Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pre Head Coaching Experience - Not So Fast My Friend

Clemson – Dabo, wasn’t even a coordinator at Clemson
Bama – Saban, had won NC at LSU
OU – Stoops, DC at Florida
Iowa – Ferentz, OL coach for Ravens (had been Maine HC before with a 12-21 record)
MSU – Dantonio, HC @ Cincinnati
OSU – Meyer, HC @ Bowling Green, Utah, Florida
UNC – Fedora, HC @ Southern Miss
Stanford – Shaw, OC @ Stanford
FSU – Jimbo, OC @ LSU & FSU
ND – Kelly, HC @ Grand Valley St., Central Mich & Cincy

So, of the top 10 teams, 5 had HC experience.  4 had never been head coaches, and 1 hade sort of been a HC, though a very unsuccessful one at a tiny program before heading to NFL as an assistant.

There is no formula.  Saban and Meyer were different animals.  They had won at the highest level at power 5 conference schools.  You already knew what they could do, which is the best indicator of what they would do.  There aren’t many of those available.  I’ll name them for you:

Jimbo Fisher
Gene Chizik
Les Miles
Mack Brown
Pete Carroll
Jim Tressell
Larry Coker
Bob Stoops

Many of those you don’t want.  Some you can’t get.  And the others would cost A LOT and would most likely turn us down.

That means it’s a crapshoot.  We don’t know.  Could Chip Kelly do it?  Could Dantonio do it?  Maybe. But there’s not guarantee.  If Kirby is the guy they think and we’re going to support him, let’s go for it.  I love Richt.  Adore the man, but I’ll take my chances with Cold-Blooded Kirby vs. Butch, Mac and Malzhan every year.  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Well, Here We Go...

Strange mix of emotions today.  It’s sort of like getting dumped but realizing you could now ask that other good looking girl in 3rd period out.  But she could say no.  Or she could be a psychopath.  And maybe it was just about to get better with your ex, but you’d be dating since 9th grade and she’s the only girlfriend you’ve had in high school.  That was the day.

But it’s over.  And I knew it.  I knew it in Jacksonville.  I went to every game this year, and what I can tell is that it just wasn’t fun.  You guys tha know me, know I live for it.  Saturdays in the fall are my vacation, and being a dawg fan, especially a road dawg, took more work than I can ever imagine.  We had almost nothing to cheer for.  We nearly let a terrible vandy team beat us.  We lost terribly to UT, after being up by 21.  We were embarrassed in Jax.  We couldn’t hardly do anything in Auburn, only to do less in Atlanta.  5 worst road games I’ve ever attended in a season.  All season long, we had one fun night against the cocks.  That was it.  1 game to cheer and feel really good.  And the fanbase knew it.  Our fans were listless and numb leaving Everbank.  It was a morgue.  We had been to a funeral.  My wife said it.  It felt different.  I knew after the other 50 losses we could turn it around.  After that one, I was finally not as convinced.

I wanted Richt to stick around.  I thought holding the team together was masterful.  I wanted Eason and the recruiting class and Chubb back.  I wanted him to get another shot.  But, I get it.  I’ve had enough staff members to know that if you know…you gotta make the move.

I’m not sure I trust McGarity, but we have to.  But, for some strange reason, I trust Kirby.  I can say that Herman is no different from Kirby.  He’s been a head coach for 1 season.  Would it make you feel better if Kirby had just finished up a one year stint at Houston at 10-2.  Probably.  But that doesn’t really mean anything.  Just because it’s an easy hire doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  If Kirby comes here, it’s because he wants to be here.  It’s because he WANTS to do at home.  It’s because he wants to build something we’ve never seen.  I think he knows how.  Listen, guys, he’s learned from the most remarkable coach that we’ve probably ever seen in SEC history.  From 2008-2015, this is Bama’s regular season records:


We’ve never seen anything like it.  It is a run only comparable in recent memory to Bobby at FSU and Osborne at the end at Nebraska (but even Osborne’s stretch wasn’t that long).  Kirby has seen first hand how to win in THIS LEAGUE up close and personal.  And he’s our guy.  We have seen the implants into the conference that are pretty good coaches that take a while to catch up.  Kirby won’t feel the pressure of 100,000 people in stadiums and Momma’s living room because he lives it every day.  I don’t know if he’ll be a good tactical coach on gameday, but I know he’ll load us up with talent like never before, have a mean, lights out defense and run a pro-style offense like the one that has produced the last two RBs to win Heismans (in about 2 weeks).  

How would I feel about Muschamp as DC?  I don’t know.  He’s an embarrassment, but I trust Kirby.  Kiffin was an embarrassment, but you haven’t heard a peep since he went to T-town.  That’s the kind of ship I expect Kirby to run.  Herman doesn’t excite me just because he’s got a year’s experience.  I have no idea if he can recruit South GA.  I know Kirby can.  Dantonio or Brian Kelly excites me, but I don’t think we’re going THAT expensive.  So let’s have mama call.  He might be our Spurrier.  It might bug him to no end to see us lose and he might do anything to fix it.

But I want it to be fun again.  And it just wasn’t fun this year.

Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

5 Year Breakdowns of the CMR Era

Was just thinking about how those middle 5 years were a trainwreck for Richt, at least feeling that way, so I looked at the data.  If we somehow make it to 10 wins (and that’s no given with this offense – our best bet is to end up in Outback or Citrus vs. Iowa…they can’t score either).  But, if we do, this is how the 5 year segments shape up.  One of those is not like the other.  The middle five also included some of our worst QBs.  If we had HAD a functional QB this year, it’s not unreasonable to figure that we might have matched the win total.  This year has been sad and strange, but you can’t look at these 5 like the previous 5 if we somehow pull off 10 wins.  It’s simply nothing to sneeze at.  Also, fun fact:  all 3 SECCG Richt has lost has been to 2 national champions and other played for the national championship only to lose to another SEC team.  Tough luck.  

1st 5 years
52-13 = 80%
David Greene (Freshman-Senior)
DJ Shockley (Freshman-Senior)
Joe Tereshinski III (1 game) (Junior)

Four 10+ win seasons
3 SEC Champ. Games
2 SEC Championships

2nd 5 years
44-21 = 67.7%
Joe Tereshinski III (Senior)
Matthew Stafford (Freshman-Junior)
Joe Cox (Freshman-Senior)
Aaron Murray (Freshman)

Two 10+ win seasons
0 SEC Championship games
0 SEC Championships

3rd 5 years
50-17 = 74.6%
Aaron Murray (Sophomore-Senior)
Hutson Mason (Senior)
Greyson Lambert (Junior)
Faton Bauta (Junior) (1 game)

Four 10+ win seasons
2 SEC Championship Games
0 SEC Championships

Monday, November 16, 2015

I'm not ready just yet...

I’m not ready to write this guy off.  A kid he benched who he turned to with his career on the line who came through.  A kid we offered a scholly to about 5 days before signing day in late January 2014.  A kid that was too short for everyone else.  A kid that has gotten in trouble a few times and was suspended for the bowl game.  An embattled coach.

We have seen him go from young innovator to grandfather.  He was once old enough to be their fun uncle.  Now he is plenty old to be their dad.  

But more than anything, no one, and I mean no one, can keep a team from falling apart like Mark Richt.  We don’t fold.  In 2006 when we should have struggled to get to a bowl after losing 4 of 5, we rallied to beat our rivals at the end of the season, both of them ranked.  In 2009 when Cox was a mess and we headed to play the triple option against top 10 Tech at their house (the only time in Richt’s tenure I was just going because I go, but thinking we’d probably lose to them)...he set his jaw and we won the state.  In 2010, when we lost 4 straight!!!  We somehow, somehow made a bowl with a freshmen QB.  In 2014, when our star was suspended, we rallied the troops and won AT Mizzou and AT Arkansas.  In 2015, when we can’t do much of nothing right and this team has all the makings of a 6-6 or 7-5 team, we won’t go either of those.

We made horrific hire in Schotty, but we made a darn fine one in Pruitt.  We also groomed a cocky, young ex-QB into one of the finest OCs in the nation.  Mike Bobo was 30 when he was handed the reins.  And I’m just not ready to write him off.  I’m not sure David Shaw can do better.  I’m not sure that Justin Fuente can do better.  I’m not sure Kirby Smart, Art Briles or Gary Patterson can do better.  I’m not sure Mark Dantonio can do better.  I’m not sure anyone can do better.  There comes a time in programs when you are sure that someone else could do better.  I’m not sure we know that.  I’m as disappointed as heck about October, but that month should have done us in.  It should have done Richt in, and he’s rallied the troops in a pretty incredible way.

And he’s done it with Nick Chubb on the sidelines…and his QB in Seattle.  If I had told you before the season these things:

·       Bama will be Chubb’s last game.
·       Our QBs are way worse that you think.
·       Schotty is the worst hire Richt’s ever made.
·       JSW will not play a down.

How do you feel about the season?  Do you see 9-3 with those realities?  He deserves blame for the schotty hire, but I also think he gets a chance to fix it.  You can fix an offense real fast in college football.

It is ridiculous of Christian UGA fans to think we shouldn’t fire Richt because ‘there’s more the winning.’  He gets paid to develop men and win.  There are great Christian coaches all across the landscape winning and molding young men.  For me, that’s not an issue when thinking about whether he should stay.  I’m just not sure he’s done, by a longshot.  I’m not sure that he can’t win a championship.  I’m not sure that we don’t have Tom Osborne, Vince Dooley or Bobby Bowden on our hands.  

Charlie Ward changed FSU.  1 player.  They went from good to great.  

I was less certain than ever walking out of Everbank, but this team has no business being 7-3 with two winnable games to go…and here we are.  And I’m not sure if the head coach isn’t the reason that we actually won the 7 we won.

Monday, November 9, 2015

We're off...but not that far off.

So, sitting there on Saturday night watching ball and thinking…

·       I think Clemson would get smashed by Bama.  They’ll break DeShaun.
·       Watching FSU/Clemson is good football.  It looks like SEC football.  They play one of those a year in that league.  We play them nearly every week.

Bama has beaten LSU 5 straight times and 7 of 9.  How come no one is talking about that?  Richt is 3-2 vs. Les and 1-1 in the dome against him.  Bama is beating everyone, but we’ve held our own vs. the Bengals.  

I am angry about what happened in Jax.  I’m angry I took my boys out of school on Friday, paid for a hotel, got them excited about their first cocktail party and they saw that.  I’m angry we hired an OC who doesn’t clearly understand the college game.  I angry we started Faton Bauta.  I’m angry.  I have NEVER thought the Richt regime was over until walking out of Everbank last week.  I told my boys I thought they’d seen the end of an era.  They may have.  The events of the week made it seem even more inevitable.  But the thing about College Football is that you really do HAVE to play the next play, and sometimes you can make up your mind about teams, players, coaches, programs…but they get to play the season.  And tonight I sit in a very gray world instead of black and white.

·       Mighty Memphis and their hot name coach lost by 25 to Navy today.  Is he ready to handle the Triple Option…because the DC he brings with him will have to play it every year in the most important game of the season.
·       Ole Miss dropped to 5-3, losing to a below average Arkansas team.  Freeze made some atrocious calls in the game, and his team made critical mistakes.
·       Dantonio and Mich. St. lost to a terrible Nebraska team, probably knocking them out of any playoff conversation.  It’s still feasible they win that division with a win over Ohio St.
·       TCU and my golden boy Patterson lost by 20 in Stillwater, and they have the best QB in the nation by a mile.

We are an experiment in futility on offense.  I think a good bit of that has to do with an extremely bad hire we made at OC.  I’d be interested to see who had a hand in all the wildcat stuff this week in the meeting rooms.  We’ll never know.  We are also challenged at QB.  This is no secret.  I have no doubt that Bobo would have made Brice, but he might have also led the league in INTs and cost us 2-3 games.  We are also missing Nick Chubb.  And if I’d told you in August that Nick’s last game would be vs. Bama, you’d have said the rest of the season sure wouldn’t be as fun.  We were scared of Knoxville after Bama with Nick, guys.  We are play 28 freshmen in the secondary.

I don’t see a world where Pruitt goes and Schotty stays.  The howling would be too loud.  I also don’t see a scenario where they both go.  Hard to imagine Richt is allowed to start over without us totally starting over.  But, But, But….these last 3 games do matter.  With Ole Miss’s loss, the rest of the season could get interesting in pecking order.  MSU has Bama, Arky and Ole Miss.  Ole Miss has LSU and MSU.  If Florida beats FSU and LSU wins out, they’re both 11-1 and have a very good shot at making the big 6 bowls.  One would probably go peach and one would go sugar.  MSU and Ole Miss could end up with 3-4 losses, maybe both with 4.  That means, and I know you haven’t really thought about this, that there’s a very good chance that if we go 9-3 we’re going to the Citrus Bowl.  Are we going to fire a coach that goes 9-3 and goes to the Citrus Bowl vs. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan St. or Ohio St?  I made the John Cooper analogy, and it’s spot on.  But that seems crazy.  Perhaps we’ve already made up our minds, and that might be healthy.  

But, it’s hard to imagine that these last 3 games don’t matter.  If this team can get to 9-3, that might be a magician’s work.  So, if we play with heart, beat Auburn, Southern and Tech…you’ve got Eason coming in…you’ve got Chubb coming back…maybe we can convince Keith to stay in school and play one more season (looks like he can still play SEC football)…fire schotty…keep Pruitt?  Are we really, really, really ready to blow that up?

And what if we give play-calling to Lilly and hire a QB guru?  What if we hired George Whitfield, Jr.?

And I like Dabo a lot, but when Mark Richt had a decent QB and some tailbacks we beat him by 21…just a season and a half ago.

I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision.  Whatever decision it is, don’t think that McGarity isn’t thinking those exact same things.  We could be as close as we’re going to get under Richt, or we could be mighty close to breaking through.  And there are no guarantees out there. Unless we’re paying $7 million.  Then there might be some guarantees.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

John Cooper & UGA

The name, the point of reference is John Cooper.

·       He coached 13 years at Ohio State, from 1988-2000.
·       He was 111-43-4
·       70.25% Winning Percentage
·       3 Big 10 Titles
·       2 Sugar Bowls and 1 Rose Bowl
·       3 Citrus Bowls and 1 Outback Bowl
·       Two 10-win seasons, Three 11-win seasons, One 9-win season (He coached in an era of 11 regular season games, so nine wins is like 10 now).
·       4 of 13 seasons in which they lost 2 games or less
·       5 Top 10 finishes

·       Zero National Championships
·       3-8 Bowl Record
·       2-10-1 vs. Michigan
·       OSU fired him after an 8-4 season in 2000 (8-3 in regular season)
·       They hired Jim Tressel and won the 2002 Natty, played for it again in 2006 and 2007.  Won it again in 2014 under Meyer.  Went 12-0 in 2012 under probation and 12-0 in 2013 and would have played for it again if not for a Big 10 Champ. Game loss.

That’s the hard part for me, but OSU is THE point of reference for us.  Talent-rich state, great tradition, can’t beat a rival.  When they hired Tressel in 2001, their last national championship had come 33 years earlier, in 1968.  Cooper had been outstanding.  In an era of 11 games and no conference championship games, he averaged 8.54 wins per year.  With 12 regular season games, that average would be 9.13 wins per year, not counting the potential for seasons for another win in the Conference Championship game.

Cooper was a good man.  He is in the College Football Hall of Fame, as well he should be.  But Ohio State could be more than 9-3 every year, and they made probably the toughest coaching call in the last 30 years in the sport.  When they fired Cooper in 2000, he was 3 seasons removed from an 11-1 season in which they won the Sugar Bowl and finished #2 in the nation in 1998.  It wasn’t enough.  As of right now, they’ve lost 1 regular season game in the last 4 years.  We’ve lost 12.  

John Cooper is the point of reference.  Ohio State is the model.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Read it to Believe it

I keep saying this season feels an awful lot like 2007.  The Tech/FSU play had all the makings of a play that throws a giant wrench in the whole playoff deal.  That year, a team w/ 2 losses made it into the championship game.  This year, I think a team with 2-losses gets in the playoff.  But that’s neither here nor there.  2015 feels like 2007 for the dawgs, too.  Do you remember those 1st 7 games?  We had a first year play caller, as Mike had taken over the reins for the Tech game and VaTech games the year before, but it was his first full season.  He struggled to get out of the gate.  

We started off 5-2.  We had a 16-12 loss to South Carolina (led by Blake Mitchell) in which we failed to score a TD.  We beat a decent Okie St. team.  We beat Saban’s first Alabama team in OT, which lost to LA-Monroe and went 7-6.  We were absolutely listless in Knoxville, losing to UT 35-14, and we scored the last one as a garbage TD very, very late.  We had beaten Western Carolina handily, and an Ole Miss Team coached by Orgeron (his final year) that went 3-9 and 0-8 in the league.  Ole Miss scored first, and fumbled on first and goal at the 1 with a chance to go up 14-0.  They actually tied the game at 17 all with under 10 minutes to go in the 3rd Qtr.  This is a team that went 0-8 in the SEC.  Brandon Coutu hit a game winner at the buzzer to beat a Vandy team that went 5-7 in Nashville.  A few weeks prior, in Knoxville, Thomas Brown broke his collarbone and was out for several weeks.  We were beat up and largely a disappointment after the dazzling win over Okie St.  We took a week off and we rested.  

7 games into the season, here were Stafford’s stats:
115 for 229 (50.22%)
1,364 yds
10 TD

Here were Knowshon’s stats:
119 rushes for 619 yds
5.2 yds/carry

We approached 9th ranked Florida ranked 20th. 11 spots behind the Gators.

Here we are again at 5-2.  We have a loss in a lopsided score in which our offense was non-existent.  We have a loss that was maddeningly frustrated because we just couldn’t punch it in when needed.   We lost in Knoxville and our starting running back was injured there.  We are 23rd and the Gators are ranked 12th…11 spots ahead of us.  Now, take a look at Lambert and Sony’s 2015 stats through 7 games, compared to Stafford and Moreno’s.

100 of 156 passing (64.1%)
1,276 yds
9 TD

89 rushes for 508 yds
5.7 yds/carry

With a  similar stat line from our QB and RB, we lined up against a team ranked 11 spots higher than us with a QB who would win the Heisman THAT YEAR and man-handled them like never before.  We hit a couple deep passes.  Are Malcom, Godwin and Izzy as good as Massoquoi, Bailey and Mikey?  I’d say they are better.  The catalyst for that run at the end of ‘07 was a suffocating defense led by a pass rush that wouldn’t stop, namely Marcus Howard.  Are the rushers we have capable of turning around our defense?  Were Stafford and Moreno THAT much different or better than Lambert or Sony.  I’m saying this with a serious face.  We had seen Matt come alive at the end of his freshman season, but really he had just show flashes at the start of the ’07.  He was wildly inconsistent, more prone to INTs and much less accurate.

I have no idea what’s going to happen on Saturday.  I don’t remember how I felt pregame in 2007, but I remember how I felt when I saw us dancing in the end zone.  I knew we had come to play in a way that we NEVER had before on the river.  We stayed relentless all day.  I can tell you this; 2007 was the last time My wife went to the Cocktail Party, and she’s loading up at 3 p.m. Thursday to head out again.  When you look back at all that, you realize how incredibly improbable the end of that 2007 run was.  We essentially looked like we look now till that point in the season.  And something snapped.

Here’s for more snapping on the banks of the St. John’s, and may the ghost of Trinton Sturdivant dance again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Field Goal U

I figured up a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been to somewhere around 300 games.  I have seen every one of Mark Richt’s 50 losses in person.  I also witnessed every one of Jim Donnan’s 40 losses.  Heck, that’s 90 losses right there.  I went to a bunch of Dooley and Goff games, too, which offered their fair share of losses.  I’d guess I’m roughly around 190-110 as an observer, though I might not have seen 20 Dooley/Goff losses in person.  I’m at best 200-100.  All that to say, there ain’t nothing like walking out a winner vs. a loser.  We scored 28 and played a great game vs. Bama in 2012.  Give me a 9-6 victory every day.

But the game felt eerily familiar.  It felt so much like Richt circa 2001-2003.  People forget how conservative we were, how much we relied on Billy Bennett.  To this day, Billy Bennett remains the SEC’s all-time leader in career FGs made, with 87.  And Billy’s first 2 years we were only playing 11 games.  Remember the 2001 Tech game?  Billy had SIX FGs, Verron finally scored a TD in the 3rd and Wansley had a pick-6 late to seal the deal.  We scored 31 points and scored 1 offensive TD.  13-7 over the Cocks in ’02 with the only TD a Pollack miracle.  On Oct. 25, 2003, a then 3-5 UAB team came to Athens.  It was 10-10 at haltime.  They took a 13-10 lead in the 3rd and we didn’t tie it up till about 3 min. left in the 3rd.  Billy kicked a FG early in the 4th for us to win 16-13.

So, maybe we’re back there.  Maybe we play Defense and do that.  I don’t know.  I just used to know winning was enough back then.  I’m not sure what happened in the last 10 years when winning didn’t seem to be enough.  I’m cool winning 9-6 from here on out.  What I do know is that those teams in 2001-2003 also showed up in some bigger games and proved to be explosive at times.  Greyson reminds me most of Greenie in his skill set.  If he can get his moxie and coolness, we’ll be alright.

For your recruiting pleasure:
>Kyle Davis commits on Friday
>Tune-In to ESPNU Friday at 10 p.m. to watch Eason play.  No, he can’t play for us in Jax no matter how many strings you pull.

The game…

·       I am incredibly proud of Sony.  He didn’t feel well and ran his rear end off.  Keith ran as hard as I’ve ever seen him run.  Douglas still hits the hole too slow for my taste, but we’re gonna need him to produce some.  If there was ever a doubt how good Nick Chubb is…there ain’t no more.
·       Malcom Mitchell is awesome.  Godwin is gonna be a star.  Boy do we need JSW.  We really need 16 back.
·       Rumor is Jeb Blazevich still plays for us.  Could just be a rumor, though.
·       I think Briscoe is gonna be good.  Pruitt could care less about players’ feelings.  He’ll play a new kid in a heart beat.  That young secondary is getting better.  Those 90 plays in Knoxville killed us, y’all.
·       We play Roquan and Natrez A LOT at key points in the game.  Will be fascinating to see how it plays out, because Kimbrough and Ganus are playing lights out.
·       I am beginning to looooooooove Davin Bellamy.  That joker is huge.
·       I thought our O-line got pushed around, but sometimes you can’t block 7 with 5.  It’s going to continue to be a problem until…

Lambert.  He’s our guy, like it or not.  He’s what we got, and he’s a stop gap to get to Eason.  I can’t figure it out.  He’s not terrible.  JT3 was terrible.  Jeremy Johnson is terrible.  The kid from South Carolina is terrible.  In fact, he throws a beautiful ball at times.  But no one is scared, and that’s more apparent with Chubb out.  To me, it really seems like  crisis of confidence.  Vernon Hargreaves III will not help that confidence.  Our hope is that the QB guru of gurus can coach him up in the next 12 days.  Do you remember Matt Stafford and how bad he was the first half of 2006.  It was awful.  Colorado and Ole Miss games?  Awful.  Losing in Lexington.  I don’t know what happened that day in Lee County, Alabama, but something clicked and he was never the same again.  Lambert is not Stafford, but he’s got plenty of talent for something to click emotionally and mentally to be a really, really good SEC QB.  Let’s hope it happens on the river.

As for Richt, this is a big stretch for him, but he ain’t going anywhere short of 6-6.  In a way, this might his greatest hour.  No one really rallies the troops like CMR, and no one really keeps the noise out quite like him.  It would be JUST like him to win this thing out and win the East.  I do know that I believe in him.  I believe in where we’re headed.  What he did with Marshall reaffirmed WHY I love him so much, and I believe in THAT process.  I’ll bet his jaw is set on the banks of the St. John’s River.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Some Fundamental Questions & THE Fundamental Question

We are licking our wounds, but there are fundamental questions that we have to address.  Unfortunately, there aren’t easy answers.

·       I have a lot of questions, but the simplest one is why on earth don’t we give Brice Ramsey a shot punting.  To date, he has punted the prettiest ball of the year in 1 attempt.  
·       I don’t know why we can’t cover the middle of the field, but I have my suspicions…and it includes 2 true freshmen and a true sophomore.
·       I cannot figure out why we keep throwing bombs on 3rd and 5.
·       2nd and 9…it’s the Georgia Way.
·       Blazevich is still on scholarship, right?
·       I’m very worried about our lack of a dynamic WR outside of Malcom, especially since he has 6-8 games left.
·       I’m more concerned about our lack of mental toughness when things don’t go right.  Florida, Tech, Bama and UT.  We have wilted at 1 or 2 scores.  
·       I’m concerned about Sony’s ball security, but he has a lot of Garrison Hearst and Knowshon in him.  He could be up for a special last half season if we’ll utilize him.
·       Keith Marshall, you’re up.  And don’t put that redshirt on just yet Tae Crowder.

In the end, the game came down to this:
·       If Lorenzo Carter tips 4th and 7 up 24-3, the games over.  In fact, we might tack on another one before halftime because we were rolling.  We were getting to Dobbs, too.  Kudos to Butch for going for it.  He had to.  I reminded me of us in Columbia in 2012.  Down 21-0, we went for it inside the 5 and didn’t get it right before half.  Ballgame.  Had we scored, who knows what happens.
·       If Sony doesn’t fumble…probably ballgame.
·       If Reggie Davis catches the ball, we’ve got us an interesting last 3 minutes and we have all the momentum.
·       The bottom in is that defense flat out wilted playing 90 plays and the offense didn’t help with a boatload of 3 and outs.  It was a total team failure.

All is not lost:
·       As crazy as it ALL sounds, we’re still in really decent position to win the East, whatever that means.
·       Florida goes to Baton Rouge Saturday night.
·       UT goes to Tuscaloosa on Oct. 24.
·       It’s a very real possibility that we go to Jax with our destiny in our own hands.  For whatever reason, I’m still not that scared of Florida.  I’ve seen them play several games, and I’m just not impressed.  Defense is lights out but has vulnerabilities.  This is why it’s so important for CMR to rally the troops to laser focused.  Control what you can control (as in, beat Mizzou and get better).  If it happens it happens, but we are talented enough to beat every remaining team on our schedule and not many have the ability to exploit the middle of our secondary like we’ve seen.

I began a poor man’s list of potential coaching hires, seriously.  I began thinking about Tommy Bowdon and had we become like Clemson in the mid-2000s.  Dabo has energized that program (I actually think we could make a run at Dabo – he’s the coaching flavor of the week).  But let’s be honest.  Dabo got hired because he was cheap – that’s it.  Clemson got lucky.  And how lucky?  His first 7 years he’s got a winning percentage of 71.74%. Richt’s first 7 years were 79.12% and his total is 73.68%.  In the exact amount of time (mid-way through the 2008 season) that Dabo took over at Clemson, Richt has a 67.74% winning percentage.  Dabo did that in an ACC that won exactly 1 National Title.  Richt did that during the Tebow era at Florida, Saban taking the job at Bama, and a stretch where LSU was often the best or 2nd best team in the nation.  Oh, and Auburn keeps buying titles.  The common opponents?  Spurrier, who had his way with Dabo more than Richt.  And Tech, who is lucky to ever beat Richt and gives Clemson fits usually.  My point is it’s not an easy answer.  What is sexy today isn’t always what is sexy over the long run.  There might be guys that we could hire that could do 2 things:  1- Inject energy and mental toughness into the program that’s missing and 2 – Hold Eason and the recruiting class together.  Narduzzi, Harsin (who’d probably be my pick), Swinney, Dantonio, Patterson, Whittingham, Fitzgerald, Brian Kelly (he makes $1.19 mil…don’t laugh).  I think we could make a run at those guys for $5 mil/year and they MIGHT do it.  But would we make a run at those guys?  And are we to the point where we HAVE to change because the FUTURE is so bleak?  And that leads me to the MOST fundamental question.

We need a program turn-around (and maybe it’s slowly happening, but whatever), but the mess at USC and Haden’s complete incompetence hiring Kiffin, then Sark, led me to this question:

>>>>>Do you trust Greg McGarity or Mark Richt more to turn our program around?  That’s the million dollar question.  Or do we trust the process we’re going through?  Every coach in his right mind believes Jeremy Pruitt knows what he’s doing.  Every SEC team would take Rocker.  Sale is recruiting lights out.  B-Mac and T Brown are young coaching stars.  Eckeler could get a job in about 24 hours.  I just did a little thinking, and this is what our 2017 depth chart could look like:

QB – Eason – So
RB – Chubb – Sr. (I don’t think he’s going anywhere now after the injury.  Could be a Robert Edward type deal of playing next year but not looking same till the next).
FB – Payne – Sr.
TE – Blaze – Sr.
WR – Godwin – Jr.
WR – Chigbu – Jr.
WR – McKenzie – Sr.
T – Ben Cleveland – So.
G – Wynn – Sr.
C – Kendall Baker - Jr
G – Galliard – Jr.
T – Bynum – Sr.

DE – Ledbetter – Jr.
DL – Thompson – Jr.
DL – Atkins – Sr.
OLB – Carter – Sr. & Walker – Jr.
LB – Patrick – Jr.
LB – Smith – Jr.
OLB – Bellamy – Sr
S – Abram – Jr.
S – Sanders – Sr.
C – Parrish – Sr.
C – McGraw – Jr.
Star/Nickel – Wilkerson – Sr & Roundtree – Jr

Guys, that’s what a National Championship team looks like, not starting freshmen and sophomores all over the place.  Remember the story of 1980.  We had all the pieces, but we just needed a tailback.  Woerner and Ross were senior captains.  Belue and Scott were proven juniors.  I think I wanna see Pruitt and Richt coach that team.  I hope we can get to winning this last half to make sure we can.  I really do.  When you step back, you see we’re on a right track. You see we recruited terrible for a few years and we’ve changed everything.  That’s why we’re playing these young cats on defense…they’re better!  I don’t think we can blow that up.  This isn’t a cupboard going bare like Mack Brown and Phil Fulmer were doing.  Dooley’s 15th season was 1978.  He had won 3 SEC titles (one was a tie), and been to 2 Sugar Bowls and an Orange Bowl.  We were struggled to find a QB, and a freshman Belue came off the bench to beat Tech.  But he was building something.  

Go Dawgs and on to better days.

Monday, October 5, 2015


I’ve had to stay away from Blutarsky for a few days because it is in these moments that he shows his ignorance.  Listening to Danztler on the way home Saturday was much the same.  “Blah, blah, blah…how many straight years with a loss of 15 points or more.”  As if that is some magical number.  Garbage TDs and ‘seal the deal’ TDs make final scores hard to compute.  A game that’s an 8 point game for much of the game but ends up being 15 isn’t a blowout.  A game that is a 21 point game most of the game that ends up a 14 point game with 30 seconds left wasn’t close.  It’s just a moronic sentiment, and the idea (which seems to be Blutarsky’s) that we didn’t come prepared is asinine.  We were toe to toe for more than a quarter.  It’s ridiculous to mark this as some kind of ultimatum on Richt.  It showed us that Bama can still push us around on the wrong day, and we still have some hill to climb there, but the thought someone else, some magical coach, that could ‘avoid’ these losses is the most ridiculous statement ever.  There might be one guy.  He coached for the other team Saturday and he ain’t coming to Athens.  But, here’s the reality of some lopsided losses for some of the other best coaches and programs in our league JUST over the last two years

A & M Losses
17 to MSU
15 to Ole Miss
59-0 by Bama
24 to LSU (with Johnny Football on your team)

Ole Miss Losses
2015 – 28 on Saturday to Florida
30-0 by Arkansas
42-3 by TCU
25-0 by Bama
14 to Mizzou

34-0 by UGA
29 to Bama
17 to Auburn

15 to MSU
27 to UGA
14 to LSU

21 to Bama
29 to Mizzou
19 to Mizzou
17 to Vandy
30 to FSU

34 to Auburn
17-0 by Arkansas
21 to Bama

I didn’t do South Carolina and Tennessee because I don’t have that much space.  For kicks and giggles, I did dig quickly on Dabo, the coaching flavor of the week, and Clemson, who play in a vastly inferior league.  He’s had some fun losses the last 4 years.

14 to Tech
24 to NC State
21 to South Carolina
70-33 by WVU in the Orange Bowl
12 to FSU
37 to FSU
14 to South Carolina
24 to UGA
22 to Tech

The frustrating thing for UGA fans?  Bama doesn’t do it.  They’ve lost by double digits once since the start of 2011 (14 to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2014).  Ohio State has lost twice by double digits since Urban arrived, including by 14 to VaTech in Columbus.  But don’t listen to the meme that UGA is the only one who face plants for huge losses in games.  It’s just not accurate.  Every team in America outside of Tuscaloosa is doing it.  It bothers us because T-town is only 3 hours away, and we want to be them.  We’re not yet, but we’re climbing.  We still start 3 sophomores in the secondary.  THREE out of FOUR!!!!  We started a true freshman DL on Saturday.  I also think we’re still very talented and Bama won’t play that good again all year.  Maybe we’ll get a rematch, but all we can control is what we can control.  Win these next 3 and get home vs. UK.  That’s all we can do.  Get to 11-1 and it doesn’t matter who we play in early December in the Dome.

Let me ask you an honest question.  Would you rather be in Bama’s shoes or our shoes?  Ole Miss stumbled on Saturday, but they’ve got LSU and A & M in Oxford.  Bama has to be perfect and hope they trip up.  I don’t think Ole Miss is THAT good, but I just watched a Mizzou team that wasn’t THAT good win the East because they refused to stub their toe for two straight years.  We still control our destiny.  Beat UT…then beat the next one.  The sky is not falling.  We lost a game…badly.  But we’d be in the same shoes record wise if it was a 2 point game.  It doesn’t matter.  Just win the next one.