Monday, November 30, 2009

I RUN THIS STATE may be the most awesome thing I've ever seen in my life....

Good Lord, how did we have that much swagger after losing to UK? Caleb and Washaun are going to be beast the next 2 years. They're going to run behind the best O-line we've had since '02.

I like it. It might be tattooed on my forehead on the Saturday after thanksgiving next year. It was brilliant and ballsy and downright nasty. I love it. I run this state. I run it all the way for over 300 yards. I run it because I wear red and black. I run it because the flagship chose me over you (here's looking at you #21). I run it because I know what tradition means. I run it because I'm faster and stronger, even in my weakest year. I run it to the tune of 75 yard TD's. I run it for 9.2 per carry. I run this state, nerds. And don't you ever forget it.


Hard not get excited about this....

Ealey's first 112 carries (as a true freshman): 639 yards (5.7 avg.), 3 TDs, 44 long.

Moreno's first 112 carries (as a redshirt freshman): 510 (4.6 avg.), 3 TDs, 35 long.

Best I can remember, Knowson's first 112 carries came against Oklahoma St, South Carolina, Western Carolina, Alabama, Ole Miss, & Tennessee…maybe Vandy, but he'd probably already reached 112 by then.

Ealey's came against LSU, Tennessee, Vandy, Florida, Tennesee Tech, Auburn, Kentucky & Tech.

Word on the street is that he's switching to #3 next year, too.

He was 50 feet in front of me and and a friend warming up in Stillwater and we both said, "He sure looks ready to me." That wrist couldn't have been hurt that bad, was it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's not as complicated as you think

In the aftermath of the debacle on Saturday night, these numbers are sobering.

5 receptions for 115 yards and 1 TD
26-43, 422 yards, 5 TDs
10 carries, 80 yards

Those are the totals for this past Sunday for Mohamed Massaquoi, Matthew Stafford, and Knowshon Rockwell Moreno. Unfortunately, they don't wear Silver Britches anymore. They play in National Football League now. You can't lose that kind of talent and not regress. Good Lord, look at Florida's offense w/o Harvin and Murphy. It's plain. We just couldn't replace those guys. And when our defense stunk it up last year, they often saved us. Something was missing from that '08 team, but I can assure that DC's were scared to death when they lined up against us each week. They are not scared now. They just think, "Stop AJ." This year, we don't have the offense to bail us out of our poor defensive woes. Just think if Moreno and Stafford come back (and there are a million teams that can say those kinds of things), but we beat OSU and LSU for sure. Hard to imagine we wet the bed in Knoxville. We compete in Jax and we beat Kentucky soundly as KM rushes for 468 yards. It's not even close. Though everyone loses players, we're the only ones that lost #1 and #12 in the draft. That's a hard mountain to climb.

Joe's not as good as we'd hoped -- bottom line. He makes dumb decisions. I'm certain it's lack of experience, though I recall us not being able to punch it in against Hawaii in N.O. after Remarcus returned it 90 yards inside the 10. Joe almost threw an INT down there against an absolutely wretched WAC defense that we'd shredded all night. Perhaps that was a sign. I remember thinking, "He's just nervous in the Sugar Bowl." I was wrong. That was what we had to look forward to. He's a good kid. No need to bash him. He's just not a great college QB. It is what it is. He's thrown 14 interceptions and we've still got 2 to play, guys. 14!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's hard to imagine that Aaron Murray throws 14 picks next year. Only Tyson Lee (11) and Snead (14) have double digit picks. Over the last 2 seasons, we've thrown 26 INTs. Tebow, on the other hand, has thrown 8…count 'em…8 picks over the last 2 years, throwing 4 each year so far. DJ threw 5 in 2005. It's an easy game. Throw to the team w/ the red hats.

And it's the defense. We stink. We're not mean, nasty, or generally unpleasant when we arrive to the ball. It's just bad. We just don't shut people down. We just don't play that way. We hope to slow you down. We play scared. We're atrocious. It's simple. New DC. New QB. Look, we can sit here and complain all we want about the other stuff, but it's just that simple. Every team complains about play-calling. The more I've thought about that toss sweep, the more I like the call. Why is the most basic play in our playbook risky? I'll bet I can still catch a toss sweep. Do we really want our play-caller thinking, "Well, he might fumble the pitch." No. I want him thinking, "What play can we score on." Not what is safe. Not what is logical. Not what is normal. Because that's not always the answer. We've been stuffed on 3rd and 1 up the middle all year long. Who were we to think it was going to change on that play. No. What will score. Toss sweep. Then run it. We run it 10 times a game. Run it. Catch it. Score. It wasn't a flea flicker or reverse. It wasn't cute. It was a freaking toss sweep. The bottom line is we scored 27 against UK. Remember when that would have been plenty? People wonder about why not having Caleb in there? That's easy. Washaun's better. Remember, on offense we play our better players. We start Tavares King over Michael Moore because he's better. We run Brandon Smith w/ 2:30 to play out of the wild dawg because he's better. We play the better players on offense. Defense…not so much. I can easily be accussed of being a Bobo apologist, but I think our offense is just fine. I complained about play-calling when we were winning titles w/ Richt calling the plays. Florida fans think Adazzio is an idiot…to the tune of 11-0. Not that all OC's are good. I think ours if fine. And I can't thinking of who would be better. Really, is there some offense out there tearing it up that you want? Our offense usually does just fine when we remember what color jerseys we're wearing.

A change in DC will bring a change in special teams approaches. It has to. It's that simple. We gripe about a lot of stuff, but that's all it is. New DC, new Special Teams coordinator/philosophy, and new QB. We are guaranteed to get one of those next year. Richt has to make the call to get the other 2. A new DC won Spurrier a national championship. A new DC won Mack Brown a national championship. A new DC changed Oklahoma St. from middling to top 12 and maybe BCS bound. A new OC changed Cadillac and Ronnie into world-beaters. New coaches CAN make that big a difference in one year. And by the way, Blair still leads the SEC in touchbacks…by 3. So there's that. He gets a touchback 22.6% of the time. Are you telling me playing those odds weren't better on Saturday than the squib kick? That's 2 out of every 9 kicks as a touch back. It's that simple.

Go Dawgs!
Beat Tech!

Monday, November 16, 2009

If you can't figure out your mascot....

...…surely you can't figure out what to call on 4th & 23. You know, I can't help but think what would have happened had Auburn converted on 4th & 23, went on to tie, and won in overtime. And by "what would have happened", I mean the ire of the Bulldawg Nation toward Willie Martinez. I'm glad that didn't happen, because I hate Auburn. But that would have been epic. Also, I wanted the win bad and did not want the stress of overtime, but I couldn't help but think that the first OT game in Athens would have to be Auburn, wouldn't it? That mid-November weekend almost always promises to be a classic. Too much pride on both sides to roll over in that thing.

There are lots of questions about if this game saved Willie. To me, those are ridiculous. It was an indictment for me, simply because of the first 2 series. I don't mind that they scored. I mind what we didn't do that allowed them to score, and it's as simple as two words: Bacarri Rambo. For the life of me, I can't figure out this Bryan Evans deal. That kid must have some very inappropriate pictures of Willie, because I can't think of another reason that he starts at Defensive Back for us. Evans in = 2 TDs. Insert Bacarri Rambo on 3rd series = 3 and out. The same thing happened in Jacksonville. The difference is that we left Bacarri in this time for the most part. It's an easy formula: when Bacarri is in, receivers don't seem as open. I just can't figure it out. I'm sure Bacarri still gets things confused. I'm sure Evans understands the defensive calls better. I know Evans is more experienced. I'll bet Bacarri does some stupid redshirt freshman stuff in practice. But Rambo is simply a better football player. Put. Him. On. The. Field!

I heard the folks on Sportscenter U say, "Is there another quarterback in the country more hot and cold than Joe Cox?" That may be the defining statement of the Joe Cox era. He has the ability to look really good and make really good throws. He can also look really dumb from time to time. I've grown tired of his comments. I know he's a college student, but he's a 5th year senior. He better develop some thicker skin if he wants to go into coaching. Yes, Joe, the fans booed…because the offense stunk. How about mixing in a first down every now and then. I'm not a boo-er, but the team should get after it to make something positive happen rather than worry about the negative stuff around. Those 93,000 fans have gone through a lot this year and have invested a lot of time and money into some pretty mediocre football.

But, there is great hope for the future. I've proudly been on the Caleb King bandwagon all season. I still think that kid has some huge days ahead. And Washaun's got IT. We've got a pretty good 1-2 punch there for a couple years. We have an abundance of young talent to burn…everywhere. It seems like we have young, fast LBs all over the roster, even if one of them is a reserve tailback. Williams, Robinson, and Dowtin all look like gamers, and, incidentally, just the kind of guys that will work well against a speedy spread option attack in a few weeks. But, the most telling thing to me on Saturday was how big of a difference Akeem Dent made. I was looking at him through my binoculars. We don't have that many players with that kind of build. We've needed him this year. Not to be a sour grapes-injury guy because everyone deals w/ injuries, but one has to wonder how this season shakes out if Caleb, Trinton, Dent, and Josh Davis are healthy the whole season. And after last season, too, do we have to start raising quesitons about our S & C? Do other teams have this many key injuries every season?

We've still got to get better, but it's always good to beat the Barns. We should be better on defense and still need to make changes at the appropriate time if we're going to compete at the highest level. I just hope CMR sees that. He's earned the right to figure it out. But if he doesn't, his days, sadly, in Athens will also be numbered. How would you like to be Auburn today? Remember when we were thinking, "How did we make Crompton look like Joe Montana?" Auburn's thinking, "How did we make Georgia's D look like the Steelers?"

Go Dawgs!
Beat Kentucky!
Get well soon, AJ & Bacarri!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Position changes that need to be beginning Sunday, November 29

Bruce Figgins - DE
Richard Samuel - LB
Logan Gray - WR
Kiante Tripp (add 30 lbs.) - DT

Those would make us better in a hurry.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Good News

You know, I didn't realize it till I read it, but all 4 TD's in the first half were scored by true freshmen: Ealey (2), Smith, Charles. We are so loaded and so young. Our Offense next year has the possibility to be sick:OL: Jones, Josh Davis, Chris Davis, Boling, Anderson & Glenn -- only 5 of them can start. (Harmon, Strickland, and Dallas Lee off the bench)

WR: AJ, Tavares (who is just a RFr this year), Marlon, Rontavious, Durham, Da'Rick Rogers TE: White & Orson (What in the world are we going to do w/ Figgins)
RB: Caleb and Washaun will be just fine
FB: Chapas & Munz will be seniors (and we moved LB Charles White to FB)
Special Player: Uh, BRANDEN SMITH. I don't know the answer to this, but one has to wonder if this kid could help us more on offense full-time. He'd look pretty good as our full time punt and KO returner and whatever he wants to do on offense. I was on the practice field w/ Champ all of his 3 years. This kid is faster. I think he's the fastest player we've had since the Goal line stalker. I've never seen someone leave guys like he does.

So, the question is…what about the QB position. I heard from some reliable sources in summer and they said Murray still wasn't all the way healed from his high school injury. I think that played a major role in this year, along w/ the fact that we had absolutely no breathers until Saturday. To me, Murray is most like Colt McCoy. A good thrower who can really run. McCoy is 6'2", 210. Murray is 6'1", 206. In 2006, McCoy took over at UT after VY left as a redshirt freshman. You'll recall that they lost an early one to #1 Ohio St. (who went on to go undefeated), but started off 9-1, including beatin Oklahoma. In the 10th game of the season vs. K-State, McCoy was injured on the first drive of the game, and the Wildcats upset the Horns. UT also lost to A & M to close out the year, and won the Alamo Bowl vs. Iowa. One has to wonder what would have happened had McCoy not been hurt vs. K-state. They probably win the Big 12 South, and excuse OU the embarrassment of losing to Boise. But, the point is that you can have a really good season with a Redshirt Freshman QB. In fact, you can have a championship caliber season with one. Even with our young QB, we won't play many teams that will be much better than us at that position. Garcia, Jefferson or McElroy will likely be the preseason pick next year for All-SEC QB, and we only play one of them. Boy, you'd have to think that Spurrier is licking his chops. UT, UF, and UGA will all be breaking in new QB's, and he gets UT and UGA in Columbia. Of course, that's kind of the Gamecock story every year, right. I'm just saying that everybody is saying that we should have done this or that with Murray, and I don't know. I'm not sure the kid was healthy. Let's get him healthy and hand him the reigns. We don't need to fart around in that opener next year. Give Murray the keys early and make sure that we know he's the guy before we head up to I-20, because the East could be riding on that game. One things for sure, #11 is going to have a plethora of weapons at his disposal.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's not the schedule, dummy

Well, it's not all the schedule, it could have something to do with the fact that we can't play defense, can't run the ball, can't cover KO's, and throw interceptions like Santa at a Christmas parade. But the schedule (and future ones), ain't helping. Let's just say that if we'd have opened with West Texas State in Athens, we'd be 5-3 at worst. Moreover, who knows what would have happened. Would Trinton Sturdivant have gotten hurt? Would Washaun Ealey have played in a blowout and earned more playing time early (remember we didn't have Caleb against the Cocks). Would Logan have gotten more snaps? Who knows, but I do know that we've got to get a handle on this scheduling.

Here's a look at the current top 19 BCS standings:

1 Florida 8-0
2 Texas 8-0
3 Alabama 8-0
4 Iowa 9-0
5 Cincinnati 8-0
6 TCU 8-0
7 Boise State 8-0
8 Oregon 7-1
9 LSU 7-1
10 Georgia Tech 8-1
11 Penn State 8-1
12 USC 6-2
13 Pittsburgh 7-1
14 Utah 7-1
15 Houston 7-1
16 Ohio State 7-2
17 Miami (FL) 6-2
18 Arizona 5-2
19 Oklahoma State

Some of this will blow your mind, so get ready. We play 1 and 10 every year. In fact, they are our biggest 2 rivals. #1 is our biggest divisional rival and by a long-shot our biggest conference game every year. Did I mention they never play in our stadium…I digress. We play #3 and #9 two out of every six years. In the last 5 years, we have scheduled games against #19 and #7. For good measure, though this is really irrelevant, we scheduled a game with #15 in 2001. Now check this out. We have games scheduled in 2016-17 vs. #8. AND…AND!!!! We HAD a series scheduled with #5 in the next couple years but we got out of it. We also have a series scheduled w/ the ACC's other division leading team in 2013-14. All this is to say, "Damon, get control of yourself." In the meantime, the Mighty Gators have a game scheduled vs. #17 in a couple of years. That's it. They don't care. My biggest problem with these games is that they are beating us up. Our opponents aren't taking this scheduling philosophy. We can't. This isn't basketball. This is football. One loss costs you everything. And one more war is one more chance for a star to get injured.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This will amaze and appall you

There are 120 FBS teams. We currently rank 107 in Kickoff Return Yards given up. However, we are one of only 18 FBS teams that have double digit touchbacks for the season. That's right, we apparently have one of the 18 strongest legs in the nation kicking off for us, and refuse to let the kid boom it everytime, even when it's 85 and sunny in Jax.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Aaron Murray

I looked back at LSU's season last year. I'm not sure about Jefferson's redshirt, because I don't know what the rules are. He had 1 carry each in the 2nd game (North Texas), the 4th game (Miss. St.) and the 8th game (Tulane). Otherwise, he did not play in the rest of the games. He may have handed off a few times in those games 3 games, I don't know. But he didn't attempt a college pass till the 10th game, vs. Troy. He QB'd them down the stretch, beating Troy and losing to Ole Miss and Arky…then lighting up GT in the Peach Bowl (yes, I still call it that).

They are now ranked #9 in the BCS and still in the hunt for all the marbles if they beat Alabama somehow on Saturday. They lost 13-3 to the champs and are getting better each week. They struggled last year, lost a bunch of games, went 3-5 in the SEC, couldn't figure it out at QB, and had a defense that looked like a Pee Wee team. They started a true freshman QB ridiculously late in the season and brought in a new DC in the off-season, and they're looking at 10-2 at worst this year. It can be done. Pull the trigger on Murray. I can't believe I'm saying it, but pull it. And get some new blood on defense in there and this thing can get turned around quicker than we realized. We might take a few lumps this year, but we're taking them anyway. I love Joe and wanted him to succeed. It's apparent he can't.