Monday, September 24, 2012

Game Recap: My Thoughts, Unfiltered

Get off me, son. 
When you're trying to win a national championship, you beat the hell out of people along the way. Some decent teams, some cupcakes, but you beat the hell out of some people. That's what Vandy got handed on Saturday - an ass whoopin' of epic proportions.

In fact, I believe it was their worst loss since 2003, when someone beat them 48-0 (if anyone remembers who, feel free to drop some knowledge in the comments).

Secondly, Todd Gurley is really, really good. In fact, Marshall and Gurley are really, really good. I heard "Todd Gurley can I have your baby?" from Wes next to me about 50 times.We've got a power back who's fast and a fast back who's powerful.

Then you've got Ken, who's also a back who could find a lot of carries on any other team, probably start. We haven't had a guy who can split the safeties on a carry up the middle in a while, and the fact that we have two is ridiculous.

We're very good on both sides of the ball right now. If all goes to plan, this weekend should bring happy times for Athens folk. I think 10-I-C will score on us, but our offense should have a field day. Big doses of the freshman TBs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Game Preview (Exclusive Photo)

Though this was originally intended for Bacarri vs. Franklin, we'll just say it's Amarlo for now.

Dawgs by 11.

Just like I've said all along, everyone is buying this Vandy hype, 'cept for me - then they lose to the B1G's doormat at home. I revelled in every minute of it.

They've got a good running back and a good receiver, otherwise, the cupboard ain't exactly chock full of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop Tarts, Toaster Strudels, and cheese grits.

Now, a blast from the past...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Lot of Dawg Heisman Hype You Didn't See Coming

As it occurs to me lately, winning the Heisman isn't as beautiful as it used to be. Instead of being about who's the best player, it's usually who's the best quarterback on the best team in the land, with last year being an exception to a loose rule. ESPN was doing its very best to vault Matt Barkley into an insurmountable Heisman lead, but he couldn't reciprocate because Stanford's defensive line nearly ate him alive. Choke artist.

This year probably won't see a quarterback at the podium accepting the trophy. While there are a few in the running, it occurs to me that none will have the QB chops and be on the best team in the land. Some examples:
  • Geno Smith, QB, WVU - Dana Holgorsen's offense will deter voters despite the gaudy stats. They'll also have a couple inexplicable losses come December 1st.
  • AJ McCarron, QB, Bama - Bama bangs and a caretaker mentality don't get you a bronze statue. Very good though, unassumingly.
  • Braxton Miller, QB, tOSU - Doesn't feel right voting for a guy who's team has a postseason ban. And they'll lose eventually when the competition stiffens up. They have no other playmakers.
  • Collin Klein, QB, KSU - Best team in the land, KSU is not.
Despite my earlier opinion that a QB won't be winning the award this year, ESPN's Heisman Predictor has.... drum roll.... Aaron Murray out front at number one ($$$). So yeah, this thing, I don't get what the deal is here. Let's think about it.
  • Murray's numbers are pretty darn good, even though we all see him up and down, up and down - third in YPA, 11th in passer rating, close to 300 ypg.
  • Schedule is VERY favorable, even though it looks less favorable than 4 weeks ago. Heisman voters love an undefeated team. Think the computer gives him a lot of points for this one.
  • Media exposure. He'll be getting the national attention the others won't.
While all of these sound good, I don't believe he'll come close to winning it. Why? Because he's an SEC quarterback and SEC QB's aren't as exciting to watch. There's not usually a running threat, huge numbers because of a spread offense, and, by consequence, a large number of WOW! plays. It's not because he doesn't have the capacity, it's because we play old man football and regardless of how you feel about Mr. Richardson's comments, he's right.

Does anyone really enjoy watching guys in hoverounds?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thoughts From Saturday (Plus Tidbits)

Much like the game against Buffalo, we really can't take anything away from Saturday's contest, but there were more than a few opinions/observations that I had from the evening romp in the Classic City. But first I'd like to send a PSA out there for yous who have a problem...

Please don't tell me, or anyone else in my party, that "I'm being too negative and that I shouldn't say anything unless I have something positive to say," because you're "a Gamecock fan, but you've learned to love the Dawgs because your husband went there and now come to all the games and always cheer the team on - even when they suck for the first 25 minutes of the game against crap competition." I'm there, the donation has been given and the seats have been paid for just the same as you, so I, or anyone else can say whatever the hell I please unless I'm being rude or threatening.

So please, I'll (or anyone else) be just as negative a nancy as I damn well please. Now that I've gotten that out of the way...
  • I'm encouraged by the young defensive crew that we had in there starting. Dawson and Jenkins look and play the part, though they do look a little green. With some experience, they're going to be some good 'uns.
  • Defense still looks disinterested in lower competition. It's like a great white that doesn't want to eat the albatross that's been injured floating above him because it's "too easy". This mindset worries me for when we'll play upper-echelon defenses - i.e. Florida, South Carolina.
  • Defensive backs had a pretty rough night.
  • Amarlo just keeps getting better and better.
  • Todd Gurley is clearly the best back right now. Marshall looks like he's slowly getting his feet under him, but who didn't think there'd be an acclimation period for him? Gurley was more ready for reps simply by being fast and huge.
  • Still haven't gotten the o-line sorted out and with Dallas Lee on crutches in the third quarter, we may have some issues there.
And finally....
  • I was curiously intrigued by the flips to the running backs at Mizzou. Why were we foregoing the hand-off entirely? Well, questioned answered this week with the debut of the pistol. I'm a huge fan of the pistol, mainly because of the misdirection and the ability to run spread formations and the power game, but I believe we're doing it because we're more suited to run it based on the personnel we have up front. Chris Ault has been quoted as saying that "we can run it with basically five guards out there if we have to," and it can be argued that we might really only have 1 true tackle able to play. I don't care why, I just am thrilled that we're evolving offensively and matching scheme to our personnel. Really, this might be the most happy I've been with the offensive philosophy in years. The importance of this development cannot be understated. TOTES AMAZEBALLS BOBO! If you're not familiar with the pistol, HERE is a good read.
Even with all of this new innovation on the offensive side of the ball, if I don't here "C'MON DAMBIT BOBO, YOU AIN'T WORTH 2 CENTS!!!" next Saturday night, I'll be thoroughly disappointed.

Friday, September 14, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Video From 8:22 PM Tomorrow Within Sanford

Georgia vs. FAU preview. It shouldn't be pretty for the Owls, or the eyes.

Dawgs 52 - 10.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jarvis Jones: Heisman Contender?

Watch this video carefully, as you'll be quizzed over it directly. Pardon the flying man-hawks, but they enhance the visual and make for some hella good special effects - just check the laser guns, should you have any doubts.

So why the hell is Flash Gordon mentioned in the same breath as Jarvis Jones (beside the sheer awesomeness)?
  1. He's awesome at football and will likely lead the New York Jets to the promised land - after he tells Quinton Coples he's worthless and finds "He Who Shall Not Be Named" a permanent role in "Amish in the City" because "his choir boy persona and permanent mediaboner was too much of a distraction to my dread flow and actually being good".
  2. Ming is the enemy. Well, if Ming is in a Will Muschamp costume.
  3. Throngs of supporting DIVE-ing Hawkmen to attack and ravage any Mingovian encroachment. And by throngs, I mean 67 scholarship athletes.
  4. Lastly, he's probably going to get an award for his toils in enemy airspace. Like a HEISMAN?
In all seriousness, I do believe Jarvis is a contender for the Heisman. Do I think he has a legitimate shot at winning? No, but does Johnathan Franklin, Geno Smith, or Le'Veon Bell?

The thing is, if he can keep having games like this where he basically wins it for us, he'll get a lot of pub and we'll be in the spotlight. It's nearly impossible to win the Heisman as a defensive player, but it's not out of the realm of possibility IF we are unbeaten and find ourselves playing in the NCG come the middle of December.

That's quite a lot of if's and I don't foresee any of it happening, but it's in the discussion. Let's not forget Matt Barkley in all of this talk. After all, he's another media darling in a Cardinal and Gold wrapper. Realistically there are only about three guys a year who really have a shot. One's a QB, one's a RB, and the third turns out to be a WR. The first two seem to rotate every year and the WR gets some fringe votes because gaudy stats, not necessarily because they deserve to be there.

OLB doesn't have a seem to have a real large place in the grand scheme of things. While it's certainly the darling of the defensive positions right now, it's no Playgirl centerfold. Sorry Jarvis, you ain't quite Sam Jones yet. It would tremendously help if you could somehow throw touchdown passes to Marqise Lee and Robert Woods AND sack the $hit out of quarterbacks.

YET is the operative word here; by December, who knows?

Voltan out.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grantham Gives Some News

The Bulldog Hotline contained some seemingly relevant information last night with Grantham and Bobo running the show. With the suspension talk front and center these days, CTG gave a hint at what we might see this weekend.

Trevor Samples asks, " Will Malcolm Mitchell will play more at WR with Sanders Commings returning this week?" Grantham answers, "...Sanders is a guy that can play corner or safety and this week he will probably be doing both." (BH Transcript Provided by BernieDawg)

This may or may not indicate that Rambo will still be suspended Saturday. From what I've heard, he'll only be getting two games, contrary to what the drug policy says. Not sure why that's the case, but I've heard there's some sort of appeal process that happened and it was possible that he might only sit one game, but the appeal, in full, was denied. Who knows if any of that is true, but that's what I've heard.

Either way, he most likely won't be needed, but it sure would be nice to get a little cohesion going before next week's game against Vandy. Well that and I'd like to see him torture rack James Franklin.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grading Missouri (Plus Injury and Suspension Notes)

A bit overplayed, but nonetheless awesome.

Well, a pleasant surprise is always nice when talking about Georgia football. Winning on the road in a hostile environment on a big stage should never be downplayed, especially when the "experts" trendy pick goes the opposite way of your favor. I was glad to see us respond and keep up the intensity, despite a few of the "Hey, we're Georgia" mistakes that constantly seem to plague us in big games (special teams touchdowns after we grab momentum, TOs in the redzone, poor tackling leads to large gain, etc. ad nauseum). Having a guy like Jarvis make plays in pivotal situations really helps keep the opponent from getting things rolling, in spite of small lapses in the gameplan.

Jarvis wasn't the only guy out there making plays, though...

I saw really good games from John Jenkins, Amarlo Herrera, Abry Jones, and Malcolm Mitchell. While John's name didn't get thrown around much, his ability to take on multiple blockers and blow up the pocket were really the key to stopping any running threat from Franklin or any of the running backs. The result there was good gap discipline and a nice cleanup game from Abry. He doesn't get much praise, but Abry is a very solid defender.

Amarlo is becoming a hell of a player. If you have any doubts, there were several wow plays from him in the passing game. He had a PBU and a tackle for a loss on a swing pass that were very nice. I wasn't going to say Mitchell would be an excellent corner before I saw it on the field, but he's the real deal. Think of how we'd be hurting right now were he in Tuscaloosa.

Offensively there were some bright spots. Marlon - can't deny what a great game he had, as well as TK. Murray was okay overall, though did get a lot hotter in the second half. If we're going to be a big-time football team, he has to be more consistent (in his defense, the right side of the line struggled for a large portion of the game). I'd have to say that I was very impressed with Andrews and Gates along the o-line. I can't remember a snap that Gates didn't dominate his guy and, if I had to guess, he probably graded out the highest on the line.

All that being said, player of the game has to be Richard Samuel. It's hard not to give it to Jarvis, as he pretty much won the game for us, but Richie's play on the fake punt completely changed the game. I feel bad for the guy because he hasn't been able to find a home on the team, but you can't say enough about his value and the fact he's a DGD.

Overall, we played well considering what wasn't on the field in light of the suspensions. Speaking of that, I caught a little slip from Richt that "we'd be getting a few guys back" this week. I'd estimate that Commings, Rambo, and Vasser will see the field Sattidy night, but I'm hearing that the 'Trees won't be back until after Vandy.

I don't think there's any concern over the health of Geathers and Jenkins, as they both came back in after their respective injuries, but I'd anticipate seeing a lot of the younger guys against FAU, if it's not a ULM/Arky type slugfest.

I think there's still a lot to hope for this season if Murray can level the keel. The defense sure looks up to the billing, even though we're missing almost a 1/3 of the starters.

Friday, September 7, 2012

So How Good Is Missouri?

I think it is a common reaction for people to fear the unknown. That is why most Dawg fans -- not counting the Disneys -- are somewhat skeptical about tomorrow night's showdown in Columbia. Sure, you could be skeptical because of Aaron Murray's inconsistency and our defense's mostly subpar performance last Saturday. But I think the bulk of us -- myself included -- are terrified that this Missouri team will come out like gangbusters, racking up big plays, big momentum swings, and will unleash a variety of skill players that none of our coaches have seen. Others think this is a weak Big 12 castaway that will fold like a tent. Personally, I think they are somewhere in between.

The quarterback, 6-2 225 pound James Franklin Jr., is a legitimate dual-threat that threw for over 2,800 yards and added 981 on the ground. And frankly, we haven't exactly faced the best dual-threat QB's in recent years (sorry Tevin Washington).

So how is the rest of the team? Well, they were 12th nationally last season in total offense, so that is scary. Mizzou also returns two of their leading three WRs from last season, in addition to their top two running backs. HOWEVER, they also are likely going to be without two starting offensive linemen, but they should still be potent offensively.

What about the defense? Well...last season they gave up over 500 yards in four different games. And they could be without starting linebacker, Will Ebner, who suffered a stinger last week. Despite our somewhat sketchy offensive line/QB play last Saturday, I say we are able to move the ball against them. We cannot win this game kicking field goals though.

Anytime you face a "new" team like Missouri, it's always tough to predict how Team A matches up with Team B. And one game apiece is not enough reliable information either. That's why tomorrow night...I'll be sweating it out.

Do We Have Suspension Information?

Read on, maybe you'll happen upon it. First...

There are a few things that concern me about the game tomorrow - namely that we'll lose on the road to another unranked team. Also included in those are the concerns from last week's "sub-par" performance. As I pointed out last Friday, don't read into last week. It's not a predicator of a successful season or another hope drowning derailment of a would-be juggernaut. While I was less than pleased with the effort of the units that I saw on the field, that performance shouldn't be what we see this weekend.

With that said, we still should've smashed the Bulls. There really is no excuse that we didn't, but I guess I can chalk it up to vanilla. Let's not dwell on the past, as Saturday looms on the doorstep.

What we should see this weekend is a few more friendly defensive faces (but who really knows if we will) and a more intense defensive framework. If you look at Missouri's last five years in the Big 12, relatively speaking (cause they really don't play defense out there), they don't fare well against teams that are squared up defensively. One can argue that we aren't after last week, but I'd call you a nut, even without 6 starters.

It may not matter that we are a quality defensive team, but it's just a casual observation.

As far as suspensions, there are rumors that Rambo and Ogletree will play, but I don't see that BR will be roving the secondary on Saturday. What kind of sense would that make? Scuttlebutt is that Ogletree may miss more games than Rambo, but that too doesn't hold water for me given that he doesn't have any other issues with the marijuana (or has he?). Amazingly, I have been wrong before and/or didn't sniff out another drug charge that wasn't publicized.

I guess you'll see Chase Vasser out there after the DOO-E charge, but given that Jordan Jenkins already looks like more of a player, his window may have closed on acccount of bone-headedness.

In summation, I'm not predicting a win. I had almost convinced myself that we'd find one in COMO about Tuesday, but have since hit the ammonium carbonate and recanted. I think we'll get nickeled and dimed to death in the passing game. If I were Missouri, I would do my best impression of Bill Belichick and flood the field with pass catchers. I don't have confidence we can stop it, if that's what happens.

So sorry for the pragmatism.

Here's a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down. I hope a change does come and we decapitate some folks. Crossing fingers...