that. He is talented, he is athletic, but there is one thing he isn't - Clutch.

Let's put it this way.... No one is calling the fourth quarter (or overtime) "Murraytime."

More later.

Go Dawgs.