Sunday, November 30, 2008

It really was "the perfect option."

Think about that for a minute.

I have a confession to make: This loss to tech doesn't bother me that much.

Oh, I mean, it bothers me. But I knew we didn't have the fortitude to break something like that drought record. That's too much mojo for now.

“I really don’t (expect coaching changes),” Richt said. “We’re going to get better, and we’re going to do a better job next year, I can promise you that.”

Good enough for me. I suggest you address the not tackling first, if I may be so bold.

What's that you say? “I’m not sure we tackled enough,” Richt said. Agreed.

Congratulations to Georgia tech. They deserved it and they beat us.

We interrupt this post for additional recovery through music.

I have heard some say that the crowd was unimpressive. I might say uninspired. At times, given the size of the crowd, the rain, and the noon kickoff, I thought there was good participation.

But perhaps we grew disinterested, too. To me, it felt like the expected simply coming true, despite a very well-played first half. We should be glad Florida wasn't there.

Somebody needs to kick that attitude in the face.

Kid, once I was the very best.

Image: Athens Banner-Herald.

The Munson honoring went very well. There were so many cameras down there I couldn't believe they all could get a shot. Larry seemed much more than pleased. Did we force a tear out of that guy? That'd be something. I was surprised they tried to do a Dooley ceremony at halftime.

How awesome was that Knowshon-is-going-score-no-matter-what touchdown?

How crazy was that Matt-Stafford-is-a-pinball-and-then-he- just-missed-Massaquoi play?

How many tackles did Rennie Curran have? Elleven. He led the team, obviously.

Massaquoi had 11 catches for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Knowshon got 17 carries for 94 yards after an on-fire opening. He caught 4 balls for 74 yards. The team rushed for 81 yards total.

Tech attempted 0 passes in the second half.
Image: Jason Vorhees, The Telegraph.

For those wondering, we pick up Arkansas, at Arkansas, next year from the west. LSU comes to Athens. That opener at Okie State looks like a potential doozy.

There's a bye week before the Florida game and we play Tennessee Tech before the Auburn game, which is at home.
Home games in bold:

Sept. 5, at Oklahoma State
Sept. 12, South Carolina
Sept. 19, at Arkansas
Sept. 26, Arizona State
Oct. 3, LSU
Oct. 10, at Tennessee
Oct. 17, at Vanderbilt
Oct. 31, Florida (at Jacksonville)
Nov. 7, Tennessee Tech
Nov. 14, Auburn
Nov. 21, Kentucky
Nov. 28, at Georgia Tech
I saw on ESPN that Texas overtook Michigan (CORRECTION: I meant Notre Dame) on the all-time wins list on Thursday.

This was the top 10 before the 2008 season started, according to Wikipedia. Our media guide has us 11th on the list with 693 before this season started.

Was I pointing to 2008? I meant 2009.

The 2008 season will eventually be defined by how we react to the roots of this disappointment and what it means for 2009. For starters, I suggest we learn to tackle and develop some awesome defensive ends.

No offense, Demarcus Dobbs. You and the other guys doing your best are the man.

If the tech loss leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth, if it affects decisions to go to the NFL, if it recommits everyone to success, it will have served a purpose.

Plus there's no way we lose to tech next year now... right?

The wheel goes round and round. If it comes up winner next year, we’ll look at 2008 as a character builder. If not, it will have been a heart-aching waste of talent.

UPDATE: "Waste" is too strong a word, if only by a little bit.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Recovery through music:

I told you that the life goes up and down...

Unlike the tech game, the second half is better.

If'n you don't know by now

2008 season, it just never worked out between us.

We never did too much tacklin' anyway.

Friday, November 28, 2008

End of the show

Dan: This is the whole season.

Joe: I'm willing to sacrifice The Varsity.

Me: The end of the season is not about hating tech. It's about enjoying beating tech.

Weather ;) Report.

Mumbai police: It's over.

AP reporting:
MUMBAI, India – Indian commandos killed the last remaining gunmen holed up at a luxury Mumbai hotel Saturday, ending a 60-hour rampage through India's financial capital by suspected Islamic militants that left more than 150 people dead and rocked the nation.

Orange flames and black smoke engulfed the landmark 400-room Taj Mahal hotel after dawn Saturday as Indian forces ended the siege in a hail of gunfire, just hours after elite commandos stormed a Jewish center and found six hostages dead.

More than 150 people were killed and several hundred wounded in the violence that started when more than a dozen assailants attacked 10 sites across Mumbai Wednesday night. Fifteen foreigners were among the dead.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The same all the world over

No tech bashing for now.

Image, The Telegraph (London).

The Mumbai Mirror. Understandably, it's loading slowly.

The New York Times:
The Mumbai assault, by contrast, was “uniquely disturbing,” said Sajjan Gohel, a security expert in London, because it seemed directed at foreigners, involved hostage taking and was aimed at multiple “soft, symbolic targets.” The attacks “aimed to create maximum terror and human carnage and damage the economy,” he said in a telephone interview.
A piece from DNA India:
No one was being allowed, but I somehow sneaked in. Once inside, I came to know that the terrorists were on the sixth floor. They tried to take people in rooms there hostage, but didn’t succeed as the rooms were locked.

Minutes later, policemen tried to reach the upper floors, but were stopped in their tracks by grenades hurled by the terrorists. I saw at least three grenades fly.

After the second grenade exploded, shattering glasses and shaking the entire hotel building, I was reduced to tears.

Seeing me shaking in fear, a constable offered solace. “Aap ghabrao mat, mar jaoonga par tumhe kuch naahin hone doonga,” he assured me but soon began crying as the terrorists opened another round of fire.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stafford: "Not sure" about next year

This is the first piece I've seen (surely I've missed some) quoting Matt Stafford directly on whether he'll declare for the NFL draft next year. From The Augusta Chronicle:
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but if it is the last time, hopefully I'm going to leave on top. But there could be another year to come. I'm not sure yet."
Picked it up off of, which provides an excellent clipping service, among other things.

So far the word on Knowshon is that he's not thinking about it.

If you want them to stay, you might as well go here. It couldn't hurt. You might write a little message to Jeff Owens and Asher Allen while you're at it.

I'm thankful that we own you. And for Munson.

I've enjoyed a lot of tech games over the years. They're usually good games, and we almost always come out winners, even when they cheat.

But there are two favorites. The first is the 51-7 beating in 2002 at Sanford Stadium. It capped a wondrous season, and that's the most fun I've had at Sanford outside of the Blackout last year vs. Auburn.

This is the other one:

What I've always remembered was one of Munson's great closers from that game: "Our heart, that was torn out and bleeding, we picked it up and we stuck it back inside."

But at one point Larry also says:
"It could not have happened. And it ain't over yet. Scott Howard don't you say anything. You don't say anything here. You're the one that got us into all this trouble. ... Last play of the game, I think. Five seconds. What if the clock's been wrong all this time?"
God bless you, Larry Munson. You're at least as insane as me, but you're a whole lot better at it.

UPDATE: I'm planning on a separate reminder post, but might as well remind you here that Munson will honored between the first and second quarters of Saturday's game. It will be his first time on the field at Sanford Stadium during a game, according to The AJC.

Exactly where on the field, I don't know. My buddy Joe says they should stop the whole thing and do it on the 50 yard line. Munson, he said, is the face of Georgia football.

"It's the Ugas, and then him, and then everybody else," he said.

In a world that includes Herschel and Dooley, that's saying one hell of a lot. It's also the truth.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Today's reason to laugh at tech: All of the above

One of our sports writers had this old tech media guide on his desk.

That is one fine suit Homer Rice is wearing. I'm assuming he was going for the plantation owner look.

This would have been from Bill Curry's first year as head coach. Click on the image to make it larger. He looks kind of like a deer in headlights, doesn't he? They won one game that year, beating Memphis State.

Anyone remember what we were doing back then?

Little known facts from this media guide: Jon Fabris was on that tech coaching staff, as were Romeo Crennel (who sported a sweet afro) and Mac McWhorter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"My first thought is to say, 'To hell with Georgia.'"

"My first thought is to say, 'To hell with Georgia.' That's the goal we made No. 1 this year, to beat those cats in Athens. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I like how we're peaking right now. ...

"They had an off week to kind of stew about it and think about how we're going to attack 'em," Richard said, breaking into a sly grin. "I hope they enjoyed the game."

Georgia tech senior defensive lineman Darryl Richard in The Sporting News.

Image: The ACC.

"Rennie Curran is the Georgia way."

The Telegraph ran a piece Sunday about Rennie Curran, and David Hale posted some excellent extra quotes on his blog this weekend.

But, really, all you need to know about the sophomore tackling machine is in this quote, from Dave Van Halanger:
When you've got to do something – academics, weight training, practice – do it with everything you've got. Then when you're done, just be sociable. Rennie is great example of everything – we call it the Georgia way. It's just how you do it. Well, what is that? Rennie Curran is the Georgia way. He does everything the right way.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


SEC leading receiver A.J. Green is on pace for the best single season in Georgia history, but senior Mohamed Massaquoi is having a good year himself.

David Hale did a nice piece on Massaquoi last week that talked about his leadership, on and off the field:
“He’s a football player,” (junior WR Kris) Durham said. “That’s just a good word. Some people are receivers, he’s a football player. He’s on special teams, he’s on punt return, he’s out there blocking so someone else can get the big play. You see Knowshon break one, who’s the first guy to congratulate him? Who’s making the key block? It’s Mohamed.”
Massaquoi has also put up some very solid numbers in his career to date.

This year, he's got 46 catches for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns. For his career it's 146 catches for 2,092 yards and 13 touchdowns.

That's good enough for fourth all time in receiving yards, and he's sure to overtake Lindsay Scott. From the media guide:
Terrence Edwards, 3,093 yards
Fred Gibson, 2,884 yards
Brice Hunter, 2,373 yards
Lindsay Scott, 2,098 yards
Mohamed Massaquoi, 2,092 yards
Reggie Brown, 2,008 yards

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Freaking tech, etc.

It's not the first time it's happened, but it's always disturbing. I'm afraid of Georgia tech's football team. Georgia tech the entity continues to make me laugh and shake my head in disappointment that the word "Georgia" is in their name.

Except for those astronaut guys. They're probably at least a little badass.

Plus my grandfather (by marriage) and about four other tech grads I know. They're alright. I mostly feel sorry for them.
Check out the chart David Hale's got here. We are so profitable. The next time we make the BCS, I'd love to see the Athletic Association give long-time season ticket holders a little break on donation or ticket prices.
You gotta figure it won't make much of a difference. But you also don't want Matt or Knowshon to stop by and not see a whole bunch of people signing this thing.

So visit Don't Go Dawgs and leave Stafford and Moreno a message. And I wouldn't mind see Jeff Owens added to that, either.
Man, look at all these injuries. This season may end up being a testament to our depth, Stacy Searels, Matt Stafford, Knowshon, our inability to tackle and the dangers of relying on freshman kickers and shaky special teams play in general.

Telegraph's Bulldog beat writer live chat today

Don't forget David Hale is holding a live chat at 2 p.m. today. Click here to join in, and you can ask questions before it begins.

Suggested question: Hey David, how come we don't tackle so good no more?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coach Goff: This year "probably the toughest Georgia tech game we've had in a long, long time."

My actual job is covering politics for The Macon Telegraph. This afternoon Sen. Saxby Chambliss was in Perry for a rally, and Coach Ray Goff (Qb: '73-'76; captain, SEC player of the year for SEC champions in '76; Head Coach: '89-'95) was there.

Coach Goff, who has moved to Lake Blackshear, was kind enough to do a little video interview.

Nothing hard hitting. I just asked him what he thought of this year's team, why the wheels seem to come off sometimes in football, whether anyone ever calls one of his "Zaxby's" and asks to speak to "Saxby" and how he came to be wearing a yellow-and-blue shirt on Wednesday.

And I let him put in a plug for Sen. Chambliss. If Jim Martin's campaign can produce Jim Donnan, the same rules apply.

Today's reason to dislike tech

Comes from Terence Moore. But, due to my strict policy of not linking to Terence Moore, I suggest that you not read it.

Allow me to summarize instead: tech's 31 fumbles in 10 games have nothing to do with running the option.

"I would have to go back and look, but I would venture to think that, probably in the 10 games we’ve played, I would doubt that we’ve had more than 10 fumbles that had anything to do with the offense.”
- tech Coach Paul Johnson

This may lead you to wonder: Travis, how many fumbles did tech have in 2007 and 2006? The answer is 27 and 20.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Muschamp, Hoop Dawgs, Crazy Pirate, Sapp, 2009

Though I generally think "Head Coach In Waiting" deals are weird, congratulations to Will Muschamp (91-94, defensive co-captain) on his new deal at Texas.

I hope this doesn't affect my plan to have him replace Coach Richt in 20 years, after Richt's 10th National Title. Of course, Georgia tech won't be on our schedule anymore, having dismantled their football program and apologized to the state...
Hoop Dawgs go down to Loyola-Chicago by 21 points? Really? C'mon!
Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach is talking about a 64-team college football playoff.

That't not going to happen. I don't want it to happen. But think, just for a minute, how awesome that would be to do just once... maybe in lieu of a regular season...
I was focused on the the drought as a reason to dislike tech in the last post, instead of focusing on the drought breaker. I would like to note that Theron Sapp, like my father, went to Lanier High School in Macon. From The Georgia Trend article:
In his first scrimmage, he drove into the defensive team's thickest part of the middle and was knocked head over heels in a major pileup, suffering three cracked vertebrae in his neck. His surgeon told him he should never play football again, that even a slight blow to the wrong place could be fatal.

Coaches Butts and Quenton Lumpkin came to the hospital and told Sapp he had his scholarship no matter what. He spent his entire freshman year at Georgia in a head-pelvis body cast. Coach Butts told him he should not play football again but Sapp convinced his mentor otherwise. He spent his sophomore year on the B team and his junior and senior years on the varsity, bulling his way up the middle 258 times, right smack in the thick of things.
Hell, yes, Geno and Asher say they're coming back for their senior seasons. Not unexpected, but absolutely huge.

Remember why we hate them

One of the things I love about College Football: It's absolutely acceptable to hold grudges about things that happened 25 years before you were born.

Sen. Blutarsky, linking to Georgia Trend, provides today's reason to dislike Georgia tech and remember the old gridiron heroes.

Just think about this line for a second:
Fourth and goal was a gutsy call for a team that hadn’t scored a touchdown in four years.
Then realize that ain't the half of it.
1948: Won, 21-13, Athens
1949: Lost, 6-7, Atlanta
1950: Lost, 0-7, Athens
1951: Lost, 6-48, Atlanta
1952: Lost, 9-23, Athens
1953: Lost, 12-28, Atlanta
1954: Lost, 3-7, Athens
1955: Lost, 3-21, Atlanta
1956: Lost, 0-35, Athens
1957: Won, 7-0, Atlanta
That, my friends, is the longest winning or losing streak in the history of the Georgia / Georgia tech series. Unless we beat them Nov. 29. Then it will be tied for first. Then, in 2009, that record can fall.

Nov. 29
Nov. 29
Nov. 29
Nov. 29
Nov. 29
Nov. 29
Nov. 29
Nov. 29

Monday, November 17, 2008

A great A.J. story and a few other Richt lines

All from Coach Richt's visit to Macon this evening...

A.J. Green committed pretty early, but of course he was a big-time prospect, so other schools kept recruiting him. And the in-state schools, South Carolina and Clemson, wanted him bad.

So one day Steve Spurrier was going to be at Green's high school to try to talk him into coming to South Carolina.

"He skipped school that day so he didn't have to bump into him. ..." Richt said. "So I knew he was my kind of guy."

Of course, Richt noted that he generally does not approve of skipping school.
Richt on a playoff:
"I think it's gonna happen. I don't know how quickly. I was thinking, if the president elect of the United States wants a playoff, there's probably a pretty good chance we're gonna get a playoff. I would think the president of the United States might be the only person who might get a playoff system.

"I think four might be the starting point. I think eight, in my opinion, would be the most that will happen any time in the near future. I'm afraid if you go to 16 teams you might devalue the regular season to the point where games are not nearly as meaningful. I think it would really disrupt the post-season and the bowl season. I think four would be extremely simple to do."
Tatnall Square Academy here in Macon has apparently averaged 37 points a game and they're giving up 5 a game. So Richt turned to one of their coaches and said: "That seems like a pretty boring game to me. ... Don't you want to take it down to the last play, couple weeks in a row? Keep the T.V. ratings up? Raycom loves us right now."
In his opening remarks, Richt said the last time he was at a Macon Touchdown Club meeting, they were raising money to drill wells in Africa. They drilled three and one of them has a "big fat G" on it now.

"Some people don't even have water to drink," he said. "So now let's talk about being 9-2."
On the Florida game being in Jacksonville: "It's not very neutral. ... I wouldn't hold my breath (on the location changing)."
The number of scholarships Georgia will have to give this year is hard to predict, "but I doubt it goes to 25."

"You know we've won the last two games. I don't know if anybody's noticed that"

- Coach Mark Richt tonight, at the Macon Touchdown Club.

You can tell this season has been tough on Coach Richt. He was in Macon tonight and, though he almost seemed his normal dinner-speech-circuit self, you could tell he was tired.

And maybe a little defensive, though he belied it with humor. I think he said "9-2" about a dozen times. He noted that his teams are 30-4 in opponent's stadiums. He talked about how Auburn hasn't given up a touchdown in the 1st quarter all season.

He acknowledged that it's "really been tough" for fans the way we lost to Florida and Alabama. But he seems... I don't know. Like he wants something more from us. Some understanding that we haven't been willing, or able, to give.

Maybe we feel that way, too. We'll work it out like a family, but David Hale did a Q & A with Coach Richt before the event, and it made me want to respond:
Q: What about all the fan reaction to the past few games? Has it been hard for you to hear some of the criticism?

CMR: The thing that is interesting to me is that everybody wants to – I think people are missing the fact that we've won nine games so far. We're 9-2. We lost to a No. 1 and the No. 3 in America. That's not too shabby. It's not perfection by any means, but I'm proud of this team. I'm proud of how they've battled and fought. The coaches, too. We've had some games where we certainly didn't finish the way we wanted to or play the way we wanted to, but it's like life. You get some disappointments and you could certainly just sack your bats and go home, or you can get back up and fight. We've gone that, and there's a lot to be said for that.

Q: How different do you think people would view this year if you had started the year ranked No. 24 instead of No. 1?

CMR: They'd be doing cartwheels right now.
Coach, do you think we should have started the season ranked No. 24?

Beat tech and get us to 10-2. Ten-win seasons are nothing to sneeze at, and every fan I respect knows this. We remember the 1990s. We appreciate you. Hell, we love you.

But we don't set our expectations by the media, or the voters. And even when things were low, 10-2 was not the goal. I hope it will always be a stepping stone, however a lofty one.

Please make the defense remember how to tackle so it's noticed. And fix the special teams. And crush Georgia tech.

You have my trust, and the expectations that go with it.

State of the Nation: How satisfied are you in 2008?

Bye week discussion. When I forced myself to put a number to it, the number was higher than I thought...

On a scale from 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with The Dawgs in 2008?

I'm going to say 8, though the bottom drops out of that if we lose to tech in 2 weeks.

Ten, for me, would have been a National Title, though in years past that high achievement wasn't necessary for my ultimate satisfaction. Nine would have been qualifying for and/or winning the SEC Title Game.

We've definitely disappointed this year with poor defensive and special teams play. The loss of fire and death-dealing on the defense is of particular concern, because I don't understand it. But this was a young, injury-riddled team, and our expectations were too high.

Plus, Alabama and Florida are freaking good. I'd prefer not to have been embarrassed by them, but in my heart I can't go lower than 8.

UPDATE: Westerdawg says 7.5, which I toyed with myself. And he notes how badly Michigan's season has gone, which I can relate to.

I've got several friends who went to Virginia Tech, and they can't manage to challenge for an ACC Title, so it's all relative.

But this is supposed to be our time, these years. And I want "our time" to be everything it can. Right now, it's not. But, if we beat tech, I'll consider myself generally satisfied by the season of 2008.

Ask about the defense and special teams

UPDATE: Whoops. The chat is 2 p.m. Thursday. Link is still good, though.

David Hale, who covers the Dawgs for The Telegraph, will be doing a live chat at 2 p.m.

Participate here. You can start asking questions now.

Also, Coach Richt will be in Macon tonight for a Touchdown Club meeting. Starts at 6 p.m.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another win in 2008. And yet...

If you wanted to understand the Bulldogs' 2008 football season in 15 minutes, all you'd have to do is watch the first quarter of Auburn game. With the exception of spotty offensive line play (Stacy Searels deserves a medal), it was all there.

We racked up 158 yards on offense, averaging nine yards a play. We scored no points.

We muffed a punt. We had guy named Bagby on the coverage team.

We gave up a touchdown in frustrating fashion. When our 5-star safety should have hit someone so hard that it disrupted time, we blew it instead.

Playing down to competition, and winning anyway, has been something of a hallmark in the Richt era, and for Georgia in general. But now we're doing it with higher-ranked recruiting classes and, this year, against a very strong schedule.

The quality of the 2008 season will be decided by the tech game. And if we don't start doing the little things right on special teams and defense, things may go from mildly disappointing, but strong in the record books, to ridiculous.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

If Georgia ever makes a commercial like this I'll have Tony Cole hunt the writers down and kill them

I thought Florida had the all time most ridiculous gameday commercial. But I guess I was wrong. You can always count on Auburn.

I'm not entirely sure where to start with this. But in what "based on a true story" world is Auburn a top 50 university? Top 50 in what, cow fisting? Deceit? Giving up yardage to Matt Stafford? And Alaska? Really? How did they even find two of you who could fly planes? Just go to hell, Auburn. Go to hell.


It's a beautiful world. I just prefer the beautiful world where we beat Auburn.

Go Dawgs.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Our record against Auburn.

Go Dawgs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Tuesday convesation: Now on Thursday, with another character, and referred to as a discussion

My buddy Dan steps in for Joe this week to prove the obvious: If we're talking on the phone, I might be taking notes.
DAN: You going to the game on Saturday?

ME: I don't know. I kind of want to stay in Macon, but then I think about Knowshon going for a buck-80 at Jordan-Hare and I don't think I can resist that. What do you think about this game, man?

DAN: I don't really know. Still, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if we beat them like 43-0.

ME: You think the defense has really taken this change of attitude to heart?

DAN: Yeah, I do. But I don't know if it's gonna make a difference. Is that going to make them tackle anybody? I don't know. Are they gonna be angry when they miss tackles now?

DAN: We've got three more games in the Matthew Stafford Era.

ME: You think so?

DAN: Definitely.

ME: If he leaves, he didn't accomplish much in my book. A lot of talent and a Sugar Bowl victory.

DAN: Maybe The Joe Cox Era will be better for Bulldog fans.

ME: Name three words that strike fear into the hearts of Bulldog fans.

DAN: What?

ME: The Joe Cox Era. Wait. That's four words.

DAN: Matt Stafford is less likely to stay than Tubby Smith. He's a top 5 pick. They're going to give him $30 million. You can go get yourself a Testarossa. Would you even consider staying and eating at Bolton? Knowshon's a possibility, but I don't see either of them staying.
We'll see. Funny how I'm worried about 5-5 Auburn, but I think Stafford and Moreno come back next year and we win about 15 National Titles.

As for Joe, here's his Auburn prediction: "We're due for a good game. Although Auburn is that wildcard."

UPDATE: Oh, crap, now I feel even worse. The Senator says Tuberville sat three starters last Saturday, presumably to keep them fresh for us and Alabama.

We've got two games left this year, and it's safe to say both teams have had us circled on their calendars for at least a year.

UPDATE 2: And damn that David Hale:
Against Kentucky last week, Georgia had a punt blocked, shanked another punt that set the Wildcats up with great field position, muffed a punt return of their own that set them up for a drive at their own 3, and allowed two long kick returns, including a 96-yarder by Winston Guy that set up a UK touchdown.

That doesn't even mention the fact that field-goal kicker Blair Walsh has missed five of his past eight attempts, and head coach Mark Richt chose to go for it on fourth-and-6 at Kentucky's 33 rather than attempt a 50-yard field goal. Georgia ended up turning the ball over on downs.

That sinking feeling in my stomach

Granted, I worry before just about every game. And the boys over at Georgia Sports Blog are making fun of these Auburn players upset about all our dancing last year.

But the last time we pissed a team off with our shenanigans and they remembered it, it didn't work out so good.

So consider me gut-wrenchingly worried. You know, in a hopeful way.

Fast and Foolish: Lucid Idiocy endorses Saturday's Soap Box Derby in Atlanta

I have Auburn related commitments this Saturday, but for anyone looking for something else to do, I reccomend the Atlanta Downhill Challenge.

Basically you drink and watch adults hurt themselves.

It runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Starlight Drive-In, located at 2000 Moreland Ave. in Atlanta. I shot video of last year's race, but it was the first video I ever edited, so I didn't know how to shorten the song. When the screen goes black, that's it, except for Molly Hatchet.

Fast and Foolish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The problem with the defense

I'm no Buddy Ryan, and maybe I can't identify a robber defense,
but I can tell you what the problem is on defense.

We don't kill people, we don't rush the quarterback very well and we don't control the line of scrimmage.

Here's hoping that players-only meeting, and the sentiments expressed afterward, make a difference against Auburn.

Because I don't want to lose to Auburn.

Chocolate News. Wait... can I say that?

I gotta tell you, I'm digging Chocolate News.

Of course, I'm white. And it's no Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Language alert. But you should have assumed that.

Charlie Weiss: A value at twice the price

I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about Notre Dame football. But this is just a fantastic in-print brutalizing of ND Head Coach Charlie Weiss:
It is very brave and quite magnanimous for The Great Weis Hope to throw his offensive coordinator under the bus by publicly announcing his decision to reclaim leadership of the Notre Dame offense with defensive powerhouses Navy and Syracuse on the Irish schedule.
The extra "s" stands for "That guy Sucks."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A remembrance for peace, not war

Years ago we changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day in this country. And slowly the tradition of falling silent in the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, to remember the end of World War I, fell by the wayside.

It is right to honor veterans, and their families. But I think you'd be hard pressed to find a soldier who doesn't prefer peace to war.

From Kurt Vonnegut, a veteran of World War II:
When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Thank you to the soldiers who fight when called. May God rest the souls of those who never returned. And may we all, one day, celebrate the existence of peace. Until then, let us commemorate its hope.

UPDATE: The holiday was renamed in 1954 by an act of Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation calling upon people to "pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation."

From the Proclamation:
On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More on the Kentucky game

One of the great talents in this world is an ability to sum things up. From the Gentleman from College:
"This team still hasn’t played a complete game this year and time is starting to run out."
I spoke to my Grandmother tonight, and eventually she asked me the score of the Florida game. And when I told her she said:
"I knew it was terrible, but I didn't know it was that bad."
That's the final word on the Florida game for me. My grandmother considers it surprisingly worse than terrible.
Voicemail from my buddy Joe during the Kentucky game:
Stafford looks like a Mad Scientist out there, dude. He's just throwing shit all over the place. (pause.) Freaking me out a little bit."
And this one's from my buddy Dan. It would prove to be a popular sentiment:
"Hey man, you feel like somehow we've gone back to the Jim Donnan days all of a sudden? I wonder if we'll wear our black pants to the Outback Bowl."
Redemption, thy name is Mohamed Massaquoi.
How did we manage to get a facemask penalty on 4th and hopeless without actually touching a Kentucky player's facemask?

I tried to actually answer that question, but the NCAA College Football rule book is 266 pages long and contains sentences like this:
The basic spot on legal kick plays before a change of possession is the previous spot, and fouls by the offensive team behind the basic spot are spot fouls.
Suck it, NCAA.

Dawgs beat Kentucky, baby

You know what? Forget all that stuff below. If the coaching staff wants to worry after a win, that's fine. But I'll be damned if I will anymore.

I enjoyed that win, heart palpitations and all. How bout them 8-2 Georgia Bulldogs!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

ESCAPE! from Lexington. Now with lots of other words about the state of our program.

I am one happy, unsatisfied Dawg.
When you look at it within the confines of this season, good enough for a win is good enough.

We're not winning any titles this year. All that matters is winning out, and Kentucky may well have been the best team left on our schedule.

At least, I hope so.

At any rate, I'm glad to have gotten a little practice against the option. Stafford played a gutsy game, and we over-matched them with offensive talent by a long shot.

In the larger context of the state of our program, I'm not sure where this victory, this season and the trends we've seen in strong relief this year leave us. I do know it takes a special breed of fan to worry in the face of our successes.

And yet the problems are there, despite the likelihood of another 10 win season in, if not the nation's strongest conference this year, at least home to two of its best teams.

There have been periods this year when the offense was downright unstoppable. And times when we ran plays and it was just like, "What?" And times where it was like, "Oh, yeah. The O-line's not very good. I forgot."

I'm inclined to attribute that to talented youth. And that goes not only for the line, but for Coordinator Mike Bobo as well. Remember, he hasn't hit the two year mark yet as a full-time play caller, having been promoted in late 2006.

Hopefully, that's all solvable by the passage of time. And don't forget how huge it was to lose Trinton Sturdivant to injury this year. We didn't just replace him, we shook up the whole offensive line.

And then there's the defense. You know we started a walk on at defensive end today? How does that happen for the pre-season No. 1 team in the nation?

I was talking to my buddy Dan today about the quality of our defensive ends. I asked if the problem is that we just didn't recruit studs to that position the last couple of years.

He said we were probably too busy recruiting offensive linemen to make up for our amazing inability to recruit and enroll quality linemen a few years back. I'd never thought about that terribly, terribly frustrating phenomenon affecting the team outside of the line itself, but it makes sense. You only have so many scholarships.

But it's not just a problem with the line in my mind. Ellerbe hasn't been the same since his injury. Rashad's just not bringing the wood like you'd expect from a 5-star, all-world specimen in his junior season.

Rennie Curran makes a lot of tackles, but my buddy Joe thinks "we need an Odell Thurman" to enforce things out there.

"We need a guy who might commit a crime on the field," Joe said. "Someone who can bring the wood AGAINST KENTUCKY."

It's no surprise that the defense lacked focus against Kentucky. I don't know about you, but I didn't have my finest days at work this week after the beat down that was the Florida game.

But we got owned by the Wildcat offense, man. Our offense might have killed the D with field position against Florida last week, but this week Kentucky Qb Randall Cobb killed it. (Albeit with a healthy hand from the special teams this time. Basically T. Kyle says you can't just blame the defense, but watch me.)

And how the hell does TE Maurice Grinter get wide open when Kentucky's got the ball and the game is on the line in the 4th quarter? Hell, I don't even think he was the only Wildcat open on that play. What was that, Auburn 2005?

Willie Martinez has some questions to answer, my friends. Someone called the local sports talk show the other day about the number of games Martinez's defenses have given up 30 points or more compared to the number of times the defense gave up 30 when Brian Van"I've got a new job again"Gorder was the coordinator.

That's a little unfair, because Martinez was there to help Van"Am I still with the Falcons?"Gorder. But in the four years Brian Van"Georgia Southern loves me"Gorder ran the defense, we gave up 30 once: the 2003 SEC Title game against National Champion LSU.

With Martinez calling the shots, we've given up 30 or more 10 times in less than four years.
2005 (SEC Title year): Auburn (31, loss); West Virginia (30, loss)

2006: Tennnessee (51, loss)

2007: Tennessee (35, loss); Florida (30, win); Troy (34, win)

2008: Alabama (41, loss); LSU (38, win); Florida (49, loss); Kentucky (38, win)
What happened between 2006 and 2007? Well, Mike Bobo became the full-time offensive coordinator in December 2006. I'm not sure where to look for average drive time statistics, but we do seem to be more of a quick strike offense these days.

At any rate, the points allowed by Martinez's defenses is something of a bottom line. I don't care how good the offense is, or isn't. I don't care if the special teams screw you on field position. I want a shut-the-door defense.

But there are other bottom lines, too. With this victory, Coach Richt has won 80 games in less than eight years. According to the Dawgs' 5th Quarter show, only six other coaches have done that.

And in your weekly context alert, I thought Penn State was pretty damn good, but they lost to Iowa today. Clemson was supposed to be good this year. Notre Dame is 22-17 since they extended Charlie Weiss' contract through 2015. LSU is struggling this year, mostly because they don't have a quarterback.

And consider how Kentucky feels tonight. They thought they could win.

So I'm willing to trust Coach Richt's thoughts on who should run Georgia's offensive and defensive squads.

So, basically, quit worrying about all that bullshit and watch us whip Auburn, beat Georgia tech and go to a reasonable bowl. Then tell Stafford and Moreno they need to come back to be legends, and win the Titles in 2009.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The look of the country

I watched the old Paul Newman classic, Hud, the other night. And there's a scene where Melvyn Douglas tells his Grandson:
"Lonnie, little by little the look of the country changes because of the men we admire."
There's a lot that can be said about the people we choose to elevate in America. But I figure more writing won't make the point any better.

Although, for some reason, this line from President Elect Obama got me thinking along the same lines. Have a nice weekend.

How many honest men you know? You take the sinners away from the saints, you're lucky to end up with Abraham Lincoln.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'll put my heart and soul into the rest of the season. Can someone ask Tim Tebow for them back?

JOE: You get any sleep this week?

ME: Oh, yeah. Tons. But I haven't focused one bit on Kentucky. I'm just broken.

JOE: I had several conversations that went like: "Yeah, it was bad. Yeah, it sucked. Yeah. Yeah."

JOE: Can we talk about something else? We can talk about selling newspapers.

EDITOR's NOTE: Both Joe and I work for newspapers. And we sold a butt ton of those things Wednesday because of the presidential election. And Joe managed to throw away a copy of The New York Times, then be surprised those things were selling on Ebay for like a billion dollars. We are both morons.

ME: You know what I think we should do? When we know we're going to sell a bunch of newspapers on a day, we shouldn't put any in the single copy boxes. Just put a sign there telling folks to come to the main office. When they get there, we tell them there's three ways they can get a Barack Obama paper.

1. Pay us $5.
2. Buy a 1-year subscription right now.
3. We punch them in the face and say "This is why you subscribe to a newspaper!"

JOE: "..."

JOE: Yeah, I'm just gonna get drunk on Saturday and, whatever. Alabama / LSU and should be interesting. Texas Tech / Oklahoma State should be interesting.

ME: You think our game will be interesting?

JOE: I think it'll be way too close.

ME: You think there's any way the team is in the right frame of mind?

JOE: I don't see how they could be. I don't know. I don't want to talk about Georgia.

ME: What else can we talk about?

JOE: Barack Obama.

ME: Yeah, he really whipped that ass.

JOE: As my dad said, it was just like Georgia - Florida.

ME: It all comes back to that, doesn't it?

JOE: The odd thing was, it was blue annihilating red.

ME: Yeah.

JOE: Yeah.

Rocky Week

I wish I could relate this to the Kentucky game somehow, but I can't.

Rocky IV is going to be on AMC tonight at 8 p.m. I've been meaning to mention all week, it's a Rocky Week. And that doesn't just refer to my psyche after the Florida game.

7 minute mark for the DRAAAAGGGGOOOOO! scene.

You can also vote in AMC's poll and rank the six Rocky movies. I've got it: Rocky II, Rocky, Rocky III, Rocky Balboa, Rocky IV and Rocky V, but America disagrees with me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Recovery through music

For everyone still hurting from Saturday, and anyone who ends up disappointed in tonight's election.

The video wasn't so good on the Sinatra version, so you get this. That, of course, is life.

But I won't let it change my tune...

Monday, November 3, 2008

The humiliation of St. Richt

AKA: The blog most likely to offer metaphysical reasons for a loss...

Is it possible that Coach Richt got away from his core last year, goodness and humility, and that now he is paying for it?

We celebrated against Florida. We blacked out Auburn. And it boomeranged. That which was once our savior, now must kill us.

I continue to think that asking why you lost a football game is a lot like asking why God allows bad things to happen to good people. It simply is.

What if we hadn't had a penalty on that interception in the first half against Florida? Would that have been the butterfly flapping his wings in California and causing a cyclone in Japan?

Maybe. Or maybe we really do just go to sleep for some unknown reason under Richt. I'd like to see the phenomenon compared to other teams before I decide, but it's a reasonable question.

Maybe Florida and Alabama were just better, and it snowballed on us.

Or maybe we just can't block and pressure the quarterback very well. Those two things will lead to blow outs, I don't care who you are.

Maybe we started the season with the toughest schedule in the nation, relying on a freshman kicker, with question marks at defensive end, with a young offensive line, then lost our best O-lineman, and our best D-lineman, and still said "Oh, yeah, National Title - definitely."

Also, Saban and Meyer are probably in league with the devil.

Our time will come, and quite possibly next year. But since other SEC powers (Florida, LSU, and perhaps now Alabama) were able to win a National Title so early in their current head coach's tenure, it makes things seem oh so very urgent.

But you don't have to look hard for butterfly effects in Richt's second year (2002) to see that year's National Title within our grasp. For that matter, imagine that Stafford doesn't overthrow that wheel route against South Carolina last year. How would that change the 2007 season?

Because of the 2008 squad's youth, or for other reasons, it has seemed to lack leadership. We seem unable to stem the tide of things gone wrong before the game gets out of hand. Even the players have commented on this.

But the fire of this season may forge the steel we need in years to come. And I think that, this time next year, we may be talking about the redemption of St. Richt, and a season won without any gimmicks.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blow to the head

Succinct Saturday night analysis from my friend Jean: "Bottom line, there was no line."

Agreed. They beat us on the line and they made the plays. The rest hardly matters. But that doesn't mean I won't write it.
One of my buddies: Will Florida win the National Title this year?
ME: Just one?
As we shivered in a corner and hoped Tim Tebow wouldn't come back for one more go at us Saturday night, my buddy Joe noted that I, and a lot of other people, expected to lose this game.

"Who didn't think that we were going to get a beating today, who was an adult?" he asked.

True. But at the end of the first half, with little going our way and having shot ourselves in the foot repeatedly, we were in it. We saw that we could play with these guys, that we had the athletes. And it was like we decided to start playing terrible.

And maybe it was more about the cumulative effect of things; the constant pressure eventually causing turnovers, their speed just taking over, etc. But what it really felt like in that second half was that we just decided to suck.
The illegal blow to the head call that nullified an interception. Kenneth Harris' drop. The "WHAT!?" onside kick. The interceptions. Knowshon's fumble. The ridiculous returns we allowed on turnovers. The missed field goals. Anything that happened in the red zone. The pass that went behind Chandler's back in the endzone. Percy Freaking Harvin.

Stafford keeper left in the Red Zone. Brilliant.
ME: Did Tebow score touchdowns in any games yesterday besides ours?
JOE: He blocked a kick in the Tennessee game.
Say what you will about last year's celebration. It was a desperate act by a desperate team. But when you look at the recent history of Gator football, with Steve Spurrier and now Urban Meyer at the helm, I think you can fairly say that tacking on points to belittle your opponent and calling time outs with less than a minute left in a blowout is "The Florida Way."

I can't imagine any one wanting to be involved in it. And, yet, there they are, kicking our ass.
What do you figure Coach Richt and Coach Meyer said to each other when they shook hands at the end of the game?
MEYER: So did Urban Meyer make his point? Did he make his point? Did he make his point? Because Urban Meyer wants to make sure you understand that he made his point.
I was going to write a Pulpwood Smith rant to follow his Florida game prediction. It started with this: This is Andre Pulpwood Smith coming back at ya from Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, where I am currently seeking treatment for ass-pounding related injuries...

It also referenced Urban Meyer's "Weaselly little triangle face," but I let it go.

This was all very, very disappointing, but you have to keep it in perspective. Auburn lost to Ole Miss yesterday. Tennessee is 3-6. Three and six. Joe said he was asking for a Tennessee / South Carolina score all day Saturday, and "Nobody cared."

Texas lost a heart breaker to Texas Tech. The way they played on those last two plays was about how we played the whole second half.

We weren't as good as our hype this year. And then we got hit by the injury bug, and on the lines of all places.

The season is, in some ways, over. We will not have a chance to win the SEC this year. As unrealistic as offseason National Title talk now seems, not being in the race for a conference championship is bitterly hard to swallow.

Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford are both eligible for the NFL Draft next year. The question of whether they'll leave school early will be a large part of the narrative for the rest of the season.

If they leave, they won't have much of a legacy here at the University of Georgia, I don't think. Theirs would be a story of talent, not trophies.

But that is for another day.

Beat Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia tech or quit the game.