Wow, it’s been a long time. I’m not even going to apologize for the lack of posts. Life’s busy, and The Senator and T. Kyle King and the gang over at DawgSports have been VERY helpful in passing the time during this off-season. I wanted to log on and just share some thoughts:
-First, how ’bout this off-season? Don’t worry, I’m knocking on wood, clutching a rabbits foot, and steering clear of ladders and mirrors while I say this, but It’s an amazing feeling to not have had anyone arrested since OCTOBER. After the past couple of years, it seems almost surreal.
-On that note, however, it’s not that we’ve been lacking of off-season attrition. However, (and this feels bad saying it this way,) I like the way most of these players are leaving. Call me a Disney Dawg or kool-aid drinker if you must, but for the most part it appears that we’re ridding ourselves of the “cancer” that Christian Robinson spoke of. I’ll hold all of my opinions on Coach JTII until after the 4th quarter on Sept. 3rd, but if him kicking the players in the ass is making some of them quit, I’m personally okay with it. Time will tell whether he’s just being a stubborn old man and pissing off everyone, or if he’s working the dawgs to the bone and some can’t handle it, but I’m assuming it’s the latter. Either way, seeing players that obviously appeared to be “me-first” players leave makes me much more happy than sad.
-A few notes about positions… I’m definitely an eternal optimist (which is a bad BAD thing to be as a Dawg fan,) but there aren’t any positions that keep me up at night. I easily could (and probably will) be proven wrong come gametime, but how many times in the past have we seen unproven position squads band together and get work done? Let’s look at some of the weak spots:
RB: I’ll start with the one that’s received the most press this offseason, our running backs. This is probably the spot that I’m concerned about the most. Call me a cynic, but I’ll believe in Isaiah when he shows me something. I’ve had my heart broken too many times recently by “the next big” runningbacks at Georgia to believe any differently. For right now he’s a punk freshman in my mind, who can’t string together a coherent Facebook post to save his life. Carlton Thomas is the same person that he’s always been. Ever since I first heard him in an interview, where I could barely understand him speak, I knew that he wasn’t very good at using his head. Some people like Carlton as a change-of-pace back, and like it when he gets a toss-sweep, but I’m not one of them. As for the toss-sweep, I’d rather have B.Smith getting that and rounding the corner than Thomas. I’d just as much prefer that Carlton never get the ball at all. Ken Malcolme is another interesting back. People are worried that the coaches don’t have faith in him since they put him behind a walk-on on the spring depth chart. I think that “Boo” has something to show us and will be a formidable backup… to Richard Samuel. Richard Samuel is a DGD if I’ve ever seen one. Not only does he work HARD in school (I’ve had a few business classes with him,) he’s never been arrested or in the doghouse. He also wants to do anything he can to help the team succeed. THAT, my friends, is Dawg-loyalty. Isaiah Crowell probably wouldn’t even give up his jersey number to help the team, but Richard has tossed around his football career more times than is EVER needed, all for the good of the team. People are quick to forget Richard’s earlier performances as a Bulldog running back. They typically look at his “best game” at Arkansas, and subtract his 80-yard TD, and point to him being a bust. I would like you to think back for a second and remember where we all were in that 2009 season. We had just lost Knowshon, we were hoping for someone to bust on to the scene. Richard was never going to be an every-down, light-it-up back. That’s just not who he is. He goes down too early after first contact, and has trouble finding the holes. However, I think he’s going to be a very serviceable back this year. I’m calling it now, he gets the nod at starter in the Dome.
OL: I heard so much hype around the OL the past couple years that proved to be empty, that I’m actually kind of EXCITED that there’s no hype this year. It’s going to be tough to start so many green linemen and to not have many backups after them, but if the boys believe they can do it, then they can do it. Kenarious Gates came in last year and proved that a true freshman can make a huge impact on the Line. Let’s just hope there’s more like him out there.
WR: T.King will be a stud. Not AJ-level, that’s impossible, but a stud. Marlon Brown will at least be serviceable. As will Wooten, Troupe, and Bennett. A freshman will have a big impact this year, be it Mitchell, Scott-Wesley, Conley, or Marshall.
Defense: Our pass-rush is going to be stellar. Big John Jenkins will require a double team on the line, (as will Kwame Geathers,) which will open up holes for our LB corps to do some damage. Our secondary is no better or worse than last year. In fact, if just a few of those players (I’m looking at you, Rambo and Hitman) were to step up their game, I think our secondary might even be a strength. Our secondary will be helped greatly by our fantastic pass rush. I still expect at least one specific play will be a nagging problem for us this year too (I’m looking at you, wheel route-2010, bootleg-2009.) I don’t know what it is, but we’ll be complaining about it come October.
Over all, if the players that we have in our system buy into our system and sell themselves out for the G, nothing will stop us this year.
I’m tired of writing. I’ll probably do a broad season-preview sometime later. By the way, we’ll be better than 8-4.
Until then, thanks for stopping by, Bulldog Nation.
There is still plenty of time between now and the beginning of the season with plenty of questions still unanswered, but Ill take moment to look ahead at the opponents for the Dawgs in the 2011 Season.
Sept 3 Boise Sate – Georgia Dome
Its been six years since the Broncos of Boise visited Athens and left with their tails between their legs. It doesn’t need to be said that this team can win. Regardless of conference or style of play, these guys have proven that they are a winning program and still have a chip on their shoulder. I have a feeling that they would love to erase one of the last lingering question marks on the program with a win against the Bulldogs in the state of Georgia. Quarterback Kellen Moore and leading rusher Doug Martin return to an offense that scored over 50 points 6 times in the 2010 Season. This game will be a critical one in terms of Georgia’s attempt at a National Championship. This is no longer the lose-lose situation for Georgia; a win here gives the Dawgs a win over a team that has legitimized itself in the College Football arena.
Sept 10 South Carolina- Athens, GA
Controversy over quarterback Stephen Garcia’s possible suspension by USCe has been at the focus point during spring practice, but Gracia remained number one one the latest depth chart over Connor Shaw. The real story for this game will be the performance of Marcus Lattimore who torched the Dawgs for 182 yards as a freshman in last years win over Georgia. Tackling was a major problem in this game last year and Lattimore will not be any easier in this one. Word out of Athens in the spring has been upbeat and positive on the new defense with nearly all of the players and coaches saying that the defense felt out of place with the system last year and that those problems have now been resolved. There’s only one way to find out. This game is always a dog fight and South Carolina will be coming off a game against East Carolina from Conference-USA. Georgia’s attitude after the Boise St game could have a major effect in how this one turns out.
Sept 17 Coastal Carolina-Athens, GA
It would be a great feeling going into this game 2-0 and just looking to make a few tweeks and take a breather before the full SEC slate begins. On the other hand, this could be the “draw the line in the sand” game where Georgia needs to reevaluate its goals for the rest of the season. Obviously I would love to have the former rather than the latter, but my guess is that it will be somewhere in between.
Sep 24 Ole Miss-Oxford, Miss
I have been looking forward to this one for a while as an undergrad. I am really excited to take part in a hallowed SEC tradition and experience The Grove on a game day, and hopefully do so during a Georgia win. The Rebels have seen a resurgence in the past couple of years under Houston Nutt with two consectuive wins in the Cotton Bowl, but this is not that team. Ole Miss ended last years campaign with no bowl game and only four wins. This isn’t a very strong team, but history shows that it could be a trap game on the road. The Rebels will have played Vanderbilt the week before so this should at least give us some idea how they look at this point in the season. It will be important to blow the gates off this one since it is the first of five straight SEC games for the Dawgs.
Oct 1 Miss St-Athens, GA
Unlike in the past, and unlike their cross state rivals, the Mississippi State Bulldogs are not to be looked past. Dan Mullen has made this team a force to be reckoned with. While they struggled against quality, ranked opponents; they took care of business in their non-conference schedule and proved themselves more than capable in wins against Georgia,Florida, and Michigan last year. The Dawgs will be wanting revenge after last years miserable loss in Starkville and the boys in red and black will have the best possible opportunity at home. Definitely can’t look past this game, but if this team has any aspirations of winning a championship this one needs to be a solid win. The Bulldogs will certainly need to take advantage of a game at home before a two week trip to the state of Tennessee followed by a trip to Jacksonville.
Oct 8 Tennessee-Knoxville, TN
When Georgia heads to Knoxville it will have played 3 SEC games, 2 games away from Athens, and 1 highly ranked non-conference opponent. The Vols will have played 0 road games, 0 SEC games, and 0 ranked opponents. Everyone has different views on being rested vs being in the swing of the season, but I have to think that this benefits the Dawgs. Georgia will have been tested in every way by this point in the season and will hopefully be at full speed in this one. The Vols will be rested and perhaps have begun to find their way as a team, but there is no substitute for playing against SEC speed. More importantly, this will only be Derek Dooley’s second season trying to turn this program around from several disppointing seasons and 3 coaches in as many years. Quarterback Tyler Bray showed flashes of brilliance last season but has proved this spring that he is still a youngster surrounded by a young team. The Vols may be improved from last year but this would be an unacceptable loss for Georgia.
Oct 15 Vanderbilt-Nashville, TN
I am not one for looking past anyone, but if the Dawgs can’t handle the Commodores then they have a lot more problems than looking ahead. This game should be one for final adjustments and changes before the week off and then The Cocktail Party. Up until here the schedule will be demanding but not overwhelming and whether good or bad we will know a good deal about where this team is headed going into the off week. Hopefully this will be another step towards winning the East and a fun time running around Nashville for me.
Oct 29 Florida-Jacksonville, FL
Ah, The Cocktail Party. The event that has brought me the most joy and the most despair I have experienced in my years as a Georgia fan. I’m not sure if voodoo is widely practiced in the state of Florida but one way or another Georgia has been unable to get this monkey off its back for 20+ years. The Bulldogs have been unable to do anything with their own program to change this so perhaps a change at Florida will do the trick. After a historical coaching term with the Gators, Urban Meyer is finally gone and Georgia grad Will Muschamp is at the helm. Muschamp has proven himself at Auburn and Texas but this is his first head coaching gig and its with a team with a lot more expectations than its personnel can handle. New offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will undoubtedly make the Gator offense loaded with options but quarterback John Brantley will need a lot of work compared to last year. The Gators will be very thin at wide receiver after losing a lot of talent to the draft and will now be thin in the defensive backfield after the dismissal of cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Both Georgia and Florida will be coming into this one after an off week but the Gators will also be coming off games against Kentucky, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn in a row. Odds are good that with that type of schedule, the Georgia staff will have everything it needs to evaluate and plan for this one. Richt and the team have said that they see this one as an opportunity to turn the tide of this series back in the right direction. I think they have finally realized that we can’t treat this like every other game, but we also can’t treat it as the Only important game. Confidence will be critical and as always, this one will have a direct impact on who wins the East.
Nov 5 New Mexico St-Athens, GA
I really like the timing of this game. No matter how the season is looking at this point it will be nice to come back home and get a nice win to either get back in the win column or continue our success. Hopefully the biggest headlines for this one will be whether Hudson Mason or Christian LeMay gets more snaps at backup.
Nov 12 Auburn-Athens, GA
I want this one bad and I don’t think I’m the only one. After everything that happened during this game last year and in the months since, I can imagine that the team and all the fans are ready to lay the lumber on the Tigers. The only story line for this one is win, win, win. Aubie was able to capture lightning in a bottle (no matter how much it cost) and we will see if Coach Chizik and company can do it again. With Cam Newton and Nick Fairly being such outstanding players during their national championship run, it will be hard to predict how this Auburn team will look without them. The play of these two covered up poor play by the entire defensive backfield that gave up tons of points to everyone in 2010. If this problem is not resolved and with no superstars to make up for their shortcomings this could be an interesting team to watch trying to defend its title. As far as Georgia is concerned this is another critical SEC game that could impact getting back to the Georgia Dome in December.
Nov 19 Kentucky-Athens, GA
I certainly don’t want to overlook a Kentucky team that has given Georgia a great many headaches over the past several seasons but there just isn’t much to say at this point. The Wildcats had a return to mediocrity last season though they showed in an impressive win over South Carolina that they are still an upset candidate. This one is a must win to clinch the East, not to mention a day of pride for seniors playing their last game in Sanford Stadium.
Nov 26 Tech-Atlanta, GA
This is my favorite team to hate. This game is always heated and even though it has a temptation to become a trap game I think that the rivalry and the fact that it’s the final game of the season work to fuel the players in this one. Tech did not have a very good 2010 campaign but you can throw the records out the window with this game and with the Jacket’s option offense anything can happen. This will be a good one to see how well Todd Grantham’s defense handles staying home and effectively tackling when there is so much misdirection being thrown at our boys. A win in Atlanta could be an exclamation point on the 2011 Season, but this one is a pride game. No matter where we are heading in December or January it will be a dog fight.
So there it is, just a few thoughts on what might be happening in five to seven months. I think we will be afforded a great opportunity by our schedule to plead our case to the nation but we have to win first.
On Saturday morning the bulldog basketball team was looking for a signature win. By Saturday night they had found one.
After a remarkable performance against a talented Kentucky team the Georgia basketball team has at least cemented itself in the conversation in the SEC race and could possibly even emerged as a top contender. From the start the Bulldogs set the stage for what would be a mostly dominating performance over the visiting Wildcats in front of a raucous sellout crowd in Stegman. The biggest difference in the game? Free throws. The bulldogs whose free throw woes had plagued them over the course of the early season suddenly found comfort at the line shooting 88% (30-34) while Kentucky only got to the line 16 times converting 10 of those attempts. This new-found success at the line along with timely shooting from the entire lineup was a winning formula for the Dawgs.
This Bulldog demonstrated a greater sense of maturity from last years team and looked ready to make a run throughout SEC play. Everyone knew that Kentucky would make a push but instead of panicking the Dawgs absorbed the blow and after trading jabs for a while came with a knockout puch when Thompkins jumper fell with 2:40 remaining. Thompkins led all scorers with 25 while three other Bulldogs – Ware, Leslie and Robinson - scored in double figures and Price grabbed down 10 important rebounds. Marcus Thornton turned in a great defensive performance in 14 minutes and converted a huge 3 with the shot clock winding down in the first half. Chris Barnes and Donte Williams also delivered some good minutes down the stretch in what was a very complete performance for the Dawgs. They trailed only once by 1 point and led by as many as 13 before 10,523 in Stegman.
From start to finish the crowd was loud and into it. The students were there early and made a difference throughout the performance. Even as Kentucky came back and regained the lead, the Georgia crowd remained in the game willing the Dawgs to victory. The sound reached deafening levels as the clock slipped under a minute and the Bulldog faithful knew that the we were indeed on the way to a statement win for the program. As the final seconds ticked away some of those gathered began to chant overrated and something happened this writer has never seen before. Coach Fox heard the cheer and immediately began to try to stop it. He looked to the students and pounded his chest saying “We are underrated” and after the game tweeted for the fans to do him one favor and instead of cheering overrated, cheer underrated cause that is what the Dawgs were today. But not anymore, the Dawgs are now on the radar. They are known. After the game Scott Van Pelt tweeted for the sports world to pay attention to Athens. Get ready Dawgs, you are about to take the best punch that every team can offer.
Now that the Dawgs have taken that giant step, they must keep the momentum going Wednesday vs Vanderbilt. After a tough overtime loss to South Carolina today, the Commodores will be looking to get a little revenge at the Memorial Coliseum in Nashville. The Dawgs will be looking to give Fox his first SEC road victory and keep their name in the mix as a contender and not a pretender in the SEC East race. Heres hoping that the Dawgs can pull one out on the road.
Until next time, “You stay Classy Classic City.”
Like my counterpart Herschel I havent had the
heart – well lets say time – to blog over the recent past and Im sure you all have missed reading my incredibly deep insight into the world that is college sports. But Im back for now at least so feel free to pick up and start reading again. Hopefully Ill be slightly more enjoyable than Georgia’s depressing season.
Ohh where to begin? Well from what I read on some other sites it seems like a vocal majority of the Bulldog Nation has had enough of Richt – well at least Bobo – and want to see some changes around Butts-Merhe this offseason. I cant say I agree with the former but definitely feel for the latter. As I wrote in a recent comment on the Bulldogs Blog I feel like the nature of the entire program needs to be changed. Over the next few posts I will look at three phases of the revitilization that will bring the Dawgs back to annual contention in the SEC and thus the nation.
The first phase of reconstruction will start with the administration at the University. Thats Adams, McGarity, and all of their respective supporting casts. It seems like in recent memory Adams has been quite the buzz kill around Athens. From the restrictions on North Campus to the increased number of noon kickoffs the fun has been sucked out of gameday for most of us Bulldog Faithful. I had the priveledge of traveling to the Auburn game this year and witnessed the celebration that ensued after the win. As per Auburn tradition the fans toilet papered Toomers Corner. I thought to myself “Michael Adams would have a cow if he saw this.” It reminded me of a tradition that many Georgia fans used to partake in which was tailgating on North Campus. While I certainly understand that the puclic urination and defecation were uncalled for the amount of trash simply has to be dealt with. Or heres an idea, rent out tailgating spots to people each week. Allow them to bring in whatever they want but whatever they bring has to be cleaned up or a monetary penalty will be enforced. Gameday this season just didnt feel the same without the tailgaters and excitement that has surrounded a Saturday in Athens for years.
Of course part of that could be due to the noon kickoffs which might have been “sellouts” but hardly drew capacity crowds. Sure thats no excuse for losing games but in a college town like Athens half the students arent even awake by 12 much less filling the bleachers of the hallowed ground that is Sanford Stadium. The problem is Georgia actually requested this before the start of the season. If I recall correctly, upper level administration asked for earlier kickoffs. I would just assume we not ask anymore. There is no greater feeling than hearing those first few notes of the Battle Hymn being played as the sun sets in the western sky. If you missed it, that was exactly what happened at the Georgia Tech game and the atmosphere was electric. For one night a season full of frustration was set aside and the fans let loose and the Governor’s Cup remained in safe hands.
Bottom line is while certanily changes need to be made on the field, there are huge steps that can be taken off the field to create a winning environment. I feel like McGarity has taken steps to make sure this happens but he has to get the forever stubborn Adams on board. There is nothing better than being a Bulldog and they upper levels have to recreate that excitement that fans felt not so long ago. This winning environment will be the first step of many to getting the Dawgs back on top where so many of us feel like we should be each year.
Until next time, “You stay classy Classic City.”
Okay, so we were all glad to get rid of David Hale this year because we felt that we had been living under a “Hale Curse” since 2005 or 2006 or whenever it was that he came to Athens to cover the Dawgs. (I won’t even get started on what appears to be a new “Emerson Curse” this season…)
But the other day I was enjoying myself in the fine establishment known as Pauley’s and I came across this on the wall and it brought a smile to my face:
Oh what I’d give for a “Hale Curse” right now…
As always Bulldog Nation, thanks for stopping by.
So I have decided to return to the blog. I think it goes without saying that I was in a constant state of depression this season, so weekly updates and game-reviews just couldn’t be produced. I’m not sure if my counterparts will return as well, but I will at least try to kick this off-season off with a few good posts.
First up, the discussion on everybody’s tongues and fingertips: The Great Richt Debate 2011.
People have made some good arguments towards Richt being the reason we’re sitting at 6-7 for the season, and I really can’t argue. Our losses came from being unfocused; plain and simple. Whether it was last-minute turnovers, key players being off the field from off-field issues, or a simple lack of determination, We lost those 7 games by being unfocused. That kind of overall distraction leads right up to the top of the food chain, Coach Mark Richt. I am not here to say he doesn’t deserve any of the blame. On the contrary, he deserves about 98% of it.
What I am here to say, however, is that unlike most of the other bloggers out there, I STILL have faith in Coach Mark Richt. I think it was the right choice to give him 2011 to right the ship. I have faith that he can.
However, if he cannot, and he goes, say, anything less than 9-4 next season, I will not shed tears to see him resign. It MAY be true that he is past his prime and just cannot compete on the appropriate level anymore. If that is true, I’ll eat crow after this season and be fine with McGarity shaking things up.
Fact of the matter is, I don’t know what is required of Richt in this offseason. I think he needs to close out a top recruitment class. I think he needs to find a way to get on his players’ asses about getting serious (Hopefully Joe T II can help with that.) And I think he needs to start being real to the fans. He needs to stand up at a Bulldog meeting and say, “Look, this is not where we wanted to be. We didn’t even come close to ‘finishing the drill.’ To the fans and everybody in Bulldog Nation, I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. We were hoping for a championship season. That was my goal, something Georgia has not done in a long time. I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any coach in the entire country work as hard as I will work over this offseason. You will never see someone push the rest of this program as hard as I will push everybody this offseason. You will never see a team play as hard as we will next season. God Bless.”
Until he says that, I can only assume he’s thinking it inside. Only time will tell.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by.
This has been a season to test any fans devotion. Frustrating losses, injuries, limited tailgating in the blazing heat due to noon kickoffs, and we are only 5 games into the season. Georgia fans have been blessed to have had to deal with this much adversity only on rare occasions, but this is rough. Surely, this is a back breaking situation and I will give up and wait for next season, but as the next contest between the hedges approaches I find myself just as excited as ever.
When I wake up tomorrow morning, I will have the unique privilege of wearing red and black and tailgating in the finest college town in the land! There are very few sights that are as amazing as a sea of red and black across a tailgate. Close friends and new acquaintances joining together in a social ritual that is unmatched.
I am still excited to go to beautiful Sanford Stadium and sing Glory, Glory until my throat is soar and follow it with “To Hell with Tennessee!” until my voice is gone. I will still get goosebumps when the Battle Hymn is played regardless of our record.
No matter how frustrated I am at our O line, or our DBs, I will absolutely lose every sense of social decorum and civility when those men run out of the tunnel in their red helmets and silver britches. With every third down stop or offensive touchdown I will celebrate as though I had won some personal victory and I will swear at the referees as though they had robbed me in public every time we are penalized.
Georgia football permeates every fiber of its loyal sons and daughters and is never dependent on good times or bad times to provide us with unforgettable memories and feelings that cannot be found anywhere else. I will revel in every victory and abhor every loss no matter the situation because I am hooked. I love it and get so much enjoyment out of it just like we all do.
My happiest and saddest moments have resulted from watching the Dawgs, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It’s hard to be a “fair weather” fan when you realize how much there is to be a part of. “It’s not just football, it’s a way of life”