Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#RBU and Rose Bowl Shirts

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Smelling Like Roses

Let me wipe away the tears…

It was a magical night.  The place is palatial.  And it was worse than bonkers.  I thought we had over 60% of the crowd once we got in there.  And we were just much louder, even early on.  Walking around and looking at fans before the game, I just thought to myself, “They don’t want it like we do.”  You could see it on their face.  They just won a natty 7 years ago…not 37.  That made a difference in the crowd, I think. 

Game notes:
·       Jake was phenomenal.  He’s going to be amazing.  He can make a lot more throws than you think he can.
·       The lines were the difference.  We got continual penetration, and protected well after the first drive.
·       Chaney called the best game of his tenure, I thought.  Just everything worked.  The pass to Nauta HAD to be called on first down.  All of it was brilliant, and the incomplete pass on 3rd before their substitution penalty was a great call.
·       Bellamy causes a fumble.  Zo causes a fumble.  In the biggest games, they’ve made plays.  I thought Zo was quietly dominant.  He was chasing guys all night.  He didn’t necessarily make the play, but he was causing havoc.
·       We got Nick to the 2nd level.  His 77 yards were hugely important, and he ran plum angry.
·       We won the game for many reasons, but the bottom line is at this point in the season, we proved to be much, much deeper. 
·       The bottom line is that team lost 3 games.  They played some great teams.  I don’t know what their future is.  I remain skeptical of Gus.  It’s like after we played them, we had them totally figured out.  I don’t think we win by 21 if Kerryon plays, but I think we win.  Holland and Kerryon are junors and probably gone.  Stidham is eligible for the draft.  Dude is 6’3”.  I’d draft him.  I think he can sling it.

Tournament of Roses Edition:
·       Clemson’s QB played at my high school rival.  I’ll need a sedative if we play them.  Me not likey.  I don’t like anything from Wren High School.  Anything.  Have I mentioned I don’t care for Clemson?
·       It will be 75 years to the day when we play in the Rose Bowl since Sinkwich and Trippi trod there.  Interestingly, Sinkwich had a bum ankle that game and the freshman Trippi carried the day.
·       I love Kirby.  I think we’re playing with house money right now.  I think we’re going to be back often in the next decade.  It’s possible we’re a little star struck when we get to L.A.  But, right now he hasn’t done anything Richt didn’t do.  Richt finished 3rd in final ballot of the season before the bowls.  We’d have played #2 Ohio State in the playoffs had they been around.  The man was incredibly unlucky.  We played in SECCG 3 out of his first 5 years.  I contend that a lot of that had to do with extreme consistency at the QB position for 5 years.  We should have that the next 3-5 years. 
·       It was raining all week before an SECCG we were playing indoors.  We play a semifinal in warm California and have a month to prepare in chilly Georgia.  Think that indoor is important now, Greg?  I do think the way Kirby has structured practices in the indoor has helped us.  I also think McGarity is mostly a goober.
·       I don’t think Clemson can beat Bama.  Best point on that game I heard all day was from Jesse Palmer.  It took 2 other-worldly performances by Deshaun Watson to make those games close the last 2 years.  Do we think Kelly Bryant is capable of that?  I don’t.  Make him throw and I think they’ll lose.
·       We’re going to get new unis with the pretty silver/diamond swoosh!  Yay, uniform nerds!
·       Defensive notes.  Thought Marcus Spears was dead on when he said that we have to be delighted to not have to cover a jet sweep.  We get to play a traditional air it out team.  We’re going to be able to pin our ears back.  Aaaaaaand…we won’t have an SEC crew, so they might call holding.  Seriously.  The Sooners might not hold and if they do it might get called.  I think there is potential for Bellamy, Walker and Zo to have a day.  Will we spy Ro on Mayfield?

Is it really still 4 weeks away?

Gracious.  That’s a long time to smile.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Deep South's Oldest Rivalry pt. 2

Can you believe it?  It’s amazing we’ve turned it around so quickly, and this is just the beginning.  I had serious doubts when Eason got hurt.  Fromm has proven to be a catalyst and 4-yr starter.  I’d say we’re namely here because of special teams and our o-line.  It sure is fun to be playing football in early December.  We should be here next year again.  We probably won’t be better next year, but we have 7 home games w/ 3 cupcakes, and play UT, Auburn and Tech at home.

I’m pleased Kirby figured out that losing to Tech will make his life very, very miserable.  I do think there was a little Saban in him that thought he could just play sound D and stop them.  They require some extra prep.  Looks like we did it.  That said, it’s going to get worse for those guys.  In a year or two, we’re going to have Speed, Gibbs and LeCounte roaming around back there, some big dudes.  We’re going to have such supreme athletes to them, it will be like that every year.  McBride will be the one running in Roquan’s place sideline to sideline.  Jake was shaky early (real shaky), but he loosened up to throw some gems.  On the long pass to Mecole, though, he had Nauta wide open for a TD.  WE ended up scoring, but still.

Part 2 of the DSOR:

·       Speaking of Nauta, I think we need a play from him or one of the TEs here.  1 or 2 key catches, maybe 1 for a TD or huge gainer.  Dawg fans have forgotten we have TEs.  Auburn’s Defense might have forgotten, too.
·       Jake’s gotta play really well.  That’s it.  He’s got to hit some big passes.  They are there to be had against these guys.  Can a true freshman QB do that?  If there’s one that can, it’s him.
·       Sony and Nick have to play like their hair’s on fire.  Running Angry and on a mission.  Sometimes, Nick looks disinterested.  It’s mostly his style.  He’s a very patient runner, much like Le’veon Bell.  He needs to hit it hard.
·       We’ve got to get Swift the ball 4-5 times in this game.  I didn’t feel like we did that on the Plains.  We were playing very safe.  Kid’s a playmaker.  Same w/ Mecole.
·       I don’t feel like we’ve gone to Godwin enough, but my guess is they’re going to key on Wims.  Terry is our most reliable receiver, and he’s got to play like it.
·       Rod gotta make kicks.  Every point is important.
·       We can’t get gashed on D and we’ve gotta get some kind of pash rush.  Send Ro if we have to.  He won’t miss the sack if he gets there.  We’ve gotta get pressure on the kid.  He had too much time last game. 
·       How many Dawg fans will be there?  I’ve got a guest preacher on Sunday.  I’m screaming my guts out.

I hated the optics and intangibles of the game on the Plains.  They’re seniors were 0-3 against us.  At their house. They had to win.  But their whole world is beating Bama (and making sure Bama is NOT SEC Champs).  It’s as if they can live w/ us as SEC champs, as long as Bama doesn’t get there.  It’s Monday, and every Auburn fan I know on Facebook is still posting pictures of Toomer’s corner and Alabama memes.  They’re enamored with winning the Iron Bowl.  What do you think class (sic) is like at Auburn today?  Lots of pats on the back and atta-boys.  What do you think Sunday and class is like in Athens today?  A lot of ‘go get ‘em, boys’, I’d suspect.  Has anyone even uttered the word “Tech” since about 7 p.m. on Saturday night?  Lock up the Governor’s Cup, and get to work.  No one will pick us or believe in us.  Maybe that’s rightfully so in the media’s eyes.  I really think this game could go sideways for either team.  I have no idea what to expect.  Could come down to the wire or be a 3 TD game either way.  I think we could end up down early and think, “Here we go again” or we could get them down early and they think, “Uh oh, we weren’t really ready for a real football game.” 

Some interesting playoff thinking:

·       If us and the chalk wins, do they keep us at 4 and go Clemson/UGA in NOLA.  Problem w/ that is that, if you really think Wisconsin is the 4th best team, and Clemson is the best, don’t you have to give the Tigers the easiest path?  Do they let geography get in the way of what is right.  Thought they got it right 3 years ago by sending FSU to Rose instead of Sugar.
·       If us and Ohio St. wins, we will almost certainly end up in Pasadena vs. OU. That would avoid a semis rematch between Ohio St. and OU.  However, you’d have a rematch from last year’s semis of OSU and Clemson.  Blah.
·       Looks like the only way we end up in NOLA is at #4 or massive upsets of TCU and Miami both winning, which would be epic. 

You guys see anything about the game I’m missing?  Will Ben Cleveland be a difference maker this game?

Go Dawgs!
Beat Auburn!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hate Week

Well, we held UK to 100 yards under their average on offense and 40 yards under their average rushing yards per game.  This is where we’re at with complaining.

Scoring Defense Nationally?

1.       Bama
2.       Wisconsin
3.       Clemson
4.       Georgia

Oh, so that’s how you win.  Also, some interesting stats.  Miami & UCF are tied for first with +16 in turnover margin.  That’s remarkable.  That’s also how you cover up a lot of warts.  Good on them, but the Canes won’t live on that forever.  It’s an impossible pace. 

It’s hard to see how we roll by anything less than 3 TDs on Saturday.  This is not a great Tech team.  We thought they were okay early, but they were playing garbage.  They’ve gotten handled by two pretty pedestrian teams in UVa and Duke in the last 3 weeks.  Nick has never beaten them.  I’d imagine he’ll be ready.  I think Jake will have a day, too, because they can’t cover.  Of course, we my throw it 5 times, simply…because.

I’ll say this.  The team that played Saturday in Athens is not going to beat Auburn or Bama.  We won’t be able to come out sluggish and throw an early pick in our territory and beat either of those teams.  But we played Kentucky Saturday.  That’s what people kind of miss.  Yes, we all want to be dominant every game.  It doesn’t happen.  Clemson had a four game stretch last year from mid-October to mid-November where they beat State in OT (and should have lost in regulation), beat FSU in the Doak by 3, beat ‘Cuse at home 54-0, and then lost to Pitt at home and gave up 43 points.  They rallied, won the ACC Championship by a TD, then played their 2 best games of the season vs. OSU and Bama.  That’s the key.

Beat Tech and play our best 3 games of the season to close it out.  Difference is we might need our best game in Dec. 2, but it is vitally important to remember that what happened last week won’t affect this week. 

In any event, it sure is fun.  We’ve had 1 loss heading into Tech only twice since that run in the early eighties:  ’02 and ’12.  Gotta appreciate that kind of season.  BTW, in those two seasons, we flattened the Jackets.

Go Dawgs!
Wreck Tech!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Keep Chopping Tee Shirts

Take a look at these Keep Chopping soft tees. A perfect time to rep the motto!  Also make a great Christmas gift for any Dawg fan!  Limited quantities available. Choose between red or gray!

Keep Chopping

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Rankings and What We Want

So, my lone 2 questions about the rankings would be this:

·       If Clemson and Miami both entered Saturday undefeated, and Clemson lost to Syracuse and Miami beat ND, would Clemson still be #2.  The answer is, of course not.
·       If Auburn beat UGA by 23 in early October, and they both entered this past Saturday with one loss, and UGA beat Vandy or Mizzou and Auburn lost to LSU…would Auburn be ranked ahead of UGA.  The answer is, of course not.

You know they are pulling hard for Wisconsin (after secretly hoping they’d lose the last few weeks) so they don’t have to make a decision, because they clearly don’t know how to make them.  A common sense top 8 would be:

1.        Bama
2.       Miami
3.       Clemson
4.       Wisconsin
5.       OU
6.       UGA
7.       Auburn
8.       Ohio St.

Yes, Auburn curb-stomped us, but they also lost to a team that lost to Troy.  It all doesn’t matter, as it will play its self out, but the concerning thing is that these are the goobers that run the sport.

Either UGA or Auburn would have felt mad at being behind the other.  But the Miami/Clemson thing is ridiculous.  If Wisky loses (probably late afternoon Saturday), all bets are off as to how this thing ends up. 

Keep choppin’

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Aftermath

Well, Saturday was depressing, but it happens.  We weren’t “not ready.”  We took it to them from the opening kickoff and held them to FGs early.  As the game wore on, we couldn’t control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball, and we made ridiculously dumb penalties. 

·       We missed a sure TD down 9-7
·       We held them the next possession, forcing a punt, about the get the ball back down 9-7, before the leaping penalty.  They’re punting it to us with 5:08 to go from their 31.  We stand to get good field position.
·       We completely screw up the end of the half.  Kirby admitted as such.  But, we were certain we couldn’t block Holland and were fearing a sack.  Then we missed the kick.
·       Alas, our D goes 3 and out to start the 2nd half and Mecole muffs the punt at our 23.

Boys, You can say all you want about how we lost composure or the crowd got to us or we got man-handled up front.  Maybe all 3 of those things happened.  Maybe it all worked together.  But, had auburn missed a FG, given us 2 free possessions from our punts, and mis-fired on their long TD pass.  It would have been a different game.  They executed.  We didn’t.  It ain’t rocket science.  Once it got 23-7, that’s when the place got rockin’, but it was mighty quiet after Nick scored early, and it would have been quiet if Ridley was running across the goal-line.  And maybe we wouldn’t have started to feel like we’ve got to make those plays. 

There is no ‘annual egg-laying.’  We have put a number on Auburn a few times in the last 12 years in kind of inexplicable ways.  2011 and 2014 come to mind.  Both of those at home when things got sideways and the crowd got pumping.  Ohio St. got one handed to them in Iowa City.  It’s college football.

I do think we saw some deficiencies on the OL that is mostly about youth.  We do still start 2 freshman, and the entire right side of the line will start as juniors the next time we’re in Jordan-Hare.  We do have a freshman QB.  He wasn’t the problem, but he didn’t look like a wiley veteran.  It reminded me of Zeier in Tuscaloosa in ’91 when we lost 10-0.  He got slung around that night and so did Jake on Saturday.  Z rebounded and so will Jake.  To me, that’s who Jake reminds me most of.  And, for my money, Murray and Zeier were the best 2 we ever had. 

We didn’t tackle well, but it’ll get fixed.  We’ll win the next 2 and see where we’re at.  Win the next 3 and we’re in.  15-0 would have been sweet, but I’ve always said I want to get to the Benz 11-1.  That’s all the ever really matters.  Even if we’d have won, we’d be in a stretch to make the 4 while losing in Atlanta.  Bama in.  ACC champ in.  OU prob. In.  Wisky in if they win.  Or, would they put us in over Big 10 champ OSU?  Or, would we get the nod over Miami if they lost to Clemson seeings as how they curb-stomped the team we beat by 1?  Winning ATL is the only sure way.

What do we want?  We want the Cocks to beat Clemson and Clemson win the ACC.  Then, we got to N.O. if we win.  And I want Bama.  I think we’re a better match-up with them, and I also think we’ve got to climb that mountain at some point.  Might as well be now.

Go Dawgs!

Beat Kentucky!

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Exorcism

Welp…we’re a national powerhouse.  I suppose we all have to deal with it.  There’s no getting away from it.  We’re now 25 point favorites over a 6-2 team.  And 25 sounds about right because that’s about what we beat everyone by. 

Interesting scene and feel in Jacksonville.  The Gator fans knew what was coming, and their side was only about 75% full at kickoff.  The first 7-8 minutes of the game were so fast and furious it was almost unbelievable.  Most of us were in shock.  We’d never really experienced that.  But we had gotten up 20-0 in 2013.  The most impressive thing to me is Kirby’s ability to keep the hammer down in these games.  I don’t know if that’s scheme or mentality.  I just know we’re better at it than ever before.

As for Jake, after it was 21-0, I was thinking, “Why throw the ball?”  The only way that thing was going to end up tight was for us to make some stupid mistakes, as it him getting sacked and fumbling or throwing picks.  The narrative is that we will need to throw the ball.  But, I think I’ve seen that we can.  We did against MSU.  We did against Mizzou.  There’s no need to if we don’t need to.  We’re not trying to prove a point.  We’re trying to win games and keep leads safe.  Up 21, the clock was our friend.  Now, what will we do in a game where we don’t jump up?  Well, we went score for score vs. Mizzou until we finally started stopping them.  Will Auburn make us throw it?  Maybe.  Statistically, Miss. St.’s D is much better than Auburn’s in basically every category.  In Total D, they’re 6 & Auburn is 13.  We’re 3rd.  Now, that MSU D couldn’t really slow down us or Auburn.  But, the point is that this is far and away the best D Auburn has faced, but maybe not us.  MSU’s is statistically better and ND is a better rushing Defense by 8 spots.  And ND has played UGA, Mich. St, USC, and NCSU…4 pretty good teams. 

South Carolina is 107th in total offense and we’re #3 in total defense.  They shouldn’t score much.  They just shouldn’t.  I’m succumbing to the numbers. We’re just waaaaay better.  I’ve got to own and embrace it.  You do, too.

Florida notes:
·       So happy for our 5 big seniors.  They deserved this and all played well.
·       Trenton Thompson makes a huuuuuge difference on the DL.
·       No one is talking about how we’re surviving (well, that’s a bad word…we’re thriving) on D without Natrez.  One more game.
·       I don’t know what was going on w/ the delay of game penalties.  The refs were screwing up the clock there.  The first time, I find it hard to believe we got 25 full seconds.  We barely had any time.  Maybe we were slow.  But BOTH times, the game clock was moving after the penalty.  Uh…I don’t think that’s the way this works, elsewise the way to run out the clock is to keep getting penalties.  The game clock does not start back after the penalty. 
·       Nick Chubb still hasn’t seen the field in the 4th qtr since South Bend.  Seriously, I expect our skill guys to be very fresh down the stretch.
·       JR Reed continues to climb up my favorites list.
·       I do wonder what will happen to us in a close game.  It’s going to come at some point.

2 things:  No one could have predicted this, especially with Eason getting hurt vs. App.  This wasn’t the plan, per se, but it sure has worked out.  Jake seems to be the leader this team needs.  Maybe it will bite us as ‘too conservative’ at some point, or maybe he’ll be Buck Belue.  But, But BUT!!!!  This wasn’t THAT complicated, was it.  I love Mark Richt.  I really do.  I wanted him to stay as our coach.  But, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why he couldn’t figure out what any fan that knows a little football knew about this program 3 years ago.  We didn’t need to fix THAT much, but we HAD to fix it if we were going to compete:

Ø  Lock down the in-state talent.  Check.
Ø  Develop a competent offensive line.  Check.
Ø  Structure you’re team around these fantastic backs.  Check.
Ø  Play nasty defense with more press man coverage.  Check.  (We were getting there with Pruitt)
Ø  Improve special teams.  Huuuuge Check.
Ø  Discipline.  Stop jumping off-sides and getting stupid penalties.  Stop yapping at the other team during warm-ups.  Check.
Ø  Keep your foot on the gas and blow teams out.  Check.

It surely is a lot of improvement, but it wasn’t like it was that difficult to diagnose.  Maybe it was difficult to do.  Maybe the last 2 are the culture changes that had to happen with a new staff.  I love what Kirby has done, and he’s got a chance to be around for a long time and we’re going to watch some good football.  Our captains, Sony, Ro, and Wynn looked like robots coming out onto the field.  There’s no drama or chatter.  We’re about that business.  Talk with your helmets.

And, yes, we CAN beat Alabama.  But beat South Carolina first.  Sanford is going to be fun on Saturday.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Florida Week - Just Thinking

You know, just thinking....

-This was supposed to be Florida’s easy year.  They played BOTH West opponents at home.  They have UT, LSU, tAMu, and FSU all at home.  Boy, to blow that home schedule.  Imagine if we had Tennessee, Auburn, tAMu, and Tech all at home?

-This is our murderers row schedule.  We have road games at ND, UT, Auburn & Tech.  Next year, we have a MUCH easier slate, with 3 true cupcakes and all our rivals at home.  We go to Baton Rouge and Columbia.

It’s early in the week, but there is no logical reason this game should be close.  Florida is in the middle or bottom half of nearly every meaningful statistical team category.  They are 6th in total defense (which is what we imagine is their strength).  That is against the vaunted offenses of Michigan, Tennessee, and Vandy.  By contrast, MSU is 3rd in total defense with a schedule that includes UGA, Bama and Auburn, which include 1, 3 & 4 in Total offense in the league. 

Florida’s defensive prowess might be a mirage.  It’s hard to imagine how they move the ball.  They punt it well.  That’s about all you can say. 

We are way better than this team, guys.  What has Kirby Smart done to me?  I want to be worried, but nothing rational makes me worried.  It makes no sense.  It’s the Cocktail party.  We’re supposed to be spooked.  I’m trying to convince myself to be spooked. 

I’m worried about tipped ball, a blocked punt, and DB falling down.  That’s how this has to go.  ‘Cause if we just line up and play, we’re going to throttle them.

40 ain’t enough.  I want 50.  52-3.  That’s what I want.  I want Jacob Eason throwing a TD to Jayson Stanley with 4 minutes left. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

We Don’t Need Any Help. Just Win.

It's hard to keep dominating.  But, I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like this.  I saw some games in ’82, but I don’t remember anything.  It feels like the way things ended in ’02, ’07 and almost ’12.  You know, we just sort of got on a roll to end those years and dominated our rivals and bowl games. 

But we’ve come out of the gate doing this and put ourselves in position.  I keep thinking about what is in hand – the possibility of walking out of Everbank Field undefeated.  We did that in ’68 (had two ties), ’71, ’80 and ’82, but most of us reading this don't remember it.

Florida has done that in ’95 (Sanford), ’96, and ’09.  That should tell you something.  In the last 50 years, a team has walked out of the cocktail party undefeated and untied only 6 times.  The results?  Played for 4 National championships, Won 2 national championships.  4 SEC titles.  ’09 Florida lost to Bama.  ’71 Dawgs lost to Auburn and Bama was undefeated in conference.  The ’68 team won the SEC, incidentally.

So, walk out of Jax with a victory and there’s a 2/3 chance you’re playing for the natty.  Them’s just numbers.  Of course, that means nothing.  It does mean it is, indeed, historic. We don’t need any help.  We just need to win.  And that’s nice.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Showed Me

Well, I didn’t necessarily like being right in the first quarter.  I thought after the UT game that one of the next two would be closer than we liked.  After Vandy, I was trying to convince myself I was wrong.  Eventually, you just get beat on a play.  Somebody makes a play or two.  That’s what happened.  We made a mistake and they got an easy 7 from the 5 on a great play call.  And we won by 25.  As we broke 30 in the 2nd quarter, I was thinking how we couldn’t score 30 for the last 2 seasons.  Like, we literally couldn’t do it. We scored 30 FOUR times last year:  UNC, Tennessee, Lafayette and TCU.  The most we scored was 35 vs. Lafayette.  In 2015, after the Tennessee game, we didn’t score 30 all year.  So, it’s fun to score.  Touchdowns remain fun.

BTW side note:  Washington didn’t turn the ball over 1 time vs. ASU Saturday night.  They just couldn’t move the ball.

Jake Fromm is 6th in the nation in Passing Efficiency.  And I had a thought…right now, who’s you’re all conference 1st and 2nd team All- SEC?  I guess Hurts is All-SEC by default, though he hasn’t been overly impressive.  Is Fromm 2nd team?  I mean, Stidham is in the running, but they’ll get their chance against one another.  I’m not sure with their record if Patterson makes it on any lists.

I really feel bummed for Jacob Eason, because I’m so appreciative of what he did for our team last year (virtually carrying it) and the work I know he put in over the summer.  I hope his time at UGA is a positive for him.  It’s clear that we’ve GOT to dance with Jake for the next 3 ½ years.  The kid’s got IT.  I don’t know what IT is, but he has a moxie about him that is apparent.  I keep saying he reminds me of Zeier more than anyone else.  It’s like if Eric Zeier had played with a defense.  The pick didn’t phase him, and it shouldn’t have if you have the right mindset.  It’s clear the kids are buying into him.  And the zone read at opportune times is darn near impossible to defend.  I have no doubt that we could have been (and probably would have been) 7-0 with Eason.  But we’re not.  And, I’ve shifted in recent weeks to gain more confidence in #11.  With the game on the line, I think I trust him now.  We were at 21 all and in a little bit of a dogfight and he slung it around beautifully.  He’s a gamer.

Saw someone worried about the Gators say that it reminded them of ’02.  Undefeated in 2nd year of coach headed to play a beleaguered Gator team.  It’s entirely possible it happens.  A difference I’d see is a few things:

1.        That ’02 team lived on the edge the whole first half.  We beat Clemson, South Carolina, Bama and Tennessee by the hair on our chinny-chin-chin.  We had come out smelling good in close games and were kind of due to lose one.
2.       That Florida team had Rex Grossman, who probably should have won the Heisman Trophy in 2001.  They were 2 years removed from an SEC title.  They were still very, very dangerous offensively.

This Gator team is not.  I think (if we get most of our guys back) they are going to have a very difficult time moving the ball.  I also think we’re going to play with a boatload of confidence, and they are going to have some unfounded confidence.  I’d guess their mindset is, “Well, we always beat Georgia down there, so we’ll take care of business as usual.”  I don’t think there’s anything about Roquan and his band of Savages that is business as usual. 

My biggest fear is that we get into a dogfight and don’t kind of tense up in the pressure of a tight game.  I mean, we haven’t been in one since South Bend, which pretty much feels like last season.  I think we’re going to throttle them, that we’ll be focused and ready, and that it’s more likely we’re in a tight one the following week vs. the ‘Cocks.  But it is Florida.  We’ve beaten them a handful of times over the years.  ’04 was fun but by 7.  ’07 was fun but tight all the way through till the end.  ’11-’13 were all very, very tight.  ’97 turned into a route late, but they had taken the lead in the 3rd Quarter.  We owe them an epic beat-down where they don’t stand a chance the entire game and they know and we know it and everyone watching knows it.  They’ve given a few of those to us in the Spurrier and Meyer years.  It’s our time.

Friday, October 13, 2017

6 and O....Rare Air

Hard to believe we’re 6-0 w/ 7-0 staring us right in our face.  It’s a very bizarre feeling to be universally respected nationally.  Defense sells.  When people see a suffocating Defense, it’s more difficult to figure out ways you’re going to lose.  Saturday will be interesting to see how our secondary response to a test.

I believe Kirby Smart is a really, really good football coach, and he’s going to get tested this 2nd season.  Our QB situation is so crazy in a million ways.  There’s no doubt at this point, Fromm is the guy to carry the torch for now, but Kirby also HAS to think about the future, and that means Auburn, and that means 2018.  I think the tricky part is this:  how short is Fromm’s leash?  What if we go 3 & out, pick, 3 & out in Jax?  

The other part of the equation is what does he think in necessary going forward.  My MIND tells me we’re going to need to be able to throw the ball to win big, but Alabama didn’t really have to do it last year for Bama.  Hurts averaged 185 yds/game last year through the air.  Jake is averaging 139/gm.  That’s not THAT far off.  Hurts used his legs more, but we also have way more elite backs than Bama had last year.  Bama went 14-0 with that formula before losing to Clemson.

Right now, Hurts is averaging 145/game, right in line w/ Jake.  There’s some smart Bama fan asking the same thing we are:  “Can we beat Georgia without putting the ball in the air?”  Though Eason is a much more elite passer than Jake or Hurts, Jake is still light years ahead of Hurts as a passer.  He’s also light years ahead of the kid from Clemson.  I THINK we’re going to need a different formula moving forward, but maybe not.

But Kirby knows more than I do.  I’m interested to see a few things:

·       How short is Jake’s leash?  (and will we even know?  It’s entirely possible we don’t even see him struggle – ever – because we don’t put him in position to).  
·       As Jacob gets healthier, will we mix him in with the 1s?  I’d love to see him w/ nick, sony and the receivers.  If we can get up 17-0 or 21-0 Saturday early, I really wish we’d put him in, if nothing else to give him a little confidence.
·       If Fromm is the guy for the season, is there any way Kirby can convince Jacob to stay and compete?  I do believe that Kirby would give him an honest change in the spring.  I just think that’s the way he rolls.

Go Dawgs!

Monday, September 25, 2017

The REAL Dawgs

Well, that was a visceral butchering that took place Saturday night.  But like any game, it was a game of moments.  I think great teams (and great coaches) GET those moments.  The biggest moment was holding MSU to a FG after the fumble and then a big completion.  I’ve watched UGA football for a long time, and I’ve seen our D give up a TD there more than I care to remember.  You don’t have to do that after a turnover.  They’ll let you hold the team to 3. 

The other part was after that.  We had some timeouts and about a minute-thirty left.  With this D you just don’t take those chances unless you have to.  There simply no reason. It’s a funny shaped ball and bounces funny (ask Mohammed Sanu).  A batted pass and pick there.  We were up 14-3 with a true freshman QB and that might just win the game.  Turns out it would have.  A D like ours will make you think much differently.  And, a Freshman QB with Jake’s skillset will do so as well.  If it had been tied, maybe you go for it there.  It wasn’t.  There was no need.

The game I’m most intrigued with this week is MSU/Auburn.  Everyone is starting to climb back on the War Tigersmen.  I’m not so sure.  That Mizzou team is historically bad.  Also, do you know how bad Georgia Southern is?  0-3 w/ a loss to 1-AA New Hampshire.  Their D is ranked very high.  They have played some incredibly bad teams.  I’d imagine Mullen will have those guys ready to play.  Speaking of Mullen, where are the articles this week about him being the 2nd best coach in the league?  I’m just very interested to see that game. 

·       Godwin is turning into a star, but I still feel like we’ve got to get the ball to Ridley a couple of more times a game.
·       Chaney was phenomenal.  Tip o’ the cap.  Despite the two trick(ish) plays, we really didn’t show a lot.  Didn’t give that jet sweep one time, but it’s coming.
·       There’s something about Swift and either Nick or Sony on the field that is deadly.  Having two guys with that kind of running ability on the field together is doggone hard to stop.
·       Fromm was fantastic.  More on that…
·       Been a long time since we had an All-American middle linebacker.  We got one.  Hope he gets the notoriety he deserves.
·       The secondary play and tackling is kind of mind-blowing.  Pruitt improved us tremendously.  This is another level.
·       We play a lot, and I mean a lot, of D linemen.
·       I thought MSU did a good job of protecting Fitz.  Not sure UT can hold up like that.  I expect us to get to the QB in Knoxville.
·       UT is giving up 242 yards/game rushing.  Yes, they played Tech, but they’re not holding a bunch of other people down, either.  I like Kelly, but he had 101 yards on 25 carries vs. UMass.  4 yards a carry.

It’s hard to imagine UT even staying close short of turnovers.  And hasn’t that been the story the last 2 years?  Sony’s fumble in 2015.  Eason’s sack/TD in 2016.  But I think we’d have to turn it over a bunch. I can’t imagine Kirby won’t have us ready.  BTW, do you know us and Clemson are the only 2 teams in America with 2 wins over two current top-25 teams?

On Fromm – it was an incredible performance.  I’m not sure we saw Matthew or Eason play any games like that as a freshman.  Maybe Zeier.  He lit up a good Clemson team in ’91.  And Zeier is who he reminds me most of.  Kirby’s got a good predicament.  I have no idea what he’ll do.  If Jake plays like that again in Knoxville, it’ll be hard to go back to Eason.  But none of know what Kirby knows. Does he believe that his team is good enough to play the way we’re playing and beat Bama.  That is, throw it 12-15 times, run the ball and play solid D.  We might very well could go 12-0 doing that.  But can we go 13-0 doing it?  Is there more of a long game in mind.  Or, can Jake progress through the season to trust him more to win a game throwing it 30 times if we have to. 

The craziest thing (and this is nuts for me) is that I think Kirby Smart can manage this thing for possibly both of them to play.  I just get the feel that this thing is about feel.  They don’t hesitate to put Swift in before Sony.  We might literally do this thing week to week based on the opponent, and he might get them to buy into it…to win. 

I don’t care.  Just keep winning.  Play the kid that gives us the best shot every game.  That’s all that matters.  We’re all dawgs.

Go Dawgs!
Beat Tennessee!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Samford/Sanford/Stanford...it was one of the three

Well, we’re 3-0.  That doesn’t mean much, as we were 3-0 last year and got blasted in Oxford the next week.  It does mean that all our goals are in front of us, and there are a lot of teams that wish they were 3-0.  So I’m grateful.  I feel like it’s a stronger 3-0 than last year.  ND is better than any team we played the first 3 last year.  We haven’t seen a Nichols like performance, and now, looking back, that defensive performance vs. Mizzou was a disaster.  Thanks, Briscoe. 

I’ll finish watching the MSU/LSU game tonight.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the first quarter.  It was 0-0 after 1.  They didn’t just run roughshod over them.

·       Deandre Swift is going to be really, really special.  He reminds me of Hampton.  Slasher, huge cuts.  Before Rodney hurt his kneed in the NFL, that’s what he was.  He as the fast/quick cutting counterpart to Tate and Worley.
·       I want to give Chaney a little slack.  I thought he called a pretty good game.  We attacked the outside, and he’s getting guys open.  We’ve got to hit the passes and catch the balls.  We have a million plays and formations.  It’s not like we’re not trying things.  We’re not that terrible.  We’re 29th in Rushing Offense.  Bama is 24th.  That’s 4th in the SEC behind Miss. St., A&M and Bama.  And we’re just getting rolling.  We have a freshman QB.
·       I felt like Nick got rolling a little bit Saturday.  He looked faster than I’ve seen in a while.  We definitely need to keep handing it to him.  The more he gets it, the more he begins to see the holes and get a feel for the game.  That’s any great back.  We can’t get impatient if he doesn’t bust a big one in his first 4 runs Saturday.  Wear those jokers down and they’ll start popping late in the 3rd.
·       We’re 5th in the nation in rushing defense.  Kentucky is 3rd!!!!!!!!  I can’t imagine Miss. St. gashing us.  I’ll be shocked.  They’ll hit a few, but I’ll be shocked if it’s repeated.
·       Terry Godwin is coming into his own.  I think we’ve forgotten how fast he is.  He was the #1 player in GA coming out of H.S.
·       JR Reed has all the makings of a kind of DB we haven’t really had.  And it sure is fun to have him and Dom roaming back there together.  Would love to get Malcom back for this game.
·       Jake is a freshman.  He’s gonna freshman.  That’s where I get scared heading into the meat of this thing.  He floated a few throws that will be picks in the SEC.  The run and fumble was plain stupid.  With our D and Cam punting, a punt is a mighty fine play.  He and/or Eason HAVE to recognize that.  Let Zo get the ball back for you.  You might just gain 40 yards.  My concern with Jake is playing against a stout D who sells out to stop the run and forces us to throw it 35 times to win the game.  I don’t think he’s ready for that.  We may not have to do that, but that’s what concerns me now.  That’s why I’m hopeful Eason gets back soon.  I also don’t like the idea of getting down in a game and Jake having to bring us back yet.  Maybe we won’t have to worry about it. 
·       Our guys just need to take care of the ball and hit a few plays.  This defense is as good as we’ve ever seen.  They sure are fun to watch.

A game like Saturday also makes you realize how bad we do gameday in so many ways.  We played “Jessie’s Girl” karaoke after the Samford Touchdown in the 2nd.  We play no music while the opposing team is in the huddle, which is, like, gameday 101 stuff at other stadiums.  It was the Lettermen’s game, and we recognized the 1992, 1997, and 2007 teams at halftime…with nary a video clip.  That’s 2 victories over Florida, 2 over Auburn, a citrus bowl win, a sugar bowl win, 3 top 10 finishes, and 3 wins over tech.  We had handdrawn signs with the years on them so the teams knew where to stand.  No mention of Zeier, Hearst, Hastings, Godfrey, Bobo, Ward, Bailiey, Stafford, Moreno or MoMass.  None.  We had Musa Smith and Drew Butler call the dawgs with no pics or clips of them in their career. 

I was looking at ours stadium and thinking…would this be so hard?  I mean, all those concrete facades.  Is this so un-classy?  Does displaying our championships and retired numbers really make the stadium look junky? 

Image result for Clemson stadium championship sign

We are so bad at this portion of athletics that it’s embarrassing.  And I don’t know if anyone knows it, that’s the problem. 

Go Dawgs!
Beat Miss. St.!