Friday, March 26, 2010


Kwame Geathers has done some great work since arriving in Athens last summer to get himself in position to challenge for playing time. We all knew that, but it appears that Geathers has some game to go along with his 6 foot 6 inch, 308 pound frame. So much so that he has managed to impress his fellow defensive linemen with his play so far this spring. Brandon Wood and Demarcus Dobbs were quoted recently in the Red and Black as saying...

"...he’s moving fast and throwing people out of the way, and he’s going to be a beast.”

We certainly hope they're right.

Glory, Glory.


We have been noticeably quiet over the past few days. My Dad passed away last Wednesday in the very early morning hours of St. Patrick’s Day. In the days that have followed, we have dealt with everything that one must when a loss such as this occurs. We have celebrated the life (and will continue to do so) of a loving husband, a devoted father and grandfather and a wonderful man. I am SO proud to say that I got to be a part of such a full life, that was lived so well and that touched so many.

My Dad was extremely proud of the fact that I am a graduate of the University of Georgia and he was also a Bulldogs fan and a full-fledged member of the DAWG Nation. His relationship with the DAWGS had been sustained from afar for years and he had never gotten closer to Georgia football than hearing Larry Munson plead “Run, Lindsay, Run!” against the Gators in 1980. Regardless, he loved the DAWGS. He was Georgia because I was Georgia.

As I thought back on all of the great memories I shared with my Dad, I was amazed at all of the things that came flooding back into my mind, but one memory reappeared quickly and clearly.

During the 1996 season, I was a junior at UGA and soaking in all it meant to be a college student in Athens. However, the first memory that comes to mind from that time in my life was a special Saturday in the fall spent “between the hedges” with my Dad.

My memories of exactly what happened in the game that day are cloudy to say the least, but my time with my Dad stands out clearly. It was an early season game, the weather was great and the DAWGS were clearly the better team on the field that day and they easily carried the day. Due to various physical ailments, doing a lot of walking was never a good idea for Dad and the scope of everything that was going on around him on this game day in Athens must have been overwhelming, but he hung right in there with me every step of the way and wanted to be a part of everything we could squeeze in. I remember being impressed, even in the moment. We barked together. We cheered together. We talked about life, football…pretty much any and everything else all afternoon. We were just a father and a son sharing a game and making a memory. The moment was surreal for both of us. I was proud to be able to bring him to a game because I knew it was his first and he was so proud to be able to be there because he knew how many other people wanted to be in his seat. I knew how much he appreciated the invitation, but he was the only person I wanted to be at the game with me that day.

I love my Dad and my family loves the DAWGS and the University of Georgia. UGA has shaped my life in many ways and has helped me to build the life I enjoy today. However, even with all that the University of Georgia has given me, I have received no greater gift than one sun-splashed, fall day spent in Sanford Stadium watching the DAWGS play with my Dad.

Glory, Glory.

Monday, March 15, 2010


As you all know, St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow. In honor of this all-around fun holiday, we here at the BEAST want to know...When it comes to the red and black, what color of green is your favorite?

Be safe out there DAWGS. Celebrate responsibly and have a green beer on us while you're at it. Cheers!


Coming into spring practice 2010, the widely held opinion was that Georgia’s most intriguing storyline would be how the DAWGS adjust to their new defensive coordinator, coaching staff and scheme OR how the competition at quarterback would play out. ‘Round these parts we believe in bone-rattling, will-breaking slap-yo-mamma and make you like it DEFENSE. Up to this point we have spent much more time talking about defensive line stunts and blitzing linebackers than who will be looking to take advantage of the opportunity to throw the ball to AJ Green or hand it off to Washaun Ealey and Caleb King. However, there is no denying the importance of the QB competition and we are just as interested in who ends up taking snaps in Athens the next few years as any other DAWG fan out there. The right to lead a team must be earned and between the lines…on the proving grounds…is the one and only place to stake a claim to the starting spot as the DAWGS top signal caller.


The coaching staff has thrown the competition to be Georgia’s starting quarterback open and it is a three-man race between Logan Gray (Jr), Zach Mettenberger (RFr) and Aaron Murray (RFr). Well, it was.

Mettenberger was arrested recently for underage consumption/possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct, obstruction and two counts of possessing fake identification. Although there were times since the end of the 2009 season that I thought I was the only one in the DAWGosphere that gave Mettenberger any chance at all to compete with a real chance of earning playing time in the fall, it seems he has ended that talk all on his own. Given his physical skill set, I believe Mett may be the best pro prospect of the bunch down the line. However, given Coach Richt’s history of dealing with incidents like this one, a suspension is almost definitely in Mett’s future and the only question is how many games it will be. While I still expect Mett to become a fine football player possibly win the starting job outright in years to come, I believe any impending suspension will effectively eliminate Mett from consideration for the starting nod for the DAWGS to open the 2010 season.

That leaves Gray and Murray to battle it out.

I’ll admit that when Gray originally signed with Georgia I was excited at the prospect of the DAWGS having another QB with some mobility that would have a couple of seasons to learn the system before taking over as the starter, possibly much like DJ Shockley had done for the DAWGS a few years ago. Although he is a fine athlete, I don’t think I would put Gray in the same category as Shockley. To this point, we haven’t seen anything from Gray that would make those of us in the DAWG Nation clamor for him to be anointed the starter. Then again, Gray has not really had a chance to show what he can do when given a full opportunity to run the show. It is very possible that given the chance, Gray will step up and earn the right to lead the DAWGS this fall.

Courtesy Kelly Lambert

Murray seems to have it all…fantastic prep record (including returning from a broken leg to lead his team to a state championship as a senior), mobility, a better-than-average arm and reports are that he is a tireless student of the game. His toughness and work ethic alone are enough to garner my respect. Murray seems to have that unquantifiable quality known as “it” that makes a player special and it appears he is the odds-on favorite to earn the starting job in the season opener, even without having played a down at the collegiate level.

Courtesy Kelly Lambert

Much like the offensive line situation, quarterback play could prove to be the primary hindrance to an otherwise efficient Georgia offensive attack. If the DAWGS can determine at least a solid front-runner for the starting job during the spring, the more likely a starter can be installed in fall camp and the quicker the offense can find its rhythm once the season starts. In my opinion, this situation calls for decisive action from Coach Mike Bobo and Coach Mark Richt. Although there aren’t as many moving parts as the offensive line scenario, it is hard to argue that there is a more important position on an offense than quarterback. Everyone can say the right things about “doing what’s best for the team” and talk about how “each guy brings something special and different to the huddle” but an offense needs that leader…that one leader…to look to when the game is on the line. The sooner that leader steps to the front of the line and is identified by the coaching staff the better.

I have long held that if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one and I am always uneasy when I hear a coach say that he is open to any kind of quarterback rotation. Coach Richt is on record as saying that he is open to a rotation if necessary, but that he will name a starter if someone steps forward and earns the job outright. I really don’t think that will happen. This competition will head into fall camp. Best case scenario, the coaching staff will see enough in the spring to get a good idea about where the competition stands heading into the fall. From there, we will have to hope that the oppressive heat of a Georgia August will temper the mettle of the competitors and that the DAWGS coaching staff can then shape a leader of men that will be charged with leading the Silver Britches to victory “between the hedges” as well as bearing the weight of the crown of a nation longing to embrace him…the DAWG Nation.

Glory, Glory.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Last night Alice and I were fortunate enough to see Eric Clapton live and in person, for the second time I might add, at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. We are thoroughbred music lovers and hardcore Blues fans and let’s face it…no one’s got a tone like Clapton’s and to see him live is truly a treat.

Last night’s set list went a little something like this:


For you viewing pleasure, Clapton breaks out his AMAZING signature model Martin and performs DRIFTIN’ as part of his acoustic set

Music? On the BEAST? Really??? Well, if you have visited this page before then you know this forum is THE prime terrain to tackle any and every topic or subject that we feel has earned BEAST status. Clapton certainly qualifies. Slowhand is an icon. A living legend. A DAMN BEAST!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


DOMINANT. That was the word often used heading into last season when describing just how good Georgia’s interior defensive line could be. Thanks to the emergence of Justin Houston last spring, there was also a buzz surrounding the defensive ends heading into the 2009 season. At times these units played the way most Georgia fans expected them to…very well. Other times they did not. Maybe the most obvious sore spot for fans and the DAWGS defense was a lack of a pass rush and an inconsistent ability to stop the run. On the other hand, Georgia’s senior defensive linemen played very well down the stretch of the season and with the emergence of Houston and Cornelius Washington at defensive end, the DAWGS defensive line led a resurgence of a determined Georgia defense that managed to shut down Georgia Tech’s vaunted running game to end the season. As spring practice 2010 gets cranked up, there is a big hole in the DAWGS defensive line. Georgia lost five players that earned starts along the D-Line in 2009 to graduation, including three future NFL players in Geno Atkins, Jeff Owens and Kade Weston. Now, there is talent on hand to step into the gaping holes along Rodney Garner’s defensive front to be sure. The question is will the DAWGS young pups with new homes step to the front of the line and get the job done?


A couple of things are clear about the new 34 defense that the DAWGS will be playing…Georgia’s defensive line athletes will be asked to take on more of a role as a play-maker due to the one-gap style of defense Coach Grantham prefers, and we also know that despite where they are listed on the roster, all of the defensive linemen will be cross-training at all of the three positions that will play with their hand in the dirt. To better understand why this information is telling, let’s look at a one-gap defensive mentality as compared to the two-gap style.

Two things are vital to good defensive line play…playing with great technique and maintaining gap responsibilities. Depending on the play called and the philosophy of the defensive coordinator, a defensive lineman could be responsible for either one or two gaps.

One-gap responsibility is relatively simple: the defender attacks a hole and must take care of whatever business happens there. He is expected to tackle any running back who goes through that hole, or to force the running back to move laterally into the arms of another tackler. If the offense is passing, the defender's gap is his route to the quarterback.

Two-gap responsibility requires more discipline on the part of the defender. A defensive tackle may be responsible for both the A and B gaps on his side of the field. His job is not so much to crash through a gap as to read the play, occupy blockers, anticipate which gap a running back might choose, and clog it. The two-gap defender must quickly diagnose the blocking scheme (whether he is battling a base block, a reach block to seal an edge or a down/back block to get a ball carrier to the outside) and determine which of his gaps is more vulnerable.

Three of the DAWGS defensive line hosses from 2009, Justin Houston, Montez Robinson and Cornelius Washington, have been moved to outside linebacker this spring to take advantage of their pass rushing abilities. In recent days, the coaching staff has indicated that DeAngelo Tyson, Kwame Geathers, Derrick Lott and incoming freshman Mike Thornton will man the Nose position. The defensive end spots will be held down by Abry Jones, Demarcus Dobbs, Brandon Wood, Kiante Tripp and 2010 signees Garrison Smith, Dexter Morant and Brandon Burrows. Dobbs and Wood are the only two seniors among this group. This youth, coupled with the position changes, leaves a lot of things to be sorted out.

Every coach’s goal is to put his players in position to make plays. All indications are that Coach Grantham’s 34 style defense will be player friendly and will allow the DAWGS young and athletic defensive players to attack offenses, run to the football and have success early and often as they find their way in the new scheme. Of course, this is all conjecture at this point, but not for much longer. This is what spring ball is for. Soon enough we will know if the boys are out there mixing it up and getting excited about the opportunities to get after the football that most certainly await them. Youth will be served along the DAWGS D-Line this year and it all starts this spring. If there is really going to be a new identity of aggressiveness and intensity on Georgia’s defense, the evidence will be in the play of the DAWGS defensive line…regardless of their youth or relative inexperience at a new position.

Glory, Glory.


Monday, March 1, 2010


If this is not your first visit to A DAMN BEAST!!!, then you are no doubt aware that our football world view is one that believes defense wins championships and that special teams can be a game-changer and should be made a priority. With that said, even the brilliant minds that gave us “Football for dummies” must admit that football begins and ends along the lines of scrimmage. That is why the publicity ducking, hog-mollies up front take center stage in the latest installment of things we want to see by the time the DAWGS are turned loose at G-Day on April 10th.


Over the last couple of years, injuries have been a harsh reality of life along the DAWGS offensive line. In 2008, the DAWGS deficiencies along the O-line were masked in part by the talent on hand at the skill positions in Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno Mohammed Massoquoi and AJ Green. In 2009, with no proven play-makers other than Green to cover up their offensive warts and a rotating door along the offensive line, the Georgia offense struggled to find their way in the run game and failed to develop any consistency.

By the time the DAWGS arrived at their annual grudge match in Jacksonville against the HATED Gators, Georgia was trotting out their fifth different starting group on the offensive line with junior Clint Boling (LT), sophomore Cordy Glenn (LG), sophomore Ben Jones (C), junior Chris Davis (RG), junior Josh Davis (RT) getting the starting nod.

Though many chose to discount the successes the DAWGS had seen in the running game during the 4th quarter the week before against Vanderbilt, there were signs of life in the Georgia backfield and there had definitely been a shift in the Georgia game plan. This renewed commitment to pounding the rock would begin to become evident against the Gators.

Starting in Jacksonville, the DAWGS strung together some impressive rushing numbers over the final six games of the season as Washaun Ealey and a healthy Caleb King began to find their way. Here’s a breakdown of Georgia’s net rushing yards down the stretch…

FLORIDA – 121 yds (33 carries, 3.7 ypc)
TN Tech – 304 yds (39 carries, 7.8 ypc)
AUBURN – 169 yds (38 carries, 4.4 ypc)
KENTUCKY – 196 yds (44 carries, 4.5 ypc)
GEORGIA TECH – 339 yds (44 carries, 7.7 ypc)
TEXAS A&M – 208 yds (40 carries, 5.2 ypc)

Of course, the DAWGS statement game during this stretch was the ground game exhibition put on against the Techies as Ealey and King declared “WE RUN THIS STATE” and then went out and proved it. King ran for 166 yards and two scores while Ealey punched holes in the Tech defense on his way to 183 yards. Over the final six games of the season, King got loose for 459 yards and six scores and Ealey chipped in with 595 yards and three TDs.

More than just the production in numbers, the DAWGS appeared to play with a different attitude over the last half of the season. An attitude that can only come from the confidence gained when you dictate the game and impose your will on your opponent. That type of football can only be played when you are getting production in the run game and that starts with the play of the offensive line. After their early season struggles, the DAWGS eventually found the winning formula along the O-line and the results showed. The obvious problem is that it took so long to figure out what the right combination would be.

Now we find ourselves heading into spring practice and the DAWGS would appear to have a good handle on the how the pieces along the offensive line should fit together. That is until you factor in the possible return of the DAWGS would-be starting left tackle from the last two seasons, Trinton Sturdivant. After missing the last two years (except for about 40 minutes) with severe knee injuries, the catalyst for all of Georgia’s offensive line shuffling, Sturdivant is said to be ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and well on his way to making a return to the lineup at some point later this year. For now, the coaching staff is remaining cautiously optimistic that Sturdivant can come all the way back. At this point, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and the rest of the staff are viewing having Sturdivant ready to rock and roll come the fall as a “luxury”, but they appear to have learned their lesson and know that they cannot afford to count on it. Earlier this week, Bobo had this to say:

“When we’re talking about our objectives as an offense and what we want to accomplish this spring, we want to establish depth at the offensive line with out counting on Trinton Sturdivant. He’s a luxury. We think he’s going to be back, he’s ahead of schedule, he’s doing great, but we have to establish depth besides him.”

You can read more on this and other DAWGS notes HERE.

This thought process is music to my ears. If the DAWGS big left tackle can return to form and reclaim his starting spot, it will be great news for Georgia and it would be fantastic for Sturdivant. However, the DAWGS cannot just assume #77 will be ready to go. This is why when news starts rolling out of Athens in the coming days, one headline I will be looking for will be the one in bold face detailing the progress along the offensive line. A good place to start would be to just keep rolling with the starting five from the back half of the 2009 season, but you can be sure that everyone will get a hard look and that the coaching staff will make every effort to get the best five players on the field. I just hope whatever changes prove necessary due to coach’s decision or that are forced by player effort, they sort themselves out so that Georgia can hit the ground running when fall camp rolls around. It’s no secret that the longer an offensive line can play together as a unit, the more productive they will be. Given that the DAWGS backfield appears to be ready to run in 2010, I am hopeful that a constant re-shuffling of the offensive line will not prove to be the stumbling block for the Georgia offense.

Glory, Glory.

Courtesy AP Photos