Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don't take my word for it, the DAWGS said it.

So what is the marquise match-up on tap at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party? Well it may be the flash and lightning that could be on display on the edges.

Joe Haden/Janoris Jenkins vs. AJ Green

5’11” 190 lbs vs. 6’5” 205 lbs

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, Gators.

A lot of the time, all the talk leading up to a game like the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party can be shrugged off as coach speak or cliché. Most of the noise coming out of the camps involved is no more exhilarating or meaningful than yesterday’s newspaper. However, given the jabs exchanged between Mark “Evil” Richt and Urban “T is for timeout” Meyer over the last couple of years, one might expect a little rancor rattled bulletin board material making it’s way out of Gainesville and Athens this week. Usually the really passionate outbursts are more likely to be found on fan blogs or message boards, but the sounds swirling around the gauntlet that is the WLOCP this week are rather tasty indeed.

Make no mistake, the Gators are feeling themselves a bit leading into the game, even with their perceived struggles of late. Meyer said Florida "had the best Sunday practice we've ever had." He added: "Everyone knows exactly what this game is." That’s all fine and good, but the DAWGS are hardly cowering in the days leading up to the game.

Don’t take my word for it, the DAWGS said it.

Joe Cox
“We know this game could change our season. This is our first step toward the rest of our season.”

I often refer to A.J. Green as Lethal Weapon 8 because he is silent but deadly from any distance. Green wasn't a part of the end zone celebration in the 2007 game, but the mild-mannered and soft spoken wide receiver is raging about the 2008 timeouts.

"That's motivation for me," he said. "That's a sign of disrespect. So I'm going to go out there and play my heart out."

LW8 remains bothered more by the outcome.
"The way they physically beat us, I feel like we have a statement to make."

Defensive end Justin Houston made a statement Tuesday when asked about Saint Timothy Tebow:
"He's like every other quarterback. I don't see anything special about him. He's a quarterback and he's a good quarterback, but nothing special."

Yep, that one’s got a little bite to it.

As for the DAWGS defensive heartbeat Rennie Curran, well he seems to be taking a very man-to-man attitude:

“That’s our main thing…..We all know how much he’s respected, the reputation he’s built for himself and Florida. If you want to stop Florida’s offense, you’ve got to stop it from the head, with their leader, and that’s Tebow. That’s our main thing. We’ve got to get that guy to flinch.”

I think Coach Richt is saying a lot in that he isn’t say too much. In the recap from his radio show on Monday night, the head DAWG is reported as saying
“This game is different in that it’s 50/50, and Richt wants the fan base to get excited and jacked up for this game, because excitement is coming.”

Last year, senior defensive tackle Jeff Owens could only watch as things unraveled on the DAWGS. That’s not the case this year and as for Tebow, well he had this to say:
“If I can get a nose-to-nose shot, it will be nasty. He’s a quarterback. He’ll try and run over the (defensive backs) and probably linebackers, but linemen? He ain’t going to do that to any defensive linemen.”

On a less heated but hopefully just as telling note, defensive coordinator Willie Martinez had some interesting things to say this week. I totally agree with his statements about attitude being the difference.

"I don't want to speak schematically, but people who have had success like when we beat them in 2007, it's really the style that you play, the mentality that you play, the attitude that you bring on every play that's going to be the difference. You've got to be physical. They are a very talented football team but we try not to make it about them. It's more about us and what we do."

Like I’ve said here before, football is not just a contact sport, it is a violent sport. The team that plays with a higher level of acute violence will most often be victorious. I hope Willie's statements are a harbinger of things to come.

In case you haven’t heard, I HATE Florida. Knowing that we GATA so often in the 70s and 80s only makes the losses of the 90s sting that much more, but it also makes the victories that much more glorious. That is why these DAWGS are dangerous. They have nothing to lose. They have no pressure on them. They have nothing to do but show up, play fast and free and GATA just like the DAWGS before them did on a regular basis back in the day. Don’t take my word for it, The Dawg-gone blog said it. But, I sure as Gainesville (HELL) agree with them.

And finally, didn’t I ask THIS question just a few days ago?

I am fully aware that there isn't much in the pregame notes or the stats that should lead me to believe that I should expect an upset this weekend, but it doesn't matter. I just have a really good feeling about how things are going based on the vibrations coming out of Athens and Gainesville this week. As irrational as it may seem, I believe. The DAWGS may win or they may lose, but I know that they are going to fight. The best part is, you don't have to take my word for it, the DAWGS said it.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Screw you, Timmy!


The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is more than just a game, it’s an event. It’s an event so bit that has events planned around it. It even has it’s own Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include two Damn Good Dawgs to be sure.

Screw you, Timmy!

I hate Florida. I hate it when the DAWGS lose to Florida. If anything could make a bad situation worse it would be if the Urban and the Gators could be condescending and mocking way to refer to it. Oh wait, they have. Honesty? Really? Screw you, Timmy!

What’s that coming down the track….

Excitement! At least that’s what Coach Richt is saying. In the recap from his radio show on Monday night, the head DAWG is reported as saying “This game is different in that it’s 50/50, and Richt wants the fan base to get excited and jacked up for this game, because excitement is coming.” Read the recap HERE. Why shouldn't we be excited? What do the DAWGS have in store for the Gators this weekend? Damned if I know, but I sure can’t wait to find out.

Gators SUCK!

The best team does not always win this game. Need proof? Just think back to 2002 when the DAWGS rolled in dominating virtually every opponent on their way to an 8-0 record, while the Gators wandered into Jacksonville at 4-3 and waltzed out having ended any shot the DAWGS had at playing for national championship thanks to Miami and Ohio State’s undefeated seasons. That is the sort of maddening thing that just makes you want to slam your hand in the nearest car door. Bubba ‘n’ Earl seem to see things the same way.


Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Halloween. Trick or Treat, DAWGS?

I am a true Generation-Xer. You know, old enough to know about but not really old enough to remember the time when the DAWGS made the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville their annual feeding bowl and the team from Florida seemed to be little more than so many kibble and bits. As for the number one ranking that Florida currently sports, well I have flashes of scenes from the 1985 matchup where Georgia defeated the No. 1 Gators 24-3, but unfortunately my memories of the 47-7 beat down at the hands of the No. 1 Gators in 1996 are more easily recalled. Thank goodness for November 1, 1997. I was a senior at Georgia and road-tripped to Jacksonville with more tickets than I had people to give them to because seemingly no one expected the DAWGS to put up much of a fight. We all know what happened that year. I remember thinking that despite being a three touchdown underdog to the defending national champions, those Gators could be had. Those Gators were shaky at quarterback with Jesse Palmer and Noah Brindise and that was the key since Steve Spurrier’s offense depends so heavily on the quarterback position. They had stars in Fred Taylor, Jevon Kearse, Mike Peterson and Jacquez Green, but if we could just pressure the QB, slow down the run, establish our running game and not beat ourselves I felt the DAWGS could shock the world. Well, Jim Donnan, Robert Edwards, Mike Bobo, Hines Ward, Champ Bailey, Corey Allen and the rest of the boys let it all hang out that day and danced out of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party with a 37-17 victory. We danced the night away to “Georgia on my mind” at The Landing and there has never been a sweeter ride home. I remember that glorious trip to Florida as the defining moment of football fanaticism from my college years.

In many ways, this year’s game shares many similarities to that 1997 matchup. The 2009 edition of the Florida Gators are also the defending national champions. The DAWGS are once again nearly a three touchdown underdog and coming off a defeat the previous year that was just one point shy of 40 points. Granted, the 1997 Florida team did already have a loss coming into the game with Georgia, but how much of a stretch is it to say that this year’s Gators might too have a loss if it were not for the horrendous officiating that we have seen in the SEC this season? In reality, none of this means anything. The 1997 matchup has absolutely no bearing on the 2009 game, but I can’t help but feel very much like I felt in 1997. I know Florida is scary deep on defense. I know that Florida leads the league in scoring defense and total defense. I know that Florida leads the league in scoring offense, total offense and has a Heisman Trophy winning, two-time national champion as it’s starting quarterback. Yet, in the month of October, the Gators have looked anything but unbeatable.

So, here are a few sweet treats to enjoy during the scariest week of the year.

When it comes to Saint Timothy, for all of his achievements that do garner respect, I still say he is not all he’s cracked up to be. Regardless of what others my want you to think, Tebow is not a skilled passer and does not handle pressure well. As for his brute strength, Saint Timothy running in short yardage is like Shaquille O’Neal dunking…I’m not impressed. Blessed with his size and strength, he should be able to do that. With that said, Tebow’s short yardage run can be taken away if you attack it as we have seen again and again from Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi State in recent games. Tebow is just like any other big back in that he must be stopped before he gets started. When you know Saint Timothy will be carrying the ball, you have to attack. Playing the Gators dive play well will go a long way in helping you to figure out when number 15 will be toting the rock.

Given where we are in the season, it is clear that everything the DAWGS do offensively begins with AJ Green, Lethal Weapon 8. AJ > anything Florida has on either side of the ball, Saint Timothy included. Opponent’s defensive game plans begin and end with what to do with Green, so distribution is the key for the DAWGS to keep that Gators defense off balance. How Florida chooses to play AJ…lock up in man…play zone…play a deep zone…will be something that Georgia offense will have to adjust to and the other receivers will need to have a good day, especially the tight ends.

In the kicking game, I have to give the edge to Georgia. The DAWGS key contributors, Blair Walsh, Drew Butler, Brandon Boykin (with occasional appearances by Prince Miller and Branden Smith) are valuable keys to winning the battle of hidden yardage in this game. Florida has the edge off the tee ranking 2nd in kickoff returns and kickoff coverage, but the kickoff return specialists Boykin (27.3 ypr) and Brandon James (27.5 ypr) are essentially a wash. Georgia has the edge in the punting game ranking 4th in punt return and leading the conference in punting with a 44.1 net/punt average. A key blocked kick would be HUGE in this game.

Now to put some real meat on this Dawg’s bone. In my opinion, here’s the real deal on this game. Florida leads the league in every key offensive statistical category except passing offense where the Gators rank 7th. Why then, when you watch them play, it doesn’t look that way? Two reasons: 1) Tebow leads the team in rushing. When your quarterback, particularly this quarterback, is your primary ball carrier the final numbers can sneak up on you. 2) Aaron Hernandez, the Florida tight end, is the team’s most consistent threat in the passing game. Riley Cooper (WR) is nice, but nothing special. Hernandez and Cooper have caught 60 of Tebow’s 84 completions and the other two starting WRs have a combined 14 catches. No other Gators wide receiver scares opponents because Florida has not established a consistent threat in the vertical passing game. This assertion is supported by the fact that that both Arkansas and Mississippi State played a lot of man-to-man coverage against Florida. “Hernandez and Hooks” seems to be the philosophy of this Gators team right now which allows opponents to squat on routes without the threat of being beaten deep, and this forces Tebow to hold the ball and that has led to sacks and bad decisions. Sounds like a winning strategy to me. With that said, it must also be said that the DAWGS could be vulnerable when our linebackers match up in pass coverage with Florida’s speedy running backs.

When it comes to coaching, that has to be the wildcard for Georgia right now. I say that because of the fantastic timing of the bye week. The team has had a chance to rest up, heal and prepare. The opportunity is there for a big statement to be made by Georgia. We will know soon enough.

Am I the only one? It just feels like Florida is ready to crack after a few close calls? They have dealt with the pressure of being touted as the greatest team ever assembled with the greatest player ever to strap on a helmet running the show. Everyone in the national media thought the season was a mere formality that would inevitably lead to Pasadena and a national championship. Could it finally be getting to them? Everyone tries to deny it, but it is simply impossible and pretty soon the players begin to expect certain performances and outcomes for themselves. Winning simply is not good enough. Urban Meyer can deny it all he wants, but these pressures are inherent to these situations and they are unavoidable. Sometimes teams manage to overcome these thoughts with great individual player performances or defining team moments, but more often than not all that pressure leads to cracks and eventually forces bursts. If things line up and the DAWGS put a whole game together, throw in a little Florida stress and this could be the Halloween that Georgia treats the DAWG Nation and hands out nothing but tricks to the Gators.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This feels like it is coming a little late and I don’t want to needlessly rehash all that has been said already, so this will be short and sweet. Hey, it’s a bye week for us too. To put a bow on what happened in Nashville last weekend, a single prevailing thought keeps coming back…wins should be celebrated. It’s hard to get a win, any win, regardless of opponent. This win over Vanderbilt was a conference win on the road and those should never be taken for granted (see Knoxville one week prior). The players and coaches in that locker room following the game knew that and I would bet that had an awful lot to do with the joyous scene in the locker room following the game. We as fans need to be reminded of that from time to time.

With that said, let’s move on to the DAWGBEASTS for this week.

CALEB KING - This pick says a lot more about the effort, attitude, toughness and pure grit that King played with than anything else. Caleb was making his return to the line-up after suffering first hand at the incompetence of Marc Curles and his crew in the form of a broken jaw. King was a BEAST when he was called on to block during the game and contributed two touchdowns to the overall effort, one rushing and one receiving. By the way, in case you missed it on King’s touchdown reception, AJ Green proved once again why he is one DAMN GOOD DAWG, deserving of being crowned as a DAWGBEAST every week and truly an all around player as he blocked his man right out of the play to give King an alley to the end zone. LETHAL WEAPON 8 is just amazing.


GENO ATKINS – Obviously, if you garner SEC honors as player of the week, you must be doing something right. Atkins’ career-high eight tackle effort was good to see. It was a flashback of sorts to his sophomore season in Athens when Atkins led Georgia in tackles for loss with 14.5 and was named first-team all-SEC. You can read the ABH spotlight story on HERE.

HONORABLE MENTION – PRINCE MILLER – Number 23 has had issues in the secondary this season and that has helped us to almost forget what a difference maker he can be when employed in the role of punt returner. Only once prior to Saturday’s performance in The Music City has Miller shown us the impact he can have in the return game. In week one, Prince came up big with a punt return for touchdown that was called back due to a penalty. Since then, Miller’s role in the punt return game has been a revolving door of spot duty due to Logan Gray appearances and bad decisions as to when to catch the ball and when not to, but that was not the case this past week against Vanderbilt. Miller had two returns for 95 yards (long 55) and was just a step away from taking both of those kicks back for touchdowns. Quality work to say the least.

HONORABLE MENTION – MIKE BOBO – Georgia’s much-maligned offensive coordinator made his first appearance on the sidelines in that role since taking over the play-calling duties in 2007 and it would seem he made his presence felt. The move seemingly paid off as the DAWGS racked up 399 yards of total offense – nearly double their tally from a week earlier. Georgia found the end zone four times, too, including twice in the red zone, after failing to move the ball inside Tennessee’s 35-yard line last week. I like this move because it gives the players and the coach a chance to look into one another’s eyes and get a real feel for what’s going on in the game. Football is a game of emotion and handling situations as they arise in a game. I don’t think that this level of communication and truly having a feel for what’s going on with a player in any given game can be overstated.

Monday, October 19, 2009

“…and that’s the bottom line! Cause Rogers Redding said so!”

Look, I don’t have anything against the refs in general. I would be hard-pressed to point out a single loss from my years of playing or watching football that I can attribute directly to the call of any referee (though I have witnessed some truly awful ones). Any rational fan, if willing to ignore the immediate urges of hyper-emotion and turn away from blind team loyalty, can usually admit that if his team had only taken care of business the way it should have throughout the game the end result could, should and probably would have been different. This would explain my thought process and reluctance to pin any loss solely on the actions of the Zebras. However, choosing to not use the refs as an excuse for my team’s shortcomings is completely different than not calling them like I see them and pointing out some of the blatantly obvious issues that the officials in the SEC have had this season. And that is the intent of this post.

As a DAWGS fan, I am extremely sensitive to the thought of the atrocity that was the excessive celebration penalties (yes, both ways) assessed at the end of the LSU game, the hair-trigger attitude that officials in the SEC have taken towards the DAWGS in recent years with regard to personal foul penalties and the fact that it seems the Florida Gators play by a different set of rules than the rest of the league, especially Saint Timothy. With that said, I was still reluctant to write about this topic for fear of being thrown in with those that choose to use any referee’s possibly questionable call against their team as THE deciding factor in the outcome of the game. But, once the excessive celebration call in the LSU game blew up into a national talking point, I began to think that this issue was fair game for this forum. (If you need a nuts and bolts re-counting of the incident you can find it HERE.) Then, seeing what has continually happened in games officiated by SEC crews under the supervision of Southeastern Conference coordinator of officials Rogers Redding since that game has only strengthened that view point.

The events of this past weekend only serve to further focus the spotlight on the issues with football officiating in the Southeastern Conference. I witnessed Rontavious Wooten get called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for forcefully slinging the ball to the ground at no one in particular after a big play, while a Vanderbilt player was not flagged after sacking Joe Cox and then hurling Cox’s towel high into the air in celebration. You can say that Wooten’s play was not advisable and was a coachable moment to be sure, but to equate it to the Vanderbilt player’s actions seems a bit ridiculous.

Meanwhile, in the Arkansas/Florida game in the Swamp in Gainesville, Saint Timothy and the Gators could seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of the officials while the Razorbacks were repeatedly flagged at crucial moments in the game for plays that would be iffy at best in their justification. I saw Saint Timothy spike the ball right at an opponents head, gesture at him and then turn and gesture to the bench without so much as a second look from the officiating crew. Fast forward to Florida’s game-tying touchdown drive and Arkansas is called for pass interference that was questionable at best and a down right AWFUL personal foul call that directly preceded the game-tying touchdown. You can check out the carnage more in depth HERE and HERE and HERE. As I posted on HALE’S blog the other day, “Call it how you see zebras, but for goodness sake, call it the same way regardless of which TEAM a player is on or what his name and number happen to be.”

I have just one final point. Apparently, we members of the Bulldog Nation are not the only ones taking notice of the tendencies of the officiating crews in the league this year as evidenced by the actions of the Florida players and coaches at the end of the game on Saturday. Regardless of the circumstances that may have assisted the Gators in putting themselves in position for the victory, they all acted as if they were taking no chances with the SEC’s “Russian Roulette” style of officiating either. In the immediate seconds following the go-ahead field goal by Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis, he can be seen wearing a stone faced expression and urging his teammates to not react to what had just occurred. Likewise the Florida coaching staff followed his lead by frantically wrangling the Gator players off the field of play and attempting to mute the team’s celebration so as to not draw an “LSU type” flag of their own. Look, even if this did take place in the scenario of something good happening for Florida, it is still absolutely ABSURD that any player, coach or team should have to attempt to squash the emotion of what should be an exhilarating moment in team sport out of fear of an unwarranted penalty that may drastically impact the outcome of the game.

Bad calls happen in football games all over the country, every weekend. Think back to last year when Washington quarterback Jake Locker was flagged for a celebration penalty in the end zone for tossing the ball too high in the air. Penalties are a part of the game, but things just seem to be trending in a dangerous direction in the SEC and unfortunately it doesn’t look like they will be straightened out at any point in the near future “…and that’s the bottom line! Cause Rogers Redding said so!”

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I purposely have been quiet this week. I wanted to give myself a chance to sort out all the feelings and thoughts I've had since the debacle in Knoxville last Saturday. What happened up there was important. It meant a lot. However, football is a game that is about a body of work over the course of any given season. As much as each game can mean in and of itself, the season is not and can not be lost on any one Saturday throughout the fall. To be sure, there has been an alarming series of events that have taken place in Athens this season, but as followers of our team and devout members of the Bulldog Nation I believe we owe it to ourselves and to Head Coach Mark Richt to focus only on the game that is in front of us and see where this season takes us. We will have plenty of time once the year is over to re-visit any missteps or failures that may befall our DAWGS along the way. I'm not saying don't voice your opinions as we go, but just keep in mind that our boys are gonna tee it up again really soon and we should try to enjoy the sport and all of it's pageantry that we wait the rest of the year to be a part of.

With that said, there are some things I want to mention here and now. I will try not to ramble too much.


Georgia AD Damon Evans and Coach Richt will get this thing straightened out. I believe it. Recent quotes from the two top men in the world of Georgia football reaffirm my belief:

Coach Richt -
"They want somebody to be let go or fired or that kind of thing, and maybe that's what needs to be done, but at this point right now, we're going to do what we know is the best thing to do and that's to focus on this game this week."

Damon Evans -
“I do have some concerns about where we are at this point of the season. I know Coach [Mark] Richt, the assistant coaches, the players and our fans have the same concerns with our current record and the way we’ve been playing...Coach Richt and I have talked just as we do periodically throughout the season. I think his focus right now is on the immediate future, which is the Vanderbilt game and doing everything possible to prepare our team. That’s where it needs to be...Beyond that, I have total confidence that Coach Richt will properly evaluate our team, address concerns and prepare the right path that will direct us back into the position we all want to be in — competing for championships.”

Coach Richt is attempting to get the DAWGS focus right where it should be…on what’s six inches in front of your face. That is where you will find your reality. The DAWGS reality is that improvement is needed and the only thing you can do about that is get back to work. At this point, I don't know if any player or any fan has the energy to do much more than that.


Moving along, you all really should know my wife Alice. Wifey loves football with a fierce passion and is more knowledgeable and reasonable about the game than most men I know. I truly am a lucky man. I tell you that to tell you this. Wifey and I share a belief that perception is reality. After Saturday's loss to Tennessee, I've read a lot about what it all means from a Georgia perspective and about what Lane Kiffin wants it to mean. Well, I know this. Losing to the Vols the way we did will have an impact whether we like it or not and I fear it will be much more than just bruised feelings and one L on this year's final tally. It was not that long ago that a head coach that was also a good recruiter and a string of wins over Georgia led to Tennessee raiding the Peach state for top-notch recruits every year...several of which eventually turned out to be KEY players on the Vols 1998 MNC. This is a dangerous situation for Georgia in terms of the possibility of history repeating itself. A loss like this for the DAWGS (or a shaky season of losses) could lead to a change in the regional and national perception of the Georgia program. If that happens there is a real possibility that there will be a change in our "big picture" reality. I do not believe this is happening right now, 10 wins or more in six of the last seven seasons puts a quick end to that train of thought, but coupled with Georgia's recent history against Florida this whole thing could get out of control in a hurry.

***Side note: I loved to refer to Phillip Fulmer as The Great Pumpkin. After seeing Lane Kiffin on the sidelines Saturday in his selection of an over-sized, orange disaster of a jacket, I have to wonder out loud if it's okay to refer to Kiffin as The Rotten Pumpkin? That thing looked as if it were a rotten, sagging pumpkin that was collapsing in on itself. Ugh. Just saying.


I saw this on David Hale's blog earlier this week and I felt like we were sitting in the same recliner.

--I watched all of the LSU-Florida game. I think the announcers made fun of Georgia about 9,463 times.



There was also a ton of discussion this week about naked bootlegs, switching from playing the run to playing the pass and the defense's work in 3rd and long situations. So, a take on 3rd and long.....


I put it on the players. I will not call any one individual out here, but this is how I see it. It has been my observation through six games this season that when it comes to the defense in general there has been too much poor tackling, too many uncontested passes, too much chicken fighting from the D-line on the pass rush, poor defensive line technique against the run and seemingly no ball skills from our DBs and LBs while the ball is in the air and when CWM does call for the blitz, our linebackers and defensive linemen display AWFUL attacking techniques as they execute the play. All of these things are important, but none is more glaring to me than the final point.


DAWGBEAST of the week

Georgia Special Teams, with a special nod to Brandon Boykin. Sophomore cornerback Brandon Boykin had his second 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown this season. Boykin and former Bulldog Gene Washington share the mark now with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season. Boykin is the first SEC player to have two 100-yard kickoff returns in one season in SEC history. He finished the day with 128 returns yards (32.0 avg) on four kicks to give him 529 kickoff return yards this season. Boykin's return versus the Vols also ties the longest scoring play on the road in school history. Since 1941, the NCAA put a maximum length on all plays at 100 yards.


**NCAA Leader Drew Butler had to punt six times for a 49.8 average with four covering 50+ yards and one inside the 20. The Sophomore punter's first punt was his longest at 61 yards. He went into the game against Tennessee leading the nation with a 49.8 average.

**Redshirt sophomore split end Zach Renner blocked a punt with :23 seconds left in the opening half to give the Bulldogs two points on a safety as it went through the endzone. This was the third blocked punt of his career after he tallied one against Alabama and Arizona State in 2008. Renner tied the school record for blocked punts in a career along with Corrie Collier, Kendrell Bell and David Pollack. Renner's latest punt block was the 17th for the Bulldogs in the Mark Richt era.

**Sophomore PK Blair Walsh drilled a 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter. He is 5-for-8 from 50 yards or more in his career and 3-for-3 from that distance in 2009.

****An honorable mention for the DAWGBEAST goes to Redshirt Freshman safety Baccari Rambo. Rambo caught a tipped passed for an interception and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. This was Rambo's second career INT and the first defensive TD for the Bulldogs this year. Georgia has had four INTs this year with Boykin also having two. This was the first INT return for a TD since Darryl Gamble returned a pair of picks for scores at LSU in 2008.


In case you missed it, Tyler Sheehan and WR Freddie Barnes combined for 22 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns with scoring grabs from two, eight, and 45 yards and Sheehan scored the game-winning touchdown late to give Bowling Green a 36-35 win on the road at Kent State last Saturday. Sheehan final numbers were crazy, finishing 44-63, throwing for 505 yds, 4 TD and an INT. However, the Player of the Game has to be Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes. His numbers look like some player's totals for an entire season, 22 receptions, 278 yards and three touchdowns, and if that performance doesn't make you A DAMN BEAST then I don't know what does. Congrats Freddie!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm with Favre on this one.

After ripping his old team for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns, in a post-game interview Brett Favre turned the spotlight on his teammates and more specifically, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. Favre went on to call him a "BEAST" and he should know, having played against Allen many times. Favre's high praise came in response to Allen's performance on MNF...7 total tackles, 6 solo tackles, a career-high 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a safety.

Allen completely dominated the game Monday night, disrupting the Packers offense all night long. Admittedly, #69 took advantage of some injuries in the Packers offensive line, but injuries are part of the game and I don't think it would have made a difference anyway.

You can check it out for yourself HERE.

Of all the players that I thought might take over the game Monday night, Allen was at least 5th on my list behind the obvious choices of every game BEASTS...Favre, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver...but that's why we play the games and that is why I write this blog. So there it is, Jared Allen was a damn beast on MNF this week because Brett Favre said so.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

WTF?!?!? You CANNOT let this slide!

Look, I'm not sayin'....I'm just sayin'. If someone punches your brother in the face, are you just gonna stand there and watch???? I fully understand that these photos might be misleading. We don't know where he is looking. We don't know if his eyes are even open. HOWEVER, the following photos seem to clearly show that DAWGS center Ben Jones has a front row, unobstructed view of LSU defensive lineman Rahim Alem as he LAUNCHES himself at Caleb King, clearly leading with the crown of his helmet with a seemingly fully realized intent to use his headgear as a weapon! I do not remember a single DAWGS player coming to King's aid after the play (full disclosure: I will have to check the tape on my DVR later). Simply stated....WTF!!!! That just cannot be acceptable. We all know that if an opposing player is a bit too rough with a teammate of yours, it is absolutely acceptable behavior for you to come to his aid. Hell, it's almost mandatory! ESPECIALLY when it comes to offensive linemen and a running back or quarterback! A football team truly is like a family. A band of brothers. At least, the ones worth a flip are. There is absolutely no way that Alem should have been allowed to get away with this action without some sort of retaliation. I'm not saying there should have been a fight or that Alem should have been targeted, but someone should have been immediately in his face to let him know that, uh, stuff just won't fly.

Alem's hit certainly had the desired effect. It was made public after the game that King suffered a broken jaw (almost definitely on the play in question) and a concussion. And by the way, HUGE KUDOS to the kid for playing the majority of the rest of the game. This hit is ABSOLUTELY, to the letter of the rule, what the helmet-to-helmet penalty is supposed to punish. THERE WAS NO FLAG. If the game doesn't provide justice, shouldn't someone.

Again, I cannot say definitively whether Jones actually saw this frame-by-frame the way we can see it now, but regardless...I say it's a safe bet that someone saw it...and they should have been Category 4 PISSED! This reaction, in my opinion, is absolutely justified by the laws of brotherhood, team and pride in defense of all that the Georgia "G" on the side of that helmet stands for.

This type of action CANNOT be allowed to go unchallenged and I certainly hope it was just a situation of circumstance that prevented the DAWGS from taking care of their own. For Caleb's sake, I certainly hope so. I would love to know what y'all think.


Monday, October 5, 2009

So, DAWGS…whatcha got?

The Dawg Nation has been here before. Head coach Mark Richt, his staff and his teams have been here before. Question is, “What’s up from here?” sums it up pretty well:

This season is going to be a repeat of 2006. Early close calls against weak opponents proved to be a harbinger of close (and not so close) losses to come when scares against the Colorado Buffaloes and the Mississippi Rebels served as the prelude to four losses in a five-week stretch. The season was only salvaged with wins over ranked yet overrated Auburn and Georgia Tech squads.

This season is going to be a repeat of 2007. The first half of the fall featured a close conference loss at home and a defeat by a wider margin in a lackluster effort against an orange-clad opponent on the road. The Bulldogs somehow managed to scratch and claw their way to a 5-2 record following a road win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, and, after a well-placed open date, Georgia finally put it all together, began playing up to its considerable potential, and went on a 6-0 run to close out the season.

You can read the rest of this fine article HERE:

I ask again. So, DAWGS…whatcha got?

Here we are headed down the road in another SEC season where we haven’t turned the corner and headed deep into fall, but we can see it from here, and the DAWGS find themselves once again at a crossroads in their season. It is Tennessee week and the Vols look a lot different than they did in 2006…no Great Pumpkin, aka Phil Fulmer…but I don’t know that Georgia does. On that sad October Saturday we witnessed our DAWGS trot out and promptly roll over without displaying any fight and Coach Richt said as much. Unlike that 2006 team, I don’t think anyone is going to say that this Georgia team is not going to fight for all they’re worth Saturday in Knoxville. In 2007, it was a flash of fight and good fortune in Nashville that saved the DAWGS season before they exploded on the CFB landscape two weeks later in Jacksonville. This year’s team has shown some of that flash-factor, but has not been consistent in any area outside of the individual performances turned in by #8, Green, the Domin8oR.

The 2009 Georgia Bulldogs sit at 3-2 overall, 3-1 inside the conference. All things considered, outside of any hit the team’s national perception may have taken from a loss to the #4 team in the nation, this bunch of DAWGS is none the worse for wear and is still in total control of its own destiny. As fans, certainly nothing has changed for us. It is football and you’re not going to win them all, every season. This team can still be a champion. Now, there are several legitimate reasons to doubt this team can accomplish that feat, but it must be acknowledged that everything they want to get done is still out in front of them.

It is possible. There are two weeks, two winnable SEC games and a bye week straight ahead. For the first time all season, the defense is coming off an effort that has more easily recognizable positive things to build off of than any other performance this season. They can look at the film and see themselves doing things the right way in game action and that will only breed confidence and belief in the system and in the coaching. The offense can still find their way in the running game and if they do, it will open the passing game up even more. The road for Georgia still goes through Florida, just like we all knew it would. We don’t know what the immediate future is for this team, but there is time to work out the kinks and peak when everything is on the line. The mettle of this team is still to be tested further. Watch closely how this team approaches the next two week. Can you see them working to get better and do the little things well? I think these next two games may be as telling as any two the DAWGS have played this year.

I will throw out this word of caution though. Due to the presence of Green, the Domin8oR, the offense, the WRs in particular, as well as the rest of the team should be careful of the “superstar syndrome” that they seemingly suffered with at times last year where they seemed to depend too much on the star power of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. No one man is a team, regardless of how much of a BEAST he is.

So DAWGS, whatcha got? Here’s hoping you can put it all together, practice smart and play fierce over the next weeks and arrive in Jacksonville playing with an urgency and a momentum like that of a runaway train headed down hill and we will just see what happens between the lines on Halloween. If you can, this road we’re all traveling down together may not turn out to be so bumpy after all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

DAWGBEASTS of the week, LSU thoughts and the birth of a nickname...Green, the Domin8oR

A! J! Green!!!! Are you kidding me?!?!? You don’t have to look hard at what happened at Sanford Stadium on Saturday to know that #8 was the Georgia offense. Everything else on the GO side of the ball was so disjointed it’s hard to know where to start. You also don’t have to be too bright to know that the much maligned Bulldog D played what was by far it’s best game of the season. However, great defenses can close opponents out to finish a game. This defense could not, therefore it is not. That doesn’t mean the young men did not give it their all, but it is undeniable that due to a confluence of factors a dominating unit they are not.

DAWGBEAST of the week:

Here is where I join the chorus with David Hale from BULLDOGS BLOG….AJ is absolutely amazing. I think I’m just gonna pencil him in as the DAWBEAST of the week (at least offensively) every week until someone shows me a reason not to. Green, the Domin8oR rocked the game again this week, coming up just one yard short of his third consecutive 100 yard receiving game. His final numbers: 5 receptions, 99 yards and a TD.

(It’s a shame that what could have been a storybook finish to an ugly game has been relegated to no more than a footnote in the end story that is most likely to be dominated by the “excessive celebration” penalty discussion going forward; MORE ON THIS LATER)

I’m a defensive minded guy, so here is your defensive DAWGBEAST of the week:

-- Justin Houston – Houston continues to grow and develop as a difference maker off the end for the DAWGS. Need proof? Thanks to BULLDOGS BLOG for the following info:

After having just 12 tackles for a loss in the first four games, the Dawgs have 18 in the last two, including seven sacks.

That’s impact folks. Houston’s final stat line from Saturday reads as follows: 4 solo tackles, 2 assists, 6 total tackles, 2.0 sacks for -8 yards and 2.0 tackles for loss

I chose to spotlight Houston this week, but Rennie Curran is much like Green, the Domin8oR could arguably be penciled in weekly for this honor, but for this week here is his very honorable mention: 7 solo tackles, 9 assists, 16 total tackles, 0.5 a sack for -2 yards and 1.5 tackles for loss for -3 yards

Another very honorable mention for the defensive DAWGBEAST of the week is Kade Weston. This week more than any other I can recall, we had an attacking presence from the interior defensive line and that effort was led by big Kade. His final line: 2 solo tackles, 3 assists, 5 total tackles, 1.0 sack for -8 yards and 1.0 tackle for loss.


For all we heard about and expected from a unit that returned so many players that had real playing experience, our offensive line has sorely under-produced. Run blocking is all about execution and attitude and this bunch has displayed very little of either so far this season. The leaders of this group seemingly need to do some soul searching and find an identity….quickly.

Where is Mike Moore? In my mind, this question is nearly as important as the questions surrounding the offensive line. Moore is someone that I championed throughout the off-season as the already present option to Green, the Domin8oR in the passing game, but for whatever reason Ochodos has been absent from the final stats of consequence the last two weeks. I don’t know if Joe Cox is locked in to #8 (by comfort level or coaching), if it's the defensive schemes that are taking him away, but Moore is a proven play maker and we NEED someone that lines up wide to contribute in a meaningful way. Moore seems to be the logical answer for me. As Green, the Domin8oR draws coverage away from the middle of the field Moore (since King is the other wide starter in the two receiver set) and our TEs should be just KILLING teams with routes over the middle.

**As an addendum to the previous paragraph, it is amazing to me how effective the play-action fake still is despite our lack of an effective running game up to this point.

Many others have covered the topic of special teams in great depth so there is no need to say too much here, but there are glaringly obvious issues with the blocking, coverage and overall philosophy of these units. This is particular saddening to me because it has been my observation over the years that you can tell a lot about a coaching staff by how well they perform on special teams. This was a great point of pride for the DAWG faithful early in Coach Richt’s tenure in Athens, but things have changed. We will occasionally still make a big play with a block or random return, but when you have the level of skill that is on hand in Athens right now, that skill should be given a chance to IMPACT every game. This coaching staff has made a point of recruiting a certain type of athlete with a certain type of body over the last few years…think athletic DBs and LBs, Ramarcus Brown and Brandon Miller as examples…and it should be more effective on these teams. Yes, this generally means that you will have a lot of youth on the field in these situations, but if coached correctly that should be overcome and the results should (on the whole) outweigh the concerns of youth. Speed is great, but it is worthless if it is not put in a position to be used. These units should be feared by the DAWGS opponents weekly, but I just don’t think that is the case currently.

On a defensive note, I do believe this is the best pass coverage I’ve seen all season from the secondary….most likely tied to pass rush effectiveness. BRANDEN SMITH is really coming. His technique and recognition get better with every series he is on the field and he is quickly becoming a BALLER and a game changer. There are flashes where I would swear he was wearing a #4 on his jersey as I’ve seen him plastered on a receiver. On that same note, BRANDON BOYKIN is rapidly improving in pass coverage and will be a fine corner for us going forward. Both need to continue to work on their ball skills while it is in the air, but as they become more comfortable with “playing the game” against opposing receivers, the pace of the game will slow and they should be responsible for more PBUs and turnovers as we move forward. At the other end of the spectrum, based on his play thus far, BRYAN EVANS has not improved at all since his first real playing time as a RSFr. I was on the field for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl a few years back and Evans showed flashes of speed and ball skills (even though he was struggling a bit, I chalked it up to inexperience) that led me to believe we would be in good hands. Unfortunately, I cannot see where he has progressed. Baccari Rambo or one of the other young safeties should get every chance to prove they can get the job done.


The wonderfully informative GET THE PICTURE is a very good read this week and you can find it HERE.

And as always, David Hale and BULLDOGS BLOG put a nice, thought provoking bow on this Saturday’s events.

My PRO DAWG of the week is Cleveland Browns rookie and Damn Good Dawg Mohamed Massoquoi. MoMass turned in his first 100 yard effort in a losing cause as the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Browns 23-20 on Sunday. Massoquoi’s final stat line from Sunday: 8 receptions, 148 yards (18.5 ypc)

and FINALLY…..

Tim Brando…well, I just really don’t know what to say about THIS. Check it out starting around 4 minutes 45 seconds in.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Alex Ovechkin, The Great 8 and the night on frozen pond

For this fan's seat there are few, if any, NHL players that I would rather shell out duckets to see play live Ovie, The Great 8, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. This man is a BEAST by any measure and can take over a game any time. Last season's ever-brewing rivalry with Pittsburgh Penguins golden boy Sidney Crosby was absolutely fabulous to watch down the stretch (with Crosby and the Penguins going on to win Lord Stanley's Cup) and it promises to only get better and more heated this season. I guess that is another blog for another day though, so let's move on.

Last year's numbers for Ovie? Here's just a few: 56 goals and 110 points in the regular season to go with 11 goals and 21 total points in the NHL playoffs. Check out some of his work for yourself HERE.

The NHL drops the puck on the 2K9-2K10 season tonight and both Ovechkin and Crosby will be in action. I know college football is on the tube as Colorado travels to play West Virginia on ESPN and I will be watching that as well, but I would suggest you put that remote to use and jump over to Versus and see what the night on ice has to offer. The NHL is full of fantastic athletes that master their sport with a tremendous level of skill that many have never taken the time to appreciate. Hockey is both a beautiful and, at times, brutal sport that can be fantastically entertaining. If you are a real sports fan, you owe it to yourself to give this fast paced game a chance to win you over.


The two-time defending NHL Most Valuable Player had two goals and an assist to lead Washington to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in the season-opener on Thursday night.

Like I said, A DAMN BEAST!!!



He did what?!?

This past Sunday the Seattle Mariners were taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto. I know, I know...just one game in the 162 baseball game season that really just bridges the gap between spring practice for college football and the start up of fall camp in August for most of us here in the South, but hang with me. During the "pick to click" portion of the Mariners pre-game show on KIRO, Mike Blowers - the former Mariners third baseman - predicted that Seattle rookie Matt Tuiasosopo would hit his first career home run. Blowers would go on to say that it would come ... in his second at-bat ... on a 3-1 count ... off a fastball .. a second-deck shot.

Tui's second at-bat would come in the 5th inning and wouldn't you know it, Tuiasosopo delivered on Blower's absolutely incredible prediction as if on cue ... his first Major League home run ... on a 3-1 count ... off a fastball ... to the second-deck in left field.

The entire series of events is fantastically surreal. Take a minute and check out the pregame audio and in-game radio call for yourself at Shannon Drayer's blog - HERE. Trust me sports fans, this one is worth your time.

If that doesn't qualify as a BEAST of a prediction, then I don't know what does.


Speaking of beasts, it looks like Georgia Bulldogs super-soph wide receiver AJ Green is getting a bit more national attention this week as he and the DAWGS prepare to welcome in the #4 team in the land, the LSU Tigers.

You can read what they have to say HERE and HERE. It is a privilege to watch this young man go to work every Saturday in the red and black.