Monday, September 20, 2010
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
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.
Friday, September 17, 2010
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.
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.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Statement from Reggie Bush Regarding Heisman Trophy
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
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.”
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.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
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
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.
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.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
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.
"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.