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The Dawg-gone Blog
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010
So we lost by 16 points Florida. It happens and we'll have our shot in Stegeman soon.

Some quick thoughts for you guys:

1) McThree -- Ricky McPhee is a VERY fun player to watch. He's another one of those clutch-shot white dudes that UGA always seems to have around. The previous ones were the Weehunt brothers from the early 2000s. Some of the shots he took tonight were amazing, from some very deep threes to a nice falling jumper on the baseline for two. He also single-handedly (apparently, "handedly" isn't a word, who knew?) kept the game from slipping into a tailspin with his play.

2) Trey Leslie -- If you took Trey Thompkins and mixed him with Travis Leslie, you'd have one of the most exciting basketball players ever. Leslie still struggles with his shot, but made some nice athletic plays. Thompkins did well tonight with some big shots and was hot early.

3) Better make it the first time -- We couldn't seem to grab a rebound to save our lives. Whether on our end after a missed shot, or on their end after they (rarely) missed a shot. We've got to rebound like we did against Tennessee or we'll get beat by a lot of teams in the SEC.

4) Oops! -- Turnovers were probably the biggest dagger for us tonight. We just absolutely got killed in taking care of the ball. Sloppy, sloppy play was the theme and probably gave us the biggest hindrance in mounting a significant comeback. As Dawgfan17 perfectly stated:
Looking at the UF game tonight and most of our games for the season, if we can cut down the to's they can be much much better. We have turned it over 10 more times than UF so far and the game is a 10 pt game. If we turn it over even just 4 less times with both teams shooting 50% that is +4 points for us and -4 for them and the game is basically a tie. Everything else we have done this season has been a huge improvement. Go Dawgs!
Couldn't have said it better myself. The best news is, that's a COACHABLE problem, and I have no worries about our coaching ability.

5) Coach, you can't say that on TV -- Fox got T'd up in what I think was eerily reminiscent to the way Bobby Cox gets thrown out of Braves games. Oh, don't get me wrong, he was right in being upset about the no-call, but instead of moving on, he let it boil over and let his players know he was OK with tossing etiquette out the window. He let his players know that he had their back. I liked it. A LOT.

6) I think I can, I think I can -- We've got some great things going for us right now in regards to overall improvement, but this team is going to have to learn to win on the road for us to get over the hump from being a mediocre team to even a good team. It's not the matter of winning, it's the matter of getting used to the idea of winning away from home. Our confidence sucks in that regard and it shows at times. Of course, when you have a team full of guys who haven't achieved road success in 4+ years, it's going to creep into their heads that they can't do it. A win against South Carolina this weekend would be HUGE for us.

7) Tick Tock -- I didn't remember to elaborate on this the last game, but one of the most overall improved things I've seen is our use of timeouts. It's been a blessing to see Coach Fox take timeouts to stop runs and coach up our guys. They're, for lack of a better word, quite timely. Felton never did that and it drove me crazy.

8) Ratings are up -- The biggest difference in a double-digit point loss to Florida this year versus last year? I was still tuning in this year. Last year's team quit in that game. Absolutely quit. It was disgusting and I had to turn it off. We all knew this game was over after the four minute mark, but I was still interested to see what this team would do. If any of us can take one thing away from tonight's loss, it's the proof in the pudding that this team is NOT last year's team.

So, there you have it. What stuck out to you?

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010
So the game is fresh in my mind still and I've got about five minutes to burn, but here are some quick hits on the game from what I remember:

1) Travis Leslie is a beast. Just a flat out monster. His leaping ability makes him a threat off the glass and a very good shot blocker. If this kid can find some range from 13-17 feet out, he's going to be VERY dangerous. He's just a highlight reel waiting to happen. Oh, and don't underestimate his ability to dish the rock. He had some SPECTACULAR feeds tonight to guys around the rim.

2) The offense still runs through Trey. Thompkins had a good, but not extremely big night. The other guys still have to rely on him to be the "go-to" guy with the ball, though. When he turns it on, it raises the level of our play significantly.

3) Price is right. Jeremy Price had a nice game tonight, crashing boards, getting put-backs and converting on second chances. We'll need to him up his level of play to give us a strong inside presence going into the meat of our SEC schedule.

4) Dustin Ware = David Greene? Dustin Ware is not a flashy guy and he's good for roughly 7-10 points a game, but he takes care of the basketball and really directs that offense well.

5) No 5-hour energy here. There's definitely a late-game crash after our initial boost of energy. For everything we did right tonight, we still had our hiccups. Closing out the game, there was a stretch from 5:31 left to 1:37 left in the 2nd half where we didn't score a point. If the lead had been 10 or less, we would've found ourselves up a creek. We've got to find a way to dig deep and close out these big games. Close losses are still losses.

6) Thunderdome. Stege was rocking tonight. The students and fans really turned out and that's huge for us. We need that kind of support to build what Fox is trying to build in Athens.

7) Mark Fox just may be the guy. From his interviews, tweets and on-screen presence when coaching, he's creating an attitude in our team that has been missing for a while. The kids are having fun playing basketball again and the fans are enjoying watching it. If we can consistently get better week by week, we'll definitely see some type of post-season play. We just have to know we can do it.

Overall, big win and a very good way to get the fan base fired up.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

P.S. -- Negative points to the student who covered himself in peanut butter. I get the enthusiasm, but peanut butter? Really? Of course, when you think about it, it's probably a lot cheaper than face paint. Hate it for the people around him though.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today is the first day the new coaches, Grantham & Lakatos, get to meet the current UGA players. It's not a day where position changes will be made (that will happen after film study and spring practice), but it's a day where the ball gets rolling. It's essentially the day to put the former complacency that surrounded our program on notice.

Now, earlier tonight I read a great and simple explanation of the 3-4 defense at the following URL: Sorry I can't hyperlink, but I'm typing this on my phone. Also, a hat tip to David Hale ( who shared the link on his blog.

For those who don't have time to read the article, essentially, the 3-4 is a defense tradiyionally designed to go against running teams. However, the traditional 3-4 calls for the DTs to have 2-gap responsibility, meaning every gap on the offensive line is supposed to be plugged by a DT. It is my understanding, but only a guess, that in Grantham's 1-gap system, the LBs have their own gaps for which they are responsible. That means it's basically one person per gap, or three DTs and two LBs responsible for every hole in the O-line, with the rest of the LBs and DBs free to play zone, man, spy packages, blitz, etc.

In order for this defense to work, it relies on fundamentals (like everything else in football, but something we have ignored in recent years) to make it successful. Sure tackling, playing your assigments, hat-on-hat, DBs playing the ball and not face-guarding, are all important aspects to make the new D a good one. It'll start tomorrow with introductions, carry through spring practice, then position changes, then summer workouts, and then we'll finally see the best 11 players on the field.

So, don't expect this new regime to do anything more than feel like a new regime until sometime in August. In fact, I'd warn that G-day will probably be sloppy, but will give us a good look at seeing guys fly to the ball like we expect.

So, tomorrow the changes begin, but much like the actual search for a new DC, it is going to be a relatively slow process -- especially since we have a recruiting class to fill out and there won't be any actual "coaching" happening until spring practice in late March or early April.

Until then, let's just all remember that the true path to championships goes through Jacksonville, and until we stop wetting the bed below the state line, defensive changes won't matter.

I'm just sayin'.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Rivals is saying this is a 3-year, 3rd highest paid assistant in the nation, done deal.

So far, the message boards and Twitter have been popping with optimism and relief now that it's all over. That's a good thing. I think half of our fans were on suicide alert when the Smart thing fell through.

So UGA will most likely now run a 3-4. I'll bet Garner stays and what will be interesting to see now is if we get Travis Jones and who will coach DBs.

Exciting time to be a Dawg. GATA, Grantham. Glad to have you on board.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

You've no doubt heard by now that Kirby Smart turned down the opportunity to become the next DC at UGA. All things considered, it sucks for us but Kirby made a career move today instead of coming home to Mama.

Saban surely said to him that if he stayed he'd have a head coaching gig for sure in 1-3 years. You can rest assure that the conversation also included "if you don't succeed immediately at UGA, your name will cool off and you may moss a great opportunity while trying to be loyal to you alma mater." In the end, I think the intagibles kept Kirby, not the money.

Where do the Dawgs go from here? I have no clue. Not a single idea. All I know is that we have egg on our face. We look like fools and we also look like a school that no one with any proven success (Chavis, Foster, Smart) wants to be at. These are perceptions, not reality.

If I'm in the UGAAD, I'm leaking info about a term sheet being signed and Kirby changing his mind at the 11th hour. Plenty of folks and I disagree on this, and I'm not saying we skewer Kirby publicly, but a well-timed "leak" would be my plan of action.

However that can't be the focus now. The focus is getting on the horn and finding someone who drastically WANTS to be at Georgia. With our financial resources, we'll find someone good or even GREAT. The idea at this point though, is to stop giving everyone raises and start putting ink to paper.

We were at a stage where the longer this went, the better our chances of securing a top-flight guy. Now, the longer this goes, the worse it is for our program.

This next week is CRITICAL. You can put it any more simple than that.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

P.S. - Sorry for any grammatical errors. It's not always easy to do this from my phone.

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