Friday, December 2, 2011
Coach Richt was asked the following question at the press conference on Friday:
If you win, you'll be the conference champion. What about the concept of two teams that haven't won their leagues playing for the National Championship?
Well, we were in that situation in 2007, I guess, where we were fourth, and then two teams ahead of us lost. So we thought maybe we'll move up to the top two and get to play. But everybody had a big uproar about, well, Georgia didn't win their conference championship. They shouldn't play in the game.
I didn't agree with that. I still don't agree with that bottom line is if you play a game or have a season or have a system, there are certain rules that you abide by. If the rules say you must be conference champion, then that's the way it is. But if the rules don't say that, I don't think you have to be conference championship to play in that game.
I felt that way then, I still feel that way. If you want to change the rules and everybody understands, that's the rule. But if it's not a rule, why should somebody go stumping and try to convince everybody that should be part of the criteria when it's not. So it's not part of the criteria. I think it's fine to have people that don't win the conference play in the game.
I was so happy to hear coach speak at length on this topic and even more happy to hear that we absolutely agree on the subject. Just play by the rules. Whatever they are, just play by the rules. Regardless of anyone's opinion or agenda, the rules should not be ignored because "...this year is different." Too bad things were different when Georgia was involved. This is all I'm saying.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
ORSON CHARLES – Georgia’s junior tight end is a nightmarish match-up for almost every team he lines up against and you need look no further than Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech for proof. Georgia Tech had absolutely no answer for Charles and he finished with 5 catches for 95 yards against the Jackets, but the reality is he could have doubled those numbers if the DAWGS had targeted him more often.
AARON MURRAY – Murray was not as sharp last week against Kentucky as he had been against Auburn the week before, but he was still good enough to lead the DAWGS to a SEC East clinching win. Saturday against Georgia Tech, Murray was on point again hitting on 19 of 29 attempts for 252 yards and rang up 4 more touchdown passes.
ALEC OGLETREE – For the second consecutive week, the monster presence at linebacker that is Alec Ogletree lands on this list. Like I mentioned last week, Ogletree is really coming on strong for the DAWGS and against the Jackets, Ogletree was carrying a big stick finishing with 11 total tackles, 10 of which were of the solo variety.
MARK RICHT – Georgia’s lead DAWG improved to 10-1 against the Yellow Jackets. That, my friends, is dominance.
RAGING BEAST STAT OF THE WEEK – Aaron Murray has thrown 14 touchdown passes against only two interceptions in the last four games.
Glory, Glory…and TO HELL with Georgia Tech!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
JARVIS JONES – Jones collected 2.5 sacks giving him a SEC leading 12.5 for the season. That leaves the Georgia outside linebacker just 1.5 behind former Bulldog great David Pollack who hold's Georgia's single-season record with 14, and pushed his tackle for loss total to a SEC leading 18.5. Jones also forced a fumble that the DAWGS would recover and cash in for their only touchdown of the game.
ALEC OGLETREE – Tree certainly looks the part of a BEAST and he is playing like one too. Ogletree racked up a team-high 8 tackles, including a sack Saturday against Kentucky. After missing several games with an injury, Tree is finding his stride with every snap he plays and that will only lead to good things for DAWGS the rest of the way.
COACHING STAFF – Much has been made of Georgia’s 0-2 start to the season and coming off of last year, 2011 could have followed suit and gone really wrong. The DAWGS were able to rebound and turn things around thanks to the caliber of young man that makes up the Georgia roster, a talented and character laden bunch, but a great deal of credit must be given to the coaching staff as well. With that said, the men that lead the coaching staff must be acknowledged…offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and head coach Mark Richt...for guiding the DAWGS back to the top of the SEC East once again.
Courtesy Brent Sanderlin/AJC.com
BRANDON HARTON – Harton was not expecting to get much work on Saturday, but football happens and Georgia’s former walk-on wound up carrying the load for the DAWGS. Harton finished with 23 carries for 101 yards. Way to GATA when we needed you young man.
BLAIR WALSH – A few weeks back I wrote “…somewhere down the line the DAWGS are really going to need Blair to drill one to save our wrinkly bulldawg asses.” It turns out Saturday was that day and with the SEC East on the line, Blair came through more than once. I know that somewhere Rex Robinson was smiling.
RAGING BEAST STAT(S) OF THE WEEK – After Saturday’s SEC East clinching win over Kentucky the DAWGS defense leads the SEC in sacks (30), forced turnovers (27) and Tackles For Loss (85). Georgia ranks 2nd in rushing defense and 4th in total defense nationally. GATA!
There will be, there only ever could be, one Larry Munson. I am thankful that I can say I grew up in Georgia and had the privilege of listening to Larry as we both lived and died with the DAWGS. Munson is just as much the reason I went to the University of Georgia as any other and he is absolutely one of the main reasons I wanted to become a sports journalist. I always told myself that if I ever had the chance to live out my dreams, I would never forget what I learned from Larry. While it's a job and you have to be professional, if you feel deeply enough about a team or a place you have to let it show because honesty and transparency matter in broadcasting and journalism and allowing your passion to bleed through only makes the experience of the listener or reader more real and that much richer. I have worked very hard, been very fortunate and as a result, I do get to live out my childhood dreams every day. What's more, I even get to cover my beloved DAWGS and represent the University of Georgia in the process. I will always remember Larry Munson as a fan and I am honored and humbled to be able to claim membership in the fraternity of journalists that have covered (and in my case, lived and died with) the DAWGS...just like Larry.
You did not have to be a Georgia fan to be a Larry Munson fan but if you're a DAWGS fan and have ever heard Larry Munson paint the play-by-play picture of a Georgia Bulldogs game, you most certainly have a favorite Munson call. My favorite call comes from 2001 on Rocky Top against the Tennessee Volunteers. The play was huge at the time and would no doubt have gone down in Georgia lore on its own merit, but because Mr. Munson was behind the mic there was no doubt it was an instant classic. Now it is known by only three words...the hobnail boot. This play and this call mean the world to me because of everything it meant at the time and has meant since. It will forever be my favorite call by the legendary Larry Munson.
Thank you, Larry. Thank you for everything.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
AARON MURRAY – Was that Aaron Murray or Aaron Rodgers firing back shoulder throws deep down the field with a G on the side of his helmet last Saturday in Athens? If you didn’t know better, you might’ve confused the two. Murray not only hit the deep ball, he hit the intermediate, short and the dump off passes as well to the tune of 224 yards and 4 TDs. How about this stat; Murray had four TD passes at the half…against only three incompletions. At the end of the day, Murray had broken Matthew Stafford’s school record for touchdown passes in a season with 27 and tied Stafford’s career total with 51.
ISAIAH CROWELL & CARLTON THOMAS – Both of these DAWGS have landed on this list this season and this is a sweet return trip. Both Thomas (127 yards) and Crowell (132 yards, TD) went over the century mark for Georgia and Thomas recorded his first career 100 yard game. The best part is that both backs ran with a downhill tilt. You cannot have too many good backs to tote the rock in the SEC and DAWG Nation can rest well knowing that we have at least three men that can get the job done.
OFFENSIVE LINE – You cannot have the type of offensive success that Georgia had against Auburn unless the O-Line is doing work. Sure, there were plenty of dominator blocks to be found when you look back at the tape, but it was also a thing of beauty. Seeing Ben Jones and company pull around and lead Georgia’s backs down the field time after time was extremely gratifying and definitely something I hope to see a lot more of going forward. We are dishing out kudos to the big men on a job well done.
BACARRI RAMBO – Rambo made this one count. Despite being among the league and national leaders in interceptions this season, Georgia’s Junior free safety had not put one in the end zone until Saturday. Rambo grabbed his seventh pick of the season, the 12th of his career, and returned it 24 yards for the touchdown with a little help (in the form of a couple of crushing blocks) from his friends. Rambo’s score was the DAWGS first defensive touchdown of the year.
MICHAEL BENNETT –
I don’t think I need to say anything else.
RAGING BEAST STAT OF THE WEEK – Like our friend Krisi (@Ludakrisi) likes to say, you can’t spell GRANTHAM without GATA. Need proof? How about the fact that
the DAWGS defense has given up a total of 12 rushing yards to Tennessee, Florida and Auburn combined this season. We tip of our cap to @RadiNabulsi for sharing this beastly number.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
AARON MURRAY - Murray threw five touchdown passes in the 2nd quarter on his way to completing 18 of 23 passes for 238 yards.
CHRIS CONLEY - Conley had a breakout day for the DAWGS with five catches for a career-high 126 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown grab.
BRANDON BOYKIN – Boykin made plays all over the field Saturday, racking up 6 total tackles, including a tackle for loss and a forced fumble on defense. On offense, Bam had a 42 yard catch and run for a touchdown.
BRANDON HARTON – Georgia’s former walk-on Brandon Harton rushed for a game-high 98 yards and a touchdown on a day that the DAWGS were without four running backs.
RAGING BEAST STAT OF THE WEEK – Georgia pushed its winning streak to seven games in the regular season for the first time since winning the first seven games of the 2005 season. Nine different players scored touchdowns for the DAWGS as they rolled up 627 total yards, their highest total in Mark Richt’s 11 seasons in Athens.
Auburn had a great team last season. Congratulations on your SEC and National Championships, Tigers. I just wish you could have done it with a little less play after the whistles and with a little class. Auburn made the plays to win that game last year, but what we saw on the plains last year from the Tigers that was not related to Xs and Os was a pitiful display. I hope the DAWGS feel disrespected. I hope the DAWGS have a chip on their shoulder. I hope the DAWGS remember. The DAWG Nation certainly does. I hope we beat the hell outta Auburn. I hope we earn their respect. I hope we can contain our emotions and do it between the whistles. I know we'll do it with class. I hope we BEAT THE HELL outta Auburn.
Monday, October 31, 2011
RICHARD SAMUEL IV – Samuel’s statistics were solid (17 carries, 58 yards, TD), but it was when and how the DAWGS big bodied back did his work that landed him on this list. With Isaiah Crowell sitting out with an injury, Samuel carried the load and became the heartbeat of the Georgia offense in the fourth quarter. Samuel hammered out yards on punishing runs during the decisive drive that gave the DAWGS the lead, paying it off in the end with the go-ahead touchdown run from four yards out. Samuel followed that up by sharing carries with Crowell during Georgia’s final drive as the DAWGS ran the clock to double zeroes. Samuel has been the ultimate team player during his time in Athens, repeatedly doing whatever was in the best interests of the team. Finally, against the DAWGS nemesis and in a game where legends are made, Samuel had his moment.
JARVIS JONES – Jones was all over the field for the DAWGS on Saturday racking up 5 tackles, 4 sacks and a forced fumble. Come to find out, Georgia’s stellar outside linebacker did all of this with a strained MCL. Jones was absolutely the definition of a BEAST against the Gators.
OFFENSIVE LINE – Georgia’s big men along the offensive line really played well, especially in pass protection when it really counted (the two TD passes on 4th down and the late completion to Chris Conley come instantly to mind) and the DAWGS dominated the line of scrimmage when the game was on the line. Georgia was able to run the ball when they needed to, taking possession of the ball with 5:32 remaining in the game and not giving it back.
**HUGE tip of the cap to Isaiah Crowell for his block on the 3rd quarter touchdown pass to Michael Bennett. Crowell ran the ball well when he was in the game, but that block was good enough to get the Georgia freshman mentioned on this list.
RAGING BEAST STAT(S) OF THE WEEK – Georgia’s defense held Florida to minus 19 yards rushing in the game
BONUS FACT – The DAWGS have now beaten Florida and Tennessee in the same year for the first time since 1988
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Finally, it’s time for the DAWGS annual island party that just happens to include a football game against the team I loathe more than any other, the Florida Gators. Without a doubt, when it comes to the Gators there is absolutely no love lost by me and I would venture to say the greater part of the DAWG Nation. So, this week’s packing list is especially important and we’re going to check it twice before the trucks roll out and we head south for this year’s gator hunt. When you take a trip, nothing’s worse than getting where you’re going and looking for some thing you just KNEW you had packed, only to find that somehow you have left it at home. I know, right? Insert expletive here, quickly followed by hassle and headache. So, it’s time to find out if the DAWGS can win the first of a string of games that they’re “supposed to” and must win if they’re going to make a real push to the top of the SEC East. When it comes to Florida in recent years, I know that “supposed to” may ring a little hollow. But damn it, I for one think it’s time we restored some order in this SEC East battle and right now seems like the perfect time to me. We know traveling can get a little hectic and it can be tough to always remember everything, so we humbly offer up this week’s packing list.
SHORT TERM MEMORY: Georgia only has to focus on the task at hand. The history of this game should mean nothing to these players, especially the Dream Team, other than fact that over the long range history the DAWGS have dominated the Gators in much the same way Florida has controlled the recent history which should drive home the fact that each game is its own entity and must be won between the lines. Based on their quotes this week, the players (especially the younger players) understand and appreciate that this is a unique and special game. Certainly, it’s as unique and special as the Big 12’s mid-season marquis game, the Red River Rivalry. The showdown in Jacksonville is a big game every year regardless of the records, but it could be huge again if the DAWGS tick off a victory or two beside the St. John’s. Georgia’s young pups seem to enjoy the spotlight and have a real opportunity to grab the college football nation’s attention and place the focus back squarely on this game in the years to come with a victory. If the DAWGS feel they need a little help in driving the point home, I suggest they call someone that might know a little something about short-term memory and how useful it can be. I don’t know, maybe somebody like former Georgia great and NFL All-Pro Champ Bailey. Champer has a master’s degree in short-term recall-ology and it has served him well over the years. Football happens. Move on. Play the next play and win it. I’ll just go ahead and leave Champ’s cell number on a business card over the visor, just in case.
MURRAY’S CHIP: I wondered leading into last year’s game if Georgia’s Florida-born quarterback would feel anything extra when he lined up against the Gators. Turned out, he most certainly did. After the loss, I wondered all year if Aaron Murray would take especially hard…losing to his home state school and all. As we found out this week, it turns out Murray absolutely did. Murray is one Florida boy that wants to get right in this rivalry after last year’s loss. Georgia’s quarterback admittedly looked back on last year’s game several times during the off-season and used what he saw on tape as motivation for this year’s match-up. Well, now is not the time to let all of that competitive super fuel go to waste. Let’s make sure the box with the chip that’s been on Murray’s shoulder all year is the first thing to get on the truck. Quarterback play matters and great quarterbacks play great when it matters most. Anything that is going to stoke the competitive fires just a little more this week is a must have and cannot be left behind in the Classic City.
LEASHES: This week is pretty big regardless and with all the players coming back for the DAWGS this week from either injury or suspension, the guys may be a little overhyped. So, we felt like it would be a good idea to pack a few leashes to help the fellas control some of that emotion so that things don’t get out of control like they did in Nashville two weeks ago. I mean, we certainly don’t need or want to see some over-the-top antics or in-your-face trash talking going…..
You know what…..**** the leashes. Let it all hang out and GATA DAWGS!
BELTS: Now be careful with this box, it’s a heavy one. It is chock full of highest quality straps, and when I say it’s full…I mean it’s FULL. We’re packing belts for everybody. Players get a belt. Coaches get a belt. Trainers get a belt. The water girl gets a belt. The cheerleaders get a belt. EVERYBODY gets a belt because EVERYBODY is gonna be busy whippin’ some Gators ass! Put the box right at the back of the first truck so we can get to it first to make sure EVERYBODY gets one. It’s time for the show…an ass kickin’ ass whippin’ and we’re handing out the tickets. Get some, DAWGS.
G – E – O – R – G – (I’ve got your G) – I – (I’ve got your I) – A – (We’re gonna kick that ass!)
Go DAWGS! Beat Florida! And Nation, I will leave you with this…Every Day is a Great Day to HATE the Gators!
Travel safe, Nation.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Sorry for the delay in checking the list Nation, but I figured with a bye week we could spread things out a bit. It was Vanderbilt. There was another victory, the DAWGS fifth straight, but everyone I talked to afterward was left feeling unsatisfied and even a little…dirty. But, all that’s done. The bottom line is Georgia is one of only two teams in the SEC East that has only one conference loss and that places them in a tie atop the division in the battle to get to Atlanta. The next one up is a doozy, but first we must put the wraps on Nashville.
FIRST ITEM: *GRANTHAM’S TOWEL* HEADACHE
This is what I wrote about Grantham’s towel and all that it represents…
This seems like an easy one to remember, but those are the things that hurt the most when you leave them behind. How ‘bout we just go ahead and tuck that one in the truck driver’s belt…just to be sure.
What the hell happened here? Not only did everything symbolized by coach’s towel not work as well as it had, for most of the game it appeared it didn’t even make the trip. The DAWGS defense surrendered 200 yards rushing and 28 points to Vandy last Saturday. The ONLY way that can happen is if the Georgia players are busting assignments and not handling their responsibilities. To be fair, the DAWGS did force four turnovers and did make a final stand with the game on the line to get the win. However, even a scrappy Commodore team should not have been allowed to make this game this close even though the offense certainly shares some responsibility on that point. Just talking about it again is making my head start to pound. You know what, just go ahead and pass the ibuprofen.
SECOND ITEM: *RECEIVER’S GLOVES AND EYE BLACK* CHECK
Thank goodness somebody put this box on the truck. I had stated that Vandy was going to throw it to us a couple of times in the game and we just had to make sure we caught the ball when they did. That’s exactly what happened. Vanderbilt’s quarterbacks threw three interceptions between them and also lost a fumble to the DAWGS. Check, check, check on this one.
THIRD ITEM: *BULLY ATTITUDE* HEADACHE
This is what I wrote about the DAWGS needed demeanor prior to the game…
All that talk of swagger and attitude…when you’re riding high and playing fast, these are the games you just dominate. This is a week when Georgia should be the baddest dude on the block and they need to show it.
This one made it onto the truck, but much like a chicken salad sandwich left on the truck’s seat in the sunshine, it went bad in a hurry. There was plenty of attitude coming from Georgia’s sideline last weekend, but it went unchecked and spoiled what could have been another solid building block victory in the road to a possible SEC Eastern division title for Georgia. Instead of taking what I had hoped would be a workman-like, good is never good enough, attitude against the ‘Dores our DAWGS took the much easier and much less satisfying tact of believing they had already achieved something of worth and deserved more than what they had actually earned on the field. At the end of the day, all the DAWGS got from it was a black eye for the program and a couple of suspensions for key players heading into the most important game of the season. Not quite what I was talking about. That ibuprofen isn’t doing the trick. After how last week went down, this bye week is coming at the right time for us too. I think I’m going to take some Excedrin migraine and rest a bit. No worries Nation, I’m sure I’ll get things worked out and be full speed by next weekend, just in time for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Here’s hoping the DAWGS can do the same.
Monday, October 17, 2011
MARLON BROWN - In his final collegiate game in his home state, the Georgia Junior wide receiver had a record evening collecting four catches for a career-best 121 yards and 2 TDs.
AARON MURRAY – The DAWGS RSo. Quarterback did exactly what he should have done against Vandy on Saturday. Against a team that blitzed a majority of the game (UGA coaches estimated as much as 90% of the time), Murray made the Dores pay hitting 22 of 38 passes, including completions to five different receivers for a career-best 326 yards and 3 TDs.
BACARRI RAMBO – In a catch 22 situation, this Georgia safety performed very well. Usually, if a safety racks up a high tackle total in any given game it means that too many runners are roaming in the defensive secondary. That was the case in Nashville this past week. Rambo answered the bell finishing with 8 total tackles, but also handled business through the air tallying an INT as well as two pass break ups.
RAGING BEAST STAT OF THE WEEK – Georgia won the turnover battle forcing four turnovers Saturday night…3 INTs and a fumble recovery.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
From “See Rock City” to the Music City, the DAWGS continue their road warrior ways and head out to Nashville, Tennessee this week to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores.
When you take a trip, nothing’s worse than getting where you’re going and looking for some thing you just KNEW you had packed, only to find that somehow you have left it at home. I know, right? Insert expletive here, quickly followed by hassle and headache. So, it’s time to find out if the DAWGS can keep it rollin’ and win another in a string of games that they’re “supposed to” and must win if they’re going to make a real push to the top of the SEC East. We know traveling can get a little hectic and it can be tough to always remember everything, so we humbly offer up this week’s packing list.
GRANTHAM’S TOWEL: Georgia’s DC says it’s nothing new, but flashing that towel to hinder the opponent’s ability to steal the DAWGS defensive signals certainly is noticeable. One thing’s for certain, whatever is going on behind that screen has read like a Braille cipher to opposing offenses in recent weeks. This seems like an easy one to remember, but those are the things that hurt the most when you leave them behind. How ‘bout we just go ahead and tuck that one in the truck driver’s belt…just to be sure.
RECEIVER’S GLOVES AND EYE BLACK: Anything and everything that our defensive players can use to gain just a bit of an advantage in catching the ball, put in the box and get it on the truck. Word has it that Vandy is thinking of starting Jordan Rodgers against the DAWGS, but regardless of whether it’s Rodgers or Larry Smith turnovers are probable. Rodgers doesn’t have a lot of experience and Smith completes less than 50% of his passes. Georgia will continue to apply pressure defensively and that should cause poor decisions by the Commodores quarterbacks. Unlike in past games this season, Georgia must take advantage when the other team throws us the football. So, sticky gloves, eye black, whatever…when the DAWGS get a chance to turn the ‘Dores over this weekend they need to make it happen.
BULLY ATTITUDE: I mean no disrespect to Vanderbilt here, but this is the week where the mental approach the DAWGS take heading into the game is crucial. This is a road game in the SEC, but it’s not exactly the usual road game in the SEC. DAWG Nation will make its presence felt. In Nashville on Saturday, there will be as much red and black in the stands as there will be black and gold. This should give our boys a huge boost of confidence heading into the game. That confidence should lead Georgia into the game with an attitude much like that of a block bully…a feeling that nothing should happen at Vanderbilt on Saturday that our DAWGS don’t allow to happen. The DAWGS should take the field a little angry and aggressive with a bad attitude for no reason other than that is what Georgia wants to be right now. Vanderbilt is an SEC team with good players, but the Commodores are also a team the DAWGS should dictate to in every phase of the game. All that talk of swagger and attitude…when you’re riding high and playing fast, these are the games you just dominate. This is a week when Georgia should be the baddest dude on the block and they need to show it.
So, there you have it. The DAWGS are under the lights again this week. There is plenty to do along music row, but nobody making this trip can afford to get distracted. The DAWGS have already swept the state of Mississippi this season and they're half way to sweeping the state of Tennessee. So, one less thing for you to worry about, I shoved a broom behind the truck seat to finish the job in Nashville. Nation, keep focus and save your dancing shoes for after the game to celebrate what we hope is another Georgia victory. If you do decide to hit the bars while you’re in town, be sure not to set your glass down at the bar. I mean, you don’t want to end up with some ‘Dores fan’s beer mug that’s all watered down with the tears of another loss to the DAWGS now do ya? Now let’s handle business and bring us back a W. Safe travels, Nation.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Now, that’s what I’m talking about. The DAWGS pushed that momentum ball all the way up to Rocky Top, crushed the Vols with it and now we’re downhill and gaining speed toward the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville in a couple of weeks. There is still the business of the Vanderbilt Commodores in Music City, but we’ll get to that soon enough. First, let’s check the Packing List for Tennessee and see how we did.
FIRST ITEM: *BOYKIN’S MOUTHPIECE* CHECK
Brandon Boykin didn’t take his turn on offense this week and Branden Smith performed very well when his number was called in place of Boykin’s, however Bam did play the entire game on defense and took his normal position on special teams as well. Boykin was hyped before the game and smiling widely during the post-game celebration, so it’s safe to assume Bam is not experiencing any problems with those loose teeth.
SECOND ITEM: *BLAIR’S BOOTS* CHECK
Walsh hit both of his field goal attempts on Saturday against the Vols (35, 23) and was perfect on his extra point attempts. Looks like Blair’s visit with an old friend last week has paid dividends and things are back on track. Walsh is striking the ball well and my money says Coach Richt will not hesitate to call on his veteran kicker at any point going forward, our wrinkly bulldawg asses on the line or not.
THIRD ITEM: *DEFENSIVE READING GLASSES* CHECK
We were concerned about the play-action game from Tennessee’s dangerous quarterback Tyler Bray headed into the game last week, but the were reading the Volunteers mail from the first snap of the game and put an end to all that business early on. The DAWGS dominated the line of scrimmage at the point of attack and held the Vols to negative 20 yards rushing. As the game went along, Georgia began to get more and more pressure on Bray. The result was a third straight game in which the opposing starting quarterback was not taking the snaps at game’s end. Coach Grantham seems to have found the right prescription for his guys and the DAWG Nation is loving the results.
FOURTH ITEM: *SPECIAL TEAMS BOOM* CHECK
Once again, special teams came up big for the DAWGS in Knoxville. Tennessee did a good job of kicking the ball away from the Georgia kick returners Saturday, but Georgia still found a way to have an impact in the “third” phase of the game. The DAWGS kicking game was solid and the kick coverage was good, but it was a defensive play made by a big man that went all “double thump” on the Vols this time as Kwame Geathers got a big paw on the Tennessee extra point attempt following their late 4th quarter touchdown to make the odds a little longer on a Tennessee comeback.
So, there you have it. Rocky Top is as tough a place to play as there is in the country regardless of how the team is performing in any given year. Georgia rolled in, eventually took the game over and the DAWGS were mere inches from making this one a laugher. The 4th quarter penalty debacle was astonishing. I know it was 80 degrees on Saturday, but that effort is making me strongly consider adding mittens to the Packing List for the offensive unit before the trucks pull out for Nashville this week…heat be damned. Anyway, Georgia is on the right path and is excited about the challenge that lies ahead. It’s way too early for the DAWGS to be looking too far ahead, but if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other you will get to where you wanna go…and the Nation will be right behind you woofin’.
Monday, October 10, 2011
CARLTON THOMAS – Isaiah Crowell has been the difference maker in the DAWGS offensive backfield this year, but Georgia’s little big man has been outstanding when he’s gotten on the field. Thomas finished with 7 carries for 37 yards against the Vols, but his game book reads much deeper and richer than that. Thomas protects the football, has a great burst, sticks his nose in there on pass-pro and is running HARD…and ANGRY. At five foot nothing, one hundred and nothing, Thomas will stick his foot in the ground and get up field and has NO issues dropping his shoulder and delivering a blow to finish his runs. Watch the tape from Mississippi, Mississippi State and Tennessee and you will see it. Thomas is playing like a BEAST and has earned his spot on this list.
Courtesy: David Manning/Staff OnlineAthens.com
MIKE GILLIARD – Coach Richt has been saying for a couple of years that Gilliard was ready to play and that he isn’t afraid to strike you. Some bad luck has become Gilliard’s opportunity and he has seized it. Gilliard has been playing hard since getting some time and his hard work culminated with a career-best 12 tackle performance Saturday night that included a sack. Even when the DAWGS get healthy again at linebacker, Gilliard will continue to get his minutes.
MALCOLM MITCHELL – We couldn’t believe Mitchell got caught on his big reception that flipped the field for the DAWGS in the third quarter. After the game, we found out why. It took a hamstring injury to slow down Georgia’s electric freshman. Mitchell finished with 3 catches for a career-high 126 yards. Get well soon MnM, I can’t wait to see what you you’re gonna do next.
MARK RICHT – Finally, to the man that holds the leash on the DAWGS. Coach Richt collected career win #100 on Saturday night, all of them coming at the University of Georgia. More than any other coach in Georgia’s history, Coach Richt is my head coach. We first got season tickets in 2001 when Richt took over and have been along for the ride for every win and every loss along the way. There has not been one day since Coach Richt got to Athens that we have wanted anyone other coach to lead our DAWGS. Congratulations, Coach. Here’s to the next one hundred.
RAGING BEAST STAT OF THE WEEK – Georgia held Tennessee….not some directional school….Tennessee….to NEGATIVE 20 yards rushing on 23 carries Saturday for an average of -0.9 yards per carry.
Although we were looking on from a dizzying height (literally) last Saturday in Neyland, we could still see the most beautiful sight our eyes could behold on the gridiron...a will-breaking rush defense sporting red helmets.
I'm not going to make this a long explanation piece by breaking down why it's happening or answering questions about whether this stout run defense is a mirage. I'm only writing to say that these DAWGS deserve some real credit when it comes to stopping the base run game of their opponents.
The following snippet comes from Marc Weiszer at the Athens Banner-Herald:
Georgia’s defense now ranks in the top 12 in five categories nationally: total defense (sixth), rushing defense (12th), third-down defense (fourth), pass-efficiency defense (eighth) and passing defense (11th).
The Bulldogs are also tied for 20th in scoring defense and 17th in tackles for loss.
Georgia held Tennessee to minus-20 yards rushing, the lowest total ever by an opponent against Richt.
“I’m enjoying a defense beginning to play like a Junkyard Dawg bunch,” Richt said.
Do not just dismiss that rushing total on Rocky Top as what should be expected against any opponent. That is NOT common as Weiszer points out and the DAWGS did not do it against some directional school. This rush D is for real.
As we've pointed out before, defense is where it's at and it should come as no surprise that Georgia's four (should've been five) straight wins have coincided with Georgia playing better and better on the defensive side of the ball.
Watching the opposing team's backs disappear into a huge stack of linemen time after time may not be the most flashy visual, but it is a beautiful thing to behold. One thing leads to another...Kwame Geathers, John Jenkins and Co. swallow up backs, linebackers run free to the ball, a twist along the defensive line here and a bull-rush there gets a little pressure, the quarterback's timing is thrown off and the end result is more sacks, forced fumbles, broken up passes and interceptions.
Good job, DAWGS. I'm not branding you Junkyard DAWGS just yet. Great defense is played by men that constantly carry a chip on their shoulder that have something to prove because they know that you are only as good as your last game. Junkyard DAWGS...well not just yet, but a strong effort in Jacksonville against a team with multiple game-breaking threats in a few weeks would go a long way proving you've earned it.
Go DAWGS and G.A.T.A!!!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Alright, the DAWGS hit the road this week headed for Knoxville having won their SEC road opener and looking to wake up from the nightmare that has been the last two trips to Rocky Top. When you take a trip, nothing’s worse than getting where you’re going and looking for some thing you just KNEW you had packed, only to find that somehow you have left it at home. I know, right? Insert expletive here, quickly followed by hassle and headache. So, it’s time to find out if the DAWGS can win the first of a string of games that they’re “supposed to” and must win if they’re going to make a real push to the top of the SEC East. We know traveling can get a little hectic and it can be tough to always remember everything, so we humbly offer up this week’s packing list.
On his way to landing on the DAWGBEAST list, Boykin went head over heels in his attempt to house a kickoff return and wound up with a bent facemask and a couple of loose teeth for his efforts. Boykin stayed in the game, wound up a BEAST and got some dental repair work most ricky-tick this week to make sure he can do his thing this weekend. A little extra wire can’t hurt the campaign to keep #2 in the game, but neither will a well-fit mouthpiece. Mold it. Pack it. Wear it.
Four missed field goal attempts in the last two games for Walsh? Hell, I didn’t expect him to miss four all year unless they were from 55+. But, thems the facts. Confidence isn’t the problem. Walsh knows he’s got the goods, Coach Richt won’t hesitate to call on his veteran kicker again and deep down I think the DAWG Nation still expects Blair to make every kick he takes. But, just to be sure Walsh called in a little help from an old friend this week to help him sort out his swing and word has it that the kinks have been worked out. Let’s hope so. It may not be this week…but it could be…but somewhere down the line the DAWGS are really going to need Blair to drill one to save our wrinkly bulldawg asses. So, let’s make sure the accurate boots Blair has donned for so long that made almost every kick he attempted a foregone conclusion for those of us that make up the Nation find their way onto the truck before we head out on Friday. You know what, just go ahead and put ‘em in the cab.
*DEFENSIVE READING GLASSES*
I was not drunk the last time the DAWGS went to Knoxville and went down in a swirling firestorm of debilitating 3rd downs and long, naked bootlegs and Jonathan Crompton-Lane Kiffin flavored frustration, but you wouldn’t know it based on the resulting blackout that I have suffered surrounding those events. So much so that I had to refer to my own musings to remind myself of what a putrid ass kicking it really was. I’ve got big respect for Tyler Bray as a passer and even quipped following last year’s game in Athens that I sure was glad he hadn’t started for Tennessee or the result may have been entirely different. That respect leads directly to concern, especially when I recall what happened in 2009. That’s why the Grantham’s DAWGS cannot forget to pack their reading glasses. Based on the Vols rushing performances this season and the DAWGS ability to play the traditional run game, play-action (though it must be acknowledged) cannot be the colossal determining factor it was in 09. If Tennessee wants to take their chances on the bootleg this weekend, I hope Bray’s greeted by a shot to the chest from any one of our OLBs. This is a basic play and should be handled by the DAWGS defense as long as they READ THEIR KEYS and attack when they get the chance. Bray can run, but he’s not a runner and Georgia should contain and get after him whenever they can. If the DAWGS are disciplined and trust their eyes, they will lead them right to the football.
*SPECIAL TEAMS BOOM*
The one phase of the game that actually made the trip to Knoxville on the last visit was the special teams. Drew Butler averaged 49.8 yards per kick, Zach Renner blocked a punt, Walsh drilled a 52 yard field goal and Bam Boykin had a 100 yard kickoff return for touchdown on the DAWGS last visit to Rocky Top. When Georgia has won at Tennessee in recent years the special teams units have come through with an outstanding effort each time. This has been and can be the DAWGS not-so-secret weapon to put the hurt on the Vols and it needs to show up this weekend at Neyland. Special teams….a handful of plays that can change the game. Like a bolt from a clear blue sky. Boom…or maybe in the DAWGS case…Bam.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got for this week. It’s a night game, and it is in the hills of Tennessee, so you know ‘shine won’t be hard to come by. Take a nip if you like, but no drinkin’ and drivin’ y’all. Safe travels, Nation.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
SANDERS COMMINGS – Just like he did on the road in Oxford last week, Sanders lived inside the jersey of the Mississippi State wide receivers on Saturday. Commings finished with three tackles, had two pass break ups that coulda-shoulda been INTs, recovered a fumble and made a nice play to grab an interception for a red-zone stop for the DAWGS.
BRANDON BOYKIN – Boykin is a warrior. Boykin repeatedly answered the call for his teammates on Saturday and made play after play despite taking some dings along the way. After a three and out by the defense on Mississippi State’s first possession, Boykin had a huge punt return to set up Georgia’s first score. To open the second half, Boykin got up-ended on the kickoff return and apparently knocked a couple of teeth loose, only to return later in the half to force a fumble that would lead to a Georgia field goal. Bam finished w/6 tackles (5 solo) including a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a pass break up.
CORNELIUS WASHINGTON – Regardless of what happened after the game, Washington was a monster for the DAWGS on Saturday. The play he made on the first third down of the game was amazing as he rag-dolled the MSU tackle and obliterated Chris Relf in the pocket for the sack. Washington finished with four tackles and two sacks on the day to go along with numerous QB pressures.
Courtesy: AJ REYNOLDS/Staff Red&Black
RAGING BEAST STAT OF THE WEEK – The DAWGS shut down the Mississippi State running game on Saturday allowing only 1.6 yards per rush attempt.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
To all those in the DAWG Nation that were telling me to watch out for Mitchell, I'm paying attention.
Ali and I made our first trip of the season to see the DAWGS play “between the hedges” today and a more perfect day you will never find. The first day of October brought wonderfully clear and crisp weather to Athens with blue skies that literally went on forever. You don’t have to be a young Georgia pup for that to put a bounce in your step. Mississippi State was the opponent on this day and the DAWGS dispatched the bizarro ‘dogs just as we all had hoped they would. Everything was vivid and brilliant from the tailgates dotting our beautiful campus to the Georgia red that seemed to glisten in a sun-splashed Sanford Stadium. Georgia played pretty well and our team got the win, but today was special and there was more to be had than just another “W”. Athens and the University of Georgia are special places in this world and it was good to be home. My Bulldawg Belle was by my side and all was right with the world. There are few days in the world of “fanhood” that allow for the type of brilliance and wonderment that this day afforded the DAWG Nation and friends, we should recognize and take advantage of them every chance we get. I love my university, I love my team and I love my life. From one very lucky DAWG to all of my Georgia people…Nation, I hope you made a memory or two today.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
GEORGIA’S CORNERBACKS – Sanders Commings, Brandon Boykin and Branden Smith were in the hip pocket of the Rebs receivers all afternoon. Ole Miss completed a few balls into zoned coverage, but when the DAWGS were locked up in man completions were hard to come by for the Rebels.
ISAIAH CROWELL – Georgia’s stellar freshman continues to impress, setting career bests with 147 yards on 30 carries. Crowell has a “sudden-ness” about him that, combined with his vision, makes him a pleasure to watch.
MALCOLM MITCHELL – Mitchell has shown to be electric for the DAWGS so far this season and he did not disappoint Saturday in Oxford. The freshman from Valdosta plays beyond his years. Mitchell slyly created separation on his deep ball that would make you swear he was wearing number eight and had a different last name. Pair that effort with a couple of key catches that moved the chains for the DAWGS and you get a very productive three catches for 93 yards.
Well, how does .500 feel, DAWG Nation? One SEC road game played...one SEC road game won. Dig it. Let's look back and see if the DAWGS followed our road trip packing check list for Ole Miss.
FIRST ITEM: *RUNNING GAME* CHECK
The DAWGS rushed the football 56 times for over 200 yards against the Rebs. We called for Isaiah Crowell to get at least 20 carries in the game and that's exactly what happened as Georgia's freshman toted the rock a career-high 30 times for 147 yards, averaging right at 5 yards per carry.
SECOND ITEM: *ISAIAH’S FLAK JACKET* CHECK
Clearly there was no issues here as Isaiah saddled up and carried the mail for the DAWGS on Saturday.
THIRD ITEM: *BALL SECURITY* CHECK
Well, the DAWGS did turn the ball over once with a pick. Aaron Murray went through his read progression, then went back to his first read...which you should never do...and as a result, the ball was batted around and Ole Miss came down with it for the interception. However, Georgia also had two takeaways in the game and won the turnover battle. The DAWGS backs also displayed great ball security despite taking some pretty good hits during the game. The DAWGS took care of the ball and just like we said, "...the production on offense should take care of itself."
FOURTH ITEM: *PRESSURE FROM THE DEFENSE* CHECK
Check, check and check. We said that the DAWGS needed to put the squeeze on the Ole Miss offense as a whole, and if that pressure led to sacks, all the better. Well, that's exactly what happened. The D-line got a good push up the middle and played the run well, the backers flowed to the football and the secondary were in the hip pockets of the Rebs receivers all day closely contesting nearly every ball thrown. The result? The DAWGS allowed only 34 yards rushing, 183 total yards, forced two Bacarri Rambo interceptions and, oh yeah, collected four sacks.
FIFTH ITEM: *PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE* CHECK
Georgia knew they should be able to run the ball against Ole Miss and that's exactly what the did. Georgia rushed the ball 50+ times for 200+ yards and wore down the Rebs. Murray was efficient in the pass game and spread the ball around to seven different receivers on the day.
SIXTH ITEM: *EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP* CHECK
Being the first road trip of the year, you can never know exactly what to expect. The DAWGS needed leadership from their veteran players and that's just what happened. Although just a second year starter, Murray led a young offense to an efficient and productive afternoon, hitting 17 of 26 passes for 268 yards and two scores. On defense, the DAWGS had a few players that have played a lot of football in the SEC and it showed as Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington anchored the front seven, while Rambo locked down the back end reeling in two interceptions for the DAWGS.
All in all, Oxford proved to be a very productive trip for Georgia. The DAWGS got that first conference road win out of the way, and that is huge with Knoxville looming in a couple of weeks where Georgia has not won since 2005. Murray put another notch in his belt as the leader of this team and the defense showed how you go to work and get things done when you head out on the road.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
So the DAWGS hit the road this week headed for Oxford looking for a win in their SEC road opener. When you take a trip, nothing’s worse than getting where you’re going and looking for some thing you just KNEW you had packed, only to find that somehow you have left it at home. I know, right? Insert expletive here, quickly followed by hassle and headache. Well, Georgia can’t afford that kind of goof up this week against the Rebels or this season could quickly combust into a “flaming ball of WTF?” for everyone in DAWG Nation. We know traveling can get a little hectic and it can be tough to always remember everything, so we humbly offer up this week’s packing list.
Road games in the SEC are never a walk-over, regardless of the opponent, but one of the time-tested tempers for the heat of an opponent’s stadium full of rabid fans is being able to rush the football. For Georgia, that means good fullback play. Bruce Figgins and Zander Ogletree need to do their part to help lighten the load on the O-line and clear the road for the DAWGS feature backs. Isaiah Crowell and a returning Richard Samuel should look to have a big day against a Rebs defense that allowed 281 rushing yards and three TDs on the ground to Vanderbilt last week. Since Samuel is just getting back into things this week, look for Crowell to get his first 20 carry game for the DAWGS and that could result in some big numbers.
*ISAIAH’S FLAK JACKET*
After Crowell got dinged for a second straight week after not wearing his rib protection on Saturday versus Coastal Carolina, Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon made it known this week that the talented freshman won’t make that mistake again saying, "The bottom line is he's got to wear it until I tell him he doesn't have to." When you’re running hard it certainly helps to be able to breathe, so for goodness sake let’s make sure this piece of equipment makes its way onto the truck this week.
Before the DAWGS can beat Ole Miss, they must first be sure to not beat themselves. Clearly, this was a lesson that should have been painfully learned against the Chickens two weeks ago. Secure the football, make good decisions in the passing game and the production on offense should take care of itself.
*PRESSURE FROM THE DEFENSE*
There has been a lot of talk this week about Georgia’s sack total up to this point in the season and you can count me among those that would certainly like to see the other team’s quarterback in the dirt on every play. I believe in a dictating defense and (as a Raiders fan) I completely agree with Al Davis when he says “The other team’s quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.” With that said, sacks aren’t everything and I’m not talking strictly about rushing the passer. What the DAWGS really need to do this week is apply pressure to the Rebs O across the board with an in-your-face physical presence and an aggressive attitude that will disrupt their timing and force errors which will hopefully lead to turnovers. Force mistakes from a mistake prone team. Ole Miss threw FIVE interceptions last week in Nashville, so create your own luck DAWGS and GATA.
*PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE*
The last thing the DAWGS need to do on Saturday is get all schizophrenic in their game plan. I’m looking at you offense. We’ve already mentioned that we see a clear opportunity to run the football against the Rebs, and that should open up the play-action passing game and shots down the field, but the key is that the DAWGS stick with the plan. Ole Miss is at home, their coach is under attack and they will come out playing hard. The Rebels have SEC caliber players too and early on the sledding may not be so easy, but if the DAWGS just keep pounding the rock it will break and Georgia should be able to take control of the game.
This is probably the situation where Coach Richt is hoping he was right for playing Boise State in the season opener. He wanted to get his team used to playing in a big time environment with a high level of intensity and the nation watching. Well that may not be the case with an early kick in Oxford Saturday, but the idea is…basically…the same. Richt wanted to find out who his leaders are and who can keep their head and make plays when it matters. This is where your upper classmen and players with experience must take control when things get tough and lead the way. As we said above, road games inside the conference are never easy. If Georgia is going to begin to reclaim control of this season, and there is still plenty out there to be claimed for the DAWGS, it must start on the road this week in Oxford. With a team that is counting on production and explosive plays from a long list of young players it is imperative that the guys that have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and then returned it because it didn’t fit show the young pups how to get it done away from home.
So, I guess that’s it. Make sure these bags here in the front get on the trucks first, don’t forget your wallet and for goodness sake…hit the bathroom before we leave. Safe travels, Nation.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The game plan is a little different this year Nation, in that I will only be acknowledging DAWGS that go full-on BEAST after victories this season. I mean winning is what it’s all about after all.
Damn it’s nice to get a win.
**BLAIR WALSH – 56 yard field goal and a fumble recovery – Blair didn’t kick all week as he battled a muscle strain and had to shake off the rust a bit, but his swing was pure from long range as he drilled a career-long 56 yard field goal and drove the ball well on kickoffs.
**SHAWN WILLIAMS – Williams moved down into the box and did a good job at linebacker showing the heart of a BEAST, being the first in line to do whatever he can do to help the team. I can’t help but think of the flexibility this gives the defense going forward. I see visions of Thomas Davis wreaking havoc in opponent’s backfields and I just get all giddy thinking about the match-up advantages the DAWGS can create as we go down the schedule.
**TAVARRES KING – 6 catches for 65 yards and 2 scores – TK seems to be getting more comfortable each week as the primary option in the Georgia passing game. There are plenty of young and talented playmakers that are beginning to show for the DAWGS, but those pups need a leader and a steadying presence on the field. If King continues his solid play it will bode well for the offense.
**ISAIAH CROWELL – 16 carries for 86 yards and a TD – Crowell once again showed a nice burst, balance and great patience in the run game, as well as a good set of hands in the passing game. So far so good for the DAWGS freshman as he continues to find his legs in the world of big time college football.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
For your entertainment, we present some cold hard facts brought to us by our friends at Coaches By the Numbers concerning Coach Richt's seat temperature, as well as further proof of our long held belief here at the BEAST that success starts with the defense. READ IT.
If Coach Richt and the DAWGS are ever going to turn things around it will have to start in the defensive huddle.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
If there is one thing we all know about Georgia’s freshman class is that they are talented and very athletic. We have reports from witnesses to practice, veteran players and coaches to speak to the fact. We also know that several of the members of the “Dream Team” are listed on the DAWGS two-deep and will play Saturday against Boise State. Backed by this knowledge, we reached out to the DAWG Nation with a tweet because we wanted to know who y’all expect to show out in the Dome:
Anybody out there think any one of #UGA's "Dream Team" members are gonna ball out vs #BoiseSt Saturday? Who? Let us know! @genxdawg #DAWGS
We got several great responses, proving once again that the Nation is both informed and locked in when it comes to their DAWGS.
Staying on that track, we wanted to take a look at one key way the pups can have an immediate impact on the field for Georgia…special teams.
There is not one football coach in the country that handles a special teams unit that does not want the fastest and most athletic players on his squad and there is no group of football players on the planet that are more willing to prove what they’re all about than young and unproven players. When it comes to the DAWGS and the “Dream Team”, this sounds like a perfect match. Not to mention the fact that experience doesn’t really matter when it comes to this phase of the game. What does matter is DESIRE…PASSION…EFFORT…and juuust enough crazy to make you WANT to run into a wall at full speed…and that’s what makes it great. If you are fighting for the right to start on a special teams unit, you have got to want it. You have got to crave speed, collisions and chaos…‘cause that’s all special teams are. Simply stated, you have got to love the game.
Players, especially young players, often get caught up in a numbers game in position battles, but special teams are the one place that a young player can break out and change the game. Several Georgia players in recent years have made their name on the special teams units before having the opportunity to be an every down player. Kelin Johnson, Chad Gloer, Sean Jones just to name a few.
Isaiah Crowell, Malcolm Mitchell, Ray Drew and Damian Swann are all names that DAWGS fans recognize and each will have a chance to show their stuff on scrimmage downs against the Broncos, but there will be others that will have a shot to jump up and change the game on a single play thanks to special teams. It could be a freshman, or it may be a walk-on that has earned the right to wear the G and hook it up on the big stage. Maybe it’s a blocked punt, or a key block on a kick return, or downing a punt deep in opponent’s territory to flip the field that changes the game and sets the stage for a DAWGS victory.
So, don’t be so quick to head to the concession stand or to the fridge when those special teams units take the field. You just never know when your next favorite player is going to step up, break out and change the game right in front of you.
DESIRE…PASSION…EFFORT. THAT is what BEASTS are made of. THAT is what makes a great special teams player.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A couple of things jumped out to me while listening to some sound from Coach Richt on this weeks game with Boise State, but nothing more than the respect...as a coach and a football guy...that he has for Chris Petersen and his Broncos. This is a respect that is hard earned, well deserved and that everyone in the DAWG Nation should share for our opponent this Saturday.
Coach Richt on Boise State and the DAWGS:
“It’s important to play well. It’s important to get after it. It’s important to prove, even to ourselves, that we still know how to play football the way it should be played. Boise State is a great opponent to try to prove that (against) because I think they play the game the way it should be played. They coach it and they play it the way it should be played.”
Viewing the game from the defensive huddle as I do, these little tidbits shared by Coach Richt certainly got my attention:
Coach Richt mentioned the sparkling notes that Boise State led the nation in sacks, led the nation in tackles for loss and finished second in the country in total defense.
“Now we’ve just got to go do it, go play it, go fight the battle and just see what we’re all about.”
Friday, August 26, 2011
One of our favorite parts of college football season coming back around is just the attitude and the scene that comes with it. I really started feeling those old feelings today and it set my mind drifting back to good times spent in the crisp evening air as summer starts to give way to the fall. My soundtrack for this trip down memory lane was provided by a Damn Good DAWG and Georgia native, Jason Aldean.
Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem" carried me out today, the version spiced up by Ludacris 'cause that's how I get down, and has now earned a permanent spot on my gameday playlist. Like I said, Aldean is DGD from Macon and wears his colors with pride. If I thought anybody was paying attention and I had the platform, I would do exactly the same thing. I have mad respect for Aldean. Not only because of his talents as an artist, but because this DAWG has his priorities in order.
Like I said, I'm a fan and Jason Aldean is one DAWG fan that has earned BEAST status on this blog. Jason, consider this your invitation. Any time you wanna grab your six string, pull up a chair and tilt one with us you're certainly welcome.
So DAWG Nation, embrace one of your own and crank up "Dirt Road Anthem" as you enjoy good times with your family and friends and enjoy the ride as our DAWGS G.A.T.A this season, because you can rest assured that Jason Aldean is one damn good DAWG that's gonna be barking right along with ya.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
During Coach Mark Richt’s press availability after Wednesday’s practice game, it was hard for me to focus after something Coach said right off the top got my attention. The practice game was set up to start with the second half of play with Boise State leading 31-0. Other than the fact that there were no injuries on the day, I can’t really pick out anything else that stood out to me after that opening statement. I just kept thinking…31-0. Second half. What is it that…? Then I had it. Thirty-one to nothing was the score at the half of the Alabama game back in 2008. A game in which the DAWGS were thoroughly whipped…in their own back yard…with a prime time national television audience watching. A game that had blistered the media in the week leading up to it with a dizzying display of hype complete with back and forth jabs between players and even coaches. This was the game that abruptly silenced all of the positive noise that had surrounded a Georgia team that came into the 2008 season ranked number one in the land. A game that, when it was over, had showed the college football universe that Georgia was no longer a prime time player, even with the likes of Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and AJ Green on the roster, and was in fact…soft. A game from which Georgia, both the team and the DAWG Nation, have never fully recovered. That is why it sounded so familiar. That is why I could not forget.
In the unlikely event you need a reminder, this is how it happened.
Thirty-one to zero. Why would Coach Richt have chosen THAT score as a set up to be used in a practice game in preparation for THIS game with Boise State? Maybe it was just a coincidence. Maybe he just wanted to not make it too easy for the first unit Georgia squad to overcome the deficit. Coach Richt nearly said as much saying that he wanted to create a little urgency late in the half to make every rep valuable. I can see that. So, maybe there is nothing to it above and beyond what Coach said at all. Then again maybe there was, even if just on a subconscious level. Or, maybe there was even more to it than that.
Because I have the freedom to do such things, I decided to look back just a bit to see if Richt’s chosen scenario was just a random set-up or if it was actually a cunning maneuver by a coach that is both burdened and driven by all that game back in 2008 meant at the time and in the days since in an effort to insure a different result for his squad this time around.
A quick review of the schedule following that awful night in Athens in 2008 reveals that in every really big game the DAWGS have played since, a game that has attracted the attention of the college football world, they have lost. Later that season, Georgia teased us in a late October game on the bayou with a win at LSU only to lose a week later in Jacksonville. In the end, that was a win over a LSU team that finished the season 8-5, and just when they were back on the radar the DAWGS got ripped by Tim Tebow and the Gators. The DAWGS would go on to win a New Year’s Day bowl game, but by that time it just wasn’t enough to keep anyone not in red and black all that interested. In 2009 Georgia kicked off the season on the road with another big time match-up against Oklahoma State. There was a lot of reason for the nation to pay attention, but the DAWGS went down to defeat once again. Georgia would go on to lose another marquis match-up with LSU at home, followed by a stinker of a flop on rocky top. The DAWGS were standing well outside the spotlight the rest of the season and would wind up with an 8-5 record. Last season started awfully as Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecocks punched the DAWGS in the mouth in the second game of the year in a game that seemed to pretty much set the tone for how things would go the rest of the way in 2010. Colorado was interesting to non-DAWG types because of the inter-sectional match-up, but Georgia would lose despite the return of AJ Green to the line-up. Everybody was down on the DAWGS, but the team was at .500 heading into the annual grudge match with the Gators in Jacksonville. The boys fought hard, but in the end it was just another loss. Georgia salvaged a bowl game, but didn’t show up to play in it and the 2010 season came to a merciful close.
Ugh. That was awful to write and even worse to read back to myself. Now there were good moments during that span, and I am a DAWG through and through, but those are NOT the things that championship teams and programs are made of and everybody knows it. Coach Richt certainly knows it. He knows that the old “At least we tried. At least we played hard.” mantra is not good enough at Georgia and he believes that it is not good enough for his players or for himself. That is why I think Coach Richt’s selection of THAT score…31-0…set up to be used in a practice game in preparation for THIS game with Boise State…has a little deeper meaning whether the dean of SEC coaches would ever admit it or not. Coach Richt sees it as a reminder of where the train came off the tracks. I believe that it, even if only for him and only for a moment, added a little fire to the spirit and a little edge to the personality. It’s a little extra motivation in the odd span of time that is the in-between days that follow the end of camp, but precede excitement of game week installation. Or, maybe I’m just making too much of it all…adding a back story to a random and singular fact. Maybe I am completely off base and it was just a random number assigned to just another scrimmage.
Either way, this much is fact: Coach Richt knows that if his DAWGS can get a win on September 3rd in the Georgia Dome against a top five Boise State team…in front of a national television audience…under the glare of the bright lights of prime time with the entire college football universe watching…then this years Georgia team will have taken the first step on the long road back to SEC relevance, national prominence and will have begun to put a shine back on a program that has certainly been dulled in recent years.
I hope I’m right, even if Coach Richt would never admit it.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Exclusive to the twittah. Exclusive until now anyway. I decided to bring it here to the blog just to share with all you fine people that may not be following us @ADAMNBEASTBLOG in hopes that a few of y'all might decide to come along for the ride.
7 hours ago...
For what it's worth, we like the UGA Pro Combat Uniforms. Coming up, we'll tell you why. #UGA #DAWGS @Nike #ProCombat
4 hours later...
3 hours later...
About the #DAWGS #ProCombat unis...everybody's entitled to their opinion and ours is that they're cool. They rock. They're bad ass.
Then came a run and we hit our stride...
"There's a lot of red going on." Yep. Georgia IS red. "They're busy." Yep. They're sleek and aggressive.
"Red on the facemask?" Hell, yes! I immediately thought of Erk. Apparently, so did this #DAWG.
"A silver helmet?" Absolutely. If it was good enough for Sinkwich, it's good enough for today's #DAWGS.
"There's nothing about a silver helmet that honors the 1980 champs." No, they didn't wear silver helmets in 1980.....
...However, 1980 was the year Vince went back to the famed silver britches. That's why the helmet is a nod to 1980.
"Red pants?" We all know the @HerschelWalker legend was born in red pants. If #34 wore them, they're fine. #DAWGS
So, let's all hear @crob45:
"No matter what we're wearing September 3rd we're gonna need all the fans support!"
and get behind them #DAWGS!
Friday, August 19, 2011
Whenever Coach Richt and his staff put the team though their paces in a scrimmage every member of the DAWG Nation can’t wait to hear how things went. Inevitably many fans will take the first reports of statistics from the scrimmage and attempt to read into the numbers and decipher some nugget of useable information. I know I’ve done it and if you reading this blog, odds are you have too. What’s new here is…I don’t do it anymore. I have just changed how I look at these things.
It is very easy to think scrimmage and equate that to “practice game” but that isn’t always the case. There are many reasons to care about, but not put too much stock in, the reports coming out of any scrimmage. Outside of definitive injury reports, virtually everything else should be taken with a grain of salt. What we read and hear as fans can be twisted virtually any way before it gets to us, either by a coach that wants to relay a specific message through the media to sway public opinion or not divulge some particular information, or by a reporter that writes a recap in a certain way because it might somehow tie to an over-arching storyline that has had legs throughout camp. Now, I do not mean to say that any of this is occurring within our coaching staff or by the fine reporters that do the hard work of following the DAWGS day in and day out. I am merely saying that from the outside, the looking glass that is our window into the world of all things DAWG is heavily frosted.
From being around the game of football in one way or another for the last 28 years and my experience of being on the practice field and sitting in many a coach’s office during that time, I understand that the blanket term “scrimmage” just is not the reality in most cases. More often than not, even within a full 2.5 to 3 hour session, these “scrimmages” are more pointed in their purpose as coaches want to see how their team will react in any number of very specific situations that might come up in a game. Because of this fact and the unavoidable in and out of players that may not be allowed to participate, calling a scrimmage a snap shot of how your team is looking is like taking a photo in the moment only to find out later that your finger blocked most of the lens. In the end, these scrimmage sessions provide us only a partial view and understanding of what’s really happening at best.
If you need further persuasion, just read up on the recent reports that Coach Richt took some advice from Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith about placing even a heavier and more consistent emphasis on situational practices. The thought here being that there are key moments in a game that will almost certainly dictate wins and losses and that those situations should be more heavily drilled. It puts a focus on winning when the money’s on the table, so to speak.
Nation…just like you, I want to hear the latest reports from every practice, scrimmage and if I could get them, meeting. This hunger is what makes Georgia fans and fans of the SEC the greatest in the country. All I’m saying is try not to get yourself too wound up one way or the other at every quick report you see when it comes to the DAWGS progress, especially when it comes to these scrimmages. I think you will agree with me that it is far more important that the DAWGS execute and win “when the lights are on” than when we are collectively standing outside the door and attempting to peer through the key hole.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Every year…every game…at the stadium or in front of the widescreen…whether I’ve tilted a few or stone cold sober…every year, every game I try to predict what the first offensive play of the first offensive series will be for the DAWGS in each game. Not only do I test my own advance study of match-ups and tendencies, but I will inevitably (even when I try not to) turn and ask Ali Blue (usually the other best football mind in the room) what her opinion is on the subject and she will usually give some sincere thought to the question and give a well thought out reply. I do this for fun, just to see if I’m right…or if Ali’s right…and of course I want to see if she calls the same play I have called…and if either of us were right, did the play work? She knows I enjoy this and she plays along. Because she knows this means more to me than it ever could to her, she even goes first so I can hear her prediction just to see if her call matches mine. I will then regale her with my play call and will inevitably explain to her why I have chosen that play. She honestly listens to what I have to say. Maybe she really gains some insight from my offering, or it could be because it’s just entertaining. Doesn’t matter. I absolutely relish this tradition between us and it has now become a very enjoyable part of our game day experience.
Hopefully we have the opportunity to do this 14 times in any given season…12 regular season games, the SEC Championship game and a bowl game. I love to attack and I always have to push down the urge to call the post route. To take a chance at landing the haymaker right away. Sometimes I’m just feeling traditional and call the toss sweep. I mean, it is a staple of the DAWGS offense. Old reliable. Other times the advance scouting and film work (Yes, I do that.) figures more heavily and I’ll pick a play that takes advantage of some match-up that gives Georgia a clear advantage. It all depends on my mood.
So, with the season barreling towards us, I got to thinking about how much fun we have with this and I began to wonder if we were the only members of the DAWG Nation that take our shot at offensive coordinator. Surely not. We can’t be. That’s why I want to know about you. Do you or any of your fellow DAWGS give calling the opening play a shot? If so, we want to know about it. Tell us if you do. Do you share your pick with other DAWGS or do you keep it to yourself…even if you’re not alone. How do you choose the play? We want to hear from you and everything about your play calling process. Leave us a comment below or head over to the Facebook page and tell us your story there.
It’s September 3rd and the Georgia Dome is rocking. Aaron Murray leads the DAWGS to the line as the college football nation looks on. You’ve shoved Mike Bobo out of the chair and, for one play, you are directing the Georgia offense. What’s your call? TK to the post? Isaiah Crowell on the zone read? Or, do you like Orson Charles up the seam? Come on DAWG Nation, let us hear ya.