September 14, 2014

A Late and Brief Sunday Treatment and a Quick Trip Around the Dawgosphere

Well...that sucked. It's "Thursday" once again:

Games like this makes Jack a dull boy

And to get a pulse of the Dawg Nation, let's take an trip around the Dawgosphere:

  • Naturally, we should start with the Senator. As always, he has some very keen insights. I agree that the issues with our O line may have played a role with Bobo's head-scratching 1st down call after the Swann interception.  As he said - ups and downs - they did great at times and looked almost awful at others. Consistency. A very important thing, but Bluto really summed it up with this last night: 

I can’t say for sure that the Gamecocks deserved the win, but Georgia sure as hell deserved to lose.
  • I don't quite get over to Dawgsports like I used to, but I always enjoy reading the work of DavetheDawg and his reoccurring "15 Thoughts" segment. Good write-up and analysis, as always, and right on it with the "talent gap" we're seeing with our secondary. Help is on the way, but we've got to figure something out this year. Thought our D-line would have gotten more pressure, but as Dave and others have said, this will likely be the best O-line we see all year. 
  • Tyler's Sunday Morning Comes
  • As some of you may know, I think Seth Emerson down at the Macon paper is by far the best UGA beat writer out there. He always can sum it right up. A sobering read but right on the money. Line of the article: 

Instead, this is where we are now with this Georgia football team: Right back where we started. Big questions about the defense and the passing game.
Two games. One spectacular win, one discouraging loss, and no big questions answered yet.

Read more here:

That was a tough one. No doubt about it. Seems like SC always loses at least one or two down the stretch. If we can shore up our secondary and maybe throw the ball a little better, this team can win out. We can also repeat last year's mark of 8-4 very easily, though.

As always, it's a great day to be a Dawg!

September 13, 2014

A Few Thoughts on UGA vs. SC

Well, the big day is here. Can the Dawgs get two in a row over Spurrier and Co.? I sure hope so. And I think we will. On paper, we look to be the better team, but that doesn't always matter. Two years ago we saw another Georgia squad head to Columbia that looked to be the superior team, and we got waxed. Not showing up for big games. Some would say it has been an attribute of UGA over the years to always have that one game where we just don't have it together. But I don't think that will happen today.

Two years ago, I wrote about my first trip to Columbia as a young boy back in 1984 on another blog I operate. That one didn't go too well. And I was there for the 2000 debacle as well. Hey, I've seen 'em win a few times over there, too. But...I'm not going this year and maybe that's a good thing. You gotta give credit where it's due - those SC fans are passionate and loyal and are always LOUD. I remember going over there in the late 90's when those guys were just awful. 0-11 or 1-10, year in and out, but they always had that stadium packed. And they always brought it and played tough. Always. It's never easy over there.

What are the keys of the game? Hell, showing up would be a great start. Beyond that, I think just playing our game. Keeping guys fresh and winning with our depth. Let's feed the beast but let's also run some smart plays w/ Keith Marshall and let's let Chubb knock some heads between the tackles now and then as well. Of course, the Cocks will be crowding the box so we'll need Mason to make some passes and play smart. I think he is totally up for that challenge.

Defense? I like what I've seen, and I think we're good to go in that department. Concerned about the secondary? Shit, who isn't. But those guys are coming along quite nicely, and with that front 7 of ours, I feel pretty good. As I thought would be the case against Clemson (and it was), I think we're going to see a repeat against USCe. Pretty much a tight game for 2 1/2 quarters or so, and then we just wear 'em down and win it.

As I mentioned the day after the Clemson game, I would love to see Isaiah McKenzie returning more punts! If it's deep in our territory, I get having Davis out there, otherwise, we need to try gain some field position with this dynamic young man.

Can't wait 'til 3:30. GO DAWGS! GATA!!!

P.S. Wouldn't it be something special to see GA Southern take it to the techies and win? I think they have an outside shot. GO EAGLES! GATA!!!

September 6, 2014

Bye Week Thoughts, Games to Watch, and A Prediction or Two

Normally not a big fan of early byes, but really don't mind this year for obvious reasons. Pretty sure I read where the last time UGA had an off week in the 2nd week of the season was 2002 after playing Clemson at home and before heading to Columbia to take on the Cocks. Worked out that time, for sure. I'll never forget being in the corner of the end zone right where I had a great vantage point for David Pollack's infamous sack/fumble recovery. That was so awesome! UGA football, and that's a bummer, but there's some games I'm pretty interested in and not all of them are prime matchups:

  • Obviously the Mich. State vs. Oregon and USC vs. Stanford are the weekend's highest profile games. MSU/Oregon w/ a 6:30 and USC/Stanford with a 3:30 kick. I'll definitely be checking in on those. 
  • The Ohio St vs. Virginia Tech game is up there but not as high as it would have been a few years ago as VaTech seems to be slipping more and more into mediocrity and obscurity. 8PM kick on that one
  • And at 7:30, the game that I guess at least a few people think is really important, Michigan goes against Notre Dame. As ESPN has on the their main college football page, it's the Big 10's "chance to shine." Lolz! 
  • Tech vs. Tulane at 4PM. That would be something if Tulane wins. They are playing New Orleans. I think the Green Wave has a good shot. 
  • The only SEC match-up? Vandy vs. Ole Miss. Shouldn't be much of a game as I expect Ole Miss to win by at least a couple of touchdowns. 
  • A game I'm really interested in is a Sun Belt match-up featuring one of the great state of Georgia's newest FBS teams, Georgia St., going against former wilderness-inhabiting, independent-by-necessity, New Mexico St. Panthers vs. Aggies. Neither team all that good, but a win by either team would put them at 2-0 on the season with a chance to build some momentum. What can I say, I've got a thing about the Sun Belt. Love Hudspeth down at Louisiana-Lafayette. I think UL-Monroe's got a strong program. Ditto for Arky St and Troy. I know it's not at the level of SEC, ACC, or maybe even C-USA, but I think it's compelling stuff and I always keep an eye on those programs. And w/ GSU as kind of my secondary team, all I can say is - GO PANTHERS! 
  • Kind of interested in Texas vs. BYU. Playing in Utah, the oddsmakers say go w/ BYU. I like Texas. 
  • And maybe the best game that no one is talking about. Some late night Mountain West action, baby! Boise St. vs. Colorado St. The line favors the Broncos, but I think the Rams are gonna go to 2 and 0! 
 Did that Thursday night game surprise you? Shouldn't have. Those Roadrunners out of UT- San Antonio are a pretty good team. They beat the everlivn' crap out of Houston last week and played Arizona pretty tough. Last night's games were duds. Pitt beat BC. Who gives a shit! What was really surprising was how poor and unexciting Washington St. looked in a bad, bad loss to Nevada. I think Pirate Leach has lost his mojo and might be on his way to a "Mumme Slow Fade." Lose this job and end up at a place like maybe...New Mexico St. Then drop to FCS, then Div. II and so on...

I kind of made a few predictions when covering the games, but here's my big one - Michigan State over the Ducks.

Hope everyone is well and GO DAWGS!!!

September 2, 2014

Looking Back: Four Things that Changed the Game

DVR is such a wonderful thing, although I think my wife might disagree. It really is great! I like it a lot. I won't lie - I've watched the 4th quarter four times already. I'm twice through the 3rd quarter and only once through the1st half after seeing it live in Sanford Saturday night.

Vince Dooley used to always talk about how in a big game with dozens and dozens of plays, it usually came down to about three or four things that decided it. Here's my take:

  1. In the 3rd quarter, with 11:04 remaining, Clemson had the ball at their own 29 with a 2nd and four. They lined up with a bunch formation on the left side. A few seconds before the snap and we see that Quincy Mauger is out of position, but Aaron Davis, a RS Frosh, gets him into position right before the play starts. Mauger makes a great play and stops Clemson for a half-yard loss. The kicker, though, is if Davis doesn't get him into position then I really think that Clemson might have had a shot for a  touchdown or a long gain on that play. With the Dawgs up 24-21 at the time, that would have completely changed the dynamics of the game. It just really jumped out at me. As many in the Dawgosphere have said for quite some time, it seemed as if the core attribute of our D for the last few years has been players flailing their arms into total confusion and frustration - basically not knowing what the hell was going on. To see that happen just put a big smile on my face and was an encapsulation of how much things have changed. Pruitt has simplified the scheme and that will pay large dividends with our superior talent moving forward, I believe. 
  2. Gurley's kickoff return was a game changer. As someone else pointed out, just look at the stats of the game before and after that play. It was huge. What you might not have noticed was this: we could have possibly been flagged for an illegal wedge. In 2010 the NCAA changed the rules to where when the team receiving a kickoff has more than two players standing within two yards of one another, shoulder to shoulder, it will be assessed a 15-yard penalty — even if there is no contact between the teams. Apparently, at least a few folks on the interwebs have mentioned that UGA employed an illegal wedge on that return, but they would be wrong. Upon multiple slow-motion reviews, the Dawgs were within the rules. While we had three guys within those confines for at least a split second, they were not "shoulder to shoulder." Fortunately, they didn't call it. And that was the right call.
  3. Gurley's third touchdown early in the 4th quarter, while we might not have known it at the time, pretty much sealed the deal. The Clemson D was already suckin' wind. And after that, they were just toast. 
  4. If the game was won by us wearing them down with our running game in the 4th quarter, then the table was set by our D and especially our special teams' play in the 3rd quarter. That quarter was a throwback to the olden days where you would see teams play a chess match of field position for large swaths of the game. That's exactly what happened in the third, and compliments of Messrs. Barber and Erickson, we won that match. They really helped us out and should be commended.
There was a ton of other things that shaped this game, obviously, but I feel that those four were vital.

August 31, 2014

The Sunday Treatment and a Trip Around the Dawgosphere

What a game! Man, that was something else. In terms of electricity and atmosphere, it was right up there with last year's wins over SC and LSU. The crowd was top-notch. After a back and forth first half and a defensive struggle and field position battle during the 3rd quarter, the Dawgs turned it up "to 11" in the 4th  and took over the game on the ground. Final score: UGA 45, Clemson 21.

The star of the game? Without a doubt, Todd Gurley. #3 made a resounding statement and is now at the top of everyone's Heisman list. The numbers speak for themselves. He was just lights out last night. And that kick return! Man. This guy is something special, for sure. And how 'bout Chubb and Michel?! Wow! Even Quayvon got in on the action. I did feel kind of bad for Keith Marshall. I think it was pretty apparent by the end of the game last night that he's probably our number 4 TB now. But...that's football. That's life. And it was nice to see Michel get the ball thrown to him a few times as well. Ditto for Isaiah.

Yesterday I said the following about Hutson Mason:  "I think he's going to be quite capable and pretty darn solid. And that's all he needs to be." Well, that's pretty much exactly what he was and that's all we need. Great job by our QB.

After some issues in the first half, Pruitt made some great adjustments and our defense was just absolutely out of sight in the second half. The 2011 Dawgs had a really good defense, but I'd go as far to say that this is the best UGA defense we've seen since the 2002-2004 years. Seriously. And this is just the first game. With our depth and talent, I feel like we'll get a lot better. Still some issues in the secondary, but with that front 7, I think we're going to be a great defensive ball club this year.

Probably about my only gripe would be the fact that we didn't see Isaiah McKenzie in to return a punt until the end of the game. Naturally, he takes it 24 yards in spectacular fashion. Reggie Davis? 37 yards...on 7 returns! Look, I get it if they're not 100% about Isaiah's ball control skills. Deep in our own territory or in a punt-safe situation, throw him in. Otherwise, the job needs to be McKenzie's. 

Great day. Great game!

Let's check the pulse of the Dawg Nation and take...

A Trip Around the Dawgosphere:


August 30, 2014

A few quick gameday thoughts

About to head to the Classic City here in just a bit. A few quick thoughts:
  • It's finally here! And that makes me a very happy man! 
  • Getting revenge for last year's game has been one of my key points for this season. I was there in Clemson last year, and I really, really want us to return the favor. 
  • Looking forward to seeing the 2014 version of Todd Gurley. And the 2014 version of several other guys as well. Very interested to see what Isiah can do.
  • Obviously a lot of how we do this year will hinge on the performance of Hutson Mason. Some are more nervous than others with him. I feel pretty good. I think he's going to be quite capable and pretty darn solid. And that's all he needs to be. 
  • Definitely question marks with the secondary, but man, I think our front 7 might be good enough to carry things the first couple of games. With that said, I think our secondary is going to be a pleasant surprise. 
  • As everyone else has mentioned - special teams. Gotta be better this year, right?
  • Ditto on forcing turnovers. 
  • And how about that SC/A&M game? Wow! 
Can't wait to get up there and hang out with some good friends, enjoy the atmosphere, and see another great game "between the hedges." Go Dawgs! 

July 1, 2014

UGA Football Next Month!

And I'm feelin' good! Of course, today is July 1st and we're playing Clemson on August 30th, so it's really about two months away. But...we are getting pretty close and that makes me very happy.

It's the time of year where you start seeing all the college football mags hit the shelves, and while I've flipped through Steele's and Athlon, I have always been a Lindy's guy. I've been getting one every Summer for years and years. I'm familiar with it and have always enjoyed the writing and insights. Plus, they do the thing with the Cheerleaders, but maybe the other ones do that too...?

According to Lindy's, UGA is probably going to be good enough to compete in the East but they're thinking that we'll slip up to SCAR and end up as a strong 2nd with a possible 10-2 record. To me, that's sounds about right, although I think we'll have a very good shot at winning in Columbia.

A few surprises, though, as they've got Alabama winning the West! What's up w/ dat?! All kidding aside, it looks about like you'd expect. 'Bama with Auburn and LSU close behind in the West; our Dawgs and the Cocks fighting for the East. Lindy's does seem to think that Florida might surprise some folks and finish a strong 3rd in our division. I just don't know about that...

What would I like to see this season? In order of importance: beating Florida to give us 4 in a row in that series, getting payback vs. Clemson, finishing with 10 wins. That's about it. Last Summer I kind of jumped the shark (although who could have foreseen all of those injuries!), and I'm a little gun shy about replicating that. Beating Auburn would be really, really nice, but I'm just not sure. And as I properly predicted last year and will do again this year - watch out for the Vols. I think they are once again going to give us everything we can handle.

It's been awhile since I've posted, I know, but it's good to be back. I'll probably start posting about once or twice a week from now until the season starts and will then kick it back into regular season mode. And look for the return of The Sunday Treatment & A Trip Around the Dawgosphere" this weekend.