Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Quick Gander at 2017. The Time is Now.

-Tennessee plays LSU & Bama
-Florida plays LSU & aTm
-South Carolina plays aTm & Arkansas
We play Auburn and Miss. St.  The time is now boys.
BTW, did you know Florida opens w/ Michigan in Arlington next year?  But, they have an all-timer home schedule:  Tennessee, LSU, aTm and FSU all at home.
We better get those tackles figured out.  With a sophomore Eason and Nick and Sony back, it’s hard to imagine not making it to the Benz as anything other than a colossal failure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The NEW Georgia Way

The crying over the Toneil Carter saga is laughable to me.  I said it years ago (and I say the same thing about Dabo now) – Richt is too good of a man to compete at the highest level in the new CFB climate.  Dabo doesn’t want to do satellite camps.  Okay, see how that works the next 5 years for you.
But values in collegiate athletics are all relative.  Some will lament what Kirby did to Carter as cold blooded.  Um, what did you think we were getting in a head coach?  But, I’d guarantee you that Kirby would say his highest value is to do what he believes is in the best interest of the organization no matter who is left in the fray?  And it’s a predicament in the modern era of CFB.  The kid can leave you at the altar the first week of February but the school can’t do the same?  Recruiting is ugly.  Bottom line. 
But, we soon forget that Richt and crew were banned for a while at Carver-Columbus because Garner pulled a scholly offer…just like Kirby had McGee pull this offer.  I think you’ll just see Kirby do it more often.  Richt would do the disinterested girl thing most often and just stop contacting a kid rather than flat out tell them the offer was pulled, hoping they’d just decommit, which they most often would.  Which do you think is better?
This is the dilemma for the Dawg fan.  I adored Richt, but we saw what that got us.  It got us 5th best recruiting classes in the SEC and walking out of Everbank repeatedly with our tail between our legs.  And I never felt like, “At least we have a higher standard.”  There is a level of cut-throatedness in this business that is ugly, but it depends on how you look at it.  Do you feel more comfortable giving in to a family in Texas who have never really done a thing for UGA at the potential expense of thousands of donors and fans because you wanted to do the right thing for a kid?  Or do you feel more comfortable jilting that family for the good of the current team, fanbase and long-term interest of the program.
Those that would want to paint the issue as a 2-sided issue disregard the very complicated nature of the process.  Who among us is willing to sacrifice a position of need (say LB or DB) to make a kid happy at a position that is not one of need (like RB, right now)?  Which promise is greater?  The one you made in a living room to a kid or the one you made at a podium to put the organization first?
It’s hard to say what’s right and what works, but we’re about to find out the next 2-3 years.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Shifting Winds

This week might prove to be the most culture changing week in Georgia football.  The general consensus (even in my brain) is that we are THIS close.  Perhaps we are.  Perhaps we have been.  But the lesson for me this week is that I made a promise to myself:  2016 forever changed me. 
Since Ray Goff and the early ‘90s, we have signed fairly elite skill talent.  Hastings was the #1 recruit in America and joined a class with Garrison.  We signed Zeier a year later.  But Zeier spent most of his career with a defense that couldn’t stop people.  We had Terrell behind a line that couldn’t block.   We couldn’t win the SEC with a team that had AJ, Knowshon and Stafford.  Murray scored 30 over and over and couldn’t score enough most of his career.  We just put Sony and Nick behind the worst OL I think I’ve ever seen us have.  We have signed elite QB after elite QB, beginning with Eric Zeier.  This is the GA way.  The next skill player will save the day (because we saw it happen in 1980).
But the lessons from the ‘80s (and recent trends in Tuscaloosa) point to a different way.  In ’80 we lost our starting center, but had enough depth the carry on.  My daddy always talks of the ’83 season, full of seniors who had been recruited to join Herschel.  Herschel was gone and we basically didn’t have a tailback, and went 10-1-1 and beat #2 Texas in the Cotton Bowl – because we could flat out block.
Several things happened this week that are NOT the Georgia Way.  We signed a stud JUCO LT.  We had 4 stars forego the draft.  We lost a stud QB recruit.  We wait on an absolute beast OL commitment today.
We may or may not get Wilson today, but things are changing.  I’m sold.  It’s all about the defense and the offensive line.  I love offensive skill players.  That’s not where you win games.  You need play makers.  But, in 2012, in that dome, would you have traded Murray, Gurley, Marshall and our WR for McCarron, Lacy, Yeldon and their WR?  No.  Murray was better and Gurley was better, by a fair margin.  They had Cooper, but we had a deeper WR corp.  But their OL and Defense beat us into submission.  Bama has gone to the playoff for 3 straight years with Blake Sims, Jake Coker and Jalen Hurts (who has been phenomenal, but isn’t in Eason’s stratosphere).
The formula is different, guys.  The formula isn’t the formula that we have thought it was for 25 years.  That’s a sea change.  That formula is up front on O and on D.  The formula is creating a team culture in which kids don’t want to leave early without reaching their fullest potential personally and team-wise. 
BTW, the quarterback thing is kind of fascinating to me.  Do you think there’s something about QBs that’s different from other positions that really feel a kind of pressure/fear to go to the in-state school and deliver?  I do.  Texas was 2 years removed from a natty when Stafford came to UGA.  Murray was a perfect fit for Meyer and they were coming off a 2 natties out of the last 3 years, and he’d have been redshirted Tebow’s senior year.  Eason surely saw the things Peterson was doing in Seattle behind the scenes.  He went on a visit there.  And we fumbled Deshaun, but I don’t know if it would have mattered.  Maybe Lawrence reconsiders a year from now if Dabo is in Tuscaloosa, but it just seems that QBs kind of want to get out more than other positions.  That kind of fascinates me about Fromm, because nationally it really breaks the mold. 
Things are changing, guys.  We’ve got to change, too.  I get excited about skill player recruits, but we’ve seen what that gets us. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Broyles Award finalists:
Jeremy Pruitt - Alabama
Brent Venables - Clemson
Jim Leavitt - Colorado
Don Brown - Michigan
Matt Canada – Pitt
Can we get a do-over on hiring the Pitt OC?  They’ve averaged 42 PPG.  10th in the country.  That’s a lot. 
Like I said, I’m in the ambivalent camp with Chaney.  I can see it both ways and don’t know which way to lean.  But I can’t say I’d be disappointed at hiring this guy.  First time since 1990 we didn’t crack over 40 points in a game.
I watched that ’90 team play a bunch of games.  That was one bad team.

'It was a microcosm of the season'

It was just yesterday we were at the Dome getting ready to kickoff against UNC.  They go by faster the older I get.  Losing Saturday was just awful, but it’s a game of inches, and we’re not a team right now, basically, that makes the plays on the right side of those inches.  It’s easy to blame Eason for throwing behind Godwin and Nauta.  It’s easy to nitpick at Chaney’s call on 2nd and 8.  But we also didn’t HAVE to let them score twice.  Kirby was right.  It was a microcosm of the season.
Alabama’s D has not let a team in the month of November get past the 10 yard line.  They have not given up a TD and if the field were 90 yards long, they still would not have given up a TD.  They have played LSU, Miss. St., Chattanooga and Auburn.  They beat LSU 10-0.  Can you even fathom that?  The best team we’ve had in the last 10 years beat #2 17-9 because we had a D that would shut you down and force turnovers in the red zone.
This year, we’re 127 out of 128 in FBS red zone defense.  Teams have scored 29 TDs in 37 trips.  There is a lot that needs fixing in Athens.  It’s just where we are.  We do not have a roster full of guys that believe they can and will make the play to win the game.  They lack confidence, and maybe that’s because they’ve seen it go haywire too often.
And we are here, in many respects because the SEC has lost its ever-living mind.  Nick Saban has made us lose our minds.  I know that because LSU fired the winningest coach in school history and we fired a guy who reeled off 10-win seasons in his sleep (and he very well may have been asleep for a good portion of the last two seasons).  We’re an impatient bunch, but it is what it is.  And there’s no looking back with buyer’s remorse, and most folks just don’t get it.  Miles and Richt had both run their course.  I left Jax in 2015 knowing we HAD to make a change.  Perhaps I didn’t know how painful that would end up being.  I think the criticism at our process to get Kirby is ridiculous.  If you know who you want, get them.  Had I been asked who I’d have liked us to interview among current head coaches who I thought we ‘might’ could sway from their schools, I’d have said:  Dantonio, Shaw, Fedora, Kelly @ ND, Helfrich and maybe Herman and Fuente, though I’m not a fan of hiring coaches at small schools who have no roots or experience in SEC country.  Those are some darn good coaches who have led their teams to Conference titles, CFP playoff births and BCS births.  They went:
Dantonio:  3-9
Shaw:  9-3
Fedora:  8-4 (w/ a loss to Kirby)
Kelly:  4-8
Helfrich:  4-8
Herman lost to SMU, Navy and Memphis.  Fuente had a sterling debut at VT, going 9-3 and winning his division.  The point is 4 of those 5 coaches had proven recently they could do something Richt couldn’t do recently:  win a Power 5 conference title, go to BCS title game, go undefeated in the regular season, make the CFP playoff.  They went a combined 28-32 this year.  Simply, we could have hired them and it still could have gone sideways this season.  3 of them aren’t going to bowls in the programs they’ve spent years establishing.  We had to make a change, and with change comes pain.  We…are in pain.
Honestly, as much as we’d like, there’s not much data you can pull from first seasons that tell us a lot.  Had Kirby gone 10-2 this year, we’d feel great, but Malzahn proved to us that first year success doesn’t mean sustained success.  Everyone talks about Saban’s 7-6 campaign at Bama (6-6 regular season).  But he also went 7-4 at LSU, and 6-4-1 at Mich. St.  Richt was 8-4 through the bowl, and I left Nashville in 2001 scratching my head at what I just saw.  8 months later we lit the SEC on fire.  Mack Brown was 1-10 his first year at UNC.  What we can say is that 1st seasons for a HC are like introductions to their book.   Next season is chapter 1 and it started yesterday on the recruiting trail.  You know how had the #1 and #2 classes in 2013, for what is now senior classes?  Alabama and Ohio St.  I also think we knew that a little.  Would feel better if we were 9-3 (and probably going to the Sugar Bowl) had we slow played Eason with a series here and there and basically let Lambert manage the team?  We threw the kid to the wolves, and we’ll be better off for it.  And for those thinking Fromm might push Eason for playing time.  No, just no.  No more QB carousel. 
I don’t know what to do about Chaney.  It’s not my job.  We’re not terrible.  And there are a lot worse.  I trust Kirby.  I promise you Kirby wants to score more than 24/game.
Go Dawgs!  On to Music City!

Monday, November 21, 2016

We Run This State

Here we are at Hate Week.  Man, it goes by fast.  It was nice to breathe on Saturday during a game.  I am already recognizing the feeling of Saturday morning’s arrival in the pit of my stomach.  Basically, I’m miserable the entire Tech game unless we get up by 3 TDs.  Can you believe we won 13-7 last year.  We scored 1 TD against them.  That really happened.  I do have a feeling that Eason is going to light them up.  I also have a feeling that Sony and Nick are going to go off.  I think they both remember the mistakes they made at home in ’14.
My main worry is the D.  How will Kirby approach that offense?  As for this past Saturday, I’ll just be sad when Isaiah is gone.  In all my life, I’ve never had the feeling I get when a Georgia player gets the ball.  You know why he thinks he might score every time he touches it?  Because he just might.  His vision and cutting ability are off the charts.  Maybe the best I’ve ever seen.  But don’t let anybody fool you, that joker is fast in the open field in a straight line, too.  Really, really, really fast.  Thought Eason looked good.  We played super vanilla everywhere.  We HAD to play the 2s on D to get them some work late.  Hopefully that experience will pay off down the road.  Brooke Whitmire offered up a complete FAIL with Greyson Lambert.  No announcement whatsoever that he was in the game.  Thought the kid deserved more.  And I can’t help but wonder what this season might have looked like had we played Deandre Baker from the start. 
Was thinking about something recently that really is the sticking point with every UGA fan, and it will be our perpetual problem until it’s not.  Someone said upon Stanfill’s death that he was on our Mt. Rushmore.  I got to thinking and thought, “Nah, not quite.”  But, that made me think who is.  4 guys for each program.  I don’t think it’s much of a debate for most teams, and it’s certainly not for us:  Dooley, Sinkwich, Trippi, and Herschel.  National titles, multiple SEC titles, Heisman Trophies, sugar bowl and rose bowl MVPs.  But think of Florida:  Spurrier, Wuerffel, Meyer, and Tebow.  Heismans, SECs, and Natties.  It’s a no brainer, right?  Bama:  Bear, Saban, Ingram, Henry.  Only 2 heisman winners.  All-time coaches.  You MIGHT could pick a LB from the past to put in there, but I don’t know.  Auburn:  Bo, Cam, Shug Jordan and Pat Sullivan.  Clemson:  Ford, Swinney, DeShaun, LB Terry Kinard.  Heck, even South Carolina:  Spurrier, George Rogers, Connor Shaw, and probably either Clowney or Lattimore.
Our rivals’ best years and greatest players have been in the last 20-25 years.  Many have been in the last 10.  Championships have been won.  National titles have been won and played for.  There are some positives here.  We have a long and storied history of excellence.  Sinkwich was the first player from the South to win the Heisman.  Many of those teams weren’t winning much in the 40s.  We were.  Herschel is at such an elite level, he ain’t ever coming off.  Dooley will be hard to knock off, as he coached 25 years…but the first coach to 2 natties and he’s gone. 
This is our frustration.  As much as I love Champ, Pollack, Greene, Knowshon, Murray, Richt, Gurley and Chubb…They’re not on there.  They’re just not.  The greatest players and greatest seasons in school history happened 35 and 70 years ago.  For all the incredible success Richt had, this was the ultimate shortcoming.  My hope for Kirby and his tenure is that he’d knock Dooley off the mountain, and find/coach a player that knocks Trippi off.  I’d be delighted if by 2021 we said:  Smart, Herschel, Sinkwich and Eason.
It’s possible.  That kid is very, very, very good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

That Was Fun!

Man, it’s been a long, long time since we walked out of that stadium THAT satisfied.  I’d say since 2014 Auburn, and that was marred by the injury to Todd.  It feels good to feel good about the program. 
It all drives me kind of nuts when fans, and especially the media, create narratives based on 60-70% of a completed project.  That’s just not the way sports work.  The most common fallacy in all of sports is that a team or individual will keep doing what they’ve done.  Sometimes they do (see:  Jay Cutler).  Often times they don’t, especially college kids.  You can’t write a narrative about a series when the Cavs and Cubs are down 3-1 because the series isn’t over.  And 8 games in this season wasn’t over.  I’ve just watched too many seasons like 2006 and 2011 to know a team can bounce back.  And I’ve seen enough teams like the 2008 team that are talented but seem disinterested, which might apply to Clemson 2016.  Anyway, it was fun, and a couple things stuck out:
·       I think Kirby Smart knows what he’s doing.  I never saw a Muschamp-in-the-making.  He’s not berserk on the sidelines at referees and doesn’t embarrass kids.  Moreover, he never seemed over his head.  He knew immediately when he’d made a mistake, like at the end of the half at South Carolina.  He’s getting better and better.  The draining of the clock at the end was perfect.  We had to run that last play on first down to take an extra 3-4 seconds off the clock before kneeling.  BTW, that also got Nick over 100.
·       Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker know what they’re doing.  The D is starting to take a form that we’ve never quite seen in Athens.  I re-watched the game.  Besides that one scoring drive, they didn’t really do much the entire game.  They went away from the run because they weren’t gashing us, and Gus didn’t have the patience for 3-4 yards at a time.  Our coverage in the secondary was something to behold.  I remember watching Lambert drop back vs. Bama last year and thinking, “Good Lord, no one is open…at all.”  It looked eerily similar.
·       Gotta give Chaney credit.  We’re getting better.  The plan was well designed.  I thought we should have thrown down there on first and second down in the fourth, but we won the game.  We moved the ball all day.  I think he’s seeing things better up top. I can’t imagine we’ll change that.  I also saw a good mix of throwing the kitchen sink at them.  5 wide, I-formation, 1 back, 2 TE.  We’re hard to gameplan against, and Nauta and Woerner are going to make it so for a long, long time.
·       We are ridiculously young and talented at a lot of positions, and man, that #8 sure does remind me from time to time of…okay, I won’t say it.
·       I cannot believe how little talk is really surrounding Eason.  Maybe it will come in the offseason.  The dude is scary good.  I’ll say it.  He’s the best true freshman QB I’ve ever seen doing what we ask him to do, which is essentially be an NFL QB.  Watching the replay, boy Gary is going to loooooooove him some Eason.  He made some ridiculous throws.  Danielson was talking about how the DBs think they’re in position but the ball gets there too quickly and they can’t react.  We have GOT to get some more stud WRs to play w/ that kid.
·       Speaking of QBs, the most fascinating thing to me about college football is the culture that surrounds programs over decades and multiple coaches.  When’s the last time Auburn had a competent passing QB that scares you the way Murray, Stafford, Shockley, Greene and Eason scare you?  Heck, even a Hutson Mason?  I guess Brandon Cox had a fling where he was okay.  I couldn’t think of one besides him.  Campbell never really scared you with his arm.  Cadillac and Ronnie is what scared you.  It can change.  Eric Zeier changed UGA football forever.
On a final note, this floors me.  For the last 11 years, this is Auburn’s record against their 4 biggest rivals/best conference foes that they play every year:
UGA:  2-9
Bama:  4-7 (assuming a Bama win this year)
LSU:  4-7
Arkansas:  5-6
This is ours:
Auburn:  9-2
UT:  6-5
Fla:  4-7
Tech:  9-2
And that team up top has won 2 SEC titles, won 1 and played for 2 national championships in the last 11 years.  We have ZERO SEC titles and ZERO national championship game appearances. 
Auburn is why college football must hate me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

An Open Letter to the Whiny Media

I am as avid a Bulldog Fan as there is – we all are – and there is not one piece of information for which they are fishing that I care about.  I do not care about how much we spent on a recruiting trip or a helicopter.  I do not care that we don’t get to talk to Jacob Eason.
There is an entitlement with sports press these days that is kind of disgusting.  How about do your job.  Call Jacob Eason’s dad and high school coach.  Call his high school teammates.  Ask Matthew Stafford what he thinks about UGA’s true freshman QB if you want to do a story on him.  You know, like, work.
How about ask hard questions in the Monday press conference that UGA wants to know about:
·       It seemed like there were less tackles for loss and better offensive movement with Wynn at LT.  Can we expect to see him play there the rest of the season, especially since that’s where it seems he’ll play next year?
·       Why haven’t we seen more of Holyfield?
·       It seems the offense is moving better with Sony in there now…why is that?
·       Has there been any thought to running 2-minute type hurry-up in the middle of games from time to time as Jacob seems to excel at that?
·       Why does Reggie Carter play on first down so much when it seems clear Patrick and Smith are the starting LBs?
·       When will we see more of Mecole Hardman?  Why haven’t we tried him on offense?
·       Why have we struggled in kickoff coverage so much throughout the season?
·       We obviously want to build a physical down-hill game, but even Alabama has operated w/ more spread elements this year to match their talent, what’s his take on utilizing what you’ve got?
·       Jim Chaney’s offenses in the past haven’t really scored a lot of points, and UGA isn’t this year.  In an era in which points scored are rapidly increasing, does Chaney’s track record and this season’s results give you pause for what you’re trying to do offensively?
·       For years fans screamed for a special teams coach.  Now we have one and there’s a weekly special teams gaffe that costs or nearly costs the team the game.  What’s the explanation there?  Davis is a senior and McKenzie is a Junior. It’s not youth.
There you go.  I just wrote you 5 articles guys!  I don’t want to know about helicopters or salaries.  I want to know about THAT.  But those questions will get you a stern eye from the Kirbs, and it won’t be easy and comfortable.  Welcome to the real world.  Life ain’t easy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Where We Are

You know, I update my lock screen on my computer to really the player of the game or defining play from a win.  I’m sort of tired of looking at Sony vs. South Carolina.
How in the world did we get to 4-4?  How in the world do we get out of this hole?  After a few days, a few things are clear.
·       A performance like this always brings out the yahoos.  This morning Steak Shapiro had the yahoo come out in him, suggesting that he’s disappointed in Eason and that he hasn’t developed.  What in the world is he watching?  It felt like a comment bashing Bobo back in the day.  A caller blasted him on it.  Jake is the least of our problems.  The Florida coach knows it, too.  Speaking of Bobo, remember when we’d all complain about this play call or that play call after we’d scored 35 points?  Fun times.
·       This is life with a true freshman QB.  It just is, unless you are supremely loaded in other areas.  I’ve seen us start a few of them, and I’ve learned my lesson.  We were 6-7 with Aaron Murray, and he had a junior AJ Green to throw to the last 2/3 of the season.  We still lost to an awful Colorado team.  We still lost to Central Florida and did not score a TD in the game.  I saw us start Matt Stafford in a season and lost to Vandy and Kentucky in 1 season.  And we darn near lost to that same terrible Colorado team, too.  In 2001, we Greenie had Terrance Edwards, Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown in his 3 WR set, and George Foster and Jon Stinchcomb at tackles, and Boss Bailey and Tony Gilbert at LB, Charles Grant at DE.  We didn’t need David to do much, but he did enough.  We still lost 4 games.  Bottom line is that even Richt and Bobo, the QB whisperers, struggled with Freshmen QBs (and even first year starters, to some extent). 
·       I’m incredibly frustrated by Chaney.  I listened to Kirby’s presser today, and I sense he is, too.  But, I keep coming back to Kyle Shanahan.  He was awful with the Falcons last year, and they couldn’t score.  1 center (Alex Mack) and 1 year later, and they’re the best offense in the league, and Matt Ryan might win the MVP.  An offensive lineman and a season can go a long way.  Kirby doesn’t do much w/ the O.  He’s going to let an OC run the show.  That means if we bring in a new guy, we’re going to have seniors learning new terminology for the 4th time in 4 years.  I really, really, really, really don’t want to have to fire him.  I also don’t know who we’d get.  Randy Sanders at FSU, maybe?  BTW, it’s clear that Richt made the mistake that cost him his job with Schotty.  Clemson lost Chad Morris put replaced him with insiders and kept the same system. 
·       I’m not sure the ADs care because they’re counting their money from the city of Jax, but we need to rethink that thing.  There were a lot of empty seats on both sides.  We had probably 6 next to us and others around us that never filled.  I think, culturally, every year it has become a grind.  I contend that jax-athens-jax-gainesville would be great.  Every senior would get a home game, a road game and get to play in jax twice.
We are in a terrible predicament, and frankly have been.  It’s so easy for fans outside the program or even fringe UGA fans to scoff now because we fired a coach that had won 10 games.  It was, painfully, time.  We wouldn’t have signed Ridley or Simmons at WR.  We wouldn’t have signed Herrien or David Marshall.  We wouldn’t have Mo Smith.  We’d have Bailey Hockman committed at QB and not Jake Fromm.
My immediate concern is that we’re no fun at all right now.  We’ve been a hard team to watch for a season and a half.  The last time we all felt really, really good was vs. South Carolina last year.  We felt good vs. UNC this year, but it was so short lived.  It’s just a painful bunch to watch.  We desperately need something fun to happen with the team.  That goes without saying.  A great showing in a victory vs. what will be a top-10 Auburn team would go a long way for the team.
My longer term concern is that it’s going to take a while to fix our O-line, like at least till 2018.  I’m wondering if we’re going to go after a JUCO tackle.  As bad as it is, one great tackle would make a world of difference.  An offensive line is like a basketball team.  You don’t need 5 stars.  You need 2 stars (that can handle one on one and dominate), and 3 guys to play their roles.
I’m also wondering if we’re going to see some transfers after the season.  It’s just a bad spot to be.  We had to make a change.  I think we made the right change.  There is no magic bullet.  Herman looks like he’s still learning on the job and would have completely overhauled our system and has no experience in Southern culture.  But this was just going to happen.  Donnan went 5-6 then went 10-2 the next year.  Richt went 8-4 then 13-1.  
Donnan had Auburn ’96.  Richt had Tennessee and Tech ’01.  Kirby could sure use Auburn and Tech ’16.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thursday Feeling

For some reason, I’m feeling a little loosey goosey about this thing.  Aaron Murray turned it around, but they were all nail-biters.  Holding them in 2011 after we scored, the fumble and running out the clock in 2012, running out the clock in 2013.  Even 2004 we had to hold on at the end.  2007 was more demonstrative, but it never felt like a 2 score game until very, very late.
Saban’s first year, that 7-6 team showed up and absolutely stoned Tennessee, a team that went 9-3 and beat our 2007 Dawgs.  Tennessee walloped us in Knoxville, we beat Bama in OT, but Bama routed UT.  Previous games just aren’t harbingers of things to come until you have a much more clear identity, like, I know Chad Kelly is going to turn it over and I know Bama’s D is going to knock you silly.  Those are identities.  We just don’t have one, good or bad, yet.
Something smells like a route to me, like we are just going to play lights out and expose them, get after Del Rio (hello, Mr. Ledbetter) and shut them down.  Eason grows up and we get an identity.  I have no basis for this whatsoever.  But, it would set a tone for Kirby’s tenure. 
Tennessee was better than Bama that year, but it set a tone in a bitter rivalry, and UT has never beaten them.  Can you believe that?  Since Saban got there, UGA has beaten them, LSU, Florida, Ole Miss, Auburn, aTm, and South Carolina have all beaten them.  But not UT.
BTW, funny how things change so fast.  Just a couple years ago we had lost to the Cocks 4 out of 5 seasons.  Now we’ve beat them 3 out of 4.  We are 2-2 vs. Vandy in the last four.  Chew on that.  We’ve lost 2 in a row to the Gators, but find a way to win Saturday and we’ve won 4 of 6.
Go Dawgs!
Beat Florida!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Happens Saturday?

Well, it’s Florida week.  We have 3 losses, but Ole Miss has 4.  We are a crazy mess.  I’m convinced that UNC is the best team we’ve beat since at least Louisville in the Belk Bowl and probably Auburn from that season, but UNC is probably better than them.  They’re probably the best team we’ve beat since beating Clemson earlier that year, a team that went 10-3.  And Nichols is perhaps the worst game we’ve ever played.  And we lost to Vandy.
If there’s any room for encouragement, it’s that we almost alternate:
UNC – play great
Nicholls – play awful
Mizzou – play good, pull out a clutch win
Ole Miss – play awful
UT – play really good in gut-wrenching loss
South Carolina – play pretty good in win
Vandy – head scratcher sleep walking loss
So, we’re due for a good one.  We’re almost good/bad week to week.  What I do know is that Penn St. beat Ohio St. and only completed 8 passes.  That really happened.  Florida’s defense is nasty, but so is there offense, and not in the same way.  There are no keys, because we have no way to know how in the world it works out.  Just find a way to win the game.
The week of the Bama game in 2007, a friend asked me what I thought about the game.  Remember, we had come off an encouraging performance vs. Okie St. followed by another face-plant against South Carolina.  I said that I thought we’d win because we had to.  Our staff needed that game badly.  The same is true here.  That doesn’t mean we’ll win, but I’ll be shocked if we play poorly.  Maybe our team truly hasn’t bought in, but I have a hard time believing that’s true of the core.
I also believe that Jacob is going to keep getting better.  He’s one of the top 3-4 most talented QBs in the nation.  It’s clicking more and more.  He’s not scared. 
We’ve never played Florida with Nick and Sony.  Not once.  Sony was out in 2014 and Nick was out in 2015.  They will show up ready to play. 
Speaking of Ohio St.  I think I’m in w/ the 4-team playoff, but it truly has changed the sport.  In essence, that loss to Penn State almost meant nothing.  Fans in Clemson and Seattle weren’t huddled around their TVs to watch it because they know that they win and they’re in.  That’s a good thing, because the beauty contest is over and if you go undefeated in your power 5 league, you’re in.  But still, it’s taken some shine off those upsets like that.
And, boy, I cannot wait for Clemson to live in the post Deshaun era.  I actually think they go down in Tallahassee on Saturday night.
Go Dawgs!
Beat Florida!
Gator Hater!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Yearly Existential Dawg Thought

It’s not exactly where we expected to be.  But it’s where we are…and it’s probably where we have to be, for now.
Probably every Dawg wondered at some point on Saturday afternoon on the walk back to the car or the ride back home or after clicking off the TV…did we make a mistake?  Should we not have fired Richt?  Surely he’d have beaten Vandy.  BTW, the last time he played them w/ a true freshman QB at home – he didn’t.  He also lost up at Vandy with a 4 year starter at QB and the most prolific passer in SEC history.  But I digress.  Every dawg fan had to ask it.
Should we have hired Herman or Fuente?  Should we have gone hard after a proven winner like Dantonio or Shaw?  Then I watch Houston (coming off a loss to Navy) come within an inch of losing to Tulsa. Syracuse (who is probably worse than Vandy) beat Fuente and VT, Sparty is an abject disaster, and Stanford is off the rails (with one of the best players in America on their team).  We’d be awful right now with Herman and Eason would be starting in Gainesville. 
I’m thinking of Nebraska, who looked like they had made a mistake with Riley.  I’m thinking of Washington, who looked like they’d had a bust with Petersen.  I’m thinking of A&M, who couldn’t get to 6-0 before this year w/ some of the best players in the league and a Heisman winner.  I’m thinking it takes time.  Painful, dreadful time.
I am as frustrated as heck at Cheney.  I do not like the 3rd or 4th down call.  I do not like the tendency toward getting cute.  I do not like his stubbornness to the gameplan even when it seems it’s not working.  I also do not want 4 OCs in 4 years.  Like, seriously.  I do not want that.  I know Saban changed Applewhite after the first year in 2007, but I’m not sure a McElwain is out there.  Who do we get?  Who even runs pro style besides us, Bama, Stanford, Arkansas and FSU, USC, Florida (sort of) and Colorado St.?  I just don’t think you make a change unless by some miracle you can convince Mike Bobo that head coaching is not for him. It’s not a recipe for success.  I think I feel the same way about Beamer.  We’ve got to let the coaches coach.  I’m fairly positive he didn’t tell Reggie Davis to step out at the 3.  Now, the fact that 2 different staffs continue to put #81 in those positions is remarkable.  I mean, is he THAT fast?  Beamer was Spurrier’s recruiting coordinator from 2009-2011.  Stephon Gilmore, Alshon Jeffrey, DJ Swearinger, AJ Cann, Connor Shaw, Ace Sanders, Kelsey Quarles, Lattimore, Clowney.  Those are some of the guys they signed in those 3 years.  He’s part of the recruiting package that Kirby assembled.  He was Spurrier’s Special Teams Coordinator.  He knows what he’s doing, and he needs more than 7 games.
2 Quick thoughts:
·       We’re playing too many freshmen, but it’s out of necessity.  Bama has 6 SR starters on defense.  SIX!  They start 2 freshmen:  Hurts and an OT, Jonah Williams who was the #17 player in America, #2 OT and an early enrollee.  Over the years, if you watch those guys, they don’t play a lot of freshmen.  We’re having to, and we have had to in the past.  But this has to stop.  We are filling in the gaps for the horrific 2013 recruiting class.
·       Kirby, in many ways is sticking to his guns, and he probably has to.  If I got sent to a church that was not growing and had only a traditional service (and maybe they did that well), I’m faced with a conundrum.  Though we could tweak some things, do some better marketing and paint a few walls, fundamentally, I don’t believe you can grow a church and reach new people with traditional worship long term.  And delaying starting a contemporary service is kind of delaying the inevitable.  It’s going to be painful and some people are going to leave or get mad.  Some preachers even say you’ve got grow down before you grow up.  Or do I bite the bullet and try to get a choir director and pianist to play contemporary even though they’re not best at it because I’m trying to start the process or moving the church in the direction that I believe will give us the most long-term success?  I know what I’d do.  I’d do what I believed in, and what I thought was the best for us over the long haul. 
What I hope is that Kirby and the team can deliver some fun.  UGA football has become the most un-fun thing ever.  2014 was fun.  We lost an a stinker to Tech and didn’t show up at Florida.  We were constipated in Columbia and those were awful.  But we won fun.  We rolled Clemson and Todd is still running.  We showed up in Mizzou and Arky and just stoned them in every way.  We had a magical night vs. Auburn.  We scored 100 points vs. Kentucky.  I know.  We had Mike Bobo.  We had the same record, 9-3, but we were a fun team to watch.  For the last year and a half, we are anything but fun.  Dawg Nation desperately needs some fun to close out this season.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Columbia, SC

You know, as bad as that South Carolina team is, I got to thinking about our trips there for about the last 20 years.  We should never sneeze at a 14 point win there, or a win of any kind.
2014 – loss.  With Todd Gurley to a team that went 7-6
2012 – loss. With Todd Gurley to a darn good team, but we got blown out, and it was one of Richt’s best 3-4 teams.
2010 – loss.  No offense to the worst East champion ever and a team that eventually ended up 9-5.
2008 – won 14-7 with Moreno, Stafford and Green to a team that went 7-6.  We were preseason #1.
2006 – won 18-0 to an 8-5 team, the most bizarre outcome of the last 20 years.
2004 – trailed 16-0 and won 20-16 to a Holtz team that went 6-5.  It was Pollack and Greene’s senior season.
2002 – Richt’s best team needed a miracle, did not score an offensive TD and hung on getting a fumble inside our five yd line.
2000 – paging Quincy Carter. An 8-4 South Carolina team owned us.
1998 – We won 17-3 against a team that went 1-10.  Yes, you’re reading that right.  It was a team coached by Brad Scott.
1996 – We lost to a team that went 6-5
We were 5-5 in our last 10 trips there before Saturday.  We don’t play well there for whatever reason.  We won.  Jacob was off, but think about some offensive clunkers we’ve put up in that stadium over the last 20 years.  We couldn’t score with Murray, King, Gurley and Marshall in 2012!
Survive and advance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dooms Day Playoffs

Just thinking today…you want your doomsday playoff scenario.  

·       OU wins the big 12 with at least 2, maybe 3 losses.  Remember, they can go 8-1 in the league and have 3 losses.
·       A 2-loss team wins the Pac 12.  Entirely possible, perhaps likely.
·       OSU or Mich win Big 10
·       UNC drops a game, but wins their division.
·       UT loses to bama, twice, going 11-2
·       UGA wins out
·       Ole Miss wins out
·       FSU wins out
·       Louisville wins out, beating Houston
·       UNC beats 11-1 Clemson in ACCCG

Your locks:
-Bama and Big 10 champ are in
-Houston is out

Then you’d have:
-2-3 loss Big 12 champ
-2 loss Pac-12 champ
-11-2 UNC – ACC champ (who lost to UGA)
-10-2 UGA (who lost to Ole Miss and UT)
-10-2 Ole Miss (Who lost to Bama a FSU)
-10-2 FSU (Who lost to Louisville and UNC)
-11-1 Louisville (Who lost to Clemson)
-11-2 Clemson (Who lost to FSU and UNC on the last day of the season)
-11-2 UT (who lost to Bama, and on the last day of the season)

THAT would be utterly nuts.  No way we get in there, but it sure would make it interesting.  This is what I do when I’m coping with a loss.

Never Is A Long Time

Just embrace that you’ll never get over it.  In 1985, I went to the Labor Day game vs. Bama.  We retired #34 that night.  We blocked a punt to take a late lead.  With no timeouts and 0:50, Mike Shula led them down the field to beat us.  I’m still not over it.  

There is nothing to go over.  I’m not concerned about the direction of the program under Kirby.  We’ve obviously got some tremendous young talent.  We’ll get more.  We played with an edge and urgency the entire game save for 10 seconds.  (which is part of the problem).  I’m not worried about what Kirby is building.

What does me in is the cruelness of fate.  It’s that we were all about to witness the greatest win in Sanford Stadium history.  I don’t say that as hyperbole.  I really think it was going to be.  It’s been a long time since we’ve beat a team of that caliber in that fashion.  Frankly, I don’t really understand football fate, after watching it for 39 years.

I was in Death Valley when we held a late 4 point lead over Clemson backed up in our own territory.  Keep in mind, this is against Rodney Williams (QB) and Clemson.  He could neither pass nor run.  He was good at handing off.  Ford ran a classic 80’s power team and expected to win with running and defense.  We ran a QB sweep with James Jackson, who got tackled for a safety in the endzone, cutting the lead to two.  We kicked off and they got in position for David Treadwell to kick a FG to beat us by 1.  It was the second straight year Treadwell had kicked a FG to beat us.  The most impossible and improbable thing happen for us to lose in almost the only way we could.  There was no way Bama was driving the length of the field.  There was no way Clemson could score another TD to overcome that 4 point deficit.  

What I want to tell you is that if you think this is a Smart, Richt, Donnan or Goff problem, it stretches far beyond that.  Those were Dooley games.  I can see us running that QB sweep in my mind and as an 10 yr old thinking “No!!!!!”

What makes me sad are two things:
·       There are no guarantees Jacob Eason or any of us will experience anything like that ever again, especially in Sanford Stadium.  We’ve all been to a whole bunch of games there, and the list is very, very short of come from behind victories where we had to score a TD to win the game at home and did and won the game.  Of the ones I’ve seen:
o   Stafford to Massaquoi.  
o   Murray to JSW vs. LSU.  I literally can’t think of another.
o   Mason to Mitchell in ’14 vs. Tech would have been.
o   I was there for Butler’s kick in ’84.  It was bonkers.  The game was tied and we won on a FG, obviously.
o   To win on a bomb like that.  It was just different than Stafford or Hutson.  And it felt different than Murray to JSW.
·       The schedule has me down for those very same reasons.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to beat Florida, Auburn and Tech, badly.  But there’s a decent chance we’re going to go the rest of the season without playing a ranked team.  Heck, there’s a decent chance we go to South Bend next year and ND is unranked the way they’re going.  The chance to bounce back vs. a perceived ‘good’ team doesn’t exist.  We could go 10-2 with the only ranked team we beat being UNC, who might possibly go 11-1 (again).  The Heels have VaTech and Miami the next 2 weeks. Win those two and they’re cruising.  BTW, why wouldn’t LSU hire Fedora?  
o   All that to say…the next meaningful game for the division in Sanford Stadium is in 2018 vs. UT.  The older I get, the more I tire of the Jacksonville deal and I hate the Auburn/Tech deal.  I like Jax, but I’m for a 3-4 year rotator.  Athens – jax – Gainesville – jax – Athens…Every class gets jax twice.  Every class gets a home game and a road game.  My brother has seen home games in the last year and a half vs. ND, FSU and L’ville.  All wins.  We get a top ten team in Athens once in a blue moon, and we’re in a better conference with more ranked teams.  That’s insane.  I could have my mind changed about Jax with a 9-game conference schedule.  We’ve got to get A&M, Bama, and LSU to Athens more.  A&M plays in Athens in 2019.  LSU plays in 2025.  I believe Alabama plays in Athens again in 2016.  That is certifiably insane.  We play Notre Dame and UCLA in Athens before we play either LSU or Bama in Athens again.  I fell in love with UGA football because I’m addicted to that environment from Saturday.  Mizzou at noon doesn’t really do that.
o   The other part of the schedule is that as talented as we’ll be in 2017 and ’18, we play @ Notre Dame in ’17 and @ LSU in ’18.  In ’17, we play @ ND, @ UT, @ Auburn, @ Tech and Fla. In Jax.  You tell me if that looks like a championship.  It’s a murderers row.  People are going to watch us in huge National TV games and say, “Do those guys ever play at home?”

BUT…what Kirby has to fix, more than anything, is this issue of fate.  Richt openly admitted that he wanted to be at the top and one year things would eventually fall in place.  No injuries, the ball would bounce your way, etc.  That’s waiting on fate.  I don’t think Bama or Ohio St. wait on fate.  Michigan lost an even more inexplicable heartbreaker to MSU last year…but they don’t seem to be waiting on fate.  Georgia needs to take fate out of the equation.  That might be our problem for the better part of 30 years.  We don’t want to be better than you, we just want the ball to bounce our way our fair share.  I think that mindset is in our players.  It’s why we relaxed with 10 seconds left.  I know the coaches didn’t.  I’m a Georgia fan, expecting the worst, so I sure didn’t.  That’s my takeaway.  Stop waiting on fate.  We’ve been waiting since Lindsay ran down Duval St.   Be better.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How Do You Build Rome ?

It’s Tennessee week, so better get your mind right.

There wasn’t much that went right about our trip to Oxford, but the Grove was nice.  I realized something during the game.  I realized how emotionally and spiritually invested I was in Mark Richt.  I’m part of an interesting generation of Dawg fans.  Dooley was the coach of my childhood.  I saw Herschel play, and remember many hard nosed games (and wins) with great defense and Tate, Worley, and Hampton.  We never really had a QB in the 80s.  We didn’t need one.  Goff and Donnan came in my teens and college years, and I was incredibly invested, but it was different than Vince.  Vince was honored.  They were not.  No one was really invested in them.

Then came Richt, the coach of my adulthood.  But Richt did so much that was so important so early, he became so engrained in the fabric of every dawg fan.  It had been 20 years since we won the SEC.  He won it.  Gracious, we had not beaten UT in Knoxville since #34 ran over Bates and we made it commonplace.  We finally be Florida.  Then we beat Florida 3 times in a row.  We beat Auburn 8 of 10 times.  We boat-raced them several times.  We went to 3 Sugar Bowls when I wasn’t sure we were ever going to go to one again.  We beat UT 5 times in a row.  We owned Tech the way we should for 15 years.  And he was a darn good man, and when we lost, it hurt because you knew how good of a man he is and was.  Every decent UGA fan wanted Richt to win.  The losses that looked a lot like Saturdays became yearly happenings, though.  It had to happen.

Kirby was hired on to do something different.  It’s going to take time.  Everything is new.  We’re on our 3rd OC in 3 years, and our senior defenders are playing for their 3rd DC.  We are struggling in so many spots due to complete recruiting misses for several years.  Think about our WRs.

Stanley, Chigbu and Godwin are all Sophomores.
McKenzie is a Junior.
Reggie Davis is our lone senior.  That’s for real.  And we know Reggie’s deal.

We’re playing 4 TEs, a junior, sophomore and 2 freshmen.

Briscoe is a sophomore.  Mauger is the only senior in the secondary.  We’re starting two sophomores and LB.  

We have a true freshman QB.

We have a freshman punter.  We have no kicker, but the kid that kicked Saturday is a redshirt freshman.

We have been so messed up, that we have had to have transfer stop gaps at multiple key starting positions in the last 2 years (Lambert at QB, Ganus at LB, Smith at Star, and Catalina at LT).  When you have to do that, you’ve had a mess.  Think “Florida QB position” when you think about transfers coming in to help.

On the flip side, the losses from those teams are tremendous.  Detric Bing-Dukes was the leading tackler for Ole Miss on Saturday.  Think of a defense that includes Dukes at LB, Shaq Wiggins at Corner and Trey Matthews at Safety.  That is supposed to be our defense in 2016, with Matthews and Wiggins being 4 yr starters.  

But there is hope.  The Kid can flat out play, and he is going to have a moment (Mizzou wasn’t it) where he absolutely lights up a team.  We are going to get running yards.  I believe we have played the 3 best passers we’ll play (Trubisky, Lock and Kelly).  Our secondary and D will magically look better on Saturday, and then they’ll look fantastic the next two weeks.  This UT team is no world beaters.  Dobbs still can’t throw, nothing like those three kids can, and Malone is good, but they don’t have 3-4 like UNC, Mizzou and Ole Miss had.  Defensively, they do not have up front what we’ve faced the last 2 weeks.  And we ran the ball ‘okay’ vs. Ole Miss.

The message this week is somehow survive a home game.  Guys, if we somehow pull it out, we’re 6-1 headed into the off week and WE are the ones who control our destiny because we’re 2-0 vs. Mizzou and UT.  Mizzou is going to give Florida and/or UT fits.  That’s all we want.  My goal is win the next 5.  WIN THE NEXT 5.  Go 6-0 in the east, and we win this thing.  I’m not sure we even have to beat Auburn.  We’d have head to head over Florida and they’d have 2 losses, and there’s no way UT survives A&M, Bama and Mizzou w/o another loss.  Mizzou has LSU, Arky, Florida and UT.  

In 2012, we went to Columbia and got absolutely blasted.  It was 35-0 before I knew it.  We scored a garbage TD with Ken Malcom late to avoid a shut-out.  That team flipped a switch.  I’m hoping Kirby can do just that.  But this is going to take a while to build Rome.  We just need to find a way Saturday.  I expect us to play good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Show Me

Will Mizzou ever stop wearing those awful yellow jerseys against us?  

It was something.  It was a huge moment in game 3.  It is funny to me how people react.  We wait all summer for the season, and then we complain about the season.  We’re 3-0, and we’ll take that.  The truth is we don’t know anything.  UNC might very well go 10-2.  I think that Mizzou team is good.  At the end of the year, we might all believe Mizzou is better than Ole Miss.  It’s hard to win games.  And we won a tough one.

It was truly a bizarre game in that I felt like we should be up by 2 scores and at the same time literally could not believe we’d won.  I almost thought we’d forgotten how to pull one of those out.  I’m delighted we did.

·       The runs seemed forced to so many, but we kept time of possession in a game we desperately needed to.  We also had a lot of 2nd and 7s instead of 2nd and 10.  That would bode well for us on 3rddowns.  Speaking of which…
·       Jacob Eason…3rd down machine.
·       Loved that Lambert was the first to Eason as he came to the sideline.  I don’t know why, by people kind of lose their minds when thinking about sports and assume people are some kind of egotistical robots.  They’re not.  These are these guys’ best friends.  If I was on Andy Stanley’s staff, I wouldn’t be thinking I should preaching more than him.  Lambert knows what we all know, and I’m super proud of him.  We might need him at some point this year.
·       With Sony still getting back, we’re just starting to see the offense.  Because of Eason’s development, I really think it’s going to be about another week or two before we can really pin down who we are.
·       At what point, though, will teams back off?  Will Eason have to hit that bomb?  Will 55 passes force Ole Miss to do it?
·       At the end of the day, the D didn’t play that bad.  Quietly, we just started getting stop after stop and turnover after turnover.  We gave them some field position on KO and the pick, but they really hit 2-3 big plays.  The two games against quality teams, I feel like we’ve done that – gathered our feet and shut the door defensively.
·       I am kicking this week.  It’s been a while, but I’m warming up.  There is a sense of glee from me toward the morons who have exclaimed for 15 years that a kicking coach and special teams coach is all we needed to fix our woes.  We have the potentially the greatest college kicker coaching our kids and the son of the greatest special teams mind in modern football coaching special teams – and we can’t make a kick and have made a weekly tradition of kick catch interference.  Kids.  Are.  Dumb.
·       I was worried a little about Nick.  Was he dinged up, not 100%.  Mostly I thought he was gassed after the UNC game getting back into game shape.  That may still be true.  But when I saw he was hit in the backfield 12 of 19 carries.  You can’t do much with that.  I’ve got 99 UGA football problems, and #27 ain’t one.
·       I think Mizzou is going to give some teams some fits.  UT is going to have a hard time keeping up with them and I don’t think Dobbs can throw it 55 times to win it.

I have no idea what happens this week.  No idea.  Are they fragile or angry?  Are we finding our groove and learning to win or masking a lot of deficiencies.  I do believe we’re going to get better and better every week.  But I could see us getting blown out Saturday, and I could see us blowing them out.  I just really don’t know.  I’ve decided that you almost really have to get well into October before you know what a team is, but even then…any given Saturday.  I’m not convinced Ole Miss is great.  I predicted before the season they’d be 1-3 by the end of September.  I don’t trust Kelly, and they don’t have the stars to make the plays now that they had the last 2 years.  

BTW, if you didn’t hear or see the presser today, you probably should.  I happened to be coming back from a meeting when it was on.  I think it’s hilarious.  First, I love how he simply calls Eason “The Kid.”  I just don’t get the butt hurt over his testiness w/ the media.  Sunday School is over guys.  He’s all business.  And I don’t mind it.  I don’t think fans care.  I sure don’t.  Maybe y’all feel different.  Media obligations come with the large paycheck, but the truth is none of those guys have a clue what they’re talking about.  Like, literally they don’t know what they’re talking about.  You don’t hear former players ask the stupid questions.  They just don’t.  The bottom line is that the finest man to ever coach in college football won 10 games for 2 straight years and every guy in the media room wrote a story speculating and even suggesting his dismissal.  Nice guy and 10 wins isn’t enough in Athens.  So Kirby ain’t got time to be nice.  What will being nice get him?  What did being nice get Mark Richt?  Nothing.  Plus, it just makes it more fun to listen to.  And here’s the big secret:  I truly believe that it’s all calculated.  He wants the media to write about him and worry about this rather than research the team and write about the kids.

Oh, and I really love the QB for Louisville.  Awesome to watch him play.  But remember how we were convinced Fournette was the Heisman lock about week 4.  He didn’t even get invited to NYC.  Long, long season.  As the Dawgs say, Keep Swinging.

Go Dawgs!
Beat Ole Miss!
Chubb for Heisman!
Kirby/Eason '16

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Nicholls and Dime Ya

Well, glad that’s over.  That literally happened.  It was almost the worst loss in college football in quite some time – but it wasn’t.  At this point, that’s all that really matters.  College football is the most maniacal sport on planet earth because it’s played at such a high level (much higher than NCAA basketball and baseball) by college kids.  The sample sizes are so hard to figure because the season is so short.  For the life of me, still, I cannot figure out how the team that showed up in Lexington, KY in 2012 was the same team that showed up in Jax a fewweeks later.  

I do think first year coaches kind of have these moments, but all teams kind of do.  Our high powered offense in 2008 could barely score vs. a bad South Carolina team.  We won 14-7.  I know, I know.  Nicholls State is remarkably bad.  I’m not sure it matters on a given day like that.  Once you get in a funk it’s hard to get out of.  

I will say it was the most bizarre game I think I’ve ever attended.  I felt fine the whole game right up until Joystick fumbled.  That was the moment.  They didn’t dominate us or gash us.  They’re stats were meager and ours were okay.  We were even on turnovers.  We had less penalties (and only 3).  It was bizarre.  Nothing about the stats tell you the game should be close.  But there we were.   We couldn’t block them, and that was the whole dang story.  D wasn’t bad.  QBs were fine.  Punter punted good.  We just couldn’t block them.

I watched Kirby’s Q & A w/ the press today.  You’d do good to do that sometime.  His tone and words come across much differently than the way the writers write it out.  BTW, I’m so tired of the griping from the press about lack of coach and player availability.  Go cry a river and do your job.  It’s clear they get the QB situation.  He even said the reason Lambert isn’t talking to the media was “Greyson’s not our starter and leader.”  

I’m appalled by the number of people writing off Eason after Saturday.  One of the AJC guys said that he doesn’t appear to be as talented as Stafford.  He says that after 2 games and watching 10 minutes of practice 2 days/wk.  The kid, thus far, is far smoother than Stafford was at this point.  No way Matthew wins that UNC game back in the day.  Matthew could zip it like no other, but Eason is really close in arm strength.

The truth is we know nothing, but we’ll know a lot more by 11 p.m. Saturday.  I do contend that a 60-65 degree kickoff (which is what it will be there) will do our kids a world of good.  We looked a little dead legged.

On to Columbia.  Beat Mizzou!