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You Know it’s Bad When…

October 3, 2010

…the “crazies” that define the comments section of the AJC have changed their tune.

Leading up to this point, everyone pointed to the “Fire Richt” crew over there as the fire-and-brimstone folks that had no grip on the reality of the Bulldog football program. I don’t have to tell you how ridiculous most of the comments were.

Fact of the matter is, however, that we ARE where they said we would be. I’m not saying they predicted AJ’s suspension or any of the weak spots we now see, but the fact is that the sky really is falling. Now, the comments over there that seem the most random and over-the-top are the ones that are predicting we go 9-3 and win the SEC East. It’s strange to believe that there are people out there that really believe that. (i.e. here.)

Oh how the turn tables.

In good times and bad, I’m always a bulldog. Just who knew how bad the times would be.

As always, thanks for stopping by, Bulldog Nation.

-Herschel

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A General Lack of Feeling

September 28, 2010

****Disclaimer, yes, I understand that Michael Adams doesn’t have quite the influence on the football program as maybe he’d like to, so what is about to follow won’t necessarily correlate but I feel it’s worth a thought/blog****

Okay Bulldawg Nation,
I’m not going to review the Mississippi State game. I’m not going to preview the Colorado game. Fact of the matter is, nobody has any idea what’s going on with our football team right now. No amount of previewing or reviewing is going to change that. Things are the way they are. Nobody expected them to be the way they are, but they are. Nobody can possibly explain it.

Many posters on many blogs have voiced all sorts of concern pertaining to the general feel of our football team. Most of their observations seem to be correct. The offense is OFF in every area except the one that we assumed it would be (see: Aaron Murray.) The defense isn’t clicking nearly as much as we would have hoped by this time in the season. Even the unstoppable special teams have had their struggles, Drew Butler’s relatively mediocre start included. Fact of the matter is, nobody can pinpoint their finger on too many SPECIFIC issues with this team. Is it the O-Line? obviously. Is it the running game? obviously. Is it the blown coverages? obviously. Is it the HORRENDOUS play-calling. absolutely. But what the hell is connecting all of these terrible issues?

Most people point to the general “feel” of the team. You watch us on any given Saturday, and you’ll agree. Something’s missing. It’s a hard concept to conceptualize, but it’s SOMETHING. It’s a general lack of “Feel.” Do the coaches/team even NOTICE when we’re losing and playing like crap? It’s hard to tell. And that’s what’s got the Bulldawg Nation up in arms. We’re pointing this general lack of feeling back to Richt, and that’s most likely the place it belongs. But as I sit here at my job as a door guy/security at a semi-popular bar in downtown Athens, I’m starting to draw similarities.

Truth is, the ENTIRE town of Athens, GA has a problem. This isn’t a problem that started simply after our football team quit performing. It started long before that; back in August when we all thought we had a legitimate chance at the East. The ENTIRE SCHOOL has a general lack of feeling. Michael Adams shut down tailgating on North Campus. Was it deserved? possibly. But truth is, it has KILLED the entire tailgating atmosphere. North Campus is a ghosttown every Saturday. Myers Quad hasn’t become the “new cool place.”  All general “FEELING” of tailgating has gone out the window. Now, the noon kickoffs that our terrible football performances have granted us also don’t help, but people used to be able to have fun from 8-12 on Saturdays. Now they’re forced to disperse and weaken their partying.

Speaking of partying, I’ll be the first (but certainly not the last) to say that there is NO WAY that UGA is the #1 party school. I’m sorry, but it’s just not true. As a student, especially a Greek student who WORKS DOWNTOWN, I have a pretty good front row seat to any and all partying that occurs, and the truth is just that it’s NOTHING like it was two years ago or even last year. (older Athenians will tell you that even then, it was nothing like when they were here… and that’s not just crap, I’m sure it’s true.) Maybe it’s Michael Adams’ insistence on us becoming a “Southern Ivy League,” but something’s off here. The cops attempted to scare the crap out of the freshmen in the first weekend of school by arresting 34 kids in one night, and unlike past years, it worked this year. Anytime Bourbon Street (the historically freshman bar) is struggling on a Saturday night (much less any other night of the week,) there’s a problem. THERE IS NO FUN IN ATHENS, GA.

From our football team’s (lack of) attitude, to our downtown scene, and even to our freshman class, something is amiss in Athens, GA. My other BtC contributers would agree with me, I’m sure.

Now, I’ve laid out the problems that I’ve seen, but the problem is that I have no answers and it makes me sad. Sad that it’s obvious I won’t see a national championship or even an SEC championship in my UGA career. Sad that I’ll probably not see the resurgence of the Athens party scene in my UGA career. Sad that the University I’ve loved, fought for, cheered for, cherished, and adored for 21 years is in such a state. Sad that the football team that I devote more time to than my girlfriend, studies, friends, and most other thoughts is struggling in such a black hole of despair. I’m feeling just a general lack of feeling.

I guess I fit in quite well in this town I so love.

I don’t know if we need to fire Dan Van Halenger, fire Searels, fire Bobo, fire Richt, fire Michael Adams, fire the fans, or fire the flaming baton girl, but SOMETHING’S gotta change in this here Athens town. ‘Cause right now, I’d give anything to have gone to school in 1980.

I want a party.

As always, thanks for stopping by, Bulldog Nation.
and thanks for remaining the Bulldog Nation, despite depressing years and depressing posts.

-Herschel

State of the Program Address

September 20, 2010

okay, first of all, forgive me if this post is messed up. I’m writing it on my cellphone.

Now, onto Georgia football. I’m fairly certain that I’ve read every single blog out there since the loss on saturday. I’ve heard all of the grumbling and all of the th rationale and all of the unnecessary over-the-top concern for richt and the rest of the program. and let me just go ahead and say this so y’all know which side of the table I sit on. the sky ain’t falling on me.

here we sit, 0-2 in conference play. yes, it’s our worse start in almost two decades, but its it so hard to believe? we knew these first two games were basically going to be a toss up. Fact of the matter is, the preseason hype about south carolina and arkansas proved to be correct. they’re now top 15 teams. we lost two hard fought games. were there glaring issues? definitely. are some of the issues things that we expected to be strengths? no doubt. but do we still have a whole season in front of us? absolutely.

I’m not saying that there aren’t any changes necessary and I’m not saying that there are. I’m saying that it’s still to early to swallow that cyanide pill you’re chewing. honestly, my money’s on richt pulling this season out off the proverbial crapper. as Springsteen sang, “you can’t start a fire without a spark.” I expect the good guys light the spark next week with a stellar showing in Starksville. After that, fire. (a very Green fire, btw.)

Until then, thanks for stopping by, Bulldog Nation. (and I really wish you’d step back from that ledge, my friend.)

-Herschel Blogger

Carolina Recap

September 13, 2010

Well, I can’t say that I am completely shocked by the outcome, but I was surprised by how it arrived at that outcome. While I was correct about Garcia and company being the better offense last Saturday I completely missed the defense and my mvp candidate Drew Butler not even showing up. I’ll deal with this and more in due time. First I’ll take a minute to look at this from a student’s perspective since that it what I am.

Amazingly I have never made it to the Georgia v South Carolina game but from the reports I haven’t missed out on much. Every year I hear reports of how terrible the campus is and that the heat is unbearable; this year was no different. Seeing everyone in camo and jumping up and down to sandstorm is hard to stand watching on tv let alone seeing it in person. We lost and lost convincingly but I am thankful that I get to come home to Athens, GA and thats a moral victory in and of itself. But enough of that, on to football.

It really goes without saying, but the key to Carolina’s success seemed solely in the hands of Marcus Lattimore. He rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns and was absolutely unstoppable. The Gamecock wide receivers were as tall as advertised and while they weren’t the dominant force in the game, they helped make crucial third downs and other small plays that made an important impact. On defense, the Dawgs were getting good pressure with Justin Houston and Demarcus Dobbs, and Darryl Gamble was flying around making tackles so what was the problem? If any one stat lets me know the problem it is this; Bacarri Rambo led the team in tackles. Nose tackle DeAngelo Tyson was getting pushed out every single play which allowed Lattimore to get 3 to 4 yards across the line of scrimmage before he was even touched. Lattimore is a strong back so even when a linebacker would meet him after his 4 free yards he typically fell for an additional gain when he was tackled. If that had been the worst of it, this would have still probably spelled doom for the Bulldogs but an even worse scenario played out when the arm tackling reappeared. I haven’t seen a number yet but South Carolina’s yards after contact must be obnoxious. The secondary was just as guilty as the rest of the defense and perhaps even more so with some very suspect coverage at times. The inability to get the defense off the field was crippling. Coach Todd Grantham addressed this after the game as a point of emphasis, and even said that he intends to get Kwame Getathers and Justin Anderson more time on D line. The long USC possessions wore down the defense and provided our young quarterback with fewer chances to score.

With that, let’s look at the Georgia Offense. As bad as some people think it looked, I think we should all be encouraged by the play of the offense and especially by the quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray’s passes were all either right on the money or put in a place that was unable to be picked off. Coach Richt and Coach Bobo have said that it’s time to open the play book for Murray and really give him the reigns to the offense more than his first two games. I am eager to see what Murray can do when Bobo unleashes him, especially if AJ Green is on the field. As much as i hate saying it, I think if AJ Green had played this weekend the Dawgs would have come away with a win. As much as I want to say he doesn’t matter that much, and our team has the tools to make up for missing one player; I just can’t shake the fact that AJ would have made at least one insane play that would have altered the game. Especially after seeing how well Murray threw the ball and the good decisions he was making, I have to think that Green wins us that game. Even if he hadn’t made a great play, his mere presence on the field makes other receivers more open and allows for someone else to make a play.

Where was Drew Butler on Saturday? Perhaps we have been spoiled by his incredible punts, pinning the other team deep in their own territory; but he couldn’t even pin USC behind the 50 yard line. Granted, Lattimore would have just had to carry the ball a few more times but I think that theres more opportunities for the Bulldog defense to make a stop or a turnover.

There is still plenty to talk about, but hopefully we will be back soon with some more focused posts. Everyone cross your fingers for AJ. Sounds like we may know if he gets a reduced suspension either Tuesday or Wednesday but I’m not going to hold my breath. All in all, we still have an entire season to play and I think our problems are able to be corrected. I am not amongst those people calling for anyone’s head. I Love Greg McGarity and hope to have an article on him at some point in the next week or two.

GATA,

AJ Greek

Kickin’ it in Columbia

September 10, 2010

There is certainly no shortage of talking points for the big game against the Cocks this weekend; the AJ suspension, Murray’s first away game and SEC game in the same day, what the new and improved defense will look like, the HEAT!….it goes on forever. All this aside, the common consensus seems to be that it will be a close on with very few people in the media willing to stick their neck out with a prediction with good reason. Especially with AJ unable to play the two teams seem to be fairly evenly matched. Let’s have a review of how I see the teams matching up.

Offense – Garcia hasn’t proven to be the stud that was promised when he first arrived at USC but he has matured and definitely showed promise against the Dawgs in Athens a year ago. Weslye Saunders who torched us in that last match up will not be in attendance but the emergence of Marcus Lattimore and Ace Sanders gives Garcia a solid supporting cast to work with. Georgia on the other hand has the highly touted offensive line and tailback by committee in Caleb King and Washaun Ealey. Tavarres King is back and Kris Durham’s hands seem to be even better than I remember. The big question is the freshman quarterback. I was one of the many people to be quite pleased with Murray’s production in his first game against U-LA-LA, but he is still in question. I’d be willing to bet that Murray ends up having a stellar game but there isn’t enough proof to back it up just yet.

ADVANTAGE- Gamecocks

Defense- The general feeling is that USC is going to load the box and try and get to Murray, probably even more so without the security of AJ Green’s play making abilities. USC is a solid SEC defense and shut down Southern Miss after a shaky start. The Georgia defense ushers in a new coordinator, a new scheme, and a chip on their shoulder when they get off the bus. The team is eager to get the “swag” back and are eager to hearken back to the Junkyard Dawg era. I expect to see the real defensive play book open up this week, which has been referred to as the Bible by the players because of its size. I think the DBs will be the game changers. With all the pressure coming from the defense the DBs will have little room for error but Defensive Backs coach knows a thing or two about shutting down South Carolina since his UConn Huskie team dominated the Gamecocks in a recent bowl game.

ADVANTAGE- BullDawgs

Special Teams- Here we arrive to the crux of my argument. All evidence points to this being a close one, and in close games special teams can be the difference. Despite some serious frustrations on special teams over the past couple of seasons, there is no question in anyone’s mind that Georgia holds an edge here on the feet of Drew Butler and Blaire Walsh. If it plays out that Murray and the offense are sluggish and the Bulldog defense is able to keep Garcia and company and bay, then field position will be huge. Butler will play the oh so important role of pinning the Gamecocks deep in their own territory and Walsh may be needed to provide a long field goal that may be the difference in the game. New special teams coach Warren Berlin will hopefully get the rest of the Georgia special teams on par with the kicking game, but it is essential that we not give up the big play on special teams. The bane of Georgia’s season last year (among other things) was allowing big kick returns after touchdowns that take the breath out of the fans and players. Walsh and Butler are still enough.

ADVANTAGE- BullDawgs

Intangibles- This can be the most irrelevant category one day and nearly the most essential the next. Home field advantage benefits the Cocks all the more with a rookie quarterback coming into his first SEC game. USC is riding a wave of excitement and high expectations that the media has echoed with high praise. They will be eager to continue their rise in the polls with a win over a ranked team and will be delighted to hand Coach Richt his first loss in Columbia. Both teams have had to deal with NCAA sanctions but the more crushing blow falls to Georgia with the drawn out process and eventual suspension of AJ Green. The word out of the locker room is that the team isn’t affected but its hard to imagine that they haven’t felt some negative effects. The heat will be there no matter what the weather channel says, but I don’t know if this benefits anyone except the people selling water at the game. Gamecocks want to protect this house.

ADVANTAGE- Gamecocks

Coaching- Steve Spurrier may be older but he is as wily as ever and still wants to beat the Dawgs. Grantham is the new guy in town but he is still installing and figuring out what works. As long as I get to see Spurrier throw his visor and Grantham head butt one of his players I will be happy to call this one a draw.

ADVANTAGE- Even

Look for this one to be close. I really think that the kicking game makes the difference and the heat makes the boys sluggish and maybe even hard to watch at times. I’m going with history and predicting that it comes down to the last play of the game.

Butler For Heisman,

DAWGS On Top UGA 16 USC14

FOUR GAMES?! Screw you NCAA!

September 8, 2010

Can somebody please explain to me how the thugs at Tennessee can put a COP in the ICU and have most of them disciplined internally, but AJ Green selling HIS OWN PROPERTY to someone who “may meet the NCAA definition of an agent” in order to help his unemployed father gets him a FOUR GAME SUSPENSION?!

On another note of unequal punishment, Alabama’s Miami-agentgate players are only suspended for 2 games. So making a legal financial transaction is twice as bad as attending a party thrown in your honor and accepting almost $2,000 in free benefits? What is wrong with this world?!

Post Tebow Era and Murray’s a DGD

September 5, 2010

Okay, so I apologize for the serious lack of posts on this site. I don’t know what to say other than:
1) The other bloggers on the site have seemingly forgotten how to post;
2) Junior year is proving to be more time-consuming than Sophomore year was;
and 3) I’m having too much fun reading all of the other blogs out there, and by the time I finish, I don’t feel like I have much to contribute.

But  guys, it’s football season. IT’S FINALLY FOOTBALL SEASON. I think I can spare some minutes on this fine Labor Day weekend to share my insights from the weekend.

First of all, happy kickoff weekend. I know I’ve been looking forward to this since January and counting down the days day-by-day since May. And on that note, the weekend did NOT disappoint, so let’s get to some thoughts.
First, a few randoms:

-a lot of people (read: the national media) looked at the outcomes of yesterday very briefly and decided that the SEC was going to have a down year this year. I’ve already read 2 articles on ESPN.com saying things along the lines of “you can’t live on reputation all season long.” I’ll be the first to admit that Ole Miss’s showing against JaxState was horrific, to say the least, and that a number of the other games were way too close for comfort (from a conference-wide standpoint.) But I’ll also be the first to say that I still firmly believe that our middle-tier teams could take on almost any other team in the nation any given Saturday. Call it conference-homerism, or just call it experience from watching the SEC for way too long, but there’s just something in the water down here. We’ll keep that opinion in check as we witness the rest of the season, but I think it’s a bit too soon to call it an SEC Armageddon.

-On the same tune of SEC teams looking bad, though… I’m currently watching the Florida-Miami(OH) game that I missed yesterday, and I might be peeing in my pants. Granted, I’m only at the start of the second quarter (and I know Florida’s gotta score SOME to get to the 34-12 ending score) but they are looking God-awful right now. Something like 3 turnovers already and TERRIBLE rushing attempts. Their defense looks formidable, but not lights-out. MOH is currently up 3-0 and just converted a 4th down on a fake punt before I paused it. Seriously, if this is the team that takes the field this Halloween, I’m sending all my money to Vegas and taking whatever bet they’ll have on the game.

Now, onto OUR team:

-On the note of judging teams way too early, how ’bout them dawgs?! That game was everything I could have asked for and more. I had predicted a 38-13 game, and was SO pleasantly surprised. Honestly, coming into the game, I figured we’d do what we always do in cupcakes… Score a few points early on, not look too amazing on D and give them a few first downs and eventually a few points, and then back off as the score was safe and play 3rd stringers and basically just have a very vanilla day. “Au contraire,” said Grantham and Aaron Murray (the two biggest question marks going into the game.)

Todd Grantham’s new defense is looking incredible. I’m not even talking about scheme and specific plays, either. For one, I’m too stupid to notice and understand a Cover-2 or a Jailhouse blitz, AND he was playing vanilla defense in order to not give specific plays away to Darth Visor. What I’m talking about is the general attitude and feel of the defense. IT was LIGHTS OUT the whole game. They kept bringing the heat every single play and making the QB make stupid decisions. And you know what? It paid off. 3 INTs, a whopping 33% of our total INTs from last year. That amazes me. And even when we were up and the game was in our pocket, Grantham was still getting on all of our players’ asses for the blown coverage on their one TD play. If that’s not GATA football, then I don’t know what is. (As it says over at DawgSports, “You can’t spell Grantham without GATA.”)

Speaking of GATA, (which means “Get After Their Asses,” for anybody that might not know…) How about Aaron Murray? I was ridiculously impressed with this kid. Did he sh0w freshman youth in a few of his decisions? Absolutely, and that’s to be expected. The pass to La-La’s linebacker was utterly stupid, but then again the ACTUAL INT that he incurred was not his fault, so I’d say the two evened out. Besides that pass, I think he was very wise in all of his passing decisions. and WOW! How about his scrambling?! Some people (Richt) might say that his 20yd touchdown run was foolish and a mistake, but I say it showed me everything I want in a QB and more. He’s a true dual threat. He’s being himself out there, and it’s showing us why he was such a highly touted recruit. I STRONGLY look forward to watching him work with a few more weapons next week as Washaun, T.King, and (God, I pray) AJ return to play, but look for him to be a playmaker all throughout this year. What’s that noise? I think it’s the Freshman All-American team calling… Let’s hope he answers.

Til next time, thanks for stopping by.

-Herschel