Sunday, August 29, 2010
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.
**Dedicated to all the Georgia women I know, especially my wife, Ali**
Thursday, August 26, 2010
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.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
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.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
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.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
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.
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