Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chin up Dawgs

Yeah, it blows to lose to Florida in yet another contest. But seriously, did anyone really expect Felton's bricklayers to pull off the upset. It's been a rough year, but let's keep perspective. Last year, the football team finished #2, the basketball team won the SEC tournament, the Gym Dogs won another national title, tennis won a national title, and the baseball team made it to the finals of College World Series and were looking to win it before a HORRIBLE called 3rd strike resulted in a rally-killing double play.

Florida's on a roll right now, but we were on one just a year ago. Ride out the storm, it won't last forever.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We just want what's most beneficial for Georgia...

I lifted this from a 1982 SI article I found this morning. The crux of my post is that in 1982, UF was looking for a way out of its annual game with Miami and essentially was being called vaginas for it:
But the insults that most enraged the Gators were cries of "Chicken!" from Miami fans. Florida has indicated that its quest for greatness calls for a review of its schedule. That schedule, which includes six opponents from the Southeastern Conference as well as the state's other big-time football school, Florida State, might not have a spot for independent and private Miami next season, or ever after. It's not that Florida's afraid of Miami, y'understand. Florida wants to play Miami, but it prefers to do what, say,Alabama has always done. That is, load up the non-conference part of the schedule with cream puffs. No, no, not cream puffs, say the Gators. We just want to do what's most beneficial for Florida. Which is why Miami is calling Florida chicken. The Florida game is the biggest by far for UM, while Florida's opinion of the Hurricanes, though no Gator official would be caught dead saying it publicly, is "Who needs these guys?"

Now of course, Miami turned this back around on UF, playing the tried-and-true
tradition card:

Before this year's game, Schnellenberger said, "It's inconceivable in a series like this, that's gone 44 years with a one-year interruption for a major war, that suddenly there's a scheduling problem."

To which UF countered with "we don't really give a damn what you think because YOU are not looking out for OUR best interests":

At which Pell snapped, "Howard has never discussed it with me, and I don't like anybody telling anybody else what I think 'cause I'm quite capable of doing that myself." After that retort, Pell deferred all questions on scheduling to Athletic Director Bill Garr, who said, "We traditionally have played six conference games plus two intrastate rivals, and in 48 years we've never won an SEC title. Now, we're doing something wrong, am I right?"

Now, here's where I find this analagous to UGA's program. At this point, with 20 years of evidence at our disposal, I'd argue that playing Flordia in Jax every year isn't working anymore. While it would disappoint the people that go down to Jax for a weeklong drunkfest, it is in the best interest of our program to go home and home. Naturally, Florida and the national media, will give us hell if this happens. But, as was the case with Florida playing Miami every year when it already had a tough enough schedule, it doesn't really matter what people outside the program think. Go home and home, beat Florida roughly 50% of the time, and win a national championship after beating Florida either at home or on the road, and NO ONE will give a damn about having left Jax.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

When will white embrace what's right?

When will black not be made to sit in the back? About 40 years ago.

When will brown stick around? Judging by the gas stations and hotels, not really a problem.

When can yellow mellow? Judging by the average Asian-American income, they can afford to mellow much more than I.

When can the red man get ahead man? When he puts down the bottle and finds some skills besides running a casino.

When will white embrace what's right? Like what? Freeing a country from a horrible dictator? Establishing the most prosperous country in the history of mankind? Facilitating the peaceful transfer of power? Freeing an entire continent from a fascist dictator? Embracing the only economic model in history what rewards innovation and hard-work?

Sorry, I didn't realize these petty accomplishments of white people were "wrong". God, I hate liberals.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The State of the Bulldog Union

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Bulldog Nation, Board of Regents, President Michael Adams douchebag, and Damon Evans, thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak on the state of the UGA program, the year that was 2008, and our goals and expectations for 2009 and beyond.

2008 began for many in the Bulldog Nation in the Crescent City: eating sugary beignets, drinking 3 for 1 Bloody Marys at 9:30 a.m., and witnessing a #2 national finish. It is this Dawg fan’s wish that the 2009 season end, at worst, the same way.

2009 was supposed to began for the Bulldog Nation in Little Havana: eating plantains, drinking Mojitos, and witnessing our first national championship since 1980. As we are all aware, that did not happen.

The reasons why have been the subjects of much debate:

  • Injuries. UGA was a walking M*A*S*H unit this year
  • Line play. At its core, football is only two things: blocking and tackling. Both of those start at the line of scrimmage. Stacey Searles is the best O-Line coach in the country, but you can only coach around injuries and inexperience so much. I do however get a sense of optimism when I watch LSU’s offensive line, all recruited by and coached up by Searles. If we get that huge and that nasty, I’ll be very, very happen. And Ben Jones, I’m hoping you turn into the leader on the line I envision you being. The D-Line was another story. Certainly injuries hurt at well, especially to Owens. The Defensive Ends were banged up all camp and just didn’t get the practice they needed. Our Defensive Tackles coach is allegedly a great coach and recruiter, but this year there seemed to be a lack of talent and improvement at that position.
  • Penalties. Call it lack of discipline, some bad luck, or even a payment for the 2007 Celebration and Blackout, but UGA got penalties in bunches in 2008. Watching the BCS National Championship game, we were reminded that both OU and UF were among the most penalized teams in the country. The difference this year was the timing of those penalties.
  • Lack of Big Plays on Defense. Ironically, the most explosive offense we’ve had in 10 years was on the same team with a defense that just couldn’t get off the field when it mattered.
  • Special Teams. This is a topic for a separate address. Lets just say they were….subpar.

Blow out losses to Alabama, Florida, and the GT debacle took the wind out of sails of a season that saw UGA open at #1. However, in retrospect, finishing the season #1 would have been a colossal accomplishment for this team. The brutal schedule we thought we had never fully bear its teeth, but it was still tough enough to be rated one of the hardest in the country. Of particular interest was not who we played, but WHEN we played them. We got Alabama after playing at Carolina and then having to travel ¾ of the way across the fruited plain. Then we got Florida after going to Death Valley. I could go on about our scheduling for days, but consider this: no SEC team played three consecutive road games. UGA however, played at LSU, in Jacksonville, at Kentucky, and at Auburn. Because UGA was the “home” team in Jacksonville, the league office didn’t consider our schedule as consisting of more than two consecutive road games. As you might have guessed, there will be more on this in the “goals and expectations for 2009 and beyond.”

Most disappointing about this season was that there never seemed to be any steady improvement as the year went on. Maybe that was due to having so many moving pieces with the injuries and line problems, but it is troubling as this was the first Richt team that I thought was better in week one than at the end of the year.

Having to watch UF win another national title is tough to swallow. Let’s not forget however, that a year ago UF’s situation wasn’t that different from ours today. Whether we make similar improvements will be a very telling sign about the direction of the program.

This brings us to the expectations for 2009. I personally feel that 2009, much like 2005, will be a defining year for the program. Winning when everyone is expecting a dropoff is the sign of a strong program. For that to happen, here are some things I want to see, along with some other general suggestions for the future of our program:

  • Your new full time special teams coach: Mark Richt. Let’s not forget that before he was a head coach, Mark Richt was a hell of a coordinator. He knows X’s and O’s, he knows personnel, and he knows talent. Before he put in the “fast-break” no huddle offense at FSU, he didn’t know much about it. So he went to Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and other places that ran it and figured it out. He can do the same with special teams. Go to Virginia Tech, go to the Steelers, go wherever the hell you need to go, and let’s stop losing the field position battle in big games.
  • A recommitment to sound, fundamental tackling. Our fundamentals started deteriorating around the same time Greg Blue decided he’d rather decapitate Steve Slaton instead of wrapping him up. The UGA identity must be hardnosed, fundamentally sound, physical defense. We’ve never won anything of any substance with any other formula. I know the injuries cut back the amount of live tackling in practice in 2008. Lesson learned; let’s never make that mistake again.
  • Establishing a better home field advantage. Acoustics work against UGA, and there’s not a whole lot that can be done about that. The open endzone and the seats being so far from the field can’t really be changed. But there’s no reason Athens shouldn’t be as feared a venue as LSU, Auburn, etc. We just need to find a niche and stick with it. I thought the idea of the terrible towels in ’06 was good. But “I’m Georgia” was lame and the towels were too friggin’ big. At LSU and Auburn, the entire stadium uses the shakers. It looks awesome on TV and is noticeable to recruits. UF has the Gator Chomp. Even MSU has those stupid cowbells. We need to find something that is uniquely UGA that is instantly recognizable besides our mascot.
  • A feeling that the team represents the ENTIRE state. GT doesn’t count. UGA is the state of GA. I mean running out with a state flag, more state flags in the stands, and an attitude that our state is better than our opponent’s, so our football team has to be too.
  • Pissing in Florida’s cornflakes and not apologizing for it. The media loves Florida. Just like the news media would rather follow Barack to Hawaii than Bush to Crawford, the sports media is going to give Florida the benefit of the doubt no matter what. Before 1990, when UF had never won anything, the media still loved them and tried to convince everyone they were a football power. Now ESPN has Jessie Palmer, Erin Andrews, and Emmitt Smith working for them. Cris Colinsworth is on NBC. The Gator influence is everywhere. This is why it is CRITICALLY important for us to not take any shit from them. Punch them back. Call them names. Call timeouts in the last minute of any contest we’re beating them in. Do not apologize for it. Spurrier built UF into a winner primarily by understanding the importance of beating UGA. He got a bye week before UGA, and he beat us not only on the field, but in the media. In my mind, he single-handedly did more to create this notion that UGA isn’t UF’s equal than anyone else. 2007 was a start and I realize we had to eat some crow for it in 2008. But we CANNOT continue to treat Florida like they are better than us. THEY’RE NOT!! They just don’t waste their advantages and MAKE people beat them. Which is what we have to do. Getting the WLOCP to a home and home would be a great start.

Pure Class, Part the Second

If you happened to miss it yesterday, Tony Dungy retired. Dungy took over an absolute dumpster fire of a situation in Tampa and built one of the best run organizations in the NFL, then saw Gruden win a Super Bowl with his team. Thankfully though, the players on that team gave Dungy the credit he deserved.

Dungy then went to Indianapolis, had trouble getting past the Pats (although you have to wonder about Spygate now) and eventually won a Super Bowl. He did all this while carrying himself in a manner that was admirable and commanded respect.

The grace with which he handled the incomprehensible loss of his son in 2005 was unbelievable. As someone who LOATHES Peyton Manning, I still couldn't bring myself to dislike the Colts because of Dungy. If Mark Richt stays at Georgia and becomes the "Tony Dungy of College Football", that'd be fine by me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pure Class

If you haven't seen this yet, take a second to check it out. Incredibly classy move and certainly something that he did not have to do. For someone who was not from Georgia to show such appreciation to the University, its fans, and his teammates really shows that he comes from good stock. His grandmother should be very, very proud. Best of luck Knowshon, God Bless.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Boomer Freaking Sooner!!

While I truly believe that Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer are running visor and hair gel with Steve Spurrier for the biggest asshole alive, their is no doubt who I'll be pulling for tonight. I'm hoping for a lot of Gator bitching and crying after the game. For anyone that's forgotten what that looks like, let me refresh your memory:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What could have been...

The writing's on the wall, and the 24/7 era is over at UGA. It's easy to second guess coaching decisions, but I can't help but wonder what might have been had Richt gone with Stafford right out of the gate his freshman year and not redshirted Moreno....

If Moreno was playing, would we have completely abandoned the run during the 2nd half against UT in '06?

If Stafford had started all the way through, would his maturation point have come sooner than Auburn in '06 and would he have lead us to hold on against Vandy and Kentucky that year?

Would Moreno have fumbled on the first play of the second half against UF in '06?

Would Bobo have utilized Moreno more against USC in '07 if he already had a year of SEC experience under his belt?

These are hypothetical questions obviously, but you have to wonder if we'll one day look back at these years the way some of us look back at 2000 or 1992. So much talent, so close, just couldn't quite break through.

Monday, January 5, 2009

This just in....

Colt McCoy's mom is a hottie.  And if the blonde sitting next to her is Colt's girlfriend, then dude is a stud.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

See ya Rodney

Who knows what's actually going on in Knoxville, but if Garner threatens to walk for more money, I hope Richt lets him go. This routine every year is getting old and I for one am sick of it. Garner obviously thinks he is DC or HC material and since no one has offered him that yet, he's going to use every offseason to hold UGA to ransom. A couple of huge points stick out to me. First, depending on what you believe, Garner and BVG HATED each other. The story goes that BVG gave Richt an "it's either him or me" ultimatium and Richt felt Garner's recruiting was too important so BVG took off to Jacksonville. Anyone that know the affinity I hold for BVG can imagine how much that makes my stomach turn.

Secondly, Garner has an outstanding reputation as a recruiter. He raided Georgia while at Auburn and then pulled Donnan's pants down in Atlanta while at Tennessee. However, at the time that was going on, Garner was the first "hot" black recruiter in the South. Other schools soon copied that model and since then, I question how effective Garner has actually been. Yes, we've had tremendous recruiting classes, but have we ever had the top ranked class in the SEC? The fact is, UGA is located in a state that produces A LOT of HS talent. Historically, our objective has just been to clean up GA. However, in the last 5 years or so, it seems that Richt's strategy has changed. Now we seem to be just getting who we really want in the state, and then recruit nationally for our pressing needs. This isn't unlike the method used at FSU forever. With the arrival of Lilly, who just coincidentially happened to be FSU's recruiting coordinator, it seems to me that Richt has been planning for when Garner leaves for some time now.

I appreciate everything Garner's done for the program, and certainly as a DT coach, he's pumped out some talent. However, nothing is going to be good enough for him except a HC or DC post, and he isn't going to get that at UGA. It's time for both parties to go their seperate ways.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Thoughts from the Citris Bowl

Yes, I went--and yes, I sat in ri-freaking-diculous traffic coming home from Florida yesterday. My thoughts from the game:

--Tech, welcome to really. Maybe that will shut Paul Johnson up for the summer, but I doubt it.

--I think Stafford is great, but I do think he needs another season. These are the QB's in the NFL that I can think of that stayed 4 years: Peyton, Eli, Donovan McNabb, Matt Ryan, Chad Pennington, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Matt Cassell, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, and Jay Cutler. If Stafford wants to get paid right now, he can. But, if he wants to be a better QB once he gets in the league, he should come back.

--Knowshon on the other hand, should probably go. Don't give me wrong, I'd give anything to see him back, but at RB you have a limited number of hits in your body and you're always one dirty Tech player away from having your career ended. Richt's biggest personnel mistake was redshirting him. Hopefully he won't make that mistake again.

--MSU travelled well. I was surprised given how craptastic things are in MI. Also, their band paid respect to UGA by playing Glory, Glory before the game. Very classy. No problems with Sparty here.

--Bobo might be the most bipolar OC in college football. How he can alternate between brilliant and retarded so fluidly is truly amazing.

--You could tell before the game started that the coaches had a different attitude with the team. I have a feeling these bowl practices weren't fun. I've never seen the DB's do the Bull in the Cage drill before the game. Maybe they do and I've just missed it, but there was a clear difference in our physical toughness for this game.

--Special teams. I have no freakin' idea what the answer is. Richt MUST get more involved in that area this offseason. Florida has really elevated special teams play this year, and I would assume that the other SEC teams will be putting a huge emphasis on it this year. We'd better do the same.

--Nice block Caleb.

--10 wins is now a disappointing season. Man, we've come a long way from the Donnan and Goff eras. To me, there's two hurdles left to clear: being UF more frequently and winning the NC. I think these are going to be the two hardest hurdles, but one is tied to the other. We're not going to go on a 16-3 run against UF--no one is. But, if we get to the point where we look back at the previous ten years and we went 5-5 against Florida, I think we will have won a NC in that span.