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/ 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.!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

CFB Big Picture Scheduling

So, the hurricane has left me w/ some big picture thinking…

·       The powers that be need to move the start of the season to the last weekend in August.  The guys have already been practicing for 4 weeks by then.  Let them play.  Heck, High Schools are kicking off at, like, August 18.  Next year the season would kick off on Aug. 25 instead of Sept. 1.  Why?
·       We’ve got to get 2 open dates back on the schedule.  This hurricane is making teams cancel games.  UCF is only going to play 10 games this year.  Florida, Miami, and FSU are only going to play 11.  FSU and Miami are going to play for a bunch of weeks in a row to move their game to their (luckily) shared open date. 
·       I’m all for safety in the state of Florida, but the bottom line is that those players are only going to get beat on 11 games instead of 12.  Will that make a difference?  I don’t know.  No one knows.  I just know it’s a fact.  Perhaps it’s a bad thing for them.  Either way, it creates inequality.  Two open dates would allow for better flexibility to move games, and give the NCAA a little more leverage to ‘strongly encourage’ the rescheduling of games vs. the cancellation of games.
·       I think Labor Day would get better.  Teams could play an opening game, then have 9 days to prepare for a big Labor Day game, then schedule one of their off weeks in week 3.  They’d still have another open date around week 8-10 to play with.  There’s no reason we shouldn’t have great games starting at noon on Labor Day. 

I’m glad we play Samford.  I’m glad it’s not a nooner (more time to rest).  I can’t imagine how the guys felt getting back to Athens about 4 a.m.on Sunday morning.  Oh, hey Greg, turns out we needed that Indoor facility after all.  We have a hurricane in Georgia on Monday and Tuesdayand will be playing in sunny skies on Saturday.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Wake Up the Echos!

We’re 2-0, and that’s no small accomplishment.  The further I get from the game, the more thankful I am to have just gotten out with a W.  That team has talent and has recruited well.  They went 4-8 last year, but looking at their schedule it’s hard to imagine them worse than 8-4, and 9-3 is likely and 10-2 very possible.  They don’t play Clemson or FSU or Louisville.  Two years ago, Clemson beat them 24-22 in Death Valley with DeShaun Watson on their team, and we didn’t think a thing about it.  Clemson held ND on a two-point play to tie it.  We’ve got to get over this idea that pretty wins matter.  For now, they just don’t.

For the better part of 10 years (outside ’11 and ’12) we have found every which way to lose a game like that.  We also just broke a streak. We had not beaten a non-conference road opponent besides Tech since ’08 Arizona St.  We’d lost to Oklahoma St, Colorado and Clemson.  Three in a row.  That win was big, and may we never take one of those trips again.  I’m for the Chick-fil-a and Belk kickoff classics.  Or schedule a home and home with Duke or Wake Forest.  But let’s don’t do that again outside the trip to UCLA already on the schedule.  That’s my opinion.  I’d much rather the SEC go to 9-games and be done with it.  I’d like to play LSU, Bama and Ole Miss more.  Not Ohio St. or Michigan.

If you’d have told me 2 weeks ago that Eason is out, we get 126 yards of penalties and two turnovers in South Bend, I’d have said, “Can I cancel those plane tickets?”  That’s the amazing thing.  I firmly believe that teams have to learn how to win and learn how to lose.  We’re learning how to win.  The Tech game clearly demonstrated we had not yet.  We may be getting there.

Not to go too far down the road, but there’s really no excuse for us to not be 7-0 heading the Jax.  The schedule gets interesting then. 

·       I heart Roquan Smith.  I loved watching Ogletree.  I love Roquan.  Gracious, he is ridiculously fast and just doesn’t miss tackles.
·       Every team has guys get open on them (watch a game by the professionals on a Sunday).  But, we don’t see trends in openness.  That is a huge improvement over what I’ve seen most of my life.  Credit to Pruitt, who started it, but the DB play is much, much better under Kirby.
·       Our secondary (and entire D) tackles so well.  Did I just say that sentence?
·       Andrew Thomas got beat a few times.  He’s still a freshman.  He’ll get better.
·       I feel like we’ve got to get Nauta more involved, and we need to get Ridley greased up a little more.  I think he may have been suspended the 1st quarter Saturday night.  He did not play until the first play of the 2nd quarter.
·       I hope it’s often, and I hope it’s in the big games when we need the big plays, but at some point #4 is going to get into the open field.  I fully expect a blazed trail.  He is a kind of fast I don’t know that I’ve ever seen in silver britches.  Maybe Hason Graham.
·       Fromm is a freshman.  He looked like it.  We looked constipated much of the game, and I just don’t know how much of that had to do with him.  I want to blame Chaney.  It’s hard to know what we’re working with.  These are two of the most talented QBs to come out of high school into UGA, but they're young.  I’d like to judge Chaney on a game or two with an experienced and talented QB.  We’ve got to get ours back.  In a way, it could go great.  There will be no coronation parade for Jake now, and the realization had to hit a lot of Dawg fans in light of the win.  My hope is that Jacob comes back with a vengeance for the next year and a half, gets picked #1 in the 2019 draft, and Jake Fromm has gained incredible experience to be our starter in 2019-2020 as a junior and senior.  In the meantime, Justin Fields will redshirt in 2018, back up the next two and start in ’21-’22.  See there, wasn’t that easy?
·       We need to get Fromm going this week, and getting Nick and Sony going would be nice.
·       I’m not worried about Nick and Sony.  I firmly believe we’ve got to establish a passing game to get rolling.  No one respects it, and no one has respected it for over 2 years. 

Hey, think about the 2019 ND game with Wimbush as a senior and Fromm as a junior.  Mecole as a senior.  Zeus and Swift toting the rock.  That game won’t be 20-19.

Go Dawgs!
Beat Samford!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Something to Talk About

Finally, football.

Well, I was pleased Saturday.  I think our defense has a chance to be one of the best we’ve ever had.  We just looked more sound. Receivers were covered.  We tackled well.  We were around the ball.  I even think Lamb’s few runs were kind of part of the design.  Run it 3-4 times kid.  We’ll catch you within 15 yards.  And we did.  Random thoughts:

·       LeCounte is going to be a star of epic proportions.  He has maybe 40 more games left to play for us.  He’s already really good.
·       Thought Nick looked quicker and stronger.  Broke some tackles I don’t think he breaks last year.
·       Sony was running like a man possessed.
·       Nauta gonna nauta.  That dude is hard to stop.  I’d throw it to him every play.  That’s probably not a good game plan.
·       Ridley will help the receiving corp.  Godwin, Ridley, Mecole and Wims is a pretty good 4 wide set.
·       OL was alright.  I wasn’t overly concerned or worried or elated or thrilled.  They opened a few creases, which is more than we can say for most games last year.
·       We were very, very vanilla on both sides on purpose.
·       If Rod and Cam kick like that for the season, we’re going to be pretty doggone good on special teams.
·       Very few penalties.  There’s a different aura about us.  Very measured.
·       We beat a team by 21.  That hasn’t happened in almost 2 years.  We should be really happy.  Unlike what Phil Steele said, they did not take us down the wire.  BTW, I’m not a huge Steele fan.  He’s paid to have opinions.  I just don’t think they’re very good. 

And there’s Fromm/Eason.  No way to judge Jacob’s series in context of an entire game.  It’s very likely he’d have been fine.  I’d much rather have him headed up to South Bend.  I’m an Eason guy.  I think the kid is a gamer.  But Fromm was fun to watch.  There’s something about him.  The number brings Aaron to mind, but he reminded me most of Zeier as a freshman.  I’ll say this (and I may eat these words):  if we lose Saturday night, I don’t think it will be because of Jake Fromm.  It’ll be because our D isn’t as good as we thought, we miss FGs or can’t block.  I think the kid will show up ready to play.  I think he’s wired that way.

I mentioned to the Counselor last night.  Are we about to enter into a Chris Simms/Major Applewhite kind of deal.  Every fan in America knew Texas was better off with Applewhite, but the coaches were enamored w/ Simms arm and height.  Well, it’d be a good problem to have.  Having 2 capable QBs is better than having ZERO, and we learned what that looked like in 2015.  I hope the kid performs well and we’ve got good problems on our hands.  I don’t want a QB controversy, but we have to trust the coaches.  They certainly want him to perform well. And we want Jacob to heal and perform well when he gets back in practice or whatever.  I keep thinking of the ’94 Nebraska team.  Frazier got a blood clot early in the season and Brook Berringer started 7 games and led them to the natty vs. Miami.  Fraizier made it back for the bowl, but Berringer played about half the game.  They won their first national championship under Osborne.

And BTW, Fromm is going to take off at some point on Saturday.

And the only thing good that came out of last night was Tech lost. 

Go Dawgs!
Beat ND!