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The Dawg-gone Blog
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Monday, July 20, 2009
Hello again, everyone. Yes, I am still alive.

Moving on...

I was bored and trying to sleep (obviously failing at that) and so I started surfing blogs. I hadn't checked out Mackie's in a while (not because his is bad, but because I should read his blog every day) so I went over there and started reading his 2009 preview of the teams we should be concerned about playing. It's 10 teams total according to him so I'm guessing he'll leave off Tennessee Tech and maybe Vandy/Kentucky. It's just a guess. I really don't know.

Anyway, I came across this post regarding South Cracka-lacky and he linked his "highlights(?)" from the previous year's game and it gave me some perspective.

While it was a blast watching Knowshon and Matthew do their thing (and even Brian Mimbs who had a 539 yrd punt in the 4th quarter), it's amazing how drastically different are problem areas should be this year. Some will be the same, like DEs and their production, but look at the problem areas in 2008 and 2009 in comparison.


2008 -- Problem due to injuries
2009 -- Should be one of the stronger points of the Offense
Verdict: Better. I mean, when you look at the SC highlights and see Kiante Tripp in on the OL, you realize things could be a lot better than last year. I love Tripp, but you want to talk about a desperation move? We were just plugging in big bodies. Welcome back to the big men in Trinton Sturdivant and Vince Vance. We missed you guys.

2008 -- Southerland was hurt most of the year so Munz and Chapas got good experience
2009 -- Munz and Chapas doing their thing again
Verdict: Push

2008 -- Knowshon, Knowshon, Knowshon, Caleb/Richard for one play, Knowshon some more
2009 -- Um....Caleb? Maybe Carlton Thomas? Maybe Richard Samuel/DJax/Ealey? No idea.
Verdict: Worse (has to be when you lose a guy like Moreno)

2008 -- Matt Stafford. No doubt about it at any point in time. Cox saw virtually no PT
2009 -- All Cox. Less arm strength, better accuracy and touch, plus better leadership
Verdict: Push. While you can't compare them physically, the much discussed "better team focus" is something to be excited about for sure. We'll know after we play Okie State if we're better or worse.

2008 -- MoMass teaches A.J. Green how to be a star. A.J. figures this out by the second game
2009 -- No MoMass, but other veteran guys like Michael Moore step up to compliment A.J.
Verdict: Slightly Worse. Sure, Mike Moore is good, but MoMass was a DGD through and through. Plus, A.J. is really one of the only truly experienced WRs on the roster with solid playing time. Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten provide depth, but little experience scares me.

2008 -- We completely lost our TE game due to injuries in both the TE Corps and the OL
2009 -- Figgins is suspended for half the year, but we have White, Charles and Lynch.
Verdict: Better. Even though we will barely see Figgins at all, White is going to be dangerous in my opinion. I also think Orson Charles may be a certified stud when the year is done. Also look for Lynch to be an impact player at some point during his career as well.


2008 -- Small issue due to injuries and lack of DE production
2009 -- Better now that Jeff Owens is back in the mix along with Kade and Geno
Verdict: Better. How could you not be when you have three potential first-day draft picks (and two potential first rounders) in the mix? I'm very glad to have #95 back, not only on the field, but leading this Defense again in general.

2008 -- We had DEs? Funny. I couldn't find them.
2009 -- Well, we were looking better injury wise, but we're still dying from suspensions, inexperience and a few nagging injuries. Justin Houston getting suspended really sucks and right now we don't have a game-changer like we had from 2002-2007.
Verdict: Push. That's not a "middle of the road" push either. We're still bad at this position. We just didn't get any worse or better.

2008 -- Ellerbee was hurt for much of last season and didn't make the impact he wanted. We also lost Marcus Washington to a full-season injury.
2009 -- #33 is gone, but Washington is back to provide experience. Rennie is a Junior and we have big bodies and good speed.
Verdict: Better. LB play was kind of a "missing piece" last year. Not as missing as DE play, but we just couldn't seem to get it together. Gamble's play at LSU was great, but Rennie was really the only true bright spot. I think we'll be much better this year with health.

2008 -- "Hi. My name's Asher Allen. You don't throw my way."
2009 -- "Asher Who?"
Verdict: Worse. Our CBs have usually been a great spot for us, but losing Asher hurts big time. That leaves Prince Miller to carry the load in regards to playing time with possible Redshirt Freshmen or Branden Smith anchoring down the other side. We're not riddled with bad players, but we're absolutely dying from youth and inexperience.

2008 -- We don't tackle. We bump.
2009 -- We're baaaaaaack!
Verdict: Better. You're going to think I'm crazy, but I feel like Bryan Evans has found his home at Safety. Sure, I think Reshad Jones is going to play much better (since we all know he wants to go to the NFL and needs a good season to do so), but Evans is going to be the anchor of that unit. He likes to hit and he's got pretty good coverage skills as well. The only thing to worry about here is our depth. It's not good at all. Quentin Banks still needs to get healthy and soon.

Special Teams:

2008 -- Brian Mimbs was clutch.
2009 -- Drew Butler one-step kicks his way to glory.
Verdict: Worse. This has nothing to do with anything regarding Drew Butler. I'm sure he's going to be a good punter, but I think it's going to take a minute for him to get his legs under him in game situations. Plus, if we can't kick it out of bounds inside the 20, we're screwed anyway. You know our ST tackling sucks.

FG Kicker:
2008 -- "My name is Blair Walsh. Everyone blames me even though it's not my fault."
2009 -- "My name is Blair Walsh. At least you can't blame me for kickoffs anymore."
Verdict: Better. Look, this kid had a rough go of it last year and it was totally not his fault. I like CMR and I think he's great, but he blamed Walsh for a ton of things that weren't his fault. After our Offense scored more points than a UGA Offense in a long time, plus the FGs when we didn't score, this kid's leg got tired. Couple that with Jon "No Touchback" Fabris' idea of Special Teams and you have a kid so far under the bus, he can't save himself. Now he can just kick FGs and let that be his claim to fame.

2008 -- Why would we kick it out of the endzone when we can kick it out of bounds?
2009 -- Can this new kid kick it out of bounds? Let's hope so!!! (not)
Verdict: Push. This has nothing to do with new kicker Brandon Bogotay's (sp?) leg strength and everything to do with Fabris' resistance to changing what he needs to change, which is kick the damn ball as straight as possible and hopefully our guys will cover/tackle as necessary. Until then, it ain't gonna get any better, folks. But that horse is dead, no sense in beating it further.

What's the best part about this post? Not only did I give my boy Mackie a shout-out, but also got the chance to split this into two parts for the Examiner and post those separately. Sweet!!

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Blogger Scott said...
Great post...I agree with almost all of your assessments.

The big difference I would have is at QB. You're not going to find a bigger Joe Cox fan then me (outside of possibly his immediate family)...I love the guy, and can't wait to see what he does with this opportunity. But I don't think there is any way to lose a guy like Stafford and not be worse at that position. I feel about that position the way you do about Knowshon at tailback.

I think Stafford gets WAY too much blame for the disappointment of last year.