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.
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.
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