September 30, 2014

Some More Thoughts on Mason

I didn't really mince any words in the Sunday Treatment a couple of days ago when it came to our starting QB, Hutson Mason. In fact, I was pretty down on him:

 I have major, major doubts about Mason getting it done. If it's over 15-20 yds, he has no accuracy. None, whatsoever. Also, the total lack of arm strength is disturbing. On one of those longer throws, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. It just took so long to get there. And he's not going through his progressions; he's telegraphing his passes. And on a fair number of occasions, he simply panics (see South Carolina a couple of weeks ago)... Unless we do something with the QB situation and our secondary, then we're just plain pissin' in the wind. A 5-3 conference mark would be a minor miracle at this point.

And I'm not the only one. Most of the thoughts I put up on the ole blog here I also put up on the Book of Faces and pretty much everybody seemed to be in agreement. In terms of my fellow Dawg bloggers, CorbinDawg over at The Grit Tree, seems to feel the same way. Ultimately, I'm still pretty much in the same place with that but I have had a few more thoughts and have read with interest a few other folks' opinions on this and I think my position has...evolved just a bit.

First off, I did my usual DVR review. It's crazy how different things are when you're watching it on TV for the second time than when you saw it live at Sanford for the first. As the Senator points out in one his posts from today, Mason was pretty darn solid in that first half, especially when we were racking up 21 unanswered points. Also, Mason had some nice runs! Kind of reminds me of Stafford...not really a runner by any stretch, but the guy can pick up some yards on his feet. And you can tell just by looking at him and his mannerisms that he's a gamer. He's a competitor and he's tough. You always gotta like that. And Mason has his fans in the Dawgsosphere. One of my personal favs and a guy that knows UGA football as good as anybody - Bernie - says "In Hutson We Trust." Regardless, you do know what Mason's QBR was this past Saturday? How 'bout a 27.7. Yikes!

Lot of noise in the system with this situation - it's all in his head; "Dead Arm"; receivers not getting it done;  trust issues with the O-Line; coaching and play-calling, etc. etc - however, I think there are two things we can all pretty much agree on:

  1. Having Mitchell, Scott-Wesley, and Rumph will obviously make a difference.
  2. We'll know a whole lot more and will have a much better feel for our future around 7:30 - 8PM on Saturday night.

September 28, 2014

The Silver Lining: #3

This was actually at the end of my most recent post, but I felt like it needed to have its own: 

And Gurley is just amazing. He is the greatest in college football right now and depending on what happens the rest of the way, might start being mentioned as one of the best of all time. His combination of size, strength, speed, and quickness combined with his love for his team, mental toughness, and his ability to take the whole team and put 'em up on his shoulders while he just gashes and slices...well, he's something special, for sure. I hope he stays healthy and is able to achieve everything he deserves. He's just such a DGD. And you don't get an opportunity to hear or see him in interviews that much, but when you do, you realize more and more that this young man is just on a different level in every way. He's the best! 

From The Augusta Chronicle. Jon-Michael Sullivan

The Sunday Treatment and a Trip Around the Dawgosphere: UT Edition

A win is a win, but some wins are better than others. That was as stressful a game to watch in the stands that I can remember in a pretty long time.

UT is not a bad ball club. They've got some real players and they're coaching 'em up pretty good in Knoxville, but it should have never been that close. Major issues in all three phases. Our secondary is borderline horrid and at this point, Mason is more Joe Cox  Joe T III  than he is DJ Shockley. I had originally said Joe Cox, but my one of my buddies pointed this out:

I think you're being too kind to Mason. I think he's closer to Joe Tereshinski than Joe Cox. Cox floated some balls, but was at least capable of throwing the deep ball once in a while. Mason offers nothing in the way of keeping defenses honest.

My buddy, Heath H., also threw this nugget out:

 What's most disconcerting is that at worst, what we expected of him was to be a game manager, and not be a liability... the inability to "make the throws" notwithstanding. But producing a QBR of 27 today, when all we were trying to do is make the D a little more honest, is not comforting. I can't see how Bauta or Ramsey could be more of a liability... and I think that not shaking things up is akin to doubling down with a pair of eights (emphasis added is mine).

I have major, major doubts about Mason getting it done. If it's over 15-20 yds, he has no accuracy. None, whatsoever. Also, the total lack of arm strength is disturbing. On one of those longer throws, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. It just took so long to get there. And he's not going through his progressions; he's telegraphing his passes. And on a fair number of occasions, he simply panics (see South Carolina a couple of weeks ago).

Speaking of that crowd, yes, it's great that SCAR and Spurrier had their hearts ripped out like they did ours, but to the point of controlling our own destiny once again, I've just got to put this out there:

Unless we do something with the QB situation and our secondary, then we're just plain pissin' in the wind. A 5-3 conference mark would be a minor miracle at this point. This is the kicker though - that conference record may still win the SEC East! Folks, that's how weak, inconsistent, and let's just say it - BAD - the East is. Even back in the mid to late 90's when UF and UT dominated and the West was always an afterthought, I can't remember a year when that entire division was just so...average, mediocre, weak etc. etc. 

It was great to survive in Sanford Stadium yesterday, and I always love it when any Spurrier-coached team gets their hearts broken, but let's not kid ourselves. Without that greatest player in college football, we would be an absolute mess. But! This team totally has the talent and potential to go 11-1! But for that to happen, I feel like you probably gotta kick Hutson Mason to the curb, or at the minimum, start a QB platoon ala Greene and Shockley with Mason and Ramsey while possibly putting in Faton in some situational, change-of-pace situations . And can Richt do that? I wouldn't think so. I think he'd be too loyal to the guy that put in all this time as a back-up. I could be wrong, but I doubt it...

But as I said at the top - a win is a win - we'll take it and get ready for Vandy.

And now, to get a feel for the pulse of the Dawg Nation, let's take a trip around the Dawgosphere (hint: everyone has major concerns about the QB and secondary play):

September 21, 2014

The Sunday Treatment

As many have said, this was a great opportunity for a "get right" or "get well" game, and that's exactly what we saw against the Troy Trojans. 66-0. Total domination. We got a lot of guys in there and it was a really good win for the Dawg Nation.

I said in my post yesterday, "I need more Isaiah McKenzie in my life," and for the most part, we saw that. Two rushes for 54 yards and two punt returns for 53 yards and a TD. It would have been nice to see him get a few receptions, but breaking 100 yards of all-purpose yardage was pretty nice.

Ditto for Sony Michel. It seemed obvious that the UGA coaches were not going to risk Gurley any more than they had to. #3 left very early in the game and left the heavy lifting to #1. Michel had a helluva game with 155 yards and 3 TDs.

Many had mentioned that seeing Mason getting some quality reps and working on his down field passing and timing with receivers was an integral part of the game plan. That didn't really happen as Mason only attempted 11 passes, but man, he had a few nice ones. We did witness Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta get some quality time in the 2nd half.

Speaking of Bauta, I can't remember who it was either Bernie or Tyler, I think, who last year tweeted about wishing Larry Munson was still alive and calling games to be able to hear him butcher Bauta's name. My brother and I really entertained ourselves with potential Muson calls - "And Fadden Buttah leans in for the score," "That Baton Florida kid...he's a real gamer...reminds me of that Tevo kid out of Florida A & I a few years back."  And there were several others. What can I say? I'm easily entertained and amused...

Defense? GATA! All day long, baby. It was nice.

But let's not kid ourselves. That was absolutely a horrid Troy team. Man, they've really gone downhill from the team that used to have a reputation of playing top-tier teams tough. They were just awful. But, that's what we needed, and we got it. Now it's time to get ready for a UT team whose first-string is probably about as good as anyone's. They're gonna be gunnin' for us. It won't be easy.


September 20, 2014

Some Quick Gameday Thoughts

Ah...the dreaded non-conference nooner. Well, it could be worse. Being September 20th, we could be looking at temps in the 90's with crazy high humidity. The weather couldn't be nicer. And at least the game is televised on the SEC Network. In years past, this one would have seemed a lock as a Comcast game, and I, along with a lot of other folks, aren't on cable. So, there's that...

I've tried to move tickets before in soft markets and could always get at least a bite. For this game? Nothing. Literally couldn't give them away. Man. I hope there's at least 80K in attendance for this thing, but I'm starting to wonder. Make sense, though. A week after an agonizing heartbreaker, 12-noon kick, and a terrible opponent, and the game is televised. That's a recipe for a very weak crowd. We shall see.

In terms of what I'd like to see in the game? I would like to see an offensive clinic put on by our Silver Britches in the first half complete with a lot of down field passing, power running game, and efficient scoring. What I'd really like to see is a half-time score in the neighborhood of 38-3, so we can get Ramsey and Bouta some quality time in the 2nd half. I want to see a LOT of Isaiah McKenzie. I mean, a lot! Punt returns, catching the ball, jet sweeps, etc. I need more Isaiah McKenzie in my life. Interested to see if we can Keith Marshall some good opportunities to utilize his talents, and let's definitely get Gurley his buck-fifty and a TD or two.

Defense? GATA, baby! All day long, and fast and furious.

A few games of note in the SEC today. Anybody really think Florida has a shot against 'Bama? Didn't think so. State over LSU? That's more likely, but in the Red Stick? I don't think so.

How 'bout that Auburn/K-State game? Is Auburn that bad? I don't really think so. I think Kansas State is a pretty darn good team. Did anyone else waste a few hours of their lives last night watching South Florida and UConn? Well, I watched a good bit of it. Hell, it's college football!

And then there's the Winston situation at FSU. Full game suspension instead of the first half against Clemson today. As a friend of mine mentioned on FB last night, I wonder if FSU would just be better of by kicking him off the team? There's still that civil suit looming, and Winston, by his continued actions, makes it clear that he's a trouble maker at best, and a sociopath at worst. FSU's got the trophy. They're "back." They can cherry pick recruits now. Cut him loose and it makes FSU look like good guys who "get it." They'd get a lot of goodwill out it, especially in this climate in wake of the stuff going on in the NFL. As my friend said, "disgusting, isn't it?" That's college football, baby. If FSU wins today and looks pretty good on O with the back-up, I wouldn't be too surprised to see it happen. Damage control and all that.

I'll touch base tomorrow with the Sunday Treatment and A Trip Around the Dawgosphere.


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.