Monday, October 25, 2010

BANG! THAT'S US.



Although it was sickening to watch and more nauseating to listen to, I watched Urban Meyer's game week press conference today. In his usual holier-than-thou, declarative style, Meyer listed all the things he believed needed to be corrected to put out the fires that have been burning around the Florida program recently. One phrase that popped out to me was hearing Meyer say "It doesn't look like us out there. It doesn't look like BANG!."

Meyer was lamenting that the Gators have been missing some key players due to injury, but he was also talking about a couple of other things here and he listed what he felt they needed to address. Meyer's list went like this...

1. Turnovers
2. Explosive plays
3. Pass Efficiency (off due to drops, protection and execution)
4. Red Zone execution
5. Special teams (lack of big hits and blocked punts)


With a conveniently/strategically place bye week to work on these issues you can bet that Meyer and the Gators will be breathing fire on Saturday. More specifically this tells me a couple things...

1. Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey will absolutely play in Jacksonville.

2. Some "creative" play calling will show itself against the DAWGS in an effort to induce those explosive plays that Meyer is searching so hard for. The Gators will be trying to get to the edge in numerous ways.

3. When I hear Meyer talk about red zone efficiency I hear one thing...Georgia will see Trey Burton put to use in any number of ways if the Gators reach the 30 going in on Saturday.

4. Drew Butler and the DAWGS punt unit had better be ready...and the kickoff coverage team too. NOTHING changes a game like an explosive play on special teams and I will be stunned if we do not see a wrinkle or three from the Gators in the third phase of the game. I expect at least one punt block attempt and probably a fake punt or field goal try too.


I think you all know what a...er...healthy disdain I have for the Gators. But if I know anything about football and Meyer's Gators, they will play with an edge and they will try to create the plays they feel they need to be successful.

With that said, it will be just that much sweeter to watch the DAWGS rise to that challenge and trade licks, blow for blow, with their long time and bitter rivals.

Glory, Glory.

DAWGS vs. GATORS



Headed to Jacksonville? Just can't get enough of watching those DAWGS put the beat down on the Gators? Well, this is for you. DO IT!!!




Courtesy: UGA Hockey

Sunday, October 24, 2010

DAWGBEASTS and the WILDCATS




Justin Houston – The closer we get to Halloween, the more Justin Houston looks like a monster to opposing offenses. Houston finished with 5 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, including 2.5 more sacks to push his league-leading total to nine, but he also forced a fumble, recovered another and even broke up a pass. Georgia head coach Mark Richt said "Justin, he was fired up ready to play…you could just see the look in his eyes.”

Washaun Ealey – Georgia ran the ball when it wanted to against Kentucky on Saturday night and Washaun Ealey reached a new career high carrying the ball 28 times on his way to 157 yards. Along the way, Ealey set the school record with five rushing touchdowns.

Sanders Commings – Sanders Commings continues to come on for the DAWGS and he had another standout night on Saturday finishing with 5 total tackles, a fumble recovery and another interception.

Drew Butler – The DAWGS defense got after Kentucky all night in Lexington and that was due in no small part to the efforts of Butler. Georgia’s punter averaged 50.7 yards per kick and forced Kentucky to start in poor field position most of the game.

Brandon Boykin – Two inches was all Brandon Boykin said he would need to hit the seam on the kickoff return team and when his teammates provided it, Boykin did just that. Boykin made good with a 100 yard kickoff return for TD (the 4th kickoff return for TD of his career) against the Wildcats on Saturday night. Boykin now ranks second in Georgia history in career kickoff return yards with 1,482, trailing only Gene Washington who had 1,637 from 1973-76.

Glory, Glory.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

DAWGBEASTS and the DORES




Washaun Ealey – 17 carries, 123 yards, TD – Ealey came into Saturday’s contest expecting to carry the load for the DAWGS offense in the running game and did exactly that. Ealey ran HARD and still managed to protect the ball, and his pass protection was pretty good too.

Carlton Thomas – 4 carries, 40 yards, 2 TD – Thomas didn’t carry the ball that often, but he made it count when he did scampering in for touchdown runs of 15 and 9 yards…the first two trips to the paint in his career. Although he was also running tough, the thing that popped to me about Thomas was the explosion he had when he touched the football, even with an iffy hamstring. This zip is what makes Carlton special and different in the DAWGS backfield and I hope he continues to get his touches…in any number of ways. It was really good to see the kid have some success.

Ben Jones – Jones has had his ups and downs this season, along with the rest of the O-line, and don’t think for a second that those things are not connected. With that said, what we saw Saturday could be a key indicator in how the rest of this season is gonna go for Jones and Co. On Carlton Thomas’ first touchdown run, Jones pulled out and led Thomas into the endzone for his first career touchdown. Watching Jones jubilant celebration I couldn’t help but think that it just felt different. Seeing the DAWGS center grab Caleb King and shake him like a rag doll when he got back to the sideline (I still say King narrowly avoided a head butt there) was thrilling. Jones looked like a man possessed and it was great to see. He may be chewing turf again in celebration any day now. I would love for him to be able to let me know how the sod in Jacksonville suits the pallet. Keep livin’ it up Ben, that’s the type of fire we love to see from our DAWGS.

Aaron Murray – 15 of 24, 287 yards, 2 TD (12/3) – Murray is absolutely a repeat offender when it comes to this list. Coming into a season in which the quarterback position was seemingly the only unknown entity on offense for the DAWGS, Murray has absolutely become the one thing that DAWG Nation can count on every week to perform. This speaks to what kind of player the kid really is and to his dedication to the game…to the things that make you successful…like extra film study and attention to detail. Murray ran his season numbers to 12 touchdown passes against only 3 interceptions with two more TD tosses against the ‘Dores and folks, he’s left a few on the field this year. Georgia fans should sleep well at night knowing this young man is the face of the program for the next few years.

Kris Durham – 4 receptions, 112 yards, TD – Continuing with the theme of repeat offenders, Durham just keeps clicking along in the DAWGS passing game. The senior from Calhoun seems to catch everything thrown his way, including the ones that probably shouldn’t be thanks to a young quarterback, but that is yet another reason the senior wide receiver is on this list.

Justin Houston – 5 total tackles, sack – Houston is growing into a monster off the edge for the DAWGS, currently leading the SEC in sacks, and it couldn’t be happening at a better time. If Georgia is going to continue to resurrect their season, it will need every big play it can get from Houston.

A.J. Green – 3 receptions, 64 yards, TD – AJ makes the list this week for his touchdown reception alone. The type of athletic prowess displayed by Green on his 48 yard jaunt to pay dirt has not often been seen in Sanford Stadium and it was a beauty to behold. That catch and run was exhibit A in our ever growing stack of evidence that AJ Green is…(say it with us)…A DAMN BEAST!!!

Glory, Glory.

LIKE WE NEED THIS GUY TO HAVE ANY MORE MOTIVATION THIS WEEK



Kentucky's do-everything, play-maker that carries certified platinum BEAST status, Randall Cobb, is tweeting as he revels in the 'Cats win over #10 South Carolina last night and in doing so he does not try to hide his true feelings about representing the fans and their Ol' Kentucky Home....

@rcobb18: To all the fans: loved seein Yall come late, love hearing Yall tell us we suck during the game...Love that we can't pack the house when we play the #10 team in the nation...It means that much more to me.




Cobb is always a handful for the DAWGS anyway. I am certain that he, like all great players, will find a way to turn his feelings about the Kentucky fans into motivation that he will then use to get after Georgia on Saturday. The DAWGS better be ready.

Glory, Glory.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The VOLS, VIII and the DORES





Although we’ve been quiet for the most part this week, it has been a good week here at the BEAST. Coach Richt and the boys took care of the Vols without messing around last Saturday and that was just the start to an exciting week. Still flying from the DAWGS beat down of the Vols, some time last Sunday I realized that Big Bad Bruce was going to step up and claim the charmed life that awaits him as UGA VIII and I have been excited ever since. Throw in that this week Vanderbilt rolls into Athens (hopefully without hitting anything along the way) for Homecoming and I’ve been smiling pretty much all week.

I don’t buy into all that talk the beating the Vols is no big deal and that was one barb that was under my skin all week. Couldn’t break my stride, but it did bother me a bit until I realized that it brought me back to all the reasons that actually make it a big deal from where I sit in the first place.

The two games I most fanatically want the DAWGS to win every year are the tussles with Tennessee and Florida. This is tied primarily to my age and the time period I was a student at UGA. During those days, it was the Evil Genius and The Great Pumpkin that were ruining my fall Saturdays and my deep-seeded contempt for those two programs remains fiery and vicious to this day. Against this background, factor in that Tennessee had won three of the last four meetings, all three with ugly, blowout-type final scores and I was aching for a DAWGS win last weekend.



As for a more current motivation to be proud of our boys and their win last week, how about this….football games are hard to win. Any win against any opponent should be savored and not taken for granted. Besides, based on the way Georgia had played the month prior, it’s hard to believe that anyone was overly confident heading into that game. The bottom line is this…you just never know when the spark/break/moment will come that turns a season around. In 2007, if not for a late fumble and Georgia recovery deep in DAWGS territory on what looked for the world to be a game-winning drive for Vanderbilt in Nashville, the Sugar Bowl and ending the season with a #2 ranking would have never happened. Just last year, in a game that seemingly most DAWGS fans immediately dismissed, it was against Vanderbilt that Georgia finally settled on the offensive line starting five and began to find the running game that would carry the DAWGS down the stretch of the season. At the time, there were fans that didn’t want to hear about any successes in the rushing game because Vandy was somehow an opponent of no-count status. In retrospect, that was the moment that led to a glorious win on the plains in which Ben Jones ate the turf and Washaun Ealey and Caleb King declared to the world that “We Run This State!” So don’t tell me any successes the DAWGS had against the Vols last week don’t count for anything. For this DAWG, Saturday’s win over Tennessee was glorious. In case you’re wondering…Yes. I am holding out hope that the DAWGS can make me two-for-two this year in my most valued games.

Moving right along, I am absolutely pumped that Big Bad Bruce will take the up the mantle of UGA VIII this weekend. Forget the succession of kings, queens and princesses…this is the only succession I care about. Knowing that UGA VI’s grandson and a true, bloodline heir will be taking the collar makes me very happy. Everything just feels more right in the world. And Big Bad Bruce is a good looking dog too! Kid looks like a tank. I feel really good about the future with VIII at the reins and I believe he is going to be a fantastic ambassador for the University of Georgia and the members of the DAWG Nation.



To wrap up my thoughts from the week, I will just leave you with this. Vanderbilt is Vanderbilt and I suspect we all believe that our DAWGS should show up, play well and get the Homecoming victory tomorrow. With that said, I will never take any team or win for granted, but Vandy is a chance to continue to bail water and pick up some steam as we enter the final two months of the season.

Get after ‘em DAWGS and keep climbing as we make our way closer to the top of this hole that we find ourselves in. For everyone that will be heading to Athens and at the game, have a fantastic day and take a moment to remember what coming home is all about.

Glory, Glory.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DAWGBEASTS and the VOLS




**AARON MURRAY – 17 of 25, 266 yards, 2 TD, 2 rush TD – Murray played his best game yet as a DAWG and we can rest assured that he will only continue to improve. The kid's throw to Rontavious Wooten was about as tough as they come and Murray's execution on that play was a thing of beauty. Is there anyone out there still looking around for SEC Freshman of the Year? Well you can stop looking…he currently resides in Athens, Georgia.

**AJ GREEN – It was great to see AJ working the middle of the field more on Saturday and the toughness displayed on his deep catch is one of the things that make him a truly special player. Green didn’t crack 100 yards this time out, but his presence on the field continues to help open things up as the DAWGS offense finds its legs.

**SPECIAL TEAMS – Georgia’s special teams units continue to play well, this week forcing a pair of turnovers on fumble recoveries. I give Blair Walsh and Jordan Love equal credit for that first forced fumble. Walsh may have actually punched it out, but at the very least he forced the issue and made the returner switch hands with the ball. It was during this switch that Love got his hand in there, the ball came out and the DAWGS pounced. Blake Sailors showed some great hands on the second recovery and took one of the worst “shoulda been” facemask infractions I’ve seen in a long while.

**JUSTIN HOUSTON – Houston continues to rack up the tackles for loss, adding three more including two more sacks to run his season total to six.

**DEFENSIVE LINE – The quality of play among the players involved in the rotation along the D-line on Saturday, including Brandon Wood and Kiante Tripp, had a lot to do with the DAWGS holding Tennessee to a mere nine yards rushing in the game. I saw players getting penetration and playing with good technique…that is what disrupted the Vols running game.

**TRINTON STURDIVANT – Sturdivant made his first start of the season on Saturday. In my view, you can absolutely see that his presence is having an effect on the performance of the O-Line.

**BOSS BAILEY – Boss was an honorary captain for Saturday’s game and delivered a pre-game speech to the DAWGS. Boss is a DAWGBEAST this week for using his audience with the DAWGS to say what we true Georgia fans feel and expressing just how much it means to represent the University of Georgia. Thank you, Boss. You’re a Damn Good Dawg.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

DOES AJ OWE YOU ANYTHING?



During Tuesday's weekly media session, AJ Green was asked if missing four games this season due to suspension would affect his decision to return for his Senior season at Georgia. The DAWGS brilliant junior wide receiver had this to say on the subject...


“I don’t know yet. But I do feel like I owe some of the fans some more stuff, just missing those four games. So I don’t know,” Green said. “Like I said, I’m gonna sit down with my family whenever the time comes and make the best decision for me.”


If he decides to jump to the NFL a year early, Green could be the top receiver taken in the 2011 NFL draft. If Green decides to go, certainly no one would blame him. However, this is not the first time the Georgia star has expressed his regret over having to miss the first month of the season, so we feel this is a completely fair and valid question.

Let us know what you think!


Does AJ Green owe it to his teammates, his coaches and the DAWG Nation to return for his Senior season at Georgia?

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Monday, October 4, 2010

WINNING MATTERS




I was absolutely thrilled to hear Coach Mark Richt detail the goings-on from Monday’s practice session during his call-in show. CMR had the DAWGS practice in full pads on a game-week Monday for the first time since he has been at Georgia and put the team through a series of man-on-man, hard-nosed and mandatory running game competition drills, ones vs. ones, where WINNING was rewarded. In each instance, the losers of each drill were held after practice to run extra sprints…a lot of them...while the winners watched. According to Richt, practice was "very, very physical". This is outstanding. Several times during the show, Coach Richt addressed the issue of toughness on this Georgia team once saying, “As for toughness, if they don’t have it they sure as heck will at the end of this week.” FYI, the Bulldogs will be in full pads on Tuesday too. Coach Richt is absolutely right here. Just like a blacksmith putting a razor edge on a blade using a hammer and anvil, sometimes there is just no substitute for using brute force to get the job done. Just like that blade, a football player can lose his edge if efforts are not made to insure that he does not. It is inevitable.

Football is a game that is played both ON and WITH an edge. The things that occur on the football field on every play….if you were to do those things on the street, or in your neighborhood, or at work to another person….you would be hauled off to jail for assault. To play great football, a player must run right up against that edge…the edge of sanity, the edge of self-control, the edge of the rules, against the edge of emotion…without going over it. When a player pushes to those edges, he is creating, constantly honing and playing with a certain “edge” that will slice right through adversity, fear and doubt. He is steeling his will and the combination of those things will invariably make that player victorious.

Winning absolutely matters in all instances on a football field. Every snap in a football game is a fight between two men and the ultimate goal is for one man to force the other to quit.…on that play, later in that drive or in the final quarter….forcing him to eventually accept defeat, to accept that he is beaten. A great football player wins his individual battles. A collection of battles won by teammates wins a play. A collection of plays won wins a series. A collection of series won wins the game. Winning has to matter to a player…every drill, every play. This is a mandate that must be hammered home by the coaches at every practice, every day. Coach Richt recognizes that this team has not been strong enough at the point of attack this season, that the mentality that “it’s just one play” and “we’ll get ‘em next time” is killing his season, and he is doing everything that he can do to rectify the situation.

Winning absolutely matters. With moves like this one, Coach Richt is declaring that he recognizes his team’s fundamental weakness and he is taking his team by the throat and demanding that they develop the razor edge that is required to win in the cut-throat world of the Southeastern Conference. Coach Richt and the DAWGS will win again, and it will happen soon. A sustained series of actions such as this one will absolutely produce results. It is unavoidable.

Glory, Glory.

Monday, September 20, 2010

JACK TATUM WOULD BE PROUD






Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press
Raiders rookie Rolando McClain drives Rams receiver Danny Amendola into the ground following a reception.

I came out of my seat when I watched RAIDERS rookie Rolando McClain violently hurl Danny Amendola over his head and slam him to the turf Sunday. It was fantastic. It is what the RAIDERS teams I became a fan of growing up were all about. Plays like this one by McClain are outlawed in today's soft, pretty-boy NFL, but McClain channeled his inner Jack Tatum and unleashed the BEAST on Amendola. Of course, McClain was flagged on the play, but he and his teammates did not seem to mind. My opinion, TAKE THE FLAG and SEND A MESSAGE that nothing easy is going to be allowed any longer. McClain soaked in the cheers as RAIDER Nation roared and I am thrilled to be counted among those in silver and black that welcome this type of attitude back to our team.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

DAWGBEASTS and the RAZORBACKS




WEEK THREE
Arkansas vs. Georgia


THE WIDE RECEIVER CORPS and specifically KRIS DURHAM and TAVARRES KING – After recovering from being thunderstruck by the ending of the game on Saturday, this unit…and these two players…stood out to us as deserving the honor of DAWGBEAST.

**The WR unit as a whole performed very well (whenever given the chance), pulling down nearly every one of Aaron Murray’s 253 passing yards. What’s more, the members of the wide receiver unit were also “football players” away from the ball on Saturday, doing the other things that are required of them in the game like aggressively blocking down field in the running game. Will anyone soon forget seeing Durham ear-hole an Arkansas defender on Murray’s run along the Georgia sideline? Head on a swivel, Nation.

**KRIS DURHAM – Durham stepped up yet again for the DAWGS coming through with huge catches at key moments in the game. Durham had a career day versus the Hogs, setting career-highs in catches (5) and yards (101). Durham has shown in every way that he should remain an integral part of the game plan when AJ Green finally gets back on the field. Durham deserves to continue to see the ball come his way.

**TAVARRES KING – King seemed to finally find his legs for the season, hauling in 4 catches for 91 yards and a TD. King has two career touchdown catches and both have come against the Razorbacks. King’s numbers are solid, but the real reason he makes the list is that his catches all seemingly came at crucial points in the game or to move the chains for a first down. On the first play of the 4th quarter, King lost his footing at the top of his route but still managed to scramble back to his feet to make a great catch along the Georgia sideline for a first down. That’s the type of play that builds confidence and trust in a young quarterback that will absolutely pay off down the road. EFFORT people, EFFORT.



Courtesy UGASports.com

Friday, September 17, 2010

HOGS and DAWGS: VINEGAR BASED SAUCE PLEASE




While watching the game tape of last year’s version of the Georgia and Arkansas tussle, I was left with a few thoughts. Oddly enough, there are several repeats when it comes to match-ups in this game.

To start, as I type this there is still no word on the availability of AJ Green, but we do know that Dennis Johnson will miss the game due to injury for Arkansas. This is not a small loss for the Hogs. Arkansas’ other runners are serviceable, but to make Coach Petrino’s high-flying offense really go balance is still beneficial.

The other component for the Hogs O is, of course, Ryan Mallett, his big arm and his talented group of receivers. In last year’s match-up, all three of Arkansas’ main targets at wide out caught touchdown passes from Mallett and the DAWGS will certainly have to get a handle on them this year if Georgia is to have any chance to keep pace.

Based on last year’s game tape, there are a few things that I noticed about Mallett that the DAWGS should duplicate Saturday if they hope to get the win.

1. Like every quarterback, Mallett does not like pressure up the middle. If the DAWGS can get a good push and gets some pressure in Mallet’s face, it will go a long way to disrupting the Hogs offense. Georgia had success with this last season resulting in a lull in the Arkansas scoring, thus giving the DAWGS offense a chance to get a leg up.

2. Take away the easy throws for Mallett. Short crossing routes, swing passes to the backs tight-end throw backs are all key elements in the Arkansas passing game. Completing these routes draws the defensive safeties and corners forward which sets up the deeper routes from the Hogs later in the game. Coach Petrino’s offense thrives off of creating favorable match-ups. If the DAWGS can take away or at least limit the easy throws from this offense, it will make it easier to defend the shots Mallett will invariably take down the field.

3. Good safety play will be critical for the DAWGS this weekend. Giving credit where credit is due, like I mentioned above, Coach Petrino has made a living off of creating match-ups that puts his players in position to succeed. Time after time in last season’s game, our safeties appeared to be out of position when matched up in coverage. If the DAWGS are going to win on Saturday, Georgia’s safeties will need to play well.

4. Finally, once the DAWGS took the lead and forced Mallett and the Hogs to play from behind, it looked as though Mallett got a little frustrated. Mallett’s technique appeared to get a little sloppy and his body language was noticeably changed. Every quarterback looks good when things are going well and they are playing with a clean pocket. If the DAWGS can get after Mallett a little and rattle his cage, the reward and the return could be great.

***BONUS NOTE***

Coming off a skin-of-their-teeth win over South Carolina last year, in which the DAWGS did not tackle particularly well (at all), Georgia rebounded and tackled really well in last year’s Arkansas game. Low and behold, we find ourselves once again barking about tackling issues after the SC game, only this time the stakes are much higher after last week’s loss in Columbia. It is imperative that the DAWGS answer the bell and show improved tackling this week if they have any hopes of slowing down the Hogs aerial attack and getting back on the good side of the Win/Loss column.


Glory, Glory.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

REGGIE DOES THE RIGHT THING



Statement from Reggie Bush Regarding Heisman Trophy



By NewOrleansSaints.com



For Immediate Release: September 14, 2010



One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005. For me, it was a dream come true.



But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it. I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends. And I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name.



It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005. The persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC has been both painful and distracting. In no way should the storm around these allegations reflect in any way on the dignity of this award, nor on any other institutions or individuals. Nor should it distract from outstanding performances and hard-earned achievements either in the past, present or future.



For the rest of my days, I will continue to strive to demonstrate through my actions and words that I was deserving of the confidence placed in me by the Heisman Trophy Trust. I would like to begin in this effort by turning a negative situation into a positive one by working with the Trustees to establish an educational program which will assist student-athletes and their families avoid some of the mistakes that I made. I am determined to view this event as an opportunity to help others and to advance the values and mission of the Heisman Trophy Trust.



I will forever appreciate the honor bestowed upon me as a winner of the Heisman. While this decision is heart-breaking, I find solace in knowing that the award was made possible by the support and love of so many. Those are gifts that can never be taken away.

Monday, September 13, 2010

REALLY? A LACK OF EFFORT? WE SHALL SEE.





Yesterday Marc Weiszer posted a blog at Onlineathens.com detailing the players’ reasoning behind the outcome in Columbia last Saturday and I was stunned to see the responses. Team leaders on both sides of the ball readily cited effort as one of the main problems.

LB Darryl Gamble:
“I’d say it was maybe a little effort and a little shell-shocked at being there. First SEC game, and a lot of guys, I guess, weren’t ready for it.”

and…

OL Clint Boling:
“We’ve just got to regroup, go back and just be more physical. We’ve got to play harder. ... We've just got to have that mindset that we want to just dominate our guy every play, and I don't know if we have that right now."

Really? How can this possibly be? How can you not give maximum effort in only the second game of a season that only allows you to tee it up 12 times, not to mention the fact that it is the SEC opener? To me that response is stunning if true, but more likely it was just easier to lay the blame on effort than to readily admit that players were intimidated or that they just flat out failed to do as they were coached.

From the outside, it looks as though Coach Grantham and Coach Richt are not going to allow this type of on-field performance to continue. Word has it, Coach Grantham told “all the younger guys in the two-deep that there’s still spots open (to replace) guys who are messing up.” Richt said there indeed will be competition for positions this week and there will likely be more physical practices with the scout team, adding “There’s going to be no diving on the ground at a guy, no going low on a guy. When I mean low, I’m talking about just diving at the knees and ankles and that kind of thing.”

I certainly hope the coaching staff will address the mess that we saw on the field in Columbia on Saturday. If that means previous starters or fan favorites have to take a seat and let another young player have a shot, then so be it. Production is what matters…no one player’s feelings are more important than the success of the unit and the team.

Georgia has not defeated a top 12 ranked opponent in Athens since beating Clemson in 1991. With Ryan Mallett leading the #12 Arkansas Razorbacks in on Saturday, the DAWGS can derail a Heisman campaign and snap that streak all in one fell swoop, not to mention re-focusing the nation’s attention on Georgia as a team that can contend in the SEC East in 2010.

Glory, Glory.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

VOL on VOL VIOLENCE



There is no other way to describe what happened in Houston Sunday when the Texans finally stood up and smacked their long-time big brother in the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts, right in the nose and left them bloodied.

The Texans were a bit of a trendy pick coming into the season to challenge for the division title, but they still had to prove to everyone that they could actually do it. The Texans had some nice pieces already in place with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson just to name a couple, but on Sunday it was an undrafted free agent that spent most of last season on the Texans practice squad...Arian Foster.



That name should sound familiar to SEC football fans. It wasn't long ago he was romping up in Knoxville for the Tennessee Volunteers.

In week one of the NFL season, Foster announced his presence with authority as he rambled for a team-record 231 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Colts and fellow Volunteer alum Peyton Manning.

Now Manning didn't go down without a fight, spinning the magic bean as only he can, hitting on 40 of a career-high 57 pass attempts for 433 yards and 3 touchdowns.

In the end, it would not be enough as Foster and the Texans walked away with the win and the early season division lead.

DAWGBEASTS and the GAMECOCKS




WEEK TWO
GEORGIA vs. SOUTH CAROLINA



JUSTIN HOUSTON – On a day when there wasn’t much that resembled the DAWGS season opening performance on the defensive side of the ball, Houston stood out. Playing the way we members of the DAWG Nation expect our defense to play, Houston finished with 10 tackles, including the three sacks and two more tackles for losses of 10 yards. Displaying the form that says everything about what makes Houston worthy of praise here at A DAMN BEAST!!! and worthy of DAWGBEAST status, the Georgia star summed up his performance like this after the game:

"I don't look at individual stats," Houston said. "The team lost. No matter how good I did, it doesn't matter because the team lost. If the team lost, I lost. That's the way I look at it. That just means I've got to do better for us to win."


AARON MURRAY – (14 of 21, 192 yds) Murray showed us what could be in store on Saturday as time after time he surveyed the field, stepped into the pocket and fired strike after strike down field (avg. 9.1 yds/att). The only thing holding Murray back on Saturday seemed to be that when it mattered most late in the game, our receivers did not have the ability to get open. Each time we see him facing live bullets, Georgia’s RFr. quarterback looks more and more like another studious RFr. that believed all the little things mattered and played with poise beyond his years, David Greene. With that said, like Greene, Murray will need the help of his teammates if he is going to have the same level of success that Greene enjoyed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AJ GREEN’S GONE FOR A WHILE: HOW WILL IT PLAY?




So Wednesday we found out. AJ did the deed and he feels bad and the DAWGS are staring down the barrel of their SEC opener, against a historically troublesome opponent and all of this will play out on the road. Yeah…that one stings a bit. What’s more, for this member of the DAWG Nation anyway, is the fact that once again the University that I love so deeply has taken yet another black eye when it comes to public perception.

Still, life…and the season…go on. So the real question is what impact does this have on the team. Coach Richt is saying all the right things including this insightful message from CMR shared by @bulldogsblog on Twitter:

TE Aron White says coach Mark Richt told team that "we're still Georgia. One player doesn't make Georgia."


and Green has offered up his apologies earlier tonight from his Twitter account @ajgreen_uga8:

I want to take the time 2 apologize 2 my team&fans as I go through this learning experience.


What’s really important now is how the DAWGS react to this adversity. We all have hopes that this team is championship caliber and now we get to find out. Championship teams rise to the challenges that inevitably come up during a season and this is clearly this Georgia team’s first chance to prove they have what it takes.

Now, just taking a quick moment for perspective, we learned earlier this week that the University of Wyoming suffered real tragedy when a Wyoming player was killed and three others were injured in a car wreck. Green’s issues are bad for himself and for the University of Georgia on the football field, but they are no real tragedy. A sobering fact that we all should keep in mind.

Back to the game, the best case scenario I see for our DAWGS is one where the team leaders take control of that locker room, pull this team together and fully embrace that “us against the world” mentality and show up in Columbia, SC at high noon on Saturday in a bad mood, with a chip on their collective shoulder and with something to prove. If they do that, the DAWGS will walk tall out of South Carolina having made a national statement that they are for real. As for AJ, the kid did the crime…now he must do the time. Your teammates and the DAWG Nation will welcome you back whenever you are allowed to return.

In case you missed it, I wrote a piece earlier this summer about NCAA inquiries and wondered what it would mean to you if one of our DAWGS were involved. To see more about my personal feelings on the topic please check it out HERE and be sure to read all of the comments as well to get a full understanding.

Hopefully I will be done with this ugliness after this post, but nothing has changed for me going forward. Make no mistake, I love the University of Georgia, I love CMR’s DAWGS and I hope we beat the extra crispy off those chickens this Saturday and serve notice to the rest of the league and college football that the spirit that makes Georgia the best damn school in the land is alive and well.

Glory, Glory.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

REGGIE BUSH STIFF-ARMED!





Reggie Bush Stiff-armed! The 2005 Heisman winner reportedly to be stripped of the award. Our only question is "What took so long?"

As soon as the smoke began to rise around Bush and possible dealings with agents during his time at Southern California, didn't we all know there was a fire...and a big one?

Turns out we were right and it has since consumed the USC football program, resulting in major sanctions.

Bush cheated and got busted. Now he claims "I am USC and I represent USC." Really? If that were so, and everything wasn't just about you and what can benefit you, you would've never cheated in the first place...or kept that tainted Heisman all this time. USC returned their copy of Bush's Heisman Trophy and Bush should do the same. He should have already done it. He should have done it first. As for Pete Carroll, he's dirty too. Carroll continually created and embraced an atmosphere around USC that welcomed agent-types and glamour boys and showed not a care in the world...as long as the Trojans were winning. But Carroll ain't no fool, the minute the winning stopped and Carroll could see the writing on the wall, he bolted for Seattle leaving USC to burn. I have nothing more than my opinion but from where I sit Carroll was not only aware of, but actively complicit in the wrong doings that occurred at USC.

This begs the question, "How did all of this happen at the most successful college football program in the country without anyone knowing what was going on?" That's easy, no one wanted to know what was going on. ESPN, the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports, could have very easily uncovered the biggest college football story of the past decade if they had wanted to, but they did not because they didn't want to ruin their relationship with Carroll and the program. With dedicated reporters around the USC football program for years, it seems implausible to think that they had absolutely no idea about what was happening around the athletic department. I see ESPN as being either just as complicit as Carroll in what happened at USC because they did not do their duties as journalists (I know...doesn't even look right when typed) to uncover the story or they are utterly incompetent in their efforts to do so. On face value, I can believe either option.

I got a little fired up on my soap box right there, but let me get back to my original question concerning the statue, "What took so long?" As for the answer, I have no idea. All I know is Bush should absolutely be stripped of his Heisman Trophy and the school did the right thing by giving their copy back. Furthermore, USC should be forced to vacate every victory gained by USC that Bush participated in. It's simple. If Bush is guilty of accepting extra benefits he should be deemed ineligible, and if he played while ineligible, then USC should be forced to vacate any and all wins gained in games in which Bush played...national championship games and all.

This whole situation is awful and I feel dirty. I just hope everyone involved gets what they deserve in the end.

Monday, September 6, 2010

SEE THE GAME: INSIDE LINEBACKERS





Back in August we published a couple of pieces about the positions that would be keys to the success for Coach Grantham’s 34 defense and we purposefully did not include the linebacker position in that series. We omitted this unit because it is the most obvious choice due to the fact that outside linebacker is the glamour position in the 3-4 scheme. In doing this, we inadvertently did an injustice to the “other” linebacker position, the inside linebacker.

After watching the game against the University of Louisiana Lafayette, we wanted to use the glow given off from the success of the defense to illuminate the position that is and will remain critical to the DAWGS defensive success in 2010.

Akeem Dent, Christian Robinson, Akeem Hebron and Marcus Dowtin all played very well at ILB for the DAWGS on Saturday. Dent finished tied for the team-high with six total tackles including a sack and Hebron also added a sack for Georgia. Robinson made his first career start in the game and responded with three total tackles, while Dowtin finished with four total tackles (3 solo) including a tackle for loss.


Courtesy Onlineathens.com

Looking deeper than the headlines and highlights, we find what really makes this group so vital to the DAWGS success this season. Coach Richt spoke out after the game about how extremely pleased they were that Dent was able to answer the bell for the season opener and play well because he is one of the players that has emerged as a real team leader and is someone that the coaching staff hopes the defensive unit can rally around. Dent’s performance on Saturday and his ability to provide senior leadership will surely strengthen his ability to fill that role for the defensive unit and the team as a whole. Digging further we find that there seems to be more to the reports of Hebron flashing during summer camp. The Georgia senior consistently drew praise from CMR and the defensive staff in the final scrimmages leading up to the season and it is fantastic to see him carry that onto the field on game day for the DAWGS.

When we look at Robinson and Dowtin we see two players that bring different strengths to the field with them, but find that both are very capable of getting the job done. In his first career start, Robinson proved to be in control when asked to play the role of “quarterback of the defense” and showed a willingness to stick his nose in the hole and take the attack to the ball-carrier without reservation. Dowtin showed once again that he is a physical specimen and reminded us that he has all of the tools to become a dominant player at the position. The only questions about Dowtin in the past have crept in due to a (self-admitted) lack of focus at times and a less-than-adequate attention to fundamentals. His play on Saturday serves as a very promising sign that those days are behind the talented Georgia junior. Both Robinson and Dowtin exhibited great technique and form-tackling at the point of attack whenever in the game and the importance of that cannot be overstated. These young players may benefit the most from the addition of their position coach Warren Belin to the coaching staff as well as the tutelage of Coach Grantham.

The initial results from the ILB unit are outstanding and if they can maintain or hopefully improve on this level of play as the season progresses, the Georgia defense will certainly be a force in the Southeastern Conference in 2010.

Glory, Glory.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

DAWGBEASTS and the RAGIN’ CAJUNS



WEEK ONE
UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA vs. GEORGIA


THE DEFENSE and COACH GRANTHAM – The DAWGS new look 34 defense definitely passed the eye test Saturday. If that wasn’t enough, they backed it up with some impressive numbers too. Georgia held UL to a paltry 14 net rushing yards (0.5 ypc) and 128 total yards, nearly half of which came on one play. The DAWGS also racked up three sacks (Akeem Dent, Justin Houston and Akeem Hebron) and three interceptions (Brandon Boykin, Jakar Hamilton and Sanders Commings). But what may be more important, Georgia’s defense seems to have fully embraced Coach Grantham’s philosophy and personality and I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say that the effort we saw on Saturday is a direct result of the DAWGS new Defensive Coordinator’s influence.

AARON MURRAY – The numbers were very solid, but the practice was sparkling. Murray played “very well” according to Coach Richt and led the DAWGS to an opening game best in the Richt Era, 55 points. Murray accounted for four touchdowns in his debut and that was without several of his top weapons. But it’s not just what Murray accomplished on Saturday, but it was how he did it. The RFr. looked very poised and in control throughout the game and made one good decision after another. Even when he was flushed out of the pocket by pressure, it was clearly evident that Murray kept his eyes down field and continued to look to make a play up the field before just taking off on the run. When he did decide to pull the ball down and go, Murray was decisive and got the very most he could get on every carry. With that said, maybe we can teach him to slide every now and again from here on out.



KRIS DURHAM – Playing at home for the first time in 707 days, Durham went right out and carried the receiving load on a day the DAWGS were shorthanded in the WR corps and responded with new career-highs in receptions (5) and yards (83).

BRANDEN SMITH – Is Branden Smith 2010’s Champ Bailey? Maybe not yet, but he’s a special talent to be sure. Smith became the first Georgia player since Bailey to start on three sides of the ball in a game when he lined up with the first unit on offense (WR), defense (CB) and special teams (PR). Smith didn’t just take up a spot on the field on Saturday, finishing with one carry and one reception on offense and one tackle on defense in addition to three punt returns for 51 yards.

LOGAN GRAY – I guess it’s safe to say Gray’s transition to WR is complete. Well, at least it is well on its way to getting there. Gray finished with two catches for 32 yards and a touchdown on Saturday and nearly had a second TD that surely would have made all the highlight reels if he had made the play. Gray acquitted himself well in the run game too, showing great effort when blocking down field. We were happy to see Gray have some success in his new role and believe that he is sure to see increased time on the field at wide receiver as the season progresses.

GRANTHAM IMMORTALIZED






"I think there's one way to play and that's with effort and intensity and relentless approach to the ball. I think it's a mindset, I think it's an attitude and I think it's a habitual trait….Every series matters, every play matters.”

Georgia Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham



Damn right. That is the philosophy I share with Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator. That is where great defense starts.

I haven’t poured these words into a molded plaque of bronze and I don’t own a building to hang them on, but if I did these words would be cemented into the cornerstone for everyone to see so that every current and future DAWG that passed by could commit them to memory and know that when it comes to defense…THAT IS THE GEORGIA WAY. Let us be the first to declare it so.

Coach Grantham is new to Athens and has spent only one Saturday “between the hedges”, but still he has managed to remind us all of something we should have never let fade from our collective mind. The number of championships Georgia earns during Grantham’s time with the DAWGS will ultimately determine whether this mindset and these words are worthy of such high praise, but let us be the first to declare it so. For this DAWG, they are instantly worthy of a spot on the A DAMN BEAST!!! Wall of Fame.

Glory, Glory.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

ONE FOR THE LADIES




Finally, college football season is back. The long, cold winter, the teasing spring and the seemingly never-ending summer months have passed and this weekend we will once again be treated to football “between the hedges.” That means tailgating…every true fan’s past time. And you can’t very well be seen tailgating NOT fully displaying your colors on every piece of game day gear you own as well as on your person. Which brings me to my favorite part of the game day scene…seeing all the Georgia ladies sporting their game day best.






For my money, there is no finer sight in the land than seeing every female Georgia fan from ages one to one hundred all decked out in their very best red and black. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “more experienced” member of the DAWG Nation in the “G” sweater that she’s proudly worn every Saturday during football season for the last 40 years or if it’s the youngest of Bulldog pups careening around in pint sized jerseys with ribbons in her hair. Whether our Georgia ladies are rocking their favorite T-shirt and jeans, a comfy sweatshirt that’s all broken in or a sun dress and flats, there is just no sight on the college football landscape that is more beautiful than the Georgia women. As long as there is a temporary “G” tattoo on their cheek, a red pom pom in their hand and a hearty “WOOF!” in their voice, they cannot be beat.




I am a red-blooded, Georgia man. What can be finer than seeing my beautiful Georgia wife, Mrs. Genxdawg, radiantly sparkling in her Bulldog best? It’s simple, nothing.






On the whole, you will be extremely hard-pressed to find any female fan of any school across the nation that wears her colors as well or is as knowledgeable as the women that are members of the DAWG Nation.







So Georgia ladies, welcome back. Here’s to you. College football in the South, and most definitely at the University of Georgia, just would not be the same without you.










Glory, Glory!


**Dedicated to all the Georgia women I know, especially my wife, Ali**

Thursday, August 26, 2010

KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR GRANTHAM’S D: DEFENSIVE LINE





The Southeastern Conference is a Big Boy Football League. Proof positive of BBFL status is four consecutive BCS National Championships.

Why does the SEC rule the roost when it comes to NCAA football? Simple. Defense…with a capital D. In 2009, six of the top 26 defenses in the country prowled the gridirons of the SEC, five of which finished in the top 25 in scoring defense.

What allows the SEC to play defense at such a high level? The difference is the athletes that play defensive line in country’s finest conference. The hunters that toil in the trenches in our league chase down running backs, rush the passer and generally create havoc up the field and between the numbers for opposing offenses unlike any other group in the country.

It is no secret that outside linebackers are the stars in the 34 defense and they have to be. OLBs must generate pressure off the edge in the passing game and set a hard edge in the run game for the rest of the defense to “fit up” right and be fundamentally sound as a unit. But make no mistake, the play of the interior defensive line is crucial if any team running the 34 defense is to be ultimately successful. Edge pressure in the passing game is vital. However, as Coach Richt recently pointed out when talking about Justin Anderson’s development at the Nose position, things really get rolling for a defense when you get “a good push” up the middle from the defensive line that pushes the pocket into the quarterback’s face and forces him to get deeper in the pocket or to move outside the tackle box where the outside pressure is waiting.

The DAWGS are youthful and relatively inexperienced on the interior heading into the 2010, but there is no shortage of capable characters waiting to emerge. With a good mix of veterans and newcomers and with no behemoth anchor on the Georgia roster at the Nose position, versatility and athleticism should be the calling cards for these pups and many of them will play all three down lineman positions. You may not know all of their names as the season starts, but if Georgia is going to reach the heights that we all hope for in 2010, I can guarantee that the play of the DAWGS D-Line will be an integral part of the success.

Glory, Glory.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

RICHT MOVES THE BALL FORWARD



Seeing this quote from Coach Richt following Saturday's practice could be good news with respect to one of our KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR GRANTHAM'S D: CORNERBACKS....

With thanks to Bulldogs Blog...

Richt described it as some secondary guys with a linebacker’s mentality.

“I like the secondary. I like what I’m seeing,” Richt said. “I think we have some quality depth. I think we have some quality starters. And we’re still not sure who’s gonna start there.”

We like it.

Glory, Glory.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

HOT READS: SCRIMMAGE #2





So what’s new and what did we learn from the DAWGS second scrimmage of fall camp? Reports are that the defense dominated again and the offense continues to be plagued by inconsistency and injuries to the O-line.

Okay, but what does it mean?

It means it’s the second scrimmage of fall camp. Everyone’s still learning and the team is working out the wrinkles on both sides of the ball.

Now, with that said, here comes the cold water. As nice as it is to hear that the defense seems to be picking up the new 34 scheme, it is almost as disheartening to hear that the offense is struggling. But, I don’t think this should come as any surprise to the DAWG Nation. As easy as it is for all of us to get swept up in the excitement and promise of all the weapons on an offense that returns 10 of 11 starters, that one new starter is a pretty big one. As talented as he may be, Aaron Murray is still just a RFr. and he WILL struggle from time to time as he finds his way. Of course, Murray does not solely bear responsibility for the offense not hitting on all cylinders so far. Once again the offensive line is dealing with injuries, most notably the one to the quarterback of the offensive line, Ben Jones, which will require minor surgery. Now Jones is expected to be back in time for the season opener, but on a line that has been heralded as being as deep, as experienced and as talented as the 2010 version of the DAWGS O-line has been, it has to give us a moment of pause when we hear that injuries are being cited as a cause of the struggles on offense. Injuries are always a problem for any team and there effects are very real, but I would hope that all of that depth would pay off for the DAWGS at some point. Next man up, boys!


How about some good news? It is great to hear that Logan Gray seems to be making great strides in his efforts to transition to the wide receiver position and there are a few names that consistently seem to draw praise on the defensive side of the ball, Darryl Gamble, Akeem Hebron and Justin Houston just to name a few.

So, that’s it, our Hot Reads on the DAWGS second scrimmage of fall camp. We all need to remember to just take a deep breath and remember that the players and coaching staff are working tirelessly to get the kinks worked out before we kick this thing off for real on September 4th “between the hedges” and we should keep this key point in mind at all times...the DAWGS escaped without major injury. If Georgia can remain free from serious injury for the next three weeks, I believe everything else will work itself out and the DAWGS will be just fine.

Glory, Glory.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR GRANTHAM’S D: CORNERBACK





Georgia’s had one, everybody wants one and anyone that tells you they don’t is a liar. I’m talking about that unique and rare species known as…the lock down corner.

They are game changers, swagger-oozing dominators and impact players that can shut a player down, blow up game plans and take away one half of the football field.

I’m a life long RAIDERS fan, so I guess it’s no surprise I am so enamored with the in-your-face and aggressive style that a shut down corner brings. Mike Haynes, Willie Brown and Lester Hayes…game changers all. There are a few in the NFL today…NNamdi Asomugha, our very own former DAWG Champ Bailey and the man currently dominating the New York media, Darrelle Rivas and there have been some others in the NFL’s recent past like the poster boy for the term Deion Sanders and Darrell Green. But moreover, I am a fan of what having a dominant cornerback as part of your defensive 11 allows you to do as a defense. Knowing that a player of that caliber is patrolling the secondary gives you the freedom to bring that extra pressure and speed up the clock in the opposing quarterback’s head on every play. You can take more chances, disrupt the offense and that commonly leads to more big plays on defense and more turnovers.

Coach Grantham has brought his version of the 34 defense to the University of Georgia for the 2010 season and we in the DAWG Nation can’t wait to see the results. Grantham has been teasingly verbose about how aggressive we can expect to see his defense play this fall, promising an attacking style that he hopes opposing offenses won’t soon forget. In my view, the only way this vision of the DAWGS defense can become reality is if the players lining up at cornerback are up to the task.

I am not suggesting that there is a lock down corner on the roster, but I’m not saying there is not either. I don’t believe that the players currently at UGA at that position were asked to lock up in man coverage that often in the previous defensive scheme, so I don’t think it’s fair to say who will and who will not be up to the challenge.

Brandon Boykin appears to be a lock to start at one corner and now that Branden Smith is back in the fold, along with Vance Cuff, the DAWGS possess the athletes to have the fastest pair of starting cornerbacks in the nation and speed is the first ingredient when building a lock down cornerback, so there is the possibility that Georgia could develop at least one player to that lofty status. However, there is so much more that is required for a player to be considered a shut down type cornerback….instincts, aggression, hands, technique and conditioning. Whatever raw talent there is to work with on that unit, it falls to Coach Scott Lakatos, the rest of the defensive staff as well as the strength and conditioning coaches to help a player reach his full potential. With Jordan Love, Sanders Commings and true freshman Derek Owens also drawing praise during fall camp, the DAWGS edges appear to be in good shape heading into the season.

The bottom line is that if the DAWGS are going to have the level of success on defense that we all hope they will have, the cornerbacks will have to sparkle in the harsh glare of the bright lights of the Southeastern Conference.

Do the young men lining up at cornerback for Georgia have to be lock down corners? No, they do not, but they will have to be able to square off one-on-one out there on that island and rise to the challenge several times during the course of a game if that “junkyard dawgs” defense that we all want so badly to see is to return to Athens.

Glory, Glory.


KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR GRANTHAM’S D




Aggressive. Attacking. Tenacious. Physical. These are just a few of the buzz words coming out of Athens since new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham arrived in the Classic City. What does this and the installation of Grantham’s 34 defense REALLY mean for the DAWGS defense and the DAWG Nation? It means pressure on the offense…coming from virtually anywhere on the field…without the offense being able to easily detect it.

That sounds great. So why doesn’t everyone choose to employ this style of defense. Simply…they don’t run it because they can’t run it. Either you don’t have the athletes to pull it off or you don’t like taking that many chances and opt for another strategy that is a bit less risky. In a scheme based on pressure, you generally have to give something to get something. If you bring an extra man on a blitz, you are gambling that the pressure generated will equal a big play or disrupt the offense enough that they cannot execute well enough to hurt you before they can take advantage of the opportunity you have presented them in coverage or schematic vulnerability. Regardless of where the pressure is coming from on any given play, the rest of the defense is placed under a lot of stress. For this scheme to be successful, you must be able to overpower and out-man your opponent with superior athletes and “get them before they get you” or you have be strong at every level of the defense to rise to the challenge time after time…every series…every game.

That’s the way I understand the 34 defense to work. Without a doubt, this approach focuses the bright spotlight on certain positions more than others, so I want to point out the positions that I believe will be key in the success of Grantham’s highly anticipated defensive strategy in our series:

KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR GRANTHAM’S D

Glory, Glory.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

GEORGIA WILL WIN THE SEC EAST IN 2010. WHY NOT?







When you take a quick, superficial look at the upcoming football season for the DAWGS, you will either see a team riddled with holes and questions or you will see a team that should once again be considered a contender in the SEC Eastern division and therefore a contender for the SEC and national championships. We here at the BEAST can see both, depending on the day…the humidity in Dublin…the lake levels at Hartwell…and which way the wind is blowing in Toccoa. Point is no one knows how the season is going to play out…and that’s part of the fun of it…but today we encourage you to get in touch with your inner head coach, stare down the pre-season media horde and, in your best coach-speak, acknowledge all of the keys to greatness that will be unveiled to the masses as our DAWGS get unleashed in 2010.

Aaron Murray

I know Murray is only a redshirt freshman that has never taking a live snap on game day for Georgia, but we don’t know the whole deal. Late last season, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said that although you can never say for certain, there was certainly a chance that the arm injury that limited Murray’s development last season played more than a small role in the team’s decision to not pull his redshirt. This season, head coach Mark Richt has said that if given the opportunity he (and any other coach in his mind) would take an “Aaron Murray” every year in recruiting. During SEC Media Days, CMR expressed his confidence that Murray has shown all the signs of knowing what he will be asked to do on the field and that he understands the level of commitment necessary to be successful and lead this team and reported that Murray’s teammates see this as well and have rallied around him during the off-season. These men know better than any of us ever will how prepared Murray is to take the reigns of this team. If they feel confident in his abilities and readiness…both physical and mental…then I say tee it up and get it on. Steve Spurrier, who knows a few things about quarterbacks, said this during SEC Media Days: “You put a quarterback with a real good team, he should play pretty well. (pause) If he’s a good quarterback.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

Todd Grantham

There is no denying that there needed to be some new blood injected into the Georgia program after the DAWGS stumbled to an 8-5 record in 2009 and Grantham and his new defensive coaches certainly seem to have filled that need. Undeniably, there is a new energy around the program these days. Although we have not seen the DAWGS new defensive product on the field yet, but we all will soon enough and the frenzied, attacking style of play we will see from Georgia will turn the DAWGS opponents and the league on its collective ear. CMR recently said that the goal heading into fall practice on the defensive side of the ball is to get the guys ready to “Play fast, play physical and play with confidence.” Grantham and his staff will get it done and the DAWGS D will be feared once again.

The Schedule

With no Alabama or LSU on the conference schedule, three of the four out-of-conference games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Colorado and Idaho State and the toughest true road games looking like South Carolina and Auburn, the DAWGS look like they are in position to really make some headway. I’m of the opinion that there are no free skates in the SEC, but when the cards fall your way you had better take advantage.

Kickers Rock

When it comes to kicking the football, you would be hard pressed to find any team in the country that is as set as Georgia. DAWG Legacy Drew Butler led the nation with a 48.1 yards per attempt average last season and won the Ray Guy Award, which recognizes the nation’s top punter. Blair Walsh did his best to continue Georgia’s recent history of big-legged and accurate kickers going 20-22 on field-goal attempts. Walsh was one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award which goes to the nation’s top kicker.


Courtesy Georgiadogs.com


Courtesy Onlineathens.com

We Run This State

The offense should be in good hands with Caleb King and Washaun Ealey returning in the Bulldogs backfield. Both are coming off productive seasons in 2009 and with the fires of competition being stoked throughout the year, there is no reason to be surprised if the two talented backs combine to rush for more than 2000 yards in 2010.


Courtesy Georgiadogs.com


Courtesy Onlineathens.com

The DAWG Mollies

Georgia’s offensive line has the potential to be the top unit in the Southeastern Conference and one of the best in the nation. All five starters return and there are a total of eight letterman across the offensive front. That has to make Murray and the running backs sleep better at night. The O-Line is anchored by first-team All-SEC honoree Clint Boling and should only continue to grow together. This is a unit that the DAWGS should be able to hang their hat on, especially early in the season, and they should make the offensive unit look better than it may actually be early in the campaign.


Courtesy Onlineathens.com

Lethal Weapon 8

A.J. Green. Without question, the DAWGS superlative talent at wide receiver ranks among the best in the nation at his position. Green’s stellar body control, great hands and deceptive speed make him the premier weapon in Georgia’s offensive attack. Green is almost a “no joy” assignment for any defensive back on the DAWGS schedule and one fantastic security blanket for a redshirt freshman quarterback. Although the casual Georgia fan may think Green will be the only weapon in the aerial arsenal, they would be mistaken. The DAWGS return an extremely talented group of tight ends in Aron White, Orson Charles, Bruce Figgins and Arthur Lynch as well as the return of veteran Kris Durham and several yet-to-break-out wide receivers in Israel Troupe, Rontavious Wooten and Marlon Brown. With so many options on an offensive unit that returns 10 of 11 starters, there should be many happy Saturdays for the DAWG Nation in 2010.


Courtesy Onlineathens.com

So, why shouldn’t we members of the DAWG Nation be excited about the 2010 edition of the Georgia Bulldogs? With key new faces in key places that are dripping with expectation and potential, a schedule that is just about as sweet as they come in the Southeastern Conference, one of the premier kicking units in the nation, talent and production returning in the running game, a deep and veteran offensive line and a Heisman Trophy candidate at wide receiver…the DAWGS future looks bright for the 2010 season.

If the O-Line brings a lunch pale at South Carolina and the DAWGS continue the road dominance we have come to expect during Coach Richt’s time at Georgia, there is no reason to believe that this bunch of DAWGS cannot get to Jacksonville in late October (there will be more to come on the HATED Gators at a later date) with a record of 7-1 or 8-0 and the table will be set for Georgia to once again reach double digits in wins and reclaim it’s rightful place at the top of the SEC Eastern Division and get back to Atlanta. CMR is 2-1 in SEC Championship game appearances and if the DAWGS could get that one, well let’s just say bigger things usually follow.

These are not predictions, but rather a glimpse of what to look forward to and what could be in 2010. Regardless, there is no reason to doubt that this will be an exciting season “between the hedges” and the DAWGS will have a chance to win every time they step on the field. Not every program in the country can say that, and you can rest assured that every last coach in the country would take those odds, so break out your red and black and get ready for the ride. GO DAWGS!

Glory, Glory.

Friday, July 23, 2010

NCAA INQUIRIES AND OUR DAWGS: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?





News broke during the annual gathering of the SEC teams and the media that follow them that the NCAA will launch an inquiry into the goings-on at the athletic department at the University of Georgia. Exactly what all will be investigated is unknown, but it is almost a certainty that potential dealings between UGA football players and the sports agents that are vying for their business will get a good, hard look.

Georgia is but one of several schools that have been linked to NCAA inquiries involving sports agents in recent days. As these various inquiries have come to light, seemingly everyone has had something to say about what it all means and several have offered solutions on how to end this problem in college football (primarily) and college athletics in general, up to and including paying collegiate athletes.

This got me to thinking about what it would mean to me if it came to light that a Georgia player, or former player, had taken money or other benefits from some random sports agent.

I think this is where I should point out that any amateur athlete that takes anything (money, special benefits, property, etc.) from a sports agent is doing something wrong. It is against the rules and everyone knows it. Ignorance is absolutely no excuse when it comes to this violation. The player will have knowingly violated the rules, regardless of the motivation.

To me this means that any player that is found to have accepted special benefits from a sports agent made a conscious choice to give in to greed and was thinking only about self, without any consideration for what penalties, impacts or embarrassment those greedy actions could/would have on the school they represent and that had given them so much. I see this as a totally selfish move and I feel certain that these actions would forever change my opinion of that player.

Now that’s me. Regardless of how great that player may have been during their playing days at UGA, their reputation will have forever been tarnished in my eyes.

I would like to know what you, my fellow members of the DAWG Nation, think about this situation. To be clear, NO CURRENT UGA ATHLETE is guilty of anything at this point and I am not implying as much. I am just posing a question. If one of our Saturday heroes, or any other UGA athlete for that matter, were found to have taken special benefits from a sports agent and broken the rules bringing embarrassment to the University of Georgia and our beloved DAWGS, would it change the way you view that player going forward? Please let us know how you feel.

Glory, Glory.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?




When you take a quick, superficial look at the upcoming football season for the DAWGS, you will either see a team riddled with holes and questions or you will see a team that should once again be considered a contender in the SEC Eastern division and therefore a contender for the SEC and national championships. We here at the BEAST can see both, depending on the day…the humidity in Dublin…the lake levels at Hartwell…and which way the wind is blowing in Toccoa. Point is no one knows how the season is going to play out…and that’s part of the fun of it…but today we encourage you to channel your inner Larry Munson as we point out just a few of the ill fates that could befall our beloved DAWGS in 2010.

Aaron Murray

How does a program like Georgia end up with no better option for a starter at quarterback than a freshman (RS)? We all know the twisting road that led the DAWGS to this point and I am not going to rehash it here, but this is the situation the Georgia program finds itself in and the tide of the upcoming season will probably rise and fall with how well Murray handles the rigors of his first Southeastern Conference campaign. Regardless of how talented Murray may be, we’ve seen what can happen when your team lacks experience at the most important position on the field. In 2006, true freshman Matthew Stafford…the same Matthew Stafford that would eventually lead the DAWGS to a #2 national ranking in 2007 and become the overall #1 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft…struggled mightily between the flashes of the brilliance that was to come and the DAWGS finished the regular season at 8-4. In 2009, Joe Cox…a fifth year senior that was a DAWG through and through and that had performed pretty well in spot duty while backing up Stafford…provided Georgia with serviceable play at the position, but failed to play up to the standards the coaches, the fans and even Cox himself expected and the DAWGS finished the regular season 7-5. Murray may be turn out to be great, he may even be great this season, but history says it will be a tall order.

Todd Grantham

Ding-Dong the witch is dead. Georgia finally has a new defensive coordinator and he has been wholly embraced by the DAWG Nation. Grantham comes with an NFL pedigree, the Nick Saban seal of approval and he’s promising a style of defense that will have both his players and the Georgia fans frothing at the mouth before the pre-game warm ups are done. Sounds great and I can’t wait to see it. But I haven’t seen it yet. None of us have. G-day served up the vanilla well enough to rival your closest Bruster’s and that just ain’t enough to make the DAWGS opponents cower in fear. Not to mention that along with this new defense come new positions, techniques and responsibilities for most every player on the unit. Heads will be spinning inside those red helmets early in the year to be sure. We’ve often wondered over the last few years how a team with as much talent as Georgia has on the defensive side of the ball can be gashed the way they have been recently…is it the fault of the coaches or have we seriously overestimated that “talent”? I guess we’ll all find out together. We’re all looking for big things from this new defensive brain trust, Mark Richt included, but until we see it on the field this will remain a much talked about question mark for the 2010 Georgia squad.

Offensive Line

What? How can an offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the league last season and returns all five starters…not to mention the possible return from injury of an All-American at tackle…be a downfall for the DAWGS? In this case, too many cooks could really spoil the DAWGS stew. Depth is a blessing in football, especially along the lines of scrimmage, but how long it takes the coaching staff to sort out exactly which combination of pieces allows them to put the best five players on the field could be the key to whether the 2010 season will be a success or something much less satisfying for everyone involved. You can’t win a championship in the first month of the season, but you can certainly lose one and two road trips in the first four games along with a home game against a team with a high-powered offense in Arkansas in week three will be quite the challenge. If there is still shuffling along the offensive line a month into the season, then it’s a safe bet that the very things that the DAWGS are counting on to buoy them in the early going…a productive running game and Murray not being put on the turf every time he drops back to pass…will not be there and Georgia will be lucky to get out of the first month at 2-2 with virtually all hopes of an appearance in the championship game having gone by the boards.

Wow. I know, right. What a bummer.

Good news is…that is only one side of the coin. We will be coming to you live and in color very soon with some of the reasons that this very same Georgia team could be lifting the SEC Championship trophy in early December in Atlanta so keep your eyes peeled. Or, you could always stay up to date with the BEAST by becoming a fan of the blog on Facebook or you can follow us on Twitter….with options even…HERE or HERE.

Glory, Glory.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ALL-AMERICA ON PAUSE





Trinton Sturdivant is like a shooting star that is lost in the haze of a cloudy night. The big offensive tackle has twice had his ultra-promising career derailed by severe knee injuries and both he and his team have suffered as a result.

Even before he proved it on the field by earning Freshman All-America honors in 2007, Sturdivant had been touted as a can’t miss prospect. After backing up the talk (done by others, not by Sturdivant himself) as a key contributor on the field for a Georgia team that won the Sugar Bowl and finished ranked #2 in the country, Sturdivant readied for the 2008 campaign as the rock solid returning starter at left tackle. That was one spot on the team no one expected to have to worry about. Then tragedy struck. During a pre-season scrimmage, the big offensive tackle went down in a heap and those watching knew immediately (even if they could not say so immediately) that they would be without #77 for the 2008 season. The DAWGS shuffled and re-shuffled the O-line throughout the season and still managed to make and win a New Year’s Day bowl game, but nothing looked too solid along the offensive front all season.

Flash forward one year. Sturdivant had put in his work…all of the grueling hours of physical rehab, all of the lonely times when there was no one else to help him carry the weight of recovery…Sturdivant had gone through it all and had come out healthy and ready to reclaim his starting spot for the DAWGS. Then, on the opening Saturday of the 2009 season for Georgia, Sturdivant landed awkwardly in Stillwater, Oklahoma and in a flash his season was over again.


Courtesy AJC.com

Everyone felt for the young man. Every DAWG felt their heart sink. Not because of the impact that Sturdivant’s latest injury would have on that day in Stillwater or on the 2009 season, but because we all knew how hard the big man had worked to get back on the field. How could something like this happen to a young person who, by all accounts, does everything the right way…the Georgia way? Once again, the DAWGS would shuffle and re-shuffle the O-line and everyone was left to ponder what might have been.

Flash forward another year. Once again, Sturdivant has put in his work. Once again, he has put in all of the grueling hours of physical rehab, all of the lonely times when there was no one else to help him carry the weight of recovery. Once again, Sturdivant has gone through it all and had come out healthy and ready to reclaim his starting spot for the DAWGS. But this time, things are a little different. Not for #77. He is still the same wildly talented young man that walked off that field in New Orleans after a Sugar Bowl blowout victory over Hawaii. What IS different is the team Sturdivant will be walking back to. Sturdivant is walking back to a unit that gelled together well down the stretch last fall, coming off a strong final seven games of the 2009 season that saw the DAWGS rush for a total of 1,510 yards. Only time will tell how all this works out in the end. Will the return of a former All-America with a proven mettle bolster an already strong Georgia offensive line, or will Sturdivant’s presence prove unsettling for a unit that appears to be a strength heading into the 2010 season. The responsibility of putting it all back together rests at the feet of Coach Searels and Coach Bobo. Frankly, even when dealing with great players like Sturdivant and Clint Boling and Ben Jones, this is no easy task.

Now we find ourselves impatiently counting down the days until the start of the 2010 college football season. Everyone that is asked is saying that Trinton looks good and strong and on pace to be ready to reclaim his starting spot for the DAWGS. This is fantastic news for Sturdivant and for everyone else in the DAWG Nation. But what’s more, it says more than a little about what kind of young man Sturdivant is both on and off the field. It is a testament to the character of a student athlete that is willing to persevere through the toughest of challenges, far away from the bright lights and the roaring crowds. That, my fellow DAWGS, is worthy of a WOOF!


Courtesy Georgiadogs.com

On September 4th, the DAWGS will go “between the hedges” and the 2010 season will get underway. Count those of us here at the BEAST among those that will be cheering a just a little bit louder when we see #77 jog onto the field in Athens for the first time since the DAWGS whipped Kentucky 24-13 on November 17th, 2007.

Glory, Glory.