Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Old guy doing a beer bong. It's been a while but I got it down in under 2 seconds.
Today I saw the CSS replay and have a handful of observations.
1. While the defense got gashed a bit by their big back, the yards were generally meaningless and the defense showed a ton of backbone on the UGA side of the fifty - particularly in the 4th quarter.
2. AJ Green... again. He showed unbelievable intensity. And, for the record, he absolutely got his right toes down for a touchdown that was denied. I think the refs just were unable to believe any athlete could make that play. But he did.
3. Joe Cox and rain do not mix. Pray for dry weather this Saturday. Still, Joe made enough throws to get the win. His second interception would have been a long AJ Green touchdown if thrown well.
4. Our running game was weak and it started with the blocking. Caleb needs more carries. Searles needs to get bust some balls this week.
5. Baccari Rambo looked great and needs lots more playing time.
6. Justin Houston is coming on. I thought he would need a couple of games to get up to speed, but he was everywhere and playing angry last Saturday. In fact, the front four got an excellent upfield push and created sufficient disruption to keep the ASU QB out of synch all night.
7. Walsh... keep up the great work young man!
8. Fullbacks need to make bigger blocks on LBs. That will help the running game.
9. Speaking of LBs... the ASU freshman Burfict was a true phenom. He just missed a pick six that could have been a back-breaker for us.
10. Turnovers... please make them go away!
P.S. A special thanks to AllyUgaDawg for tweeting me about 100 updates on the Dawgs game while I partied in the rain outside of Navy-Marine Corps Stadium!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Georgia's offense will come back down to earth, but will still have a good day with a nice run/pass balance. King and Samuel will share the load as the Dawgs try to dictate the tempo of the game early and establish some long scoring drives. Cox will be efficient and Green, Moore and company will have another good night.
Georgia's defense will show that it is not as porous as earlier indication would have us believe. The Dawgs will limit ASU's ground game to under 150 yards and will find a way to finally pressure the passer to disrupt the aerial siege that we have been under from the past couple of weeks. The biggest improvements will begin with the DTs getting a deep vertical push right from the snap and forcing the QB out of the pocket and into the lane of either Justin Houston or Cornelius Washington. Willie will try to get this done with a four man rush but will need to bring an LB on occasion to ensure that he QB can't get too comfortable. Look for our defense to continue to be good on third and long situations. But, getting teams into 3rd and long will be the main task. This is the week that our defense closes the learning gap and gives the fans some reasons to cheer.
Dawgs 34 - ASU 20.
Navy plays Western Kentucky, so I am hoping that we get an easy win and just enjoythe hell out of our tailgate.
I will try to post my UGA-ASU prediction and predilection shortly.
Best line I have read about Lane Kiffin's strategy in the Florida game... He coached like a French General. I wish I knew who to credit for that but I can't recall where I saw it.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Here we go for Week 4
Ole Miss 4
14 MISS STATE
12 Arizona State
14 South Florida
2 North Carolina
Sunday, September 20, 2009
2. Richard Samuel - Huge fumble, huge redeeming 80 yard TD run. The rest of his night was spent keeping the Arky defense honest so Joe Cox could surgical take them apart. Last week Branden Smith fumbled then took one 61 yards for a TD. I suppose we can accept the long touchdowns as penance for fumbles, but here is a better plan... skip the fumble part and still take one to the house.
3. Joe Cox - I don't feel like doing the research of the actually play-by-play, but it seems to me that on about 4 different 3rd and 3's turned 3rd and 8's, Joe bailed out his O-lineman's procedure penalty. Usually after a game like this one, people say the QB should take his O-line out for a steak dinner... in this case, the O-line should treat Joe to whatever he likes because he made money throws on those 3rd and longs - including the 2 point conversion. Well done Joe, enjoy your dinner on the O-line. And congratulations for being awared the Walter Camp Player of the Week!
4. Michael Moore - Ochodos was our ATM. He was money every time we needed a big third down conversion. He is fearless across the middle and showed great reliability to both be open beyond the stick and to catch the ball. He has boldly stepped into Massaquoi's shoes for this role and he has handled it well.
5. Drew Butler - Butler's last punt was immeasurably huge. With the Dawgs clinging to a precarious 8 point lead, he boomed a 64 yarder that put Arkansas on its own 9 yard line with 5:25. This stuck Arkansas in a deep hole putting pressure on Mallett and firing up our defense. A quick three and out for our defense and a shanked Arkansas punt gave UGA the ball on the Arkansas 30 which led to a Blair Walsh field goal and the finally insurmountable 11 point lead. The Butler did it... he flipped the field when we needed it most.
6. Reshad Jones - His big hit on WR Childs which separated him from the ball at the end of the second quarter gave us the opportunity to get the ball back with 35 seconds - just enough time for Cox to maneuver our offense down the field for 3 critical points to end the half. While the big hit was being reviewed to see if (1) it was a fumble and Vance Cuff TD or (2) just an incompletion forcing 4th down... I was afraid we would hear option (3) "After further review, it has been determined that #9 hit the defenseless receiver much too hard resulting in a personal foul for unnecessary roughness and an Arkansas first down." Finally the zebras let him play football.
7. Rennie Curran - How many times did Rennie make a sure third down tackle just short of the first down marker. That tackling machine knows where the sticks are and is determined to stop them short of said sticks. He is amazing!
8. AJ Green - "Just throw it man, as far as you can."
I now fully believe that as long as we have Rennie Curran and AJ Green, we have a chance in every game we play.
That was one helluva rocket ride last night. Petrino's followers were used to that type of scorched-earth affair at Louisville. WAC and MWC fans are used to the "whoever has the ball last, wins" format. Us Dawg fans? Not so much. Can our ground-and-pound trained cardiovascular systems handle this pace much longer? As Bernie advises, better load up on some nitroglycerin.
Once Joe Cox established his vertical passing game, I buckled the seat belt on my lazy boy and enjoyed the ride. These Dawgs are something else and they are forging this team into a formidable arsenal under the heat and pressure of the first three games. For two straight games, we found ourselves two scores down in the first quarter. And for the second straight game, we flipped it around by halftime and held on through all manner of second half turbulence to escape with a win. To say that there is no quit in these Dawgs is not really on point. There isn't, but that is not the type of test they passed in the first two SEC games. These Dawgs have proven to be like the very best cagefighters who get knocked loopy in the first round by being a little careless, but hang on to the first bell by force of will. Then regain their balance and strength going into the second round and then punch and counter punch with laser sharp effectiveness for the rest of the fight.
Do you realize what this team has done in the past two weeks? They have gift-wrapped the first quarter by committing inexcusable turnovers deep in their own territory leading to points for the opposition and double-digit deficits. Then, through sheer determination and heart - and no doubt, superior talent - righted the ship and sailed intrepid through the storms to glorious victory. Make no mistake, we will get our butts beat again (like OSU) if we keep doing this. But, take heart that, if nothing else, this team has shown a resilience and iron will that will serve them well throughout the season. If they take care of ball security, great things are in store.
But what about the defense? On that question, I feel a little like Jim Donnan a few years ago... "I don't want to hear about no damn defense, Loren." Right now, I am relishing in the thrilling victories that have made us 2-0 in the SEC. The pass defense has now faced three consecutive pass-happy offenses with three very distinct styles of throwers. We played pretty good against OSU's Robinson, we kept USC's Garcia out of the end zone the final 3 quarters, and we got lots and lots of learning opportunities from Arkansas's Mallett. Yes we have been torched a few times. But there were a few indefensible perfect throws ending with diving circus catches in the first few games. So we have made mistakes... good. Success is a shitty teacher and had we not faced all of these serious passing threats early, we would have little opportunity for growth and learning. Trust me, our young corners are growing up and will make the plays down the stretch. Can we hang on until then? I don't know, but they have gotten a baptism by fire these first few weeks and that is more valuable than weeks and weeks of practice time. Our LBs and DTs are playing outstanding football and our end play is coming around. Cornelious Washington is emerging as a man-child and Justin Houston looked fast in his first game back. Hang in there folks... this defense is growing up before our eyes. The depth is tremendous and they never looked tired last night despite the number of reps and the fact that they were on the field forever against SC.
On the other hand, the one thing that had us all crapping the bed three weeks ago now has us giddy with every single offensive possession. This offense is thrilling. How the hell can that be with Stafford, Moreno and Massaquoi gone? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Joe Cox. This is now, unquestionably and indisputably Joe Cox's team. I have been getting my ass kicked since Tuesday by what is probably H1N1 and it sucks. I have never been sick for this long. I hate it. But, it has allowed me to gain some appreciation for how impossible the task was for Joe in Stillwater. Seriously, I don't have the energy to fart above a whisper, and he tried to play a decent team in on a hot day in their stadium with their refs. I feel like a vampire... when I feel the sun for 3 minutes, I want to go lay down in the AC for an hour. How did he hang in there for 60 minutes? Anyway, in the past two weeks he has improved, gotten comfortable and established himself as the man and I am sure that his performance in Arlansas (18-26-375, 5 TDs and one INT) has proven that he is the man that gives this team its best chance to win. What I loved about his game last night was not the percentage of completed passes, but how they were thrown. He stretched the field with extremely accurate deep balls to open receivers. Now, I loved Stafford, but he missed many deep balls in his time in Red and Black. Joe showed that he can put it where it needs to be and if that continues... great things. He just missed a sixth TD pass when the streak to T. King was about a foot too long. If it had been AJ Green, that is six because his long arms would have reeled it in. Joe made the east throws and he made the hard throws. He seems to be totally dialed into his TE's on the seam route and that is awesome. With AJ Green, all you have to do is get it in the same zip code and he will go get it. One more thing... how about a nice slow clap for Bobo's playcalling to answer the qucik strikes from the Razorbacks! I am impressed that he didn't stick with dink and dunk. And, when the starting CB Crim went off the field, we twice went right after the replacement Gaston in the next two plays. The second resulted in T. King's long TD. Bobo was on top of his game as well.
Last thing I want to point out in this post... I noticed two thing Mark Richt did to manage the game at crucial points that were brilliant. First, when he called the time out with 50 seconds left in the half when Arkansas had the ball facing 3rd down. That call allowed us to have enough time on the clock to engineer the field goal to end the half. How big was that? Second, with about 7:00 to go in the game we had an 8 point lead and had the ball on our own 28. He called two consecutive running plays to chew up the clock even though we most likely could have continued throwing the ball based on what had been working all night. (I am assuming he had the input on this instead of Bobo.) Anyway, that decision took 2 minutes off the clock at point when time was more precious than points. That seems like an obvious thing to do, but apparently the genuis Charlie Weis doesn't understand this - see Michigan-Notre Dame, 2009.
I will come back later today with more observations in a follow-up post. For now... HOW 'BOUT THEM DAWGS!
Friday, September 18, 2009
When we run the ball effectively, the play-action passing game will be much more successful. If we have about 65 offensive plays, I would like to see us pass it no more than 25 times and more like 20 times. If Joe Cox can build from where he left off in the SC game, he should be able complete at least 15 passes: 6-8 to Green, 2 to Moore, 2 to King, 1 to Smith, 3 or 4 to TE's and 3 or 4 to running backs. Do you know we haven't thrown a screen pass yet this year? At least I don't recall it. I want to see Chapas get one out in space with blockers out front.
I believe our offense will score more than 30 points, so our defense must hold them in the 20's or less. It has been said over and over, but this looks like the game for our pass rush to make its presence felt. I thought we had an awesome push against SC, but were unable to corral Garcia. Arky QB Ryan Mallett will not be nearly as elusive as Garcia. With the return of Justin Houston, I am boldly predicting that we will sack Mallett no less than 4 times and possibly as many as 7 times. It won't always be about getting the sack but it will be about disrupting the timing of the passing game and hurrying him or making him throw with people in his face. In the OSU game, we dropped 3 potential interceptions. This needs to be the game in which we hang on to those and take one to the house... I'm talking to you Prince Miller.
Arkansas has one hella fast and elusive tailback in Michael Smith. But, those little scat backs have not had much success on the Dawgs in recent years. Even in a blowout last year in Jacksonville we limited Rainey and Demps. The backs that have had big days on the Dawgs have been big ole boys like LSU's Charles Scott, Tech's Dwyer and SC's Boyd/Davis duo in 2007. We have spped and size on our defense and I think we will bottle up Smith like we did Kendall Hunter. He may break off one long scoot, but I don't think he will break 100 yards. If our offense does the things I think it is going to do, Arkansas will be passing more than running anyway. I just don't see Arkansas hurting us much on the ground.
Our special teams finally lived up to their names last week. Let's hope that continues in Fayetteville. Whether it is Boykin, Smith, Miller, Butler or Walsh... we need solid performances from all of these guys with at least one or two truly special plays.
Here are a few out-on-a-limb predictions for the game...
- Samuel has his first 100 yard game.
- Chapas takes a screen pass in for a score.
- Mike Moore gets a TD for the 4th consecutive game in 2009 - going back to the Citrus Bowl.
- Green scores again.
- Houston registers 2 sacks and Washington another two.
- Miller with a pick.
- Walsh with another 50+ yarder.
GO DAWGS! GATA!!!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
4.5 Georgia Tech YEP
7.5 FRESNO STATE YEP
7 Boston College YEP
8 Miss. State NOPE
15 Virginia NOPE
3.5 Nebraska NOPE
NOTRE DAME 11
6.5 West Virginia YEP
15.5 Tulsa YEP
7 Florida State NOPE
16.5 Texas Tech NOPE
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Me: "This is when the vet "fixes" your pet so they won't have babies."
Annie: "Oh, like Charlie?" referring to our neutered Westie.
Me: "Yes, exactly."
Annie: "So neuter means the dog can't have babies?"
Me, with my brain in slow motion: "You neuter boy dogs and spay girl dogs."
Annie looked at me curiously and asked, "Boy dogs can have babies?"
Me, thinking "oh shit": "No, but they can make girl dogs have babies." Now I realized how dangerously close I was to a discussion on the birds and bees that I am no where near prepared to have yet.
Annie now looked at me with a big curious grin on her face, squinted one eye, tilted her head and simply replied "Weird."
I turned the page. Not ready for that discussion. Weird, indeed.
Monday, September 14, 2009
For a fan, this game was an emotionally draining marathon and an encyclopedia of things that can happen in a football game: 100 yard kickoff return, fumbled kickoff return, 61 yard reverse for a TD, leaping interception, leaping TD reception, pick six, blocked extra point, blindsided QB fumble, hustling recovery of said fumble, two long field goals for us, 5 field goals for them, and a 4 down goal line stand with the game on the line. I know I wasn't the only one in Sanford Stadium dreading and cursing the memory of Brandon Bennett's last second TD in 1993 or the game-winning, last-minute SC TD pass in 2001. Thank God we have Rennie Curran.
When Rennie batted that final Garcia pass harmlessly to the ground, I realized for the first time that I could hardly breathe and my heart rate was pretty much in the rhythm of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Here we are now... entertain us. That's for damn sure.
Last week I wrote about why we follow Georgia football. Had I waited a few more days, I could have condensed that long essay to this single sentence: "We follow Georgia football for the heart-pounding fun of a day just like today!" From the great lunch at Harry Bissett's, to the stroll through the North Campus tailgating scene, to the Dawg Walk, to the trumpet solo, to Baba O'Riley to the more than four hours of horror, euphoria, horror and finally more euphoria that was the 2009 installment of Georgia's renewed torture of Steve Spurrier, this day had it all and ended beautifully for the Dawgs. Thank God we have Rennie Curran.
This season, I am content to enjoy every win regardless of the circumstances. There are no ugly wins. All wins make me happy. Just win, Dawgs!
Here are the five things from this game I feel most compelled to discuss:
1. Richard Samuel: After a decent game against OSU, the criticism was that he was not breaking tackles. Samuel, who even though a sophomore, is barely 18 years old. He is still learning and he has a great attitude. In his own words, he acknowledged that he needed to break tackles and finish his runs better. Against South Carolina it was obvious that he has listened, learned and stepped up his game a notch. He ran with passion and fire. He also knocked the shit out of a few Gamecocks when he didn't have the ball. He really reminds me of the offense's version of Rennie Curran in terms of heart and desire. For some reason, Bobo only rushed him the 15 times, but he also caught 3 passes and ran hard on those touches as well. I am certain that Richard will continue to grow as our feature back and will create some nice highlights as the season progresses. Big things are coming and soon.
2. Joe Cox: Better. Not great, but he is not going to be great. We only need him to be good. Eliminate the pick six and anticipate the blindside blitz and this would have been a wonderful night for Joe. He made some nice throws and his receivers stepped up for him. Pass protection was excellent most of the night as well. The key for Joe to be effective is to quickly get the ball into the hands of his playmakers the way Tebow got it to Harvin for two years. The playmakers are all around him... just get them the ball.
3. The Brandon/Branden Duo: Wow! Brandon Boykin was electrifying on his leaping interception and the 100 yard kickoff return. He is also coming along as a CB. Branden Smith is scary fast - as seen on his 61 yard reverse for a TD. But he also showed Champ Bailey-like closing speed on one play when he was at corner and the receiver got 5 yards behind him. When the ball was in the air, Smith closed the gap in about two strides and was carpeting the receiver several ticks before the ball arrived. With that kind of closing speed, he will make lots of plays on the football throughout his career. Next year we will have the Brandon/Branden CB tandem. That will be a beautiful thing for CWM to work with if they develop into the shutdown corners that I think they will become. Speed... is it in you?
4. Orson Charles: I love a great tight end. Orson has it all and will only get more and more lethal on opposing defenses as Bobo and Cox figure out more ways to get him the ball. He had two big receptions for 38 yards, both down the seam that could have been even bigger if Cox had hit him in stride. That will happen soon. He will be the biggest reason teams will pay for doubling AJ Green. By the way, would anyone wearing red and black trade AJ Green for Julio Jones or Dez Bryant? All are fantastic players, but I will stick with AJ all the way.
5. Rennie Curran: Heart of a lion. Not just any lion, but the biggest, bulkiest, ballsiest and meanest lion on the savanna. He is the lion that makes lions from other prides shrivel on sight and surrender their lionesses at the first sound of his roar. He is the ferocious lion that makes Marlin Perkins stay his ass in a helicopter while poor old Jim Fowler rides in on an open jeep to get a closer shot of this bad ass King of all Lion Kings. 15 tackles and the game-saving knock down of Garcia's pass on 4th and everything (for the second year in a row.) Thank God we have Rennie Curran.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I don't know where the weaknesses are on the SC defense. Linebacker Eric Norwood and ends Cliff Matthewa, Clifton Geathers and Devin Taylor are beasts. They always have talent in the defensive backfield and this year we must watch out for Chris Culliver and Darian Stewart who, along with Norwood, are the leading returning tacklers. It never seems to matter who is on their defense, we tned to struggle to score points against this bunch. So our Joe Cox will need the most help from his kickers and defense.
Our defense played well against a talented offense in Stillwater. I hope they can play great against a poor offense this week. We got nary a sack last week, but I cannot imagine that we will not get to Stpehen Garcia a few times. The more the better. I will be surprised if SC can run consistently on our defense, but Spurrier would love to stretch the field throwing the ball if we let him, so we must shut that down. Hopefully the monster hits by Evans and Jones last week will cause the SC receivers to grow alligator arms and make them less likely to reach high for balls in coverage.
All indications are that this game will come down to the kicking game. We may not be able to cover kickoffs, but in this series, that has not been much of an issue since we don't score often. SO it could come down to the legs of Drew Butler and Blair Walsh. We need Butler to punt them into a hole every chance he gets and we need Walsh to be perfect when his number is called.
At this moment, my feeling is that this game will be ugly, close and undecided until the end. I am going to give the edge to the Dawgs. We will score one offensive TD, one defensive TD and will win with a late field goal 17-14.
GO DAWGS! GATA!
Yesterday, David Hale posted this quote on his blog:
“It’s frustrating, but it’s more frustrating because I don’t know what they’re going to do with me,” he said. “But it’s all right. I’ll play if I have to play, but if I don’t, I’ll sit down and wait ‘til next week.”
Go Richard Samuel, you are our work horse and we will need you to GATA.
Here are my picks for Week 2. What the hell, can't get worse can I?
8 Fresno State
7 OHIO STATE