Monday, July 25, 2011

40 Days and Counting

It is getting close. Jesus fasted for 40 days, so look at like that. We're just one good fast away from football season. A couple of thoughts popped in my head lately.

-A positve thing for us is that South Carolina does NOT play on Sept. 1. They play a neutral site game vs. East Carolina in the Carolina Panthers stadium on Sept. 3, just like us. Noon kickoff. They'll have to put out some effort to win that thing. East Carolina is no pushover and much better than that Southern Miss team they played last year and probably those NC State teams they played in years before that.

-Have you seen those 2013 and 2014 Schedules? That's going to be some weird stuff. We play the first 2 games away in 2013. How weird is THAT going to be. @ Clemson & @ Vandy. What does Nashville look like in September? Very strange. But I like shaking things up and I certainly like that as our SEC opener instead of the Cocks.

-I'm pumped about the Pro Combats. Football is supposed to be fun, right? I think it will be fun for the players and I'm excited to see what NIKE comes up with. If they're terrible, we'll never see them again. If they're awesome and we rock Boise like a hurricane, maybe we'll see them down the road. If we roll Boise and end up in Atlanta in December, it'd be kind of fun to bring them back out. We could call them our Inside Unis. I really, really believe we're going to have silver helmets.

On to football. It really is a simple game. I did a little research w/ the handy new app I got from blutarsky's blog that has a plethora of stats. It was eye-opening. And it helps you understand the cunundrum the Dawgs were last year. Cox was a turnover machine in '09. We were terrible at take-aways and gave it away like we didn't want it. We knew it killed us and Richt and Bobo worked hard on correcting the -17 or -18 or -19 or whatever terrible number it was in '09. Murray was much more careful with the ball in '10 and we seemed to get a few more fumbles and INTs ourselves. We ended up w/ a +10 on the turnovers and it was hard to figure out how in the world we ended up 6-7 as opposed to 8-5 the previous year when we improved by over +25 for the season. Turnovers are the most important stat in football, right? Well, yes. We improved greatly over the season, but let me give you a little clue about how the season went down.

Minus 1 or worse: Arkansas, Miss. St., Colorado, Florida (0-4)
0 (even on turnovers): South Carolina & UCF (0-2)
Plus 1 or better: LA-Lafayette, UT, Vandy, UK, Auburn, Idaho, Tech (6-1…with the only loss to 14-0 National Champion Auburn*)

It's pretty clear: win the turnover battle and win the game. We've got to cause turnovers and we've got to avoid them. It is crazy to think about what happens last season if Ealey doesn't fumble on the goal-line vs. South Carolina and Miss. St., and Caleb doesn't fumble on the last play, basically, vs. Colorado. We could easily have been 9-3 without those 3 fumbles…as bad as we were. And who knows what happens in Jacksonville if Sanders Commings falls on the ball instead of trying to pick it up. Oh, I do…we win. There you go. Four plays. Four turnovers that didn't go our way. Four losses. Could that crappy team really have gone 10-2? Who knows. But it should would have been fun to get another shot at those War Chickens on our turf.

And P.S. on Ealey. We could sure use the depth at RB, but I got to thinking about him. I had forgotten about '09 UK. In the span of about 19 games in 2 seasons, the kid fumbled THREE times inside the 5 yardline when we're going in to score vs. and SEC opponent. The UK game was a lock win if he doesn't fumble. The Miss. St. game is probably a win. And the South Carolina game sure would have been fun to watch. 3 times. Fittingly…he wore #3.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Late July Thoughts Post Media Days

So, SEC media days are over. I'm not sure what any of it means. Nothing. It means a bunch of nothing. They rarely get it right. They picked Bama last year and that team went 5-3 in the conference. They picked Florida in the East and that team went, what 4-4 in the conference. I could care less about predictions. Though I'll say this. IF Murray is, indeed, the All-SEC QB in December and Blair and Butler likewise, it's hard to imagine we didn't have a great season. I also don't make much of quotes. I'm not sure it all means that much. I heard from insiders prior to '07 Florida that we'd had a terrible week of practice. In contrast, I loved Richt's attitude prior to '08 Bama. What do I know. But there's something that keeps coming back to me...Bama.

I can't help but think about '07 Bama and '10 UGA. That 'Bama team went 7-6 and won a crappy Independence Bowl vs. Colorado. It was Saban's first season with a new defense in place. That team lost to UGA, FSU, LSU, Miss. St., Auburn and...LA-Monroe. They averaged giving up 22 pts/game. 23.75 pts/game in SEC play. They had a couple of memorable wins against Arkansas and UT. They survived against Ole Miss and Houston by 3 and 6 points, respectively, and they seemed to get worse as the season went along. I was not sold on Saban after '07.

They scheduled the very first Chick-fil-a Kickoff vs. Clemson, who was highly ranked in the preseason and looking for a big year w/ Spiller and Davis at RBs. Then in February, they made a huge haul on signing day, bringing in Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, and a guy name Terrance Cody. They stoned Clemson on their first possession, kicked a FG and went on to run them out of the building 34-10. They went on to go 12-0, losing the SEC championship game and the Sugar Bowl, then winning it all at 14-0 in 2010.

The scripts are too similar. We got Crowell, Mitchell, Rome, Drew, Marshall and Jenkins...guys that CAN make an immediate impact. And how the first quarter goes on Peachtree St. could change a lot about the psyche of this team. That game could, COULD, springboard us to greatness. And we could, COULD, improve on D like Bama did in '08. That was a wretched team to close out '07. Something happened in 8 months. John Jenkins and Kwame might just be that something. If those two big son of a guns dominate the line, Senor Ogletree will do just fine at LB.

A dawg can dream, can't he?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Thoughts on Richard Samuel Returning to Offense

Happened to catch a little of the 2009 USCe game on TV the other night and I'll admit, I was pleasantly surprised/shocked/misremembered at how hard Richard ran the ball. After seeing 3 and 4 for two years I had forgotten how hard Richard Samuel ran. It was a noticeable difference. Hopefully the switch to D hasn't given him more stone hands and the bulk will help out his horrible balance. If nothing else he would make a great fullback, IMO.

I think Richard can be valuable on offense this year. If we put him in positive situations I think he can be a solid contributor. He sounds very excited to be making the switch back to offense.

Here's to putting one foot on the Richard Samuel bandwagon. I am personally excited to hear fans say Richard Samuels again....I missed that last season.