Monday, September 28, 2015

The Day the Music Died

Hard to believe it was 7 years ago, doesn’t it.  The SEC changed that night.  Gameday was there.  The black jerseys were there.  Knowshon and Stafford and AJ were there.  We had become the darling over the last year.  The moxie that was born in Tuscaloosa in a one and done OT victory spilled over into Jacksonville, exploded in black vs. Auburn and came full-circle in a Sugar Bowl beat down.  ABC wanted to see us at 8 p.m. in the dessert and AJ birthed a new star in our arsenal.  

And we were never the same.

And they were never the same.

It would be three years before we seemingly won another game that mattered, when Aaron Murray completed two 4th down passes to secure the East lead over Florida and South Carolina.  A year later, another win in Jacksonville  over #2 Florida said we were back.  Until the clock ran out in the GA Dome.  Almost back.  But not yet.  Another trophy for Bama.  Another ‘almost’ for Georgia.

Gurley and Murray for another year seemed like a lock.  The injuries in Knoxville.  The slide.  The promise of 2014 and the suspension.  Another SEC title for Bama.  

But it all started that night in Athens.

I don’t know if Richt thinks about that, but something changed in all of us that night.  Something changed in our program.  Something changed in Tuscaloosa.  There certainly seems to be the feeling that things are changing again.  Bama seems remarkably vulnerable.  They might win Saturday, but it seems highly unlikely they’ll roll to another 11-1 season.  There’s a trip to College Station and one to Starkville.  There’s LSU and Tennessee.  We seem…so…Bama like.  The win vs. South Carolina was so merciless.  It felt like a Bama win vs. a West opponent that “thinks” they’re in the hunt (see MSU last year).  They have all the pressure on them.  We lose and still can easily win the East and make the playoff.  They lose and it’s over.  Everything is over, just as the sun sets on Clarke County on Oct. 3.  

This is why we love the sport.  I have no idea what will happen.  I think we’re better.

·       I think Lambert is a tremendous edge over Coker (and I’m not sure they don’t fart around w/ their QBs)
·       I’ll take Chubb and Sony over Henry and Drake (though Drake scares the daylights out of me – but I think Sony is THE difference maker in the game)
·       I think Malcom has to play huge, but I like him and our WR over theirs.
·       I think (shhh…) our O-Line (shhh…) might be the best in (shhh….) SEC and maybe (shhh….) nation.  I said be quiet.
·       I’d take Ragland and MLB for us, but I’ll bet 42 and 51 come to play.  You think 51 remembers how his program got shut down?
·       Pash rushers ain’t even close.
·       Secondary?  It might be a push.  I don’t know if they have a ball-hawk like Sanders.
·       D-Line is the spot that everyone seems to believe that Bama has the edge.  Our guys are playing pretty awesome.
·       Has Bama ever made a kick that matters?  I’ll take Marshal Morgan (though I’m worried about him)
·       Okay, they’ve got that Aussie punter that can kill it.  Advantage Tide.

I think our OC is better.  I think our DC is better (wow, that was remarkably satisfying to say).  I think they WANT to prove themselves.  I think our coach is a fresh empty-nester and has a lot of time to watch film – and I think it’s making a difference.  So there you go.  I think we’re better.  We have to play well, but I think we’re better.

Oh, and boy that Mark Richt knows quarterbacking doesn’t he?

Thursday, September 24, 2015


So, The Counselor used a word the other night that perfectly described Auburn football:  Volatile.  They are a crazy program.  Consider this…

Since the start of the 2004 season:

-Auburn has had TWO 8-0 SEC records.  (No other SEC Team has accomplished this feat.  Not Florida, Not LSU, Not Bama).
-Auburn has THREE SECCG appearances, leading to THREE SEC titles.  2 of those led to National Championship Game appearances.
-They have had THREE head coaches.
-In the SEC, they have a 2-6 season, 3-5 season, and 0-8 season.
-Overall, they have a 5-7 season and 3-9 season.
-They have had TWO seasons they did not go to a bowl and TWO seasons playing in the National Championship Game.
-They have had a Heisman winner (Newton) and Heisman runner-up (Mason)…and they have fired two coaches.
-They have had TWO starting QBs that were kicked off two of their oldest rivals (Florida and Georgia).

UGA since 2004:

-ONE 3-5 season in the SEC (2010, playing a redshirt freshman QB and Green-gate to start the season).  That was the lowpoint in SEC records.
-ONE head coach
-THREE SECCG appearances.  ONE SEC Championship.  
-ZERO National Championship Game appearances
-ZERO Heisman Finalist
-ZERO seasons in which we DID NOT make a bowl
-ZERO undefeated SEC seasons
-Worst overall record:  6-7 (2010)

I’ve never seen anything like it.  Auburn probably gets the ire of UGA fans up more than any team.  They are hot or cold.  Me thinks it’s feeling chilly on the Plains this year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Georgia Way

Have y’all seen the video UGA made about Ganus’ engagement and read the story?  Richt helped orchestrate it…on South Carolina week.  That’s how confident we were that we were going to win, while the rest of us were worried the OBC might pull one out of the hat.

The shot of the OL and Blaze celebrating with Ganus is pretty priceless.  There is a ‘goodness’ about them and the whole deal.  Is this “The Georgia Way”?  We look like a team full of very talented, mature young men:  Ganus, Jenkins, Mitchell, Chubb, Houston, Theus, Lambert.  Sprinkled in is very young and dynamic talent:  Michel, McKenzie, Godwin, Sanders, Blaze, Parish and Zo.  And we have Leonard Floyd.  There seems to be a chemistry and confidence that is…different.  What a joy it would be for me to see Malcom and Jay play lights out in a National Title game and one of them score the winning touchdown.  #Valdosta #DreamTeam

BTW, went to dinner last night w/ 2 Auburn friends, who are otherwise sane people. They remain the most delusional fan base in America.  They didn’t see this Saturday vs. MSU as THAT big a game.  Really?  The Aubies lose that one and it’s going in the tank. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Thoughts

Hold on before I start typing…okay, sorry, I was just watching Greyson Lambert complete his 438th pass in a row vs. the Cocks.  Hey Steve, remember the ol’ forward pass.  It’s fun.  You should try it.  Oh, Sony just scored again.

Well, fun night in Sanford.  I really like a 5-6 p.m. kickoff.  Great tailgating but the game doesn’t end at 11:15 p.m.  So much good to see:

·       I was telling Teddy, and it’s the point that is most important:  At no time did our offense in 2014 look like that.  The last time it looked like that was 2013 Auburn, South Carolina and LSU, when we had Todd/Keith and Aaron.  The difference simple.  Greyson Lambert > Hutson Mason.  We never looked dangerous through the air last year.  We looked dangerous on Saturday night.
·       Quincy Mauger sure has come a long way since that day in Neyland Stadium.
·       I knew Floyd was good.  I had no idea.  Dude was banged up last year.
·       Our WRs are starting to come into their own.  Godwin is gonna break one open at some point.  Izzy is become a very reliable short route runner (and he’s so quick he can get open).  Reggie has become just a solid guy and Malcom gonna be Malcom.
·       Nick Chubb keeps getting a quiet 150 yards, but it won’t be quiet forever.  There will come a 225 game or two in there.  
·       Sony Michel is just a fantastic football player.  I wouldn’t kickoff to him either.  Personally, I’d like to see Keith and Sony back on KOs.  Don’t like Joystick back there in that situation.  As I say this, he’ll probably take one back against Bama because he just needs a crease.  I just think Keith has more straight away speed.
·       So this is what it feels like to have a really good offensive line.  2003 David Greene says he appreciates that.
·       Dom Sanders seems to be in the right place at the right time, but I think that says something about him.  And how many INTs between the numbers have we seen dropped over the years.  Great to have a safety with superb ball skills.
·       So, our QB on offense played at Virginia last year and our QB on defense played at UAB last year.  Gotcha.  Hard to believe how good Ganus is.  But, they both tell a story that “The Georgia Way” is a-changing.  We’re all about winning a championship, and we needed those two pieces to compete for one.
·       You’d be hard pressed to find a team with 3 better TEs than we’ve got.

On Lambert:
·       Look guys, he played a bad half in Nashville, but the cat is 5th in the NATION is passing efficiency.  He’s 6th in completion percentage.  And if the season ended today he’d be the All-SEC QB.  But we gots a lot of season left.
·       It’s easy to see the kid is super smart.  He got us in the right play a lot.  The one that comes mind to most is backed up in the East Endzone and he checks to a different formation and scheme and hits a wide open Jackson Harris.
·       Right now, who else in the SEC would you rather have.  
·       And boy a week changes things.  After watching DeShaun Thursday night and Greyson on Saturday…sure looks like our guy is better.  He was better this week for sure.
·       He’s not going to go 24-25 every week, but what we saw is that he can make every throw.  I’d imagine we’ll practice some bombs this week early and often.
·       Gosh it feels good that we rope-a-doped ol’ Steve.

The State of Alabama and beyond:
·       Auburn better watch out.  They could be sitting at home with the ‘Cocks for Christmas.  They’ve got a huge on Saturday night vs. MSU.  They need to win that one in a bad way, but so do the Bizarros.  War Chickens travel to Lexington on a Thursday night in October.  Watch out.
·       LSU is good.  I picked us to play them in Hotlanta.  They won’t beat us if they can’t throw it…and they can’t throw it.  This is not Grantham’s 2011 D.
·       I think UT wins on Saturday.  I just sort of think Florida isn’t good.  You can’t hide what has happened the last 2 games.  They pulled out victories vs. 2 bad teams. 
·       Bama game at 3:30.  I know what everyone will say.  Now they’re angry.  Now we’ll get their best shot.  Now their backs are against the wall.  Now they HAVE to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.  Um…weren’t you angry about the team that beat you last year and needed to beat to stay up in your division and at home at night and revenge and they didn’t have their best Offensive Lineman and their QB is a goober and…didn’t the Rebels get your best effort and concentration?  Maybe turnovers are just who Bama is.  
·       I’m not convinced they have a QB or WR that can hurt us.  I’m not sure Henry can just line up and slam through us.  I’d be willing to bet #51 is looking forward to that game.
·       Their D might be good, but Ole Miss racked up 433 yards on them.  I don’t even know who OM has at running back, but I know who they don’t have.
·       I get a 2004 LSU feeling.  LSU lost early that year, but we didn’t seem to care.  It showed they’re beatable…so we just beat them like a rented mule.

It’s too early to say anything, but it sure is feeling like it could be special.  We have a lot of pieces, and right now I’d play anyone in America and there aren’t many teams that want to play us.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Don't Fret Too Much

2011 Florida game stats:

Aaron Murray15/341695.02157.8

Remember how he went like 9 incompletions in a row? Just win the games. I think Vandy's D is legit. Gotta give Lambert more to prove himself.  If he doesn't, we'll see someone else.  Richt wants to win more than us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Nicholas is 4th in the nation in rushing and 4th in yards per carry.  The two groups are totally different groups.  The top 7 in rushing yards all have had 40+ carries.  The leader has had 59.  Chubb has had 35.  This is just getting started.  We’re going to ride this stud like CMR has never rode a stud in 15 yrs. Because I think we think he can take it.  He’s going to get 25+ carries on Saturday.

I’m convinced we’re going to try and win a national championship a very different way:

·       Ride Nick Chubb to the Heisman
·       Rely on a very stingy D
·       Count on some special team TDs from sony, Reggie, and joystick
·       Throw it 15 times a game

Every single game might look like Saturday.  Chubb goes for 150+, special teams and/or defensive TD.  I got to thinking about Lambert’s first half.  It looked dreadful, but it wasd 0-5, not 0-10.  Chubb flat out dropped one.  Would you feel better if it had been 1-5?  Would he have gained some confidence if that had been a completion?  But the number there isn’t the zero…it’s the 5.  He threw it 5 times.  Ramsey threw it 3 more, I think.  But that’s only 8.  That’s 16 for a the game.  We’d all feel better if he’d have gone 4-9 in the first half and missed 5 throws.  I think we’ll get more creative, but we might not need to except on Oct. 3 and Oct. 31.

Monday, September 14, 2015


Well, it’s time to start playing real football.  I don’t know what it is, and I’m not sure if it’s just our fanbase, but our folks sure don’t like winning very much.  I’ve never seen any fanbase un-enjoy victories so much as us.  At the end of it all, no one will remember a 31-14 win at Vandy.  This is a place in which our last 4 trips have included:

2013 – One of the most devastating losses of Richt’s career
2011 – A goal-line stand on the last play to preserve victory after a blocked punt
2009 – A big win against an absolutely terrible Vandy team
2007 – Coutu’s last second kick to save us from overtime
2005 – DJ hits McClendon late to give us a more comfortable 34-17 win after only leading 27-17 going into the 4th
2003 – We were losing 2-0 at halftime and had 64 yards of offense in the 1st half.  We were sacked 6 times in the game.

I don’t know why, but we just don’t play great up there.  Florida St. never plays good in Raliegh.  It’s just that way.  I’m grateful for the victory, especially in light of what happened yesterday across America.

·       Don’t look know, but coach superior has now lost back-to-back to the Big Blue.  Unfortunately for him, the HBC coaches tackle football and not basketball.  I predicted they’d be 1-1 coming to Athens.  Turned out right for once.
·       The next time I hear someone scream about how we’re the only team that doesn’t come out ready versus an inferior opponent I will respond with two words:  Jacksonvill State.  They really had to score late to secure overtime.  That really happened.
·       Mullen’s epic fail last night was mind-boggling.  He didn’t call a T.O., which turned a 46 yd FG to a 51 yd FG.  And the kicker kicked it with a  T.O. still in his pocket.  This is the Mullen some fans wanted 5 years ago.
·       Oh, Butch.  More bricks needed.  
·       Florida wore the worst uniforms in the history of uniforms – all orange.  He’s opened against 2 also-rans in all blue and all orange.  Maybe someone should explain to him that it doesn’t work if use it against East Carolina.  I soooooooooooooo hope they where orange on white in Jax.  Hello, 1980.  Speaking of McElwain, his tirade against Taylor was epic and awful.  Find it if you can.  I get it – throat slashing isn’t cool.  You also know what’s not cool?  Dressing down my son on National TV.  He has made it easy for me to not like him and the Gators again.  They had save that game at the end.  We can slow down on the Florida train.
·       So now is Arkansas the best 1-1 team in the country?
·       It still seems true that as long as Matty Mauk has eligibility, this is a good thing for the rest of the SEC East.
·       Fascinated to see what happens with Bama and Ole Miss this week.

So, the Dawgs:
·       Nick Chubb is really, really good at football.  I think that D is for real, and he gashed them for the most quiet 189 yards and 10 yds/carry that I’ve ever seen in my life.
·       Man, #59 and #84 can play can’t they?  But they are joined by a lot athletic guys out there.
·       I have bad days, so I’m just going to assume Marshall Morgan had a bad day.  He’s not a head case, he’s not a head case, he’s not a head case.  Repeat after me.
·       I-Mac is the best special teams weapon we’ve ever had.  I mean in 123 years of UGA football.  The UGA record for punt return TDs is 4.  He’s played 14 games and has 3, alone in 2nd place.  
·       I’d like to see Sony and Keith back on kickoffs, but that’s just me.
·       Dom Sanders is slowly growing into one of my favorite players.  He’s darn fun to watch play.  I mean, he knows what to do with the ball, too.  
·       We have got to get the ball to Malcom Mitchell.  Pitch it, snap it, hand it.  Do something.  Same thing for #5
·       I really like what I’m seeing from Colin Barber.
·       I said before the season that my biggest fear was schotty.  Nothing against him, but I thought we were one of the most creative offenses in the country the last 3-4 years.  We played Brandon Boykin on offense in 2011.  Remember that?  We kind of did everything.  Power, spread, hurry up, air it out, wildcat.  We have seen very, very, very little creativity.  We’ve seen us use Sony a little in places, but I’d just like to see more.  I’m hoping the opponents have dictated that.  He’s 2 games in and I think we thought we could win those two games playing pretty vanilla.  I’m down with that.  Just hope that’s the case.

So the QBs?  Mark Richt knows more than I know.  He doesn’t play favorites.  There are no favorites in CFB.  I think we really like Keith Marshall as a person, but Nick Chubb is the stud we will ride and there’s not going to be ‘sharing’ to keep guys happy.  He wants to win.  So, we have to trust that he’s putting the guy in that will win.  I’m willing to concede it as a bad day for Lambert.  He looked terrible and I thought Ramsey looked good, but they’re going to give us the best chance to win.  David Greene looked horrible for a few games in 2002.  We’re going to have to get used to winning differently.  It might not be ‘light it up.’  It might be score 24-27 points and win with D and rushing.  It all counts the same.  If you’re wondering, Jacob Eason was 13-13 Friday night.  That’s right.  He didn’t throw an incompletion.  I had a thought at one point yesterday that, yes, he just might be starting in the Dome vs. UNC.  Why not?

The Cocks?  That line at 15.5 is begging people to take the Cocks.  Begging people.  That might mean Dawgs by 17.  They lost their QB (of course we might not have one).  We’re better.  I don’t think they can stop Nick and Sony.  I’m praying we open it up.  Should be fun.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

3 Years for Greatness

Was thinking about something the other day.  The runs teams go on almost have to include a run of 3+ years from a transcendent player.  I’m not talking Murray, a truly exceptional college football player, but not transcendent.  When you get those years, you get an unprecedented run, because it sometimes even takes a year to learn how to win.

Dorsett at Pitt
-Freshman year went to first bowl in like 16 years (6-5-1)
-sophomore (7-4)
-Jr (8-4) Finished #15
-12-0 and national champs

Walker at UGA – you know the story

Bo @ Auburn (this is really a testament as to how average Pat Dye was as a coach)
-82 – barely lost out on SEC to Walker and UGA
-83 – won SEC and probably should have been crowned MNC.  Went 11-1
-84 - 9-4
-85 – 8-4

Weurffel @ Florida
-93 – SEC champs
-94 – SEC champs
-95 – SEC champs and got curb stomped in MNC game
-96 – SEC champs and finally won it all

Manning @ UT
-94 – came on late to start in mid-season
-95 -11-1
-96 -10-2
-97 -12-1 – Manning finally got his SEC Title

Lienart/Bush @ USC
-03 – 12-1 AP National champs
’04 – 12-0 BCS Champs
’05 – 11-1 lost BCS championship

Tebow @ UF
-’06 – BCS champs
-’07 – 9-4
-08 – 13-1 BCS champs
-’09 – 13-1 lost to 12-0 Bama in SEC title game

And, you look at guys like Luck at Stanford as guys that took 3 years to elevate a terrible program to national prominence.  Essentially, it takes a talent to stay healthy and stick around to go on a run.  When I look at Richt’s tenure, we’ve had a handful of players that you could call transcendant:


Pollack played 4 years, and look at the results we got.  Knowshon played 2 years.  AJ played what seemed like about 10 games in 3 years.  Todd played one entire season.  We came within a breath of all the marbles.

If Nick is healthy for 3 years, maybe even 4…who knows what’ll happen.  I just know that it takes a transcendent player a few seasons to go on a run. 


Hard to believe it’s game week, gentlemen.  But given the short hour we are at until the season begins, here’s a few of my conference prognostications (UGA prognostications coming later):

·       The Cocks will not roll into Athens undefeated.  I think they lose to UNC or UK before they play us.  My bet is that they lose Thursday night.  I don’t think they are going bowling.  I think they have losses that are locks in Georgia, LSU, @ TAMU, & Clemson.  I think 8-4 would be an outstanding season for them.  But I think they lose to UNC or UK, then they’ve got @ UT, Florida, @ Mizzou.  They even host UCF in between @ UGA and @ Mizzou.  I just see a lot of losses for them this year.
·       Florida will look like Florida has looked the last 2 years, but their D won’t be as good and their O will be a little improved.  They will play us hard, but let’s hope it looks more like 2013 than 2014 in Jax.
·       UT is simply overrated.  Butch likes to say they were 4-1 down the stretch w/ Dobbs.  Well, Butch, if you recall you actually started Joshua vs. Bama in game 7.  So, he was 4-2 as a starter with wins over South Carolina (in the most epic of meltdowns in recorded history), UK, Vandy (in which UT won 24-17 and Dobbs was 11 of 20) and Iowa.  THIS is why we’re supposed to believe in Dobbs and UT.  I see 7-5 or 8-4 for them.  I think they beat Florida, but lose to Bama, UGA, OU and someone else.
·       Mizzou will take step back.  Their schedule is nice (they get Miss. St. and Arky), but they also play BYU in Columbia.  I predict something like 8-4 for them.  They might go 9-3 as I could see them going 6-2 in conference and losing to BYU.  They play @ Arky St.  Who scheduled that?
·       Vandy will quit football after this season.  Seriously, who are they going to hire?  They ought to hire that Arkansas High School coach that never punts, goes for 2 and onside kicks.  I’m not joking.  That could be their gimmick and shot to drive other coaches nuts.
·       I think UK has a shot at a bowl.  They get 3 gimmes plus Vandy.  That’s 4 wins.  Can they manufacture 2 wins vs. everyone else.  They play Auburn in Lex on a Thursday night.  Could be sneaky.  They host Florida in Lex in week 3 at night.  They host Louisville.  They host UT and Mizzou.  They just need to steal 2 of those.  

·       Bama – they’ll be good but not Bama of 2011-12 caliber.  I’m not sure Henry is ready to be a workhorse like Lacy or Richardson.  They don’t have that dangerous WR, and I’m not sure they have a QB.  I actually think they’ll struggle in week one because of QB play and it could be close early.  Not sure Wisky is world beaters, so it could end up a route by the end.  But it wouldn’t surprise me to see it go close late.  
·       I think LSU is the team to beat.  Something tells me it could be their time to shine again.  I’m picking them to win the West.  They don’t have a QB.  They never have a QB.  It doesn’t seem to matter when they have talent around them.
·       I literally DO NOT GET the Auburn love.  I think they crash and burn.  I’m predicting Louisville to beat them, and the meme of the ACC’s power over the SEC will begin.  I won’t mind.  My hope is JHC has a pick six early in the game and Trey Matthews gets burned on a deep ball, perhaps even tipping it to a Louisville WR.  They lost a ton of talent and I think Duq Williams is a team cancer and it will start to eat them alive from the inside.  Jeremy Johnson might be the next Dan Marino, but I just don’t buy it.  If he was that much better, then why not play him while you were going 8-5 last year.
·       A&M is my other sleeper pick.  If LSU doesn’t win the West, they will.  Chavous will make a difference for them, and I think Kyle Allen is ready to be a star.
·       Miss. St. – how do you have the best QB in the conference and you’re picked last in your division.  I have no idea about these guys.  Their schedule is a joke again.  They play 4 patsies.  Their hardest non-conf game is opening @ Southern Miss.  But they can probably chalk up 4 wins there.  So, they go 4-4 in the league and their 8-4.  The schedule is just embarrassing.  Play 1 game MSU.  
·       I have no idea about Ole Miss either.  They get Vandy and @ Florida from the East.  They can win both of those.  Non-conf. is fairly week.  They do host Fresno St. and go to Memphis, but they should win those.  That could be 6 wins right there, and they can win some divisional games.  They could go 8-4 or 9-3 and ‘look’ like a great season but not really have beaten anyone of much significance.  This is a team that Arky smoked 31-0.  That really happened.
·       I think the injury to the RB hurts the Hogs in a big way.  They host Texas Tech, which should be fun.  They go @ UT and host Mizzou from the east.  Probably 1-1 in that mix, but could be 2-0 or 0-2 just as easily.  They might be improved but the record won’t really say it, maybe 7-5ish.  8-4 would be a huge accomplishment, maybe knock off one of the big boys in a game.

That’s my 2 cents.