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The Dawg-gone Blog
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Sunday, September 28, 2008
Man what a disappointing loss. We fought in the second half, but it surely wasn't enough against a VERY good Alabama team. Give Nick Saban and Co. credit, they are punching people in the mouth right now and daring them to hit back.

Let's just get through this because honestly, I don't want to talk about this longer than I have to. A lot of things went wrong on Saturday, but I'll try to hit some of the finer points and leave the obvious stuff out, since you've probably already heard enough about those things already.

The Stats Say:

You won't see a more black/white (poor analogy?) 1st and 2nd half than that in a very long time. For everything UGA did wrong in the first half, they mostly got corrected in the second half. 

Penalties are again killing us and it turns out we've had 54 penalties in 5 games. THIS is a problem that will make us easily an 8-4 team if we don't get it corrected soon. I'm not saying we win last night if we don't have those early penalties in the first drive that kept that Alabama drive alive and negated a turnover, but I'm saying it gives us a much better chance. UGLY, UGLY, UGLY play on both sides of the ball penalty-wise.

Also, they say we're getting adequate pressure on the QB, but it's when we're on Offense. Stafford was flat getting killed last night and it forced him to scramble, throw off his back foot and make him look like he hasn't looked since UT last year. He forced the ball, missed his checks and threw into covered receivers all because he didn't have time to make better decisions. 

The Good:

1) Fan Participation -- If you would have told me that we'd be down 31-0 at halftime and our fans would not only stay in their seats, but also try and rally this team back, I'd have told you that I also have ocean front property in Colorado. The fans were jacked from the very first snap until maybe 3:00 left in the 4th quarter and if you aren't impressed by that, I don't know what to tell you. 

2) Lack of "Quit" -- As ugly as the first half game was, our team did their best to try and come back, and did one helluva job doing it. We were aggressive in the second half like we should have been in the first half, and even though Alabama still had a comfortable lead, you have to acknowledge that their starters were in there for a reason. This game wasn't so out of hand that Alabama just cruised in the 3rd and 4th quarters, but it was never so close that we had more than a fighting chance, either. Anyway, the team came out and made some pretty big plays when we needed them desperately. I'll take that silver lining.

3) Rennie Curran -- This kid is a monster. His height may keep him at UGA all four years, but his talent level should suggest that he could play on Sundays as soon as he's eligible. This kid is a DGD.

4) The Recruits All Seem to Have Had a Good Time -- This ties back into points 1 and 2, but every recruiting scoop I've read so far lists that game as one where the crowd and the 2nd half performance saved us a lot of face. A lot of the kids we had visit last night like Branden Smith, Jarvis Jones and Orson Charles all gave good reviews of the game even though we lost. With as much exposure that we had with that ass-whipping, it was nice to know we still made a good impression on (possible) future Dawgs.

5) The 'Bama Fans -- I'll be honest, I admired the fact that they traveled so far to watch their team and after the game, I had a couple of really good coversations with 'Bama fans. They aren't bad like LSU fans in the sense that if they win, they won't go TOO out of the way to make you hate life. 'Bama fans are somewhere in between UGA fans (because they like southern football) and South Carolina fans (because sometimes they are flat out delusional). Aside from "Beat Down" in the comments section on the last post, most of them just said "Good game. Hope we see you in December." I admire that kind of sportsmanship.

The Bad:

1) 1st Half Gameplan -- Ugh. There's not even enough room on this limitless blog to tell you how flat and unprepared we were yesterday. Coverage was blown, gaps weren't filled, tackles were missed and penalties were created on the Defensive side. On the Offensive side, we tried to run it up the gut, Stafford was pressured and penalties were created. The problem is that when we knew it wasn't working, we tried to do it anyway. We didn't toss sweep, roll the pocket or anything to try and give our guys some space to work with, and on Defense, we stuck with the soft zone even though it was obviously failing. Yeah we changed the gameplan in the second half, but man it was WAY too late.

2) Brian Mimbs -- I hate to call the kid out because he's usually automatic, but not every single touchdown was the Defense's fault. When the opposing team starts from the 50 because your punt netted 10 yards, you have a problem, and it wasn't just one or two poor kicks. They were all bad. Mimbs has got to shake it off and get the boom back. I did hear on the 5th Quarter Show that they thought the problem was Mimbs was trying to directionally kick the ball because Arenas was so good and our coverage isn't solid, but if Mimbs can't directionally kick, just have him boom it and hope our gunners get there to force a fair catch. I'd rather out kick my coverage than have a punt only travel 10-20 yards. No brainer.

3) National Exposure -- Well, Dawg fans, you've been clamoring for more love from ESPN and whining about not getting enough love. Well, it filtered all the way to Briston, CT and the WWL, and it turns out that we totally sh*t the bed when they came to town. Now, all I see are Dawg fans asking for ESPN to never come back to Athens. Look, you can't have it both ways. Trust me, we want ESPN there because it's an AMAZING recruiting tool and it's great exposure when we win. There is no "Gameday Curse" or anything like that. However, the road to national prominence runs through ESPN, so do me a favor and stop crying. We had our chance and blew it. Now we have to win 7 straight in order to get the love again. Who's fault is that, really?

4) Chewing on This Loss for Two Weeks -- A win here and we take some serious momentum going into the UT game, but a loss takes the wind out of our sails and we have to practice with the thought of being embarrassed again in the back of our mind. I said earlier that "pressure breaks pipes" and I can tell you that the players know anything short of domination of UT means we will be considered as "overrated." I hope we use that idea to get motivated to destroy Phil & Co., but who knows how this team will respond?

The Ugly:

1) The Injuries -- Man oh man are we a razor thin team now. Knowshon, Chandler and Ellerbe are all questionable for Tennessee with Knowshon being more on the "probable" side. Durham is going to be gone for quite a while and it turns out that Bruce Figgins is most likely lost for the year. We're so thin at TE that we moved Kiante Tripp from the OT spot. Now, that's another post for probably tomorrow, but I do like the idea of moving KT. However, we've got to get healthy and get healthy quick. Getting Southerland back against UT helps, but man, it's as bad as I've ever seen it.

2) Losing the Blackout -- I'm a fan of the Blackout. It gets the players excited, gets the fans excited and gets the recruits excited. I don't think it's "gimmicky" at all. I also don't think the black jerseys cost us a game. I'm absolutely amazed by the folks on the message boards who think the Blackout should never come around ever again. We didn't lose the game because we were too worried about our wardrobe. We lost the game because we got punched in the mouth and didn't respond. That being said, I do think it's time to take the stance of making the players EARN the Blackout instead of just setting a date for it. Last year it was a reward; this year it was a certainty. I say keep the Blackout, but let's hang it up for just a little while until I get this taste of "embarrassment" out of my mouth.

3) Being Out of the National Title Race -- We'd have to win 7 straight games, including away games at LSU and Auburn in order to get back to Atlanta for the SECC to probably face 'Bama again. IF we somehow run the table and do that, we have to hope that whoever we play in Atlanta is ranked high enough to give us a significant bump in the polls. Then we also have to hope that every team ranked ahead of us currently takes a loss (or another loss), which is possible, but not entirely probable. At that point, we have an OUTSIDE shot of playing for the crystal football. That, my friends, sucks. 

Well, there you have it. I'll write some more on the move of Kiante Tripp probably tomorrow. Also, for the commenter named "Beat Down" who took nearly every word I wrote in my preview and showed where I was wrong, I appreciate it. You've earned the right to gloat and certainly earned the right to show me where I made my mistakes. However, at the end of the day, I'm still from Georgia and you're still not. Thanks for proving my point.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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92,000 people woke up this morning with a sore ass because I think everyone in that stadium felt that whipping. However, if you need one consolation, I offer this from The Song Writer, who always comes through in the clutch:

"You're still from Georgia, and they're still not."

For right now, that works for me.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Friday, September 26, 2008
I'm up very late writing this preview because I couldn't help but sit in awe as I watched USC (the real one) get a visit from "Mr. Unexpected Loss." From where I sit, there's not a bigger Oregon State Beaver fan in the world than me.

However, USC's loss tonight changed EVERYTHING and the pressure...well it falls squarely on us now. 

More on that later, but be forewarned, this will be quite the long preview. I'm going to knock the X's and O's out of the way and then the "What I Think Will Happen" section should be pretty lengthy. So strap in, it's going to take a minute.

As always, you can see Jody's write-up on the game here and Doug's here. It's also worth noting that PWD has great posts up here (which is a must read on Saban's Defensive Philosophy) and here as well.

When Bama has the ball:

It's all going to start up front for Alabama. After a seemingly slow start, the Defensive mindset for UGA has shifted to "pressure, pressure, pressure" and that's not a bad thing. However, Alabama has a great O-line that is anchored by LT Andre Smith. He is a flat out hoss and is going to push some people back. He's big, quick and mean, and really opens up things for the Alabama ground attack. However, he's just one of many great starters on the Bama O-line who have a plethora of experience. While pressure may be our philosophy, the first thing we have to do is stop the ground attack.

Speaking of which, that ground attack for Bama is the best we've seen so far this year, as 3 of the 4 teams we've faced have ZERO commitment to the run, and the other team is South Carolina, who is as offensively bi-polar as your local crackhead. So, while this will be Bama's first test against a stout running Defense, this will be our first test against a team that thinks about establishing the run first.

Bama's rushing attack is led by Glen Coffee, who reminds me running-wise of Brandon Jacobs, the starting RB for the New York Giants. They both run very tall and have able bodies and speed to either fall forward for more yardage or break one open if given a seam. Coffee's looked good this season compared to last, but I'd be able to bust 100 yard game running behind that line as well.

What we have to do is absolutely dominate the Bama rushing attack by stuffing as many in the box as possible without leaving the WRs too open in zone coverage. We did really well against ASU in this regard in all areas excluding Bryan Evans' side of the field. Granted, he was told to play with a very large cushion, but there were also ample opportunities for him to make tackles and he whiffed.

With the current LB play we're getting out of Curran and Ellerbe, I fully expect us to be fine against the run, as our D-line is stout and our LBs are playing good ball. Where I'm most concerned about is the play of our Secondary.

While John Parker Wilson is not considered one of the "elite" when it comes to SEC QBs, he's still a respectable talent that is yet to have that statement game that propels him into being a true gamer. He is decent with his accuracy and he runs as fast as I do (not a compliment), but he does move in the pocket well enough to find ways to get rid of the ball and avoid sacks.  

Currently Wilson's favorite target (and rightfully so) is Julio Jones, the OTHER badass freshman WR not named A.J. Green. Jones is already Bama's leading WR in receptions and TDs, but in my opinion, he'll soon become the leader in yards as well. He's a monster at 6-4, 220 and he runs pretty damn fast as well.

Our dichotomy is going to be which CB to put on him and who will square up with him over the top. My natural suggestion would be Asher Allen for his covering skills, but he's going to get killed in any jump ball situations due to a near 6 inch difference in height. That leaves us with Bryan Evans, which if ASU's game is any indication, means that Jones could see a lot of situations that are favorable for a guy with his size and ability to break tackles.

What I see us doing is playing a lot of Cover 2 in the Secondary with Asher stuck on Jones and Evans watching over Mike McCoy (Bama's other receiver that they throw to) with Reshad Jones floating on Julio Jones' side and C.J. Byrd shadowing McCoy. We won't abandon the zone in this game because we need to create situations where our CBs are in positions to make plays on the ground game should it creep into the Secondary. Playing man coverage severely limits tackles on RBs that break into the third layer.

The only problem with this scenario is what happens with Earl Alexander (WR) as well as Travis McCall (TE) and Nick Walker (TE) who all possess large frames. The WR part will work itself out in our Nickel formation (though Prince Miller is still very undersized at 5'-8"), but when the TE is in the game, we're going to have to get great coverage play from our LBs, which is an area that could use some improvement after seeing the South Carolina game.

My thoughts on this are that UGA needs to rush only about 4-5 guys at a time and hope we get pressure that way. Even if we don't get pressure, we still need to focus on clogging up that ground game because while Coffee is fast, he's not fast enough to hit the corner like Knowshon can. His yards will be hard fought through the Tackles, so if we can get about 7 in the box, I think we're fine there and it will be up to J.P. Wilson and his WRs to win the game. Aside from our undersized, sometimes inept-at-tackling DBs, I think if this game rests on the shoulders of Wilson, we should be fine.

When UGA has the ball:

Well it all starts up front with "Mount Cody," as in Terrence Cody, the HUGE Nose Guard for Bama. Bama runs a 3-4 as opposed to our 4-3 Defense, so the key for them is to clog as much of the O-line gaps with Cody and the DEs as much as possible, and use a combination of LB blitzes to confuse the QB. They've been effective doing this for much of the year as well, with their most impressive showing against Clemson, followed by what they did to Arkansas last week. 

The goal of the Bama Defense is going to 1) contain Knowshon and 2) confuse our young O-line. As mentioned earlier in PWD's post on Saban's philosophy, he likes to protect the middle of the field and work outward. However, as PWD also pointed out, if the outside edges and go routes are what they're going to give us, then we have the speed in the RB corps and the WR corps to make that happen. On top of that, we have a QB who probably has the strongest arm in college football and he can get those deep out routes exactly here they need to be...on a rope.

So we're looking at an experienced D-line, a good LB corps and a decent Secondary. I say that with as balanced as our Offense has been, I think we sit in pretty good shape here. At worst you should see deep passes to keep the Secondary honest with toss sweeps and screens to keep pressure off of our young O-line. That being said, I really wouldn't be surprised to see us toss sweep it to Moreno about 4-5 times before he opens it up and throws a pass to MoMass or A.J. Green like we did last year against Auburn. Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised at all.

I hate to keep using the word "balance" but that's what all great teams have. There will be nights where we can't throw the ball and have to run to win. We're covered there. There will be nights where we can't run the ball and have to throw to win. We're covered there as well. This Offense is very capable of taking Alabama's best shot and coming up with a plan to deal with it. The real key here is giving Stafford enough time to throw because Alabama WILL bring the blitz and bring it often. If he starts feeling enough pressure where he begins throwing off his back foot AND Knowshon has a poor night running the ball, then at that point we'll be in trouble.

Special Teams:

This is an area where I'm worried about as well. Alabama has a dangerous return man in Javier Arenas, who wants you to see his highlights. I'm not suggesting that you should, but when posed the question about whether or not he's seen Knowshon play, he quipped right back "well have you seen my highlights?" That's all well and good for him to be a cocky piece of sh*t, but truth be told, he can be dangerous in the return game.

For the first time this season, I'm more scared about our ability to cover kickoffs and punts adequately than I am about Walsh kicking a 55-yard field goal. My money would say that special teams has been a large focus at practice this week, and Fabris has been up in a few players' grits making sure they are where they need to be. We played well last week against ASU, but the coverage could still use a touch of work.

As far as kicking and punting, you and I know that we're fine in those areas. Kickoffs still leave more to be desired sometimes, but we did have a great second half against ASU in that area, so I'll just say "more of the same, please" and move on.

What I think will happen:

Well, all kinds of crazy sh*t has happened since the beginning of the week hasn't it? If the Blackout wasn't reason enough to get fired up about a game, we now have Gameday, an Alabama S&C Coach claiming that we're going to our MF'ing funeral, Larry Munson retiring, Evil Richt rocking press conferences and now a #1 spot in the polls up for grabs.

I've very encouraged by the glimpses of Evil Richt throughout the week. When Richt is quipping, we're practicing with the proper intensity for sure. He's flat out said himself that this week has been the easiest week as far as trying to motivate guys since he's been at UGA. There's something good about that.

What scares me is how "pressure breaks pipes." I'll be honest, I've really enjoyed being in the #3 spot in the polls. Hell, I WELCOMED it. Let all the pressure be on #1 and #2 right now. I only care about being in those positions after the SEC Championship. Now, the pressure to perform rests on the shoulders of our team more than any other team in the nation. Oklahoma has been there before and they've been able to coach through that kind of pressure. Sometimes teams can and sometimes they can't (see: WVU & Cal last year). I know we have the talent to do it, but I certainly don't want our players to know, think or feel anything about USC's loss tonight and focus solely on beating Bama.

You see this game is the biggest of our year so far and may be the game that defines our season. We're on national TV with everyone watching. We're resorting to what our critics call "gimmicks." We've become a resident whipping boy over Knowshon's leap at ESPN. This game is about putting a bully back in their place and not just with the national media, but with Alabama as well.

You see if we win this game, convincingly or not, UGA is a contender. A serious one. So far, we've gotten the Ohio State treatment from 2002. "Yeah, they're a good team, but they're going to drop one sooner or later." Sound familiar? It should. This game is about our chance to go out and get ourselves some respect.

Win for Munson, win for fame, win to make history, win to shut everyone up. I don't care how you do it, but this team needs to go out there and just win, damn it.

And I think we're more than capable of that. If UGA shows up with the focus it had against ASU last Saturday or Auburn of last year, there's no way Bama leaves with a win. No way. The only team that can beat us on Saturday night is going to be the ones in the black jerseys.

But we have to do our part. I've got my two tickets and even though I'm on the alumni side, you won't find me sitting at any point during the game. The older fans can get pissed if they want, but I'm a student of UGA football and I'm going to stand and cheer. When Alabama has the ball, you'd better be collapsing lungs with me brother and sisters or you don't deserve to even be at the game, much less sit in those seats that are going for hundreds of dollars a pop.

We can't capture the same "Holy Sh*t" moment that we witnessed last year when the team ran out in black, but we can make Sanford Stadium the toughest place in America to play football. I fully intend to do my part and I expect our team to feed off of that and just go absolutely apesh*t over it.

Bama is a good team and they will probably challenge for the SEC West. Depending on how they play against us, I could see them possibly making an appearance in Atlanta, but that's in December. 

On Saturday, Bama is the next in line and we're now serving #5.

UGA 35
Bama 27

Until next time kids. 

Be safe (and Go Dawgs!). 

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I know I said I wasn't going to write again until the preview, but 'Bama's got me so fired up I couldn't help myself. I figured the best way to go into this Blackout without Larry would be to go into a Blackout with Larry's calls.

So here's the newest creation.  Paint It Black with calls from last year's Blackout. As always, if you want a copy, please feel free to e-mail me.

Alabama's in trouble. If I had pads, I'd suit up myself. If you need me before tomorrow, I'll be in a cave channeling the spirit of Ooga.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Monday, September 22, 2008
Apparently, making things official this week is the trend. First, we make it official that this weekend's game is going to be a Blackout. Then, we get hit today with the shocking news that Larry Munson has retired, effective immediately.

Sometimes I am smart enough to back off of trying to put meaningful thoughts into words because I know I don't have the vocabulary to really say what needs to be said. During those times I realize that I can't say in three syllables what should be said in five. Sometimes those "big words" do paint prettier pictures.

At those moments, when I decide to lay down the electronic pen and let the silence speak for itself, I often do my best writing. However, I can't stay silent on this. As much as I know that there are a million people out there who could write this better than I, I have to do it anyway. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be overly dramatic as if Munson has passed away or anything, but know that I am speaking from my heart. It may be tough to imagine for some, but I'm torn up about this in places normally reserved for family and friends. 

You see, as a kid, my Dad followed UGA football but I never really caught on until about 1997. Even after that, I couldn't have named you any player on those teams, but that was about the time I took notice of the Dawgs and I remember the very first time I felt the passion I bleed daily. 

It was Saturday, November 1 and the Dawgs were a sickening underdog to a very talented Florida team. I didn't watch a single second of that game, but as the ticks were winding down, all I know was that Larry was lighting up a cigar, even though they told him he couldn't. He didn't care. His Dawgs did the unthinkable.

From that moment on, I have had a very special place in my Bulldog heart for Larry Munson.

That type of fondness grew when I got to college. Every time I was in a Redcoat uniform, I had the privilege to see the amazing calls he bestowed on the ear. I was there for UT in 2001, for Auburn in 2002, for the first SEC Championship in 20 years and for Sean Jones' fumble return for a TD against UT in 2003. I saw every bone crushing hit delivered by Thomas Davis that he called, Odell's INT for a TD against Auburn in 2003 in the most perfect game I've ever seen and when the goal posts came down against UT in 2000. When the athletic department was "losing $11,000," I was screaming at students to stop tearing up our hedges. 

For the better part of 5 years in college, every time we caught the ball on our "whatchamacallit" or met "old lady luck," I was there, seeing it in living color. That's the beauty of what Larry did for us all. I can listen to one of his calls and remember where I was standing, what I was looking at, what the temperature was like, how distraught or elated I felt at that moment and so on. That's how good he was. He wasn't a broadcaster, he was a painter. Someone that sculpted every gameday experience with words and phrases in such a pristine and precise manner that you couldn't help but be where he was. 

When Munson spoke, you sat in the both with him. After all, he was talking to Dawg fan to another.

I wrote not too long ago that we should cherish every moment we could while listening to Larry Munson. We all knew it wouldn't last much longer. This Gameday will be a special one. As a fan base, as people who care, as friends and as fanatics, we all should pay tribute to Munson this Saturday. He stepped out on his terms; quietly slipping out the backdoor while we were looking at our shiny Pac-10 win and our Blackout this weekend. He went out on his terms, just as we all knew Munson would.

In honor of Larry's quiet microphone, I'm going to practice my own version of radio silence for a majority of this week. If you want a recap of the ASU game, just know that we won and we need to play better in the secondary this weekend. If you want a List, you'll have to go somewhere else. 

I won't be back until Thursday evening with a preview of the Alabama game. Until then, I invite all of you to listen to those Munson mixes at the top left of the blog. If you want any for your tailgate on Saturday, please shoot me an e-mail and I'll get them to you ASAP. 

There's no good way to end a post like this. So I'm going to go fix a drink and shed a tear or two over the retirement of a legend. I'm happy for my "friend" who now gets to relax and enjoy a day off. However, I'm more thankful for the chance to know that I got to experience this legend, and I've had the pleasure to write about it today.

Good luck Larry, and happy birthday. You've given more to us than we will ever be able to repay to you.

Thanks for "giving us those pictures" for so many years.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008
Mark Richt confirmed today that this weekend's game against Alabama is going to be a Blackout. More thoughts on this later, but personally, I like the move. If it keeps our team focused going into practice this week (and I wouldn't mind closing practices, either), then I'm all for it.

Game recap coming soon.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008
This preview is one that I'm going to consider to be the toughest one to write to date. As always, there are other previews out there you should check out, namely Jody's Information Overload and Doug's Preview at Hey Jenny Slater.

Before I go forward, I'd like to pass along to our Dawg Brethren to be on their best behavior this weekend. I'm not saying that you shouldn't talk sh*t (I mean we all know that you're going to do that), but go into Tempe, have a good time and get to know the folks out there because they'll be coming to Athens next year. Everything I've read from any ASU message board has been their fans welcoming us to their city and wanting us to party and celebrate a good football game. I can't fault them for that, so make sure you "Do Unto Others" this weekend, OK?

Now, let's get to talking about UGA whoopin' that ASU ass in between the pleasantries of Tempe:

When ASU has the ball: 

It seems as if the college football world is on the fence about Rudy Carpenter. The stats say that he's an extremely accurate passer and the leader of this Offense. However, if you go back to 2007, the stats would say that when he's hit early and often, he gets rattled and becomes wildly inconsistent. I say Carpenter is the kind of head case you'd expect out of a QB who probably thinks he's better than he actually is. No disrespect to Carpenter, but I watched that USC game last year on Thanksgiving and all I saw was Carpenter bitching at the refs, his O-line and the Trojans. 

So, now that you know Rudy Carpenter is high on my "douche bag" list, I have to give him his props as a QB. If he can keep his head in the game, he's a very accurate passer and does a great job of eating up a zone scheme. Let's not forget that he's being coached by a good coach in Dennis Erickson. He's a vagabond, but he's a good coach. 

Now, as far as the running game is concerned, there isn't any. Don't get me wrong, they have guys that can run the ball, but so far this year, the ones who haven't been sidelined by injury haven't produced up to par. 

So, the deal is that the Defense should be able to contain the run like last week, but if you think that ASU Off. Coordinator wasn't licking his chops while seeing UGA get carved up last week, you'd be dead wrong. Carpenter is a very effective passer in all aspects of the game and he will find ways to get to him if we don't get pressure. However, as Mark Richt noted, he's good against the blitz as well. So, what do we do?

Well we have to get pressure with our front four and maybe only bring five on certain downs. Yeah, we can blitz, but we're not going to be able to blitz every down. We'll have to twist linemen and delay a linebacker (hopefully Curran) to confuse this young O-line and keep them guessing throughout the game. With the threat of the run being taken out of the equation, we have to have the mentality of "we dare you to beat us with your arm in under 3 seconds." If we can get consistent pressure and just enough to rattle Carpenter, history has shown that he'll become erradic and start making some costly mistakes. 

The players that need to step up are Bryan Evans, Prince Miller and whoever else might play in the nickel slot. Asher's going to have his guy locked down, but the other side is a major concern for me, especially on big plays. Other than that, our Defensive Ends have GOT to record at least two sacks in the first half if we're going to establish any kind of "we're going to get you, Carpenter" mentality. If we can get him thinking about what side he's going to get hit from rather than what guy is going to be open, we win the battle on the Defensive side of the ball.

When UGA has the ball:

It all starts with Knowshon Moreno. When KnoMo touches the ball, good things tend to happen. Other things that tend to happen include the opposing Defense keying in on the run, which obviously opens up our dangerous play-action pass. The real key here is going to be whether or not our Offensive Line can dominate given the recent shake-up in starters. Look for B. Jones to start at Center, with Boling and Anderson on the right and Vance and C. Davis on the left. Hopefully the shake up will give us a chance to get some road graders up front that will blaze the path for us.

So, what we need to do is get the ball often to Moreno and let him electrify the crowd out there in the first half. Then, as time wears on and ASU thinks we're not going to abandon the run, we need to start lighting it up short, middle and long. The key to this game is going to be our 3rd down conversions. The way we do that is to run it first and second down and then leave ourselves in third and short situations. If we can do that, we'll put together long, sustaining drives that will keep our Defense fresh and wear out their Defense in the process.

The players that really have to step up in this one is everyone that plays on the O-line. Whoever it may be, they have to give Stafford time, protect him from all sides and allow him to step into his throws. When Stafford's mechanics stay true to form, he has an excellent shot of completing the types of passes that no one else in the country can make.

Special Teams:

Well, I think we're as solid here as we could be. Brian Mimbs is showing out and Walsh has been able to make the kicks we've asked him to make. However, we've got to find a way to kick the ball deep on kickoffs and do it in a way that allows our somewhat-questionable coverage to pin ASU's return man in a very tough situation.

As far as ASU is concerned, the goal is to get them to punt and punt it often. Sorry for my laziness, but I haven't done extensive research on their kicking game, so I'll just say this: I'll give up ASU's kicking knocking it through the uprights all game long as long as none of those kicks come up on a point after try. Sounds good to me. How about you?

What I think will happen:

In my opinion, UGA fans are overly optimistic after ASU dropped last week's game to UNLV. I hate to say it, but ASU is a much better team than UNLV and they basically just got caught with their pants down. If we think that we're going to waltz in there and basically steamroll a team with a moderate defense and a very good offense, we're dead wrong. Granted, when we play a stout defense, we've struggled a bit (with the USC game being the only indicator of this, however), but this game has all the makings of UGA fans seeing the Dawgs grasp the lead only to have ASU respond.

While I don't expect a high scoring affair, I really do think that we'll get our points and ASU will get theirs as well. Their Offense is too good for us not to let them score some and their Defense is only fair enough to give us an opportunity to get our points, too. The key to this game is for UGA to go out there and score early enough to give us a decent lead going towards halftime. I imagine if we see a 10+ point lead going into the rest of the game, we might just see things turn out really well for us.

However, with the size of the game and so much pressure on both teams to make a statement with this game, I really see it being quite a tight affair until the Dawgs open it up later with better conditioning and superior talent. Don't get me wrong, though, ASU's going to make a game out of it. The good news is that no matter what happens, we're going to find ourselves still in the think of the SEC hunt and hopefully we can be focused enough after whatever happens to get ready for a big game next Saturday against Alabama.

UGA: 27
ASU: 17

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008
If you have noticed yet, I use Wednesday's List as a way for me to rant and rave about whatever is currently ticking me off at the moment. This Wednesday isn't any different. The only minor difference is that this week, I'm b*tching about our own fans.

So, let's not keep anyone waiting and talk about:

The Ten Most Irrational Complaints/Theories by UGA Fans Right Now:

10) Matt Stafford Throws Too Hard -- Every time I hear someone say this, I have flashes of Uncle Rico dance through my head. It's unfathomable to me that after three years, our receivers still haven't gotten used to the fact that Stafford has a cannon for an arm. On top of that, do we really want to be the only school to have the problem of having a QB that's too good?

9) We Have to Throw the Ball to A.J. and MoMass No Matter What -- Yeah, this makes total and complete sense. By all means, let's take our QB (who throws too damn hard, by the way) and make him force balls into double coverage. If it gets intercepted, no one will care. I mean that's a part of the game, right?

8) We Were Saving the Playbook for Arizona State -- Let me tell you one thing, we were in the fight of our lives this past Saturday. The plays we called were plays to win the game. We weren't holding anything back, just like South Carolina wasn't holding anything back when they played Vandy. The truth is, I believe the Dawg Nation would be more happy about losing to ASU and winning the SEC, than to lose to USC, UT or anyone else and only have "well we beat a Pac-10 team" as our bragging rights. Breaking News: they don't award BCS berths for beating the Sun Devils.

7) The Polls Really Do Matter in Week 3 -- Alright, this needs to be let go of, quick, fast and in a hurry. If we're more concerned with being ahead of Oklahoma, USC (the real one) or anyone like that than we are about winning the next game, we're going to get embarrassed. THEN let's see how well that preseason ranking turned out for us.

6) We're a Worse Team Than We All Thought -- Ok, this one is absolutely ludicrous. Yes, sometimes it happens that teams return loads of talent, only to not play up to that talent level. For example, you can look at Ohio State, who returned more starters than UGA. However, to think that we're not living up to the hype is a huge understatement. Are we playing our best football right now? HELL NO. And you know what? I don't want us to play our best football right now! If we do that, we peak too early and then we take a loss. Mark Richt had an excellent response to this type of ASSessment last night on the Bulldog Hotline, and it was "good teams are supposed to get better every week." Well, ain't that just novel? It turns out that the head coach doesn't want us to play our best football against Central Michigan. He probably thinks something completely off the wall like our best football should be played against Florida. What the hell is he smoking?

5) Mark Richt Plays WRs Who Normally Ride the Bench to Protect Their Feelings -- This one has gotten WAY out of hand. In fact, I saw a guy on the message board earlier who had loaded our WR rotation in an Excel file, just to make a point about it! You see, geniuses, when MoMass and A.J. Green come out of the game, it's to let them REST. You know, get a breather? It just so happens that when people run a lot, they get tired and they slow down the more tired they get. Wouldn't it be amazing if MoMass was just as fast in the 4th quarter as he is in the 1st? Well, that's what we're doing. On top of that, some of our WRs are better run-blockers downfield. In a crazy twist of that game called "WINNING," if we block downfield better, it's more likely that Knowshon can break one for 6 points. 

4) Jim Rome is Worth Listening To -- All the time, that asshat known as Jim Rome talks his "smack" about UGA and for some reason, people seem to think that what he says matters. Do you know why Jim Rome has a show on ESPN in the middle of the day? Because the ice skating season isn't year round. Seriously, NOT ONE SINGLE TIME have I ever heard anyone from a blogger to a professional journalist mention a single topic or news story that Jim Rome has commented on. When "real" sports journalists do or say something controversial, they talk about it on PTI. When Jim Rome does or says something controversial, people snicker and point like he wet himself. That should tell you all you need to know. He's the last pick in the NFL Draft; Mr. Irrelevant.

3) We Should Bench Tripp Chandler -- Yeah, this kind of sh*t comes from the same people who "boo" our players when they drop a pass, yet they get gassed walking to the stadium on Gameday. Look, Tripp has been a helluva player for us, not only in the passing game (does anyone remember the amazing grab and subsequent hit he took for a first down against Alabama last year??), but also in regards to blocking. Look, I was just as frustrated as you on Saturday, but Tripp's a senior, he's a leader and he has the respect of his teammates. If Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and MoMass respect him, I think we should probably give him the benefit of the doubt, don't you?

2) THE WHOLE MEDIA HATES US -- OMF(riggin)GROTFLMAO, let it go. PLEASE, I'm begging you all to just drop it. I've even heard crazy stuff like "Gary Danielson is anti-UGA." Why? Because he said we weren't covering Jarrod Cook properly? Or maybe because his reasoning was wrong when he questioned our move to go for 2 against USC? Look, just because an announcer stays objective, doesn't mean that they hate our guts. I LOVE Uncle Verne, but it's not like he's UGA's announcer. If he says something is boneheaded, he's just trying to call it like it is. All you folks who are complaining about UGA's lack of coverage need to wise up to a few things. One, if we whine about not seeing our team enough, it makes us look pathetic. Two, if we whine enough and lose, we'll catch hell on TV, in the papers, on the internet and in the polls. Shut your mouth and get concerned with cheering on the Dawgs. Nothing else matters. There's a phrase that goes "act like you've been there before." Do that.

1) Anything Short of a National Title is a Failure -- Mark my words, this is the most controversial one of the whole group, and I'll probably get blasted for it. However, you've got to bear with me and hear me out on this one. Think about it like this: every year there are numerous teams who are "good enough" to be National Champions. BUT, in every year, there can be only one, and that team has to play well, play hard and get a lot of luck along the way. We may be the best team in the country. We may be the second best team in the country or we may be the tenth best team in the country. Trust me, with a hard as the SEC is and as hard as our schedule is, I'd be ecstatic with an SEC Championship. It's an honor to even be in the damn game. The stars might not align for us to hoist the crystal football this year, or they may align perfectly and we run the table and rout everyone we play. I don't know what the future holds. But I do know that if we are lucky enough to beat Florida and fortunate enough to get past LSU and gamble enough to squeak by Auburn and get tricky enough to pull one over on Tennessee and pummel Georgia Tech into the ground, you won't be able to wipe the smile off my face. Nothing's better than being the champions, but being better than your rivals doesn't suck either.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Monday, September 15, 2008
I just wanted to point out a new advertiser to the site in Sports Memorabilia

They have a good selection of UGA stuff as well as plenty of other teams to choose from ranging from Baseball to Soccer. Their ad is over to the right, below the "Georgia Blogs" box, so check them out when you get the chance. Everything they have is very reasonably priced, especially the autographed memorabilia.

Thanks again to Sports Memorabilia for joining the site and thanks to you all for going over and checking them out.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.


As noted in my previous post, I think our lack of a pass rush is going to be a major issue of concern against some of our upcoming opponents (I'm looking at you ASU). Last year, aside from an all-out offensive 180 where Knowshon came into his own and our receivers figured out they could catch the deep ball, our Defense was the key to turning around our season.

A lot of that had to do with the utter embarrassment we felt after getting walloped by Tennessee last year and how we needed to make adjustments to start putting opposing QBs on their backs more often.

Mark Richt is a smart man. He knows that our lack of a pass rush is a problem right now and he's stated that we're going to have to find ways to fix it. However, given a couple of days to rethink about Saturday, I've run across a couple of other blog posts and articles that I think you should check out.

1) To begin, PWD notes the lack of the pass rush, but admits that anytime your opponent only scores 7 points, your defensive scheme is a rousing success. I'll be honest, I can't disagree with him there. While I still think this is some of the "same song different dance" routine with Willie Martinez that we see every year, you really can't argue with 7 points in 4 quarters and only 18 yards rushing for the game. Also worth noting and reading are the Offensive and Defensive miscues  (scroll down some) that he tallies up for us. Those stats had to be exhausting to put up. Very good work done there by Paul.

2) The Good Senator tends to share my sentiment about the pass rush problems more than PWD does, but he does have a great post up about UNLV's gameplan to upset Arizona State. If there's a bright side to not getting to the QB enough, that is it.

3) There have been some really great articles from regarding Richt's thoughts and some of the players' thoughts on the pass rush. Unfortunately, those articles are for subscribers only. However, as a side note, I subscribed to in February (I think) and I've been nothing but happy with it. I'm not pimping those guys or anything, but I do think they put out a great product for the money. 

So, going forward it looks like the "pass rush is going to kill us" thoughts are going to stick around in one form or another. However, the last time the fans were down on this team, it was because we had gotten our doors blown off by UT. The good news is that we're still undefeated, we recognize our weaknesses and every week is another chance to don a skimpy bathing suit for this beauty contest we call the BCS. 

Personally, I might be overly optimistic here, but I think you're going to see one fired up Dawg team on Saturday. Only time will tell though.

Until next time kids. 

Be safe.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008
It's pretty much general consensus that yesterday's game was one of the ugliest I have ever seen. However, as The Good Senator points out, last year, a game that ugly results in a UGA loss. PWD also echoed the same sentiment to me yesterday as well. 

As I pointed out last night, it's a certainty as a Dawg fan that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss any day. It's tough for me to say that ASU's loss to UNLV was ugly as both teams were able to move the ball efficiently, which resulted in a rhythmic game as opposed to a spit-and-sputter type like we saw from UGA and USC yesterday.

So, let's get to the analysis part. You might feel a little pressure, but this won't hurt too bad:

The Stats Say:

Well, the stats are glaring, that's for sure, and they say a ton about the game yesterday. The worst one out of the group in my eyes is our total sack count, which is two, with only one being a true blitz sack. More on this later, but that is a damn poor stat for a Defensive Line as sick as ours.

In the "almost as bad" category, does the number "271" mean anything to you? It should to Willie Martinez and our Secondary, as 271 is the net passing yards we were carved up for throughout the course of the game. How does that happen, you ask? Just look above at that "sack" stat and I'm sure you'll be able to put two and two together.

The last of the glaring stats is the time of possession. UGA held the ball for 35:14, which is a good 10+ minutes more than South Carolina. To me, this is probably the stat that won the game, because if South Carolina has any more possessions, we're probably looking today for a way to salvage our season. If we did one thing right offensively, it was keep the ball away from the Old Ball Coach's Offense.

The Good:

1) Clock Management -- This was just touched upon, but for all the misfires we had offensively yesterday, the one thing we did completely right was to control the clock as best we could. Was it uglier than homemade sin? Absolutely, but the idea to get the lead and milk the clock as much as we could was a great one and shouldn't be underestimated. 

2) The Kicking Game -- Brian Mimbs and Blair Walsh did everything we could've asked of them and more yesterday. Mimbs came through HUGE with a 77 yard boomer late in the game to pin South Carolina inside the 20 (even though our Secondary gave most of it back on the ensuing play), and Blair Walsh nailed two FGs on the road in the SEC, which is something we can all be happy about.

3) Individual Performances -- Guys like Rennie Curran, Knowshon Moreno and A.J. Green should all be recognized for having bright-spot days in an otherwise dismal outing for the Dawgs. A.J. Green proved that he needs the ball thrown his way more often, Rennie Curran caused the fumbled that kept UGA's hopes for a win alive and Knowshon Moreno made yards out of nothing while running behind an Offensive Line that didn't create any holes.

4) Rushing Defense -- As bad as we were in the Secondary, we were exactly the opposite in stuffing the run. South Carolina only racked up 18 yards rushing over the course of the game, which is phenomenal. This kind of run defense will be key in upcoming games against Alabama, Tennessee and LSU. However, for next week, it won't do us much good at all.

5) Having Football Back on CBS -- It sure was nice to hear Uncle Verne and Gary Danielson doing their thing yesterday. 

The Bad:

1) Our Passing Defense -- There's not much more to say other than what I've already covered, but when you have studs like Asher Allen, Prince Miller & Reshad Jones in the secondary, you shouldn't get carved up for that many yards in the passing game. If your top tacklers for the game are mostly in the Secondary, then you've either had a bad day stopping the run (which is not the case here) or a really bad day stopping the pass. 

2) Our Offensive Line -- Let's not underscore South Carolina's Defense. They're good, don't get me wrong, but what I saw from our O-line yesterday is not going to get us very far this season. They allowed Stafford to be sacked four times and hurried at least two more times past that. One thing I've preached on for years now is Stafford's mechanics, and when he's hurried, they go to crap. When that happens, you have passes that are not always on the mark, such as what happened yesterday with most passes being behind receivers. In addition, our running game was not what it should have been and we couldn't man up enough to run effective screens to disguise our weaknesses. Stacey Searels is the man to fix this, but yesterday, we didn't look good at all.

3) Stafford's Progression -- He's still the only QB in the SEC I'd take running my offense because of his ability to check into the right play, but yesterday, he was way off on checking into his third and fourth reads when throwing the pass. There were a couple of times where we had some guys wide open and Stafford instead tried to force the ball into a guy that was double covered.

The Ugly:

1) Every Part of Willie's Scheme -- I've waited all post for this one. Our lack of a pass rush is going to flat out kill us this year unless we start bringing the blitz NOW. Again, I'm never one to call for anybody's job, but Willie Martinez does this kind of stuff every year where we try to play a smart soft zone defense and we somehow seem to give up large chunks of passing yardage. I just hope that this past game serves as our wake up call as opposed to taking a loss or two before we start doing things differently. An effective blitz is the trademark of championship teams (such as LSU from 2003, UF from 2006 and LSU from 2007) and it was the trademark of our remarkable run so far. I'm not trying to criticize Mark Richt at all, but there needs to be a "come to Jesus" with Willie Martinez and it needs to happen soon. Oh, and if I see us rush three Defensive Linemen one more time, I'll scream.

2) My Prediction -- Man, I could not have been more wrong with any part of the game. The only thing I came close with was my prediction of the USC side of the score. Everything else was just ridiculous. I'll try to do better next time, but man, my optimism for a dominating performance was just completely blown out of the water.

3) Our Depth at Safety -- I'm not saying anything against Andrew Williams, but he was on the field WAY too much yesterday. To say that Quentin Banks can't get healthy soon enough is a huge understatement. We need someone with some game experience to get back there to provide us some depth, and soon.  We are razor thin at that position.

4) Blitz Pickup -- We didn't do this at all yesterday and Stafford got nailed a couple of times because of it. I know that Munzenmaier missed a big blitz while running a route on a play action that got Stafford crushed. We've got to do better in this area, or you'll be seeing a lot of shotgun formations in the next few games for sure.

Well, all in all, it's a win. I know that all of my b*tching above makes it sound like we got our doors blown off, but the bright side is there wasn't a single mistake made yesterday that we can't correct with different scheming, better play calling and more conditioning. We still have a great, great, great team, but we've got a long ways to go if we're going to be talking about hoisting a crystal football at the end of the season.  

Let's not forget as well that ASU just took a major loss last night against UNLV and they'll need to make a statement to prove that their loss was just a fluke because they were planning ahead for UGA. So, for the second week in a row, we'll be getting the best effort from the team we're going to play. Let's just hope we find a way to put Rudy Carpenter on his back this week.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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It's been a long day of football and I'm just as tired and frustrated as you are, but before I go to bed, I'm going to attempt you to calm myself and you down by asking one simple question:


I'll take the latter, all day every day. Recap coming up sometime tomorrow.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008
Man this week has blown by hasn't it? Honestly, there's not enough time for me to put everything that pops into my head onto the internet. I had so much more I wanted to write, but finding the time to do so in such a topsy-turvy week at work has made it tough.

Anyway, enough b*tching about my time constraints, let's talk a little bit about what UGA needs to do to beat USC (the fake one) this weekend.

When USC has the ball:

Well, my personal opinion is the the Offensive Line is the biggest key to running a successful offense, but in the case of South Carolina, it's in a virtual heat with the QB position. Fortunately for UGA and unfortunately for USC, the Gamecocks are struggling at both. So far, their OL has been letting virtual jailbreaks through on nearly every possession and when the QBs have had time to throw, they're usually throwing it to the other side.

Look for Spurrier's Cock 'n Fire Offense to not be too pass heavy at the beginning of this game. You're going to see a healthy mix of run at the beginning in order to try and set up some sort of play action pass or trickeration. To be honest, you might see Spurrier running a more Richt-like Offense and Richt running a more Spurrier-like Offense in this game (I will explain my reasoning shortly). Spurrier needs to establish the run and get the ground game going. Expect to see a lot of short runs, dinks and dunks, throws to the TE (who's quite a playmaker by the way) and screens. This will help the OL get an idea of the pass rush and also settle down the team for what is probably the game that will define their season.

When USC is on Offense, we need to line up our Big 4 right in front of them and then swing Rennie up to the line for a nice pass rush. Sure, with the way that USC has played so far, our DLs and DEs should be able to get pressure without bringing the blitz, but if I'm Tommy Beecher or Stephen Garcia (and expect Garcia to see snaps as well), then I'm getting worried if the Liberian Dream is across from me and ready to step on my side of the line. Either way, we need to bring heat and bring a ton of it. We have to rattle an already insecure QB corps and get Spurrier to start pulling that hook out early. The more QBs we see, the better we're doing. We need to bump at the line and play a TON of man. No more soft zone, especially against this team, which has an offense based on timing and finding the soft spots in windows in a scheme like that.  We need to man up and throw down every chance we get. I EXPECT at least two turnovers in our favor. Our team should expect the same.

When UGA has the ball:

Remember how I said that UGA would be more like Spurrier's old teams of the past and vice versa? To me, this is Matt Stafford's coming out party. I'm really starting to agree with the other folks who thought this earlier than I, when I was still thinking about how much we're going to run the ball. It turns out, I think our goal is to score early, score often and pile it on. This is a statement game for us more than the past two. A lot of people have said that this is the "first" game of our season, and I expect that our team probably hasn't taken too kindly to that kind of talk, especially combined with the fact that our guys still hold USC accountable for keeping us out of the championship (both of them) last year.

Richt knows what's at stake here. He's not crazy and we certainly know he ain't nice ALL the time. Look for the Dawgs to do whatever it takes to get the ball first, either by kickoff or via turnover on downs. The key to this game is getting our guys into the endzone first (The Good Senator gives us a nice stat on that via Jody's Info Overload). Look for us to probably start off with a handoff or two, but after that, we're throwing and we're going for the jugular. USC fans really don't believe that Matt Stafford is the truth, but they are certainly about to get educated. Whereas we've kept the play calling very vanilla so far, it's time for us to open up the playbook and embarrass someone. It just so happens that this is the time we embarrass Spurrier in his house. If we score less than 30 points, I'll be severely disappointed.

In my opinion, you will see a lot of 3-4 WR sets with single-set backfields. Also, don't be surprised if you see a 2 WR, 1 TE and 2 RB (KM and CK) set as well. We showed a little bit of that at CMU, but only used to confuse the defense. This time, we'll use it to major efficiency. Our goal is to confuse a very slow, but solid, USC Defense that gets tired QUICKLY. If we can hang about 21 on them in the first half, I think this game is over. If we score first, I KNOW this game is over.

What I think will happen:

USC is in this game for survival, not to win. They HAVE to win this game to salvage their season. Period. There are no hidden tricks, no secret weapons and no "saving this one for a crucial moment later on" plays. This game is the only chance for the Gamecocks to lay it all on the line from the start of the gun and then see what happens from there. That makes this team and this game a very dangerous one.

How does UGA respond to that kind of attack? Well, we go out there and have the mindset of absolutely punishing the half assed 6-6 team that beat us last year in OUR own house by whipping them in THEIR own house. Look for UGA to start white hot. There will be no "feeling" the defense for a series or two to try to expose weaknesses. These two teams will lay it all out on the line from the very beginning because we all know that Vandy is not going to win the SEC, though they might be in the cat bird seat right now.

UGA will score first. They will score second and THEN USC might get their first taste of points for the game. However, we will not let up and we will not take it easy through the 4th quarter. This game defines our team, defines what we're all about and defines our goals. The balance of power in the SEC and the nation will shift with this game, mark my words. Our dominating performance will firmly place us as one of the top 2 teams in the land and solidify our spot in the polls.

This game is not about winning, it's about not going home a loser. USC had better be ready. I damn sure know the Dawgs are.

UGA -- 42
USC -- 17

Until next time kids.

Be safe (and Go Dawgs!).

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Yes, UGA opens up against South Carolina this weekend. Yes it's a great weekend for football in general.

While that's all well and good, that's not what today's about.

Take a moment today to remind yourself of how you felt and what you were doing from 7 years ago. At the time that I'm writing this, 7 years ago today the first plane was smashing into the Towers.

Don't forget what today is and why it's so important. 

Then be thankful for the freedom that we do have.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Before we get started, I stumbled upon the latest Pulpwood Prediction (shout out: Hunker Down Dawg). Enjoy!

It's South Carolina week and the understatement of the year would be to say that I'm absolutely giddy over the possibility of whipping the Gamecocks' collective asses on Saturday. I'm ready and excited about finally beginning the first game of that brutal schedule.  

However, right now, there's not a scrap of UGA news that I can tell you that you need to know about. So instead, I decided that tonight would be a good time to just do some quick hits on whatever comes to my mind. It might be football related, it might be on politics or it might just be a random rant. I don't know, so I'm just going to stop thinking, start writing and see what happens:

1) There's not a bone in my body that thinks the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called against Washington this past weekend was a bad call. EVERY bone in my body thinks that it is a crappy rule, however. As written, Rule 9-2-C states as such (opens a very large PDF of the college rule book):
After a score or any other play, the player in possession immediately must return the ball to an official or leave it near the dead-ball spot. This prohibits:...(c) Throwing the ball high into the air.
I'm not really sure how it's incredibly tough to understand that it wasn't the officials that screwed Jake Locker and the Huskies (and trust me, they were screwed), it was the rule in and of itself. 

So, to say that it was a bad call by the refs is actually an injustice. The refs did their job, almost to the letter. Those that say Locker was merely throwing the ball over his shoulder are full of sh*t (I'm looking at you Mark May) and need to admit as much. However, Locker didn't mean to draw attention to himself or to taunt the other team, but his intentions aren't the issue here. His actions are, and his actions are a violation of the rules in the rule book. It is what it is.

2) Can somebody, anybody tell me why this is news? I could care less about CNN's undying desire to drag Sarah Palin through the mud (is it wrong that I think she's kind of cute?), but with a "news story" like this, it's almost comical. Really? You're interviewing some chick who beat her in a beauty pageant in 1984? And it turns out that this chick supports Obama? WELL STOP THE F*CKING PRESSES! WE'VE GOT A PEABODY WAITING FOR THIS STORY! Geez, gag me with a rusty spork.

3) The other night, I watched the entire Warren Zevon episode from when he was on Letterman right before he passed away. While Zevon's music never really did much to move my soul (I'm not saying it's bad music. It just ain't my favorite.), the interview did something for me that has carried with me the last few days. I could try to put exactly what that is into words, but I wouldn't do it justice. All I know is I sat there and thought "If I were Letterman and I was interviewing an old friend for what I knew to be the last time before he passed away, how could I keep it together?" When I asked that question unto myself, my perspective on some things changed a little. I've very glad that it did.

4) Keeping up with the classic rock vibe, I've recently rediscovered Credence Clearwater Revival. I'm not really a fan of John Fogerty, but truth be known, I used to wear out their 24k gold best hits CD. I found the CD a few days ago and I've been listening to their music while I've blogged the past couple of nights. It's been nice.

5) Finally, let's do some quick hits on the blogosphere.  Sounds good?  Good.

Well, that's all I've got for tonight. Preview is coming and will be posted tomorrow night for your Friday's enjoyment.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008
This week is flying by so far, which is bad and good because 1) I feel like this week's going to be hell at work (bad) and 2) I'm ready to whip Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks' collective asses on Saturday (good). Hell, it's moving by so quickly that I was trying to think of things to write about when I realized that it was time for this week's List already.

So, let's get to some mild hilarity and talk a little bit about...

The Ten Things I'm Already Over in Regards to This Season:

10) Polls -- Man if I have to hear about one more voter and his bias or one more coach and how wrong he's got it, I'm going to nut the f*ck up. Seriously, nothing matters until the end of the season and the paranoia has got to stop about UGA being the next Auburn from 2004. If we go undefeated, we play for the crystal football. End of story. So, why don't we as fans just focus on that? I mean if we're distracted, then the media is distracted. If the media's distracted, then it'll distract our players. 

9) Mark May -- I say it all the time, but I HATE Mark May. Like stab him in the eye with a rusty nail, piss in his cornflakes & sh*t in his mashed potatoes, somewhere between Barbara Streisand and Ben Stiller kind of hate. I pray that one day Rece Davis does what we're all thinking about doing and jumps up and Bloodsport's Mark May right in the throat on national TV. Rece is cool, too. He just might do it. (Image: "I'm a pony! I'm a pony!")

8) The Craptacular Big Ten (11) and Big East -- These two conferences right now are glorified mid-majors littered with teams that used to be flat out good. Now they're full of teams like Michigan, Syracuse, South Florida & Louisville. Honestly, I could care less whenever these teams play. Ohio State's a good team, but if they go undefeated, could you really say that they deserve to play for the title? I mean other than USC and Penn State, who else do they play that's worth a damn? Bueller?

7) Notre Dame's Demise and What a Travesty It Is -- 100% of me really loves to see Notre Dame struggle for no other reason than to see Jimmy Clausen fail. I don't mind Charlie Weiss, but I don't really care for him either. However, I haven't been able to stand Jimmy Clausen since he announced his commitment to Notre Dame at the College Football Hall of Fame. It would suit me just fine if that was as close as he'll ever come to actually being honored there. However, if you take his arrogance out of the equation, he's still a Clausen and that's reason enough for me to hate him. What I really can't stand though is how the media is consistently talking about how not-good Notre Dame is. Hello? Did y'all watch any of those games last year? Of course, I shouldn't be surprised in the media's "surprise." I mean these are the same people who think that Florida's Defense is so much better than last year's.

6) The Schedule -- This is self-explanatory. We only play one game at a time. Yeah I know it's a tough schedule all in all, but honestly, is there any reason to get ahead of ourselves?

5) Not Having Cable -- Yeah, this kind of falls under the "General Kit Stuff" category, but can I tell you how crappy it is to not have cable during football season? Seriously, I didn't mind it when I didn't have cable in the summer and nothing was on TV anyway, but I have literally found nearly every corner of the internet that I care to find and I'm ready to watch the talking picture box, damn it. Thankfully, I have a neighbor that I used to work with that has cable, but still, it sucks.

4) The Facilities Arms Race -- It seems like every five minutes a new building is going up somewhere that's going to be the best in the country. Oklahoma State's video about their facilities is pretty damn impressive and Tennessee's pictures of the revamped Neyland Stadium and locker rooms isn't too shabby either. All this can mean is that UGA will continue to upgrade to keep pace, which will ultimately mean higher donations and cutoff scores and essentially keep me from ever getting season tickets. Ugh.

3) All the Hoopla Over Tim Tebow -- We get it. He won the Heisman last year. His stats are gaudy. He's generally a nice guy. He can perform intricate penis surgeries on people in the Philippines. Can we get over it now? That was last year. This year, he's again captain of Teh Greatest Offense EVAH!!1!!11!! and so far, Florida hasn't really lived up to the hype. However, I'll take him rushing the ball 20-25 times a game like he's still doing any day. Gators can bitch and moan all they want to about Tebow being hurt last year. That's your coach's fault, not ours. Get a running game and Tebow won't get banged up.

2) Urban Meyer -- Urban Meyer is upwards around the "Mark May" area of hatred, but it just so happens that he gets that added bump because he's the coach of the Florida Gators. Now, we already know Urban's tactics of lying to recruits (see: "No, Jevan. We're recruiting Tebow to play linebacker."), but his need to pile on the score is something that is very Spurrier-esque, but without the funny quips that go along with it. Spurrier liked to pile it on, but at least he admitted it. Urban's got this "bad deal" thing about the Celebration, but then he wants to talk about "moving on" when asked about his meaningless field goal at the end of the UF-UM game the other night. One thing he might need to remember though is that Randy Shannon's been to hell and back throughout his personal life. It might do Urban well not to piss off a man that could drop him like a bad habit. (By the way, that link goes to a great story about Randy Shannon. It's lengthy, but worth the read)

1) The ESPN Conspiracy Against UGA -- GIVE IT A REST PEOPLE! ESPN hates everyone. They hate you, they hate me and they hate apple pie. However, they are the leaders of the sports information world. So, for all you folks on the message boards that had a collective meltdown regarding Knowshon and his hurdle not being played on any highlights Saturday, you have to give it a rest. Trust me, if we win our games, we'll get our 15 minutes of fame. Piss off ESPN though and all you'll get is anti-UGA sentiment if and when we do lose one. How about we let our players do the jaw-dropping plays and we enjoy it for what it is? If it doesn't make the highlights, who cares? It sucks, but it's not the end of the world. I'd rather just not see us do something stupid like spend hours on the internet blasting the World Wide Leader. However, if you want to blast Jim Rome or Mark May, you're more than welcome to. Hell, I'll even join in.

So, there's the List for this week. We'll get another post in tomorrow night before scouting South Carolina on Thursday evening.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Monday, September 08, 2008
I tell you one thing, Central Michigan does have a good team. This post might be laced with a joke here and there about their performance on Saturday, but make no mistake, this team is bowl bound and could probably win the MAC again this year.

In fact, I'd put them up against South Carolina, but that's another post for another day. Let's get to the review:

The Stats Say:

I forgot to add this in last week, but the stats say one overall thing: Our Offense is SICK. As The Good Senator noted, Phil Steele's computer guessed that UGA would rack up about 597 yards of total offense and we received further proof that Steele tends to have an idea of what he's talking about. Turns out that the Dawgs tallied up 552 yards of total offense, which isn't a bad performance at all, don't you think?

The Good:

1) Matt Stafford -- Don't worry, we'll get to Knowshon in a second, but in the meantime, did you notice that Stafford has yet to throw an interception and he's currently the highest rated passer in the SEC? Oh, you didn't? Well, I'm here to tell you that it's true. Stafford's progression has been a thing of beauty, even over his gameplay last year and I think we're going to see him get better and better. He's making wise decisions, throwing accurately and taking care of the football. Right now I see him as the most important cog for us to finish the season with the record (and hardware) we expect.

2) Knowshon Moreno -- Seriously, he JUMPED a guy...while running the football...after making a sick ass cut to get into the open field. If he'd had finished that play with a TD, he would've received the Heisman shortly thereafter. Don't let the hurdle fool you, though, it was a very bright spot in a flat out blinding day for the guy. Knowshon finished with 168 yards rushing (198 yards total) and 3 TDs. His production is off the charts and I think he's starting to feel his way around this young Offensive Line. It took all our running backs a minute to kind of see how this line was going to set up blocks, and now that we're gelling a little bit, I think you can expect to see more big performances.

3) Rennie Curran -- The Liberian Dream is back! After being nearly invisible against Georgia Southern, Curran recorded 11 tackles (8 solo and 1 sack included) and was absolutely disgruntled against the Chippewas. Dannell Ellerbe is the heart and soul of the Defense, but Curran is going to be our playmaker this year. He's a tackling machine and is a man amongst boys physically. I'm a fan, in case you can't tell.

4) Joe Cox -- I know he only saw mop up duty, but every time he takes the field I have the sneaking suspicion that he can flat out play ball. Is he as gifted as Stafford? No, but not many people are. However, if (heaven forbid) Stafford were to go down with an injury, I know that with Cox, we're not facing a similar situation to what Oregon faced last year. We are not as good without Stafford, but we're not necessarily bad without him either.

The Bad:

1) Our Kickoffs -- Man, we've got to find some consistency in the kicking-off-the-tee game. I know Blair Walsh has a cannon for a leg and the kid is doing the Dawg Nation proud right now as a true freshman, but he has got to get more consistent on the kickoffs. While we're playing scrubs, it's OK for them to have starting position outside the 30, but news flash, the days of playing scrub teams are over. We've got to start kicking it deep and start kicking it deep RIGHT NOW.

2) Willie's Soft Zone Defense -- Ugh. I don't even want to talk about this one. It was bad enough that we didn't blitz enough people to sack LaFevour more than twice, but it's worse when we're giving him so much time to throw that our DBs are getting toasted. Bryan Evans had one of the worst games of his career, and the truth is that no one else's was much better. Sure, Central Michigan only scored 17 points, but it was 17 well-earned-because-our-Defense-got-carved-up points. There were a couple of times where I would focus specifically on our DBs at the line, only to see them run up but not lay a hand on a receiver when the ball was snapped. That sh*t isn't going to cut it against Florida.

3) Lack of the TE -- Yeah, I know this is kind of ticky-tacky, but I really like how we utilize the TE. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see our WRs catch the ball consistently, get yards after catch, snag in the deep ball, etc. but I still like to see our TEs get some receptions as well. I'm sure we'll see more as we get deeper into the season because we have kept the play calling vanilla so far.

The Ugly:

1) The Heat -- It wasn't as brutal as I heard it was last Saturday, but it was still hot nonetheless. I know it's good to play in the heat since we're traveling to the F*CKING DESERT at the end of September, but I personally cannot wait for one of those perfect Athens-in-October fall days.

2) Being Hungover on Saturday -- Note to self: Drinking heavily on Friday, not good. It's called "moderation."

Well, there's my recap of the game. What was your Good, Bad & Ugly from the weekend?

Until next time kids.

Be safe. 

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Thursday, September 04, 2008
I wrote this preview on Wednesday due to my thinking that I'd have an extremely busy Thursday, but that turned out not to be the case (see: SWEET!). Anyway, this will be all you get until probably Monday because I'll be in Athens through the weekend (again see: SWEET!). 

Enough meaningless babble about me, let's talk about the Chippewas.

When CMU has the ball:

Well, where does it always start?  The Offensive Line of course (and you thought I was going to say "QB"). CMU has a potent Offense, but they are lacking in the weight department up front. Our tackles match up favorably to their big uglies, and while CMU does have a high powered passing attack, its running game is not up to par. We should easily be able to rush 4-5 players every down and leave plenty of guys in coverage to try and stop the passing attack led by Dan LeFevour.

Speaking of Dan LeFevour (like how I did that?), this kid has Tebow type stats, which is impressive in the SEC, but so-so overall when you look at the MAC Conference as a whole. That's not to say that CMU is a crap team in a crap conference, but it sure is a lot easier to be responsible for 46 TDs (27 passing, 19 rushing) when you play powerhouses like the Ohio Bobcats, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo Bulls (you know, the team almost always in the ESPN Bottom 10...though missing from the list currently) and other schools with "Kick Me" as their motto.

Again, not to take anything away from Dan LeFevour, who may or may not be a sexy pick in this year's NFL Draft, but I don't see CMU being able to move the ball effectively against the speed we have on Defense.  However, we HAVE to be able to tackle and cover more effectively than we did last week. CMU will not get their yards on the ground, but they will get them through the air. We just have to make sure that when LeFevour gets his 200 yards passing, it's not followed by "and 4 TDs." I think as long as that doesn't happen, we should be fine.

However, what CMU does present is a nice opportunity to play a spread offense early in the season and find out what our weaknesses are. As we all know, the spread is a timing based offense, so my guess here would be to bring 4-5 players as long as we get pressure and bump the receivers at the line, who match up well with our *somewhat* undersized DBs. Look for us to really get after LeFevour and if bringing 4-5 Dawgs every down doesn't work, then we'll bring more. If Martinez is smart, and I think he is, then disruption will be the downfall of this team. If he's not, then we'll play a soft zone the whole time and get gashed up and exhausted by the 3rd quarter.

When UGA has the ball:

Well, one thing's for sure; we have an Offense. Putting up 45 on GSU isn't anything to give medals over, but it is a pretty good start for a UGA team that typically doesn't fire on all cylinders right out of the gate. Getting Knowshon into rhythm early will be key as his yards against a poor CMU Defense will help open up a mean play action attack that will completely carve the CMU Secondary.

The player I'd watch out most for with CMU would be #48 Nick Bellore. Last year as a true freshman, he started all 14 games for CMU and racked up over 100 tackles. This year, he's already shown he can do some damage as he tallied 16 tackles last week against Eastern Illinois. Again, it IS Eastern Illinois, but those are Rennie Curran type numbers and sometimes, the numbers are important ladies and gentlemen.

Now, on the UGA side of the Offensive Line, I look for Stafford to have a marquee day. With Knowshon getting most of the attention, Stafford should probably to look to make a statement with his progression from last year to this year. He's leaner, but stronger and that translates into a more hungry and more accurate QB. I really like what he showed against GSU, and while we're still not going to open the playbook at all in anticipation of showing South Carolina TOO much, I think we're looking to prove we can nail the fundamentals and make you look foolish by keeping you from defending the most basic post pattern.

All in all, Knowshon will still prove to be electric, but I'd be surprised to see him put up gaudy numbers this week. We've still got a lot to prove against South Carolina in two weeks and there's no since in having them work incredibly hard to defend the run. They know who Knowshon is, so it'd be wise of us to give them a little passing film to sweat over as well.

Special Teams:

Well, my questions about Blair Walsh were answered. He can boom it in the endzone (though I wish Coach Fab would let him do it more often) and he can nail it from 50+.  It's still yet to be seen if he can do it at an opponent's stadium when everyone wants him to miss it instead of make it, but for right now, I'm certainly pleased with the results. While I want the kid to get as much experience as possible, I'd still take him kicking 6 PATs than 6 FGs any day.

Punting wise, CMU has not shown so far that they can even carry Brian Mimbs' jock strap. Last week they averaged 32 yards a punt, which means if they bring the same kind of game to Sanford, we'll have good field position all day. Again, if you had to ask me, I'll take a fair catch on the 50 way before I take a 15 yard return from the 20 to the 35. 

As far as the return game for CMU goes, Antonio Brown did well for them last week getting an average of 20+ yards in the punting game and a little over 17 yards on kickoffs. We should be able to contain him better than Eastern Illinois, but he might give the Fighting LeFevours a decent return here or there, so don't be surprised if he does.

What I think will happen:

Unless you've been living under some sort of rock for the past week, you'll notice that UGA slipped to No. 2 in the Coaches and AP polls without having lost a game. It turns out that polls are "fluid" and that winning doesn't mean "not losing." 

Honestly, I couldn't be happier about being No. 2, because what I saw out of UGA last week was not a team that "wanted it" in terms of a crystal football. While I would never condone hanging 70+ on a Div-1AA team, I would say that establishing dominance is something that needs to be done. There's something about a team not wanting to get embarrassed that leads to them playing tight and taking less chances. Hell, just ask any team that played Florida from 1996-2000.  

We need to make a statement in this game and let South Carolina know that we're not to be taken lightly. I'd rather have Gamecock fans wondering how they're going to stop our passing/rushing/special teams attack instead of wondering how much they're going to win by because "UGA ain't nothing special." While we won't open the playbook up too much, I do expect a "statement" to be made by doing little things right.

All in all, Central Michigan is a good team and shouldn't be taken lightly, but we're a better team and we need to be respected AND feared after this weekend.  

UGA 48
CMU 13

Until next time kids.

Be safe (and Go Dawgs!).

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