Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nooooooooooooo!!! (Shakes fist towards Athens, Georgia). Dawgs-Ducks: Dead On Arrival.

The last UGA road trip hurrah in 2015 is no more. The Georgia-Oregon series has been canceled.  I don't know who to be more pissed at, McGarity or Evans. When Evans was fired I knew Georgia @ Oregon in 2015 would be the final road trip out West, and that sucked, but we were still looking forward to it so much. I can't put into words how bummed I am. First for the end of the UGA road trips. Second that our day(or night) at Autzen just vanished into thin air(as well as for me personally a week of exploring Oregon). And third McGarity, who said last week that he preferred Florida's scheduling philosophy to ours. What does that mean? It means get ready for 3 cupcakes & Tech, with an occasional home & home with Clemson an hour up the road.

If you're going to Colorado this week, enjoy it. It will probably be the last one for a while. Georgia didn't play a road game outside the Geographic South between 1965 (@Michigan) and 2008(@ Arizona State). It may be another 43 years before we see it again...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Umm, Nevermind

FoxSportsNet RockyMountain showed the Rockies-Giants game, so I didn't get to watch, but right now that looks like a blessing.

But following along on my phone was enough to do what the first two losses could not: end my bullish optimism for this team this year. 8-4 is now a fantasy, and from where we're at tonight a return to Shreveport might be an accomplishment.

Oh well, time to to re-calibrate. 2010 is officially a rebuilding year. Nothing to do but accept it, roll with it, support the team, and hope for improvement as the year goes by.

Time to enjoy the beauty of Colorado & hope for the best while fearing the worst: back-to-back loses to Mississippi State & Colorado for a 1-4 start.

And remember- it's only a game and sports is still the toy department of life.
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For The Record

Just landed in Denver, and want to get a couple things on the record before our game today.

1. I still believe in this UGA team, and FireRicht/Sky Is Falling crowd are both crazy & overreacting.

2. We have way more talent, and are a better team on paper, than Mississippi State, Colorado, Tennessee, Vandy, & Kentucky. This team is entirely capable of winning the next 5 and rolling into the cocktail party 6-2, ranked, confident, and improving. Many of the problems are fixable, Green, Caleb King, Chapas return, both Murray and the 3-4 should improve with time, and there is no where for the O-line to go but up.

3. Beyond that, Tech is not good this year, and I have a strong suspicion that Auburn are Paper Tigers. We will be favored in every game from here on out except Florida & possibly Auburn. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this team goes 9-3, or even sorts it all out and runs the table. Yes, I said it. Not saying they will, but it is just as possible as losing 2 tough games to top 12 teams w/ equal talent to us without our best player & with a new 3-4 scheme and a freshman quarterback. All you naysayers who are guaranteeing 6-6 this year are overreacting big time.

4. The man did what what asked of him last year & fired his defensive coaches. The anti-Richt crowd said that bought him 2 years, but are so happy to judge the team at less than full strength after 3 and even 2 games. Pure madness. The time to make judgements on Georgia football 2010 is December 1st.

4. Support this team and this coaching staff until December; they have earned it & they deserve it.

That is all. Lots more positives than negatives, and massive potential & upside in this team. Wait to hate.

Go Dawgs.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Georgia 24-31 Arkansas. Instant Reaction.

- Congratulations to Arkansas. There is little doubt that over the full 60 minutes the better team won today.

- Irony alert: the thousands of fans who left as early as the third quarter are the same people who will complain about the team and question the team's effort.  Weak sauce from these fans today- your quitting on the team so early when the game was not at all out of reach was lame and shameful. From the sounds of it this was the weakest performance by our fans since the infamous Auburn home game in 1999.  Great for recruiting for potential Dawgs to see so many alleged fans quit on the team. Full credit to the team for erasing a 14 point deficit in the 4th quarter without them, and credit also to the remaining true fans who were as loud as less than a full house can be.

- Why do we even recruit tight ends, let alone great and talented tight ends, when we continually fail to utilize them? Why do we even have Orson Charles? This continues to remind me of how well Donnan utilized them; utilized them right into the NFL like an assembly line.

-For all the flack our receivers have received in recent years for dropping passes, today they made a bunch of  tough catches on balls that were thrown to them in difficult spots. Durham, White, and T. King all played great today and whereas they used to drop balls today they made difficult catches in key situations that sparked the comeback. Well played to them.

- For all the other things that are wrong and/or disappointingly bad for people to be frustrated about, there are reasonable and rational explanations for almost all of them, with one glaring exception: the offensive line is so terrible that it is truly inexplicable. This unit wasn't supposed to be good, they were supposed to be great. How great? The smartest college football analyst in history, Phil Steele, ranked Georgia's O-line as the #1 O-line in the nation. They haven't just failed to be great, they have failed to be even good or average. They are somewhere between totally average and truly terrible both in pass blocking and run blocking. They have single-handedly turned Washaun Ealey into Richard Samuel, and against 2 average pass rushes they regularly have young Aaron Murray running & scrambling for his life. This is a unit with a collective 155 starts between them coming into the season. Not inexplicable that they aren't as great as expected, but inexplicable that they are so horribly bad.

- Also, someone please work hard with Ealey on blocking. He is not helping his cause by missing key blocks that result in sacks/losses and kill drives. This is something that Caleb King is better at, and at this point he cannot return soon enough.

- Most of the talk has been about AJ Green making the difference on the field by making plays, which is of course obvious, and additionally both a fool's errand and moot. More interesting to me is not the plays on the field but how his absence has affected the morale and psyche of the team, who are clearly playing with absolutely no confidence and even seem to be sleepwalking through large portions of games. Unfortunately this happens with 18-22 year old athletes, and it seems obvious that their confidence in themselves as a collective is clearly absent. Hopefully the return of AJ for the Colorado game will be a positive jolt to the team, both on the field (obviously) and also mentally there will be a massive shift in confidence & self-belief, which as anyone who has ever played team sports will tell you, is no insignificant thing.

- Not that the coaching staff does not have questions to answer or accountability, but remember this: it is not Richt's fault that AJ Green stupidly sold his jersey for $1000 and is missing 1/3 of the season. AJ ultimately failed his responsibility to the team, and although it is not the entire reason for the poor start and each of the two losses, it has played a pretty significant part (not just the catches but opening up running game & less pressure on young QB). The Georgia fan base has thusfar looked at AJ Green as the victim of an unfair & evil NCAA, but the cold truth his that he failed in his responsibility to the team and the team is suffering because of him. He should not be vilified for it, but as a massively frustrated & disgruntled fan base runs around assigning blame to various people, he should certainly be given his fair share rather than given a free pass as an innocent victim. As absurd as the ruling is, it was put into place by the NCAA in response to University of Georgia players selling their 2002 SEC Championship rings, so there can be no way that UGA players are not aware of this rule (and if they are not then that is an inexcusable fail by the coaching staff when the rule was created because of their own players/program).

- The Dawg Nation is divided, and the Richt Must Go side certainly gained traction and new followers today. It is harder now for us in the patience & perspective camp to maintain, but I still believe that this team can be very good, and I still believe that Richt did what was what asked of him in the offseason and should not be judged on the 2010 season until December 1st. But after today it admittedly got alot harder to talk members of the other side down from the ledge.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

South Carolina 17-6 Georgia. Instant Reaction.

-Each team had 3 trips inside their opponent's 15 yard line. South Carolina came away with 2 TDs & a FG for 17 pts, Georgia settled for 2 FGs and fumbled the ball away at the SC 2 yard line for 6 points. There's your game recap in 1 sentence. As much as they dominated the stats, and as much as the spin will be that they dominated us, the truth is it came down to equal opportunities in the red zone. They converted, we didn't. Simple as that.

-After his huge fumble in Carolina's stadium, Washaun Ealey needs to watch "The Program" 100 times this week. I mean really- can you think of any worse punishment?

-After the 1st series where Ealey ran well, I can't remember another run of more than 5 yards the whole game. I thought our O line was supposed to be good this year? They sure weren't good today.

-Schematically the D seemed much better, but many of the same players still cannot tackle. Yes Lattimore is a special back, but our poor tackling made him look even better.

-AJ may have made the difference today, may not have. It's a moot point and not worth discussing, so just move on.

-As disappointing as today was, do not forget that a bad 1st game performance does not equate to a bad year. Look no further than last year's Oregon team, and take a deep breath.

-There's lots to improve on, and Murray already looks better after 1 road game than Joe Cox ever did in 5 years. There is still reason to be optimistic that we can have a good year, and I actually feel better about our chances this season at 1-1 than I did before I saw Murray play.

-Have pride. Don't be an annoying whiner. Give this team your full support; they deserve it. Go Dawgs.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

The Real Season Starts Tomorrow: Inspiration From The Ghost Of A Legend

This was emailed to me last week, and as Georgia's season really gets underway tomorrow I thought I'd share it to get the juices flowing (as if they weren't already).  It is a letter from legendary coach Erk Russell to the 1980 University Of Georgia football team delivered before the season started. Things worked out pretty well for that team; let's hope Grantham sent out a similarly inspiring text message to this year's team...

Enjoy, and GATA.

click photo to enlarge

P.S. Run!

Feel Good Friday: Holler Back

After an intense 3 week contract gig I am now properly unemployed, and as such able to write again. Pretty sweet timing with soccer starting back up this weekend and a proper slate of college football games rather than last week's appetizer plate of mismatches.

Today's Feel Good Friday is from a country band called The Lost Trailers. Why? Because I recently made the acquaintance of one of the members of this group and spent a week in his company, and 1) he is a great guy 2) he is a UGA alum and a Damn Good Dawg 3) he promised me after several beers that he would go with us to the Oregon-Georgia game in 2015. Seems good enough reasons to throw up a country song for the first time ever, no?

If this isn't your speed, there's always Fabolous.  Have a great weekend- enjoy the football and the futbol.