Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
If you like to place a wager every now and again, I'd advise to take the points. I'm thinking the Dawgs need some 4th quarter drama to pull this one out.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
What adjustments are Georgia's defensive coaches making?
Tailgating in Athens and Georgia Peaches...
We answered the Pitchfork Nation questions here.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
1. Last year, some UGA fans were concerned about the road trip out west and the high scoring offense led by senior Rudy Carpenter. In fact, I think I remember some pre-season talk about y'all challenging SC for the Pac-10 crown. It seems like the UNLV loss derailed the entire season for ASU. This year, ASU comes into Athens with much less hype but a 2-0 record with 2 blowout victories. What type of season is expected from the typical ASU fan this year?
Justin Karp: The UNLV loss still stings. We talked a lot about that in relation to this past week's game with Louisiana-Monroe, though when Omar Bolden took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown en route to a fairly easy 38-14 win, those fears were eased. The loss to the Rebels set off a tailspin in which the Sun Devils lost five more in a row, four of which weren't even competitive.
The typical ASU fan, in my opinion, doesn't have too much hope. We all know what a nasty defense we potentially had coming in but considering the uncertainty at quarterback, plus the idea that no one knew enough about Danny Sullivan or this stagnant running game, didn't give the fans too much hope. Some hold out hope for 8 wins, but I think 5 or 6 is a much more realistic target, considering the schedule is backloaded with USC, Oregon and Cal coming late in the year.
2. Again - going back to last year, the UGA fans heard all about Rudy Carpenter and the dynamic passing attack from the PAC-10. It appears that new QB Danny Sullivan picked up where Rudy Carpenter was expected to perform last year, as the Sun Devils have posted big totals in the first 2 games of 2009 - is that a result of an improved offense or 2 weak opponents?
JK: Weak opponents. Completely weak opponents. Did I mention weak opponents?
There are flaws in Danny's game and most fans don't even want him as the starter. He sat on the bench behind RC for three seasons and, in my semi-professional opinion, still has the same mechanical problems he did when he was a freshman. Arizona State receivers had a bad case of the drops against Idaho State, preventing Sullivan's stat line from looking decent there. He tends to lead receivers and sail balls when he's under pressure. There's a lot of growing left to do but he's only got 10 games to do it.
The one thing Danny hasn't done is turn the ball over though. He's very protective of the ball and knows exactly when to throw the ball away under pressure, something Rudy didn't do. I know Georgia has had their own defensive issues thus far, but the Dawgs D will be completely unlike what the Sun Devils have seen this year and will provide Sully his first real challenge.
3. Obviously, there is plenty of heat in Arizona, but it is a different kind of heat than what we see here in the South. Do you think the Georgia humidity will have any affect on the Arizona State players as the game presses into the 3rd and 4th quarters?
JK: I'm no meteorologist, but I know that I personally wear down in humid conditions just walking around faster than I did in dry heat. However, I think Arizona State caught a break that this game was scheduled for 7:00 PM on the East Coast, which might lessen the effects of that nasty stickiness. I think dealing with adverse weather conditions (other than wind, which just wreaks havoc on everyone) is purely a mental thing. Everyone seems to make a big deal of teams who come to Tempe in September having to deal with the "extreme heat" but I've never once seen a team come into Sun Devil Stadium, lose, and then say "Well, it was too damn hot for us." If that was the case, teams would be dropping like flies.
I'd be more concerned about our defense simply being on the field too much and dealing with that fatigue rather than having to deal with humidity.
4. There has been some talk around the South (by a few famous but sometimes stupid columnists) about Coach Richt being on the hot-seat if he doesn't perform this year. But considering he is averaging over 10 wins per year, any semi-rational UGA fan will tell you that is ridiculous. Is there any talk about some pressure being on Dennis Erickson to produce some better results in his 3rd year as coach of the Sun Devils?
JK: Must be a nice problem to have. Considering the recruiting that DE has pulled off over the last year or so, including landing "quarterback of the future and maybe the present" Brock Osweiler, there's still some leeway for our head coach. I honestly think that a lot of us (not me, but some others) are basking in the glow of that 10-2 season in 2007. It happens so rarely in these parts that we hang onto it as long as possible.
I think that if the team scuffles to start next year (2010), though, fans will start to get restless. I don't think the expectations for this season are high enough to start FireDennisErickson.com in case ASU goes 5-7 or 6-6 in 2009, but with all the optimism surrounding this young, high-powered defense and this Osweiler kid, Dennis has got some time. Now, start 2010 1-2 or 0-3 and all bets are off.
5. Getting into the conference rankings, I am always curious to hear another viewpoint. Obviously, down South, we are famous for beating our chests claiming conference superiority in the SEC. How would you rank the BCS conferences?
JK: Right now, I'd put them in this order along with reasoning:
1) SEC: Until someone comes and proves otherwise, it's still the class of the nation.
2) Big 12: They might not play a lick of defense, 8 of the 12 teams in the league can still simply outscore you.
3) Pac-10: Parity is the key word here. I really feel that everyone in this league (save Washington State) can beat anyone.
4) Big Ten: The quality of play is still pretty atrocious but at least Ohio State and Penn State are still major players on the national scene.
5) Big East: Cincinnati is a very good football team. The rest of them...not so much. Plus, this is the conference that contains Greg Paulus as a quarterback. It takes the whole league down a notch. I'm serious.
6) ACC: Do they even still play football? Don't tell them that at Duke, Virginia, Maryland and Boston College? Could have fooled me. Constant losses to I-AA teams are unacceptable. Miami is the class of a horrible conference.
6. Sticking with the conference conversation, what are your thoughts on the Big-10 and the Pac-10 remaining 100% loyal to the Rose Bowl and reportedly being the stick in the mud when it comes to any possibility of creating any sort of a true college playoff?
JK: I was hyper-critical of the BCS when they went to the Rose Bowl and basically forced them to take a non-BCS at-large qualifier at least once in the next four seasons. I think that if any group of fans understands tradition and heritage, it would be SEC fans.
The Pac-10 really doesn't have much so-called "old time tradition" but the Rose Bowl is definitely what we've got. Plus, let's be realistic, it's not the Big Ten and Pac-10 holding up a playoff system, it's the university presidents. As long as the university heads still have dollar signs in their eyes a la Uncle Scrooge from DuckTales, there's no way the BCS member institutions will put a playoff system into place. These bowls still produce too much income for institutions to pass up and in these economic times, when tuition and fees are being raised everywhere, the schools need every dollar they can snatch up.
With that said, I strongly believe the Pac-10 should hang onto one of the last shreds of heritage (other than USC losing at least one game per season to an unranked opponent) that we have. For longtime fans, it's still strange to look back at recent old video and see teams like Texas and Oklahoma march onto the turf at the Granddaddy of them All.
7. Jake Plummer or Pat Tillman?
JK: Let's put it this way. Pat Tillman still left an NFL career to honorably serve his country. He represented all that was good about humanity and being a true Sun Devil.
On the other hand, Jake Plummer currently lives in hiding, only emerging from his Idaho (Montana? who knows...) to play pro team handball. He showed up to his own ASU Hall of Fame induction in 2007 wearing an Old Navy ringer t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops.
There's a reason Arizona State players don't wear "JP16" patches on their neckline. It's Pat.
Also: Last year's Q&A with Justin before the game in Arizona
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
- On the strength of his performance in Fayetteville Saturday night, Joe Cox is the 12th highest rated quarterback in FBS as of right now at 165.1. (For what its worth, Ryan Mallett is #1.)
- It is worth noting that Joe has had the toughest row to hoe schedule-wise, with the exception of maybe Jacory Harris. Joe is 2nd in the SEC is passing yardage per game (trailing Mallett by a wide margin), 3rd in the conference is passing efficiency, and 4th in the SEC in total offense.
- Incidentally, Joe is on pace for numbers somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 yards passing, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions (to go with a sharp-looking 63% completion percentage.) Simply put, if he keeps up the current pace you could argue he'd have one of the best seasons of any QB in UGA history. Still a long way to go, of course.
- Richard Samuel is 6th in the SEC in rushing yardage at 256 yards, 33rd in FBS.
- AJ Green leads the SEC in receptions (17) and total reception yardage (275), although he is currently 3rd in yards per game. He's 23rd in FBS in yardage. I expect he'll be higher on that list in the next few weeks. AJ is also 8th in the SEC in scoring among non-kickers, at 6.7 points per game.
- Brandon Boykin is 4th in the conference in yards per kick return at 32.4, which is also 15th in FCS. Brandon is 3rd in FBS in total kick return yardage.
- Boykin has already returned 11 kicks this season. To put this in perspective, the most kicks returned in a season for UGA is 28 (two are tied, most recently Asher Allen in 2007.) At the current pace, Boykin will break that record before the end of October. Ugh.
- Boykin is also 9th in the SEC in all-purpose yardage.
- Drew Butler leads all of FBS and the SEC in punting average at 54.5 yards per game. (2nd place in FBS is a full 4 yards behind him, while 2nd place in the conference is a full 10 yards behind.)
- Blair Walsh is 4th in the SEC in scoring among kickers at 9.7 per game. He's 30th in FBS among all players.
- Rennie Curran leads the SEC in tackles, 6th in FBS.
Some team stats:
- The Dawgs sit middle of the pack in the conference in scoring offense, which is pretty good considering that no one else in the SEC has played a schedule anywhere near what UGA has played.
- On the flip side, scoring defense is dead last. Again, tougher schedule, and the numbers are a bit misleading thanks to some bad field position, but the numbers are not pretty either way (31 ppg allowed.)
- In fact, let's just go ahead and the elephant in the room out there....the Dawgs rank in the bottom 3 in the SEC in just about every statistical category for defense with the exception of rushing defense (8th in the SEC) and opponent 3rd down conversion (6th.) Last in: scoring defense, passing defense, total defense, opponent first downs. The rest of them, UGA is either 10th or 11th in the conference.
- Only Mississippi State is penalized more than UGA per game. The saving grace to this is that UGA leads the league in opposition penalties. People smarter than I can probably find some explanation for why this is the way it is.
- Only Vandy is worse in time of possession than the Dawgs.
- UGA is last in the SEC in turnover margin.
- On the positive side, the Dawgs have been perfect in the red zone, going 9 for 9 so far. (Remember when this used to be a problem?)
Saturday, September 19, 2009
We've seen the pass rush get a little better each week so far. It was atrocious in Stillwater, and I'd call it average in Athens. Alot of that has had to do with the quality of opponent. OSU had very good tackles and probably didn't pass as much as we'd have expected, while SC was the exact opposite. They threw it all over the place and their tackles, while decent, weren't on par with the Cowboys. Arkansas continues the trend as far as quality tackles go. They allowed the 2nd most sacks in FBS last season, and while the Arkansas tackles are big and pretty experienced, I expect the Dawgs to continue to improve. And unlike Robinson and Garcia (sounds like a NYC law firm), Ryan Mallett won't be able to run away from Justin Houston, Cornelius Washington and the like. Of course it wouldn't surprise me for the UGA DEs to lay an egg tonight, but I expect the defense as a whole to be much better as a result of an improved pass rush.
It is also important to remember that while the Petrino brothers often become associated with a pass-happy offense, the truth is that he relies more on success of the running game to set up his gunslinger. If the Dawgs' defense has been anything this season, it has been excellent against the run. If Arkansas has to get one-dimensional on offense like South Carolina did, that is great news for UGA.
Expect the offense to be largely as efficient as it was in Athens last weekend. Hopefully Bobo will make some adjustments and get Samuel 20+ carries, with a steady diet of Carlton Thomas and a healthy Caleb King to change the pace. If the Dawgs can manage to avoid any turnovers (3 more tonight isn't going to get it done), expect UGA offense to score somewhere in the low to mid 20's. Add in a special teams or defensive touchdown, and the Dawgs could win it comfortably.
However....something tells me the game is going to be close. I'm going to say the Dawgs win by no more than a touchdown. If the Dawgs turn the ball over more than once, all bets are off. Protect the ball tonight, and get to Mallett. If that happens, Dawgs win it going away.
Monday, September 14, 2009
- I left Athens Saturday night as exhausted as I've ever been after watching a football game in person. I suppose it was the combination of a long day, and one of the most poorly mismanagements of time on the part of ESPN and the officiating crew, plus being emotionally spent from the flow of the game itself. I generally prefer night games, but there was no excuse for the length of that game Saturday night.
- Sanford was really loud at times - especially the Boykin return, Smith's TD, and Curran's play at the end; but there were some times when it was as quiet as I can remember. I think the flow of the game had alot to do with it. With all the big plays and quick drives that UGA put together, it seemed to suck the wind out of the stadium (at least until the next big play happened.)
- I can't believe how fast Branden Smith is. UGA has had fast players, but I'm not sure that I can remember a player with that kind of burst. Florida and LSU have had some really fast "specialists" over last few years, and I've always been envious that UGA didn't land guys like Trindon Holliday or Brandon James. Smith doesn't seem like he takes a backseat to any of those guys. The difference is that Smith might be more than just a kick returner or somebody that you run special offensive plays for - he might end up as a shutdown cover corner before he leaves Athens. All-American potential.
- Say what you will about Reshad Jones, but the kid is going to have a long career in the NFL. He just is. That said, he is obviously on the SEC officials' shat-list. As ridiculous as the personal foul call was in Stillwater, I think the one Saturday night was worse. I realize he was flagged for tackling the ball carrier after the whistle, and not for the horse collar tackle that you first thought. The SC player was still running full speed down the sideline. He was right beside the referee that blew the whistle signaling him out of bounds, and Reshad was 15 yards down the field. If the runner didn't hear the whistle, how is Reshad supposed to hear it? He was the last player between the SC player and the end zone. He's playing the ball and obviously didn't hear the whistle. I just hope he doesn't let up on somebody down the road in a key spot. It would be only natural for him to be a bit gunshy at some point. The patsy rules in college football are just getting ridiculous. For a defense that sometimes (in my opinion) needs to be more aggressive, rules that encourage softness are not good.
- Joe Cox had a tough week last week, but he showed up Saturday night. He wasn't spectacular, but he's probably not going to be at any point. He was solid, and he was every bit the leader that we've all been told he was going to be all year. The interception was a bad play, but let's be honest. Eric Norwood hadn't had his name called all night. Not once that I remember. He was going to do something at some point, he's just too good not to. It just so happened that "something" was the biggest play of the game to that point. I've been as critical of Cox as anybody, but I was awfully proud of his effort Saturday night.
- Speaking of Joe, I've thought all along that at some point this season he (and Bobo) were going to learn that they just need to start throwing it in AJ Green's direction, whether he's open or not, whether he's got double-coverage or not. We're starting to see signs of it, and these are good signs. There are few wide receivers in the history of football at this level that have the ability to dominate games. Green is that kind of player. I also noticed that he's starting to get a bit of an attitude on the field, and for the most part that is a good thing. However, there was one point in the game Saturday night when the SC cornerback came up to play press coverage on him. He came up to bump AJ, who simply put a move on him and just about put him on the ground before he ran toward the southeast end zone wide-arse open. Joe never saw him, otherwise AJ would still be running up Baxter Street with the ball. After the play, AJ walked back up the South Carolina sideline barking at the coaches for trying to man him up. Unfortunately I think the SC coaches learned their lesson and never gave him less than a 10 yard cushion the rest of the evening. Times like those that I'd prefer he lays a little bit lower. I'll take my chances if an opponent wants to man him up.
- I loved the deep kicks, however I knew that one of them was going to get returned back to mid-field before the night was over, and then I just knew that Mark Richt was going to try to use it as an example of why he doesn't like to kick it deep. Hey Coach - not sure if you've noticed, but you were giving up at least one long return per game with the old method. Let's give this one a try for a while. Just trust us all on this one.
- Hale mentioned it in his blog Sunday, but I was thinking it when I saw it in the 4th quarter. Odd time for Brown and Wooten to make their season debuts. It seemed like the coaches realized that they hadn't played yet again, and wanted to get them in there just so people wouldn't ask about it after the game. By the way, if you didn't notice, Marlon Brown looks like a monster in pads. Freakishly big for a wide receiver.
- Really curious about how the coaches are going to find ways to get Orson Charles more involved in the offense. He is a weapon and it looks to me like he knows how to get open. Eventually he's going to catch one in stride in the middle of the field and some poor safety is going to get flattened.
- I pride myself on remembering just about every play of every game, but I honestly never saw Logan Gray in the game other than to fair catch a punt. My wife had to inform me on the ride home that he came in for one offensive play. Really odd.
- I haven't seen the replay yet, but I'm pretty sure I saw Owens and Atkins playing on the ends during South Carolina's last drive. I believe Weston and Tyson (or Wheeling) were playing tackle at the time. Cornelius Washington really emerged and Houston coming back will be huge, but I wonder if we're going to see alot more of Owens and Atkins on the ends as the season moves on.
- Neither of the results of the first 2 games have been surprising to me, but how they both went down were a surprise. With that in mind, I haven't come up with a prediction for this weekend yet. Arkansas is hard to get a read on. They are basically opening their season Saturday. They have a pretty talented quarterback, but I hear that he can barely move out of the pocket. This will represent some different challenges OSU and SC did. It will be interesting to see how the defense handles a balanced attack like what Petrino brings.
- For this UGA team, every game is going to be important, but my first impression is that the one in Fayetteville might make a huge difference in where UGA finishes up record-wise. Win this game, and you've got a pretty good chance of being 3-1 for a home game in early October against an LSU team that has been anything but impressive thus far. Lose in Fayetteville and you're basically back in the same position you were heading into last Saturday night. I hear the game is a toss-up in Vegas, and that sounds about right to me so far. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure that a pick-em for every game between now and Florida (with the exception of Arizona State) isn't about right.
- And finally - Rennie Curran is the man. I've read about 10 bloggers in the last 2 days saying that Rennie is quickly becoming one of their favorite all-time UGA players. Let me add myself to that club.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
And let's be honest, for many UGA fans last night's game is as much about beating Spurrier as it is beating the Gamecocks.
Credit RedStripeDawg on You Tube.
Not really sure what kinda team we have. But we are 1-0 in the SEC. And a win Is a win. Let's have some good discussion this week about the USC game and the upcoming game with Arkansas.
Sent via Blackberry from T-Mobile
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Defensive gameplan: Anyone watching the game with me knows that I was anointing Willie Martinez as having redeemed himself about midway through the 2nd quarter. He was blitzing at perfect times from all over the field, mostly with Rennie, but then I almost peed my pants when I saw Vance Cuff sprinting from the bottom of my screen on the corner blitz. That play (loading up the right side of the defensive line, and then bringing pressure from the corner on the same side) might have been the best play call DCWM has ever come up with, and is the kind of play alot of us having been screaming for to see more often. Then, inexplicably, that gameplan disappeared. The short fields that OSU was getting (thanks to offense and special teams) probably had alot to do with that, but I think that OSU got off their heels a little when the pressure went away.
Defensive ends: Still, absolutely no pass rush. None. I've never played offensive or defensive line, so perhaps I just don't understand that part of the game, but I don't get how defensive ends can get such a good push and get into the backfield so quickly when the ball is handed off to a running back, but can't get out of their footprints on a pass play. This has got to change, maybe more so than anything else.
Secondary: For the most part, I liked what I saw here. These guys (and the linebackers) still can't catch a cold, otherwise the game might have been different. But everybody was more aggressive, and nost importantly, tackling was better most of the time.
Overall defense: Things were looking really good for a while, and I saw enough to believe that they'll keep UGA in alot of games this year. The tackles played well, although I was surprised at how much rotation we had there, seemed like Owens and Atkins were on the sidelines for as many plays as they were on the field. Linebacker play was above average. This game turned for the defense on two terrible calls: the Reshad Jones personal foul (absolutely, positively horrible - nothing more needs to be said), and an atrocious spot on the 4th down play near the goal line (hey CMR, you can challenge that.) But this defense definitely spent the offseason getting back to what made UGA great in past years - fundamentals, aggressiveness and pride. But they have got to start forcing some turnovers, or at least executing on the times when turnovers are forced (as in catching the ball when it is in the air.)
Special Teams: This might be the most disappointing area that I saw yesterday. So you mean to tell me that we gave a scholarship to a kicker, only to continue the same old directional crap? Kickoff coverage is still awful, and I now choose to believe that it has as much to do with how the ball gets to the returner than I do what happens after that. Drew Butler's numbers look nice, but a few of his punts looked terrible (maybe he was getting tired - he was punting alot more than he probably expected to.) Unless you can promise me that the opponent is going let every other punt bounce in front of him and roll another 25 yards, I'm not too pleased with what I saw yesterday. Finally, I realize that our kick returners aren't too accustomed to receiving kicks in the end zone during practice (since there doesn't seem to be a player on campus that can kick in there), but these guys have to know they can take a knee, right? Positives: Walsh's field goal would have been good from 65 yards, I think.
Offensive Line: This was a surprise. This group was having a hard time even getting a push on a severely undersized D-line, much less blowing open holes. OSU was blitzing quite a bit from what I remember, but even when they weren't it was difficult for the UGA line to impose its will, which many of us though they would. Hopefully Sturdivant won't be out too long, and this group gains some cohesiveness as the year moves along. As deep and talented as we think they are, we should remember that they are still relatively young.
Running Backs: Samuel runs hard, no doubt about it. Unfortunately he gets brought down by fingers, which really surprises me for a guy as big as he is. It seemed like he got a good talking to at halftime, and in the 2nd half he was breaking a few more tackles. A few people in my viewing party hypothesized that in his zeal to hold on to the football this offeseason, perhaps his running style has been thrown off, and in turn his balance. I fully expect him to get better as the season goes on, and I still think he's going to have a big year. That said, Caleb King needs to get healthy. He's the most polished ball-carrier that UGA has, and I believe he really would have helped out yesterday.
Quarterback: Nobody is surprised that Joe Cox has a weaker arm than what we've become accustomed to. What surprised me yesterday was that the gameplan really hasn't been changed to account for that difference in arm strength, and more importantly the difference in speed of release. I knew Cox probably would have to put a little more air under it to get it down the field, but I was surprised at how long it takes him to get rid of the ball. Joe really has to wind up to get it out of there. Either his timing was off yesterday because of the flu-like symptoms, maybe the shoulder rumors were true, or the actual speed of the game was faster than he's used to (opposing speed isn't going to get slower as we move forward in the schedule, by the way.) One of the more telling things to me was how frustrated AJ Green seemed to be with things during the 2nd half. I fully expect Joe to be better next week after a few film sessions, but Joe clearly has a limited skill set. He needs to be better, but the coaching staff also needs to adjust for what he brings to the table. I will hand it to him, he throws the fade about a hundred times better than his predecessor.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: No snaps for Marlon Brown or Wooten? Why did they even travel if they weren't going to play? Orson Charles looks great out there, but his drop on the short crossing route hurt, as that one might have gone for a big play. The most disappointing thing here is the thought that AJ Green might spend a season playing with QBs that have trouble getting him the ball.
Overall Offense: I thought I was dreaming during the first drive. It was the Jim Donnan playbook with better players. Unfortunately, the playcalling after that drive was extremely predictable and unimaginative. It almost seemed like UGA got a lead, and then just tried to hold onto it for 55 minutes. That usually doesn't work out well no matter who you're playing. Bobo held himself accountable after the game, which is a good sign. I'm just surprised that the preparation wasn't better.
That's about all I can think of. All around it was a terrible day for the Dawgs. OSU didn't impress me that much (has an offense with so many "playmakers" ever looked so "vanilla?"), so I think what I saw yesterday was more about UGA than it was OSU. Fact is, the Dawgs went on the road against an opponent that many believe is a Top 10 team, and for the most part laid an egg. I'm not ready to write the season off just yet, but we'll know more about this team a week from now. South Carolina is what they always are, atrocious offensively, stellar defensively. If the Dawgs can manage to get in the end zone twice next week, this should be a W.
I'm looking forward to getting to Athens this weekend to see the Dawgs in person.
Friday, September 4, 2009
On With the Show: As you may have noticed I'm sporting my new doo this week and my woman made me this red and black SuperShlitz leotard to get this season off in style. I'm fired up to announce this weeks pick and you best recognize em as the Dawg! The Dawg has been hearin all this gum flappin about how young and inexperienced they is. Are they ready? Tell you what to do Saturday around 3:00 ET. Take a pull of Copenhagen, let your gums take a little vacation from all your yappin, watch this Dawg take a bite out of the Cowboys and then count your Benjamin's. That simple.
Dawg 31 Cowboy 17
Incidentally - my prediction for the Dawgs is 9-3. I can't figure out if this is a 10-2 or an 8-4 team, so I'm splitting the difference. It will be an interesting season, maybe more interesting (or perhaps uncertain is the better word) than any we've seen in the past decade. Nobody in the conference save the Gators looks to clearly have more talent than UGA, but this schedule is pretty brutal. Unfortunately, I think one of the losses comes tomorrow in Stillwater. I just don't like the circumstances: traveling to a different environment (it isn't the "hostile" nature of Stillwater than bothers me, its the "newness" of it), season opener (the only opener UGA has played under Richt where it didn't look rusty was the Boise State game), and lots and lots of uncertainty (quarterback, running back, punter, everywhere on defense except tackle.) It doesn't mean I think Oklahoma State is going to challenge for a BCS Title. Nor does it mean I don't think UGA will make some noise in the SEC this year. I just don't think the stars are aligned for the Dawgs tomorrow. Hopefully, I am sorely wrong and everybody I know spends Saturday evening berating me after UGA wins by 3 TDs. Truth be told, I really don't have a clue what's going to happen tomorrow. Not a clue.
Enjoy the season.
#1 Branden Smith, CB
5-11, 175, Atlanta GA (Washington HS), True Freshman
Most recruiting services ranked Smith as the #1 or #2 cornerback prospect in America coming out of Washington High in Atlanta this past year, so by all accounts he might have been the Dawgs' most prized-recruit of the 2009 signing class. As you can imagine, big things are expected this season. Smith is fast, athletic, and while not the biggest cornerback UGA has on the roster, he plays much bigger. He was also a standout wide receiver in high school, which has led many to predict that he could be a secret weapon on offense before his time in Athens is complete.
Depth Chart Analysis: The rumor mill is buzzing that we could see Smith line up on offense tomorrow. One thing is for certain, he'll be in Stillwater tomorrow, and he will be playing. A terrific August has shot him up the depth chart to where he'll be the #2 corner behind Prince Miller, and could see the field in some 3-DB sets. It wouldn't shock me at all if he started some games by the end of the year. He could also see some returns tomorrow, as he's been lining up at kick and punt returner during practice.
Other famous #1s in UGA history: WR Chuck Jones, WR Andre Hastings, WR Reggie Brown
Thursday, September 3, 2009
5-10, 180, Fayetteville GA (Fayette County HS), Soph.
After arriving in Athens as one of the top-rated recruits out of the state of Georgia, Boykin had a solid freshman season, playing in all 13 games on defense and earning some valuable experience that will serve him well this year. He's got terrific speed and athletic ability, and after an awesome spring has surged his way up the depth chart. He's going to see alot of action this year. Boykin's play is a big key to UGA's defensive success.
Depth Chart Analysis: Boykin has managed to work his way into a starting job at short corner opposite Prince Miller. As Miller has more experience, Boykin is probably going to get picked on a little bit this year, so it wouldn't shock me to see him lead the team in interceptions in 2009. It is also quite possible that his first assignment as a starter for UGA will be to cover Oklahoma State All-American Dez Bryant. No small task, but for a player like Boykin, getting thrown in the middle of the fire this early may not be a bad thing.
Other famous #2s in UGA history: P Mark Malkiewicz, CB Tim Wansley, CB Asher Allen
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
5-11, 190, Jacksonville FL (White HS), Sr.
After 3 frustrating seasons as a cornerback, Evans moves over in the defensive backfield to try his hat as a safety. While he has struggled mightily at times as a cover corner, he has always been a fairly decent tackler. The move to safety probably should have happened much sooner. (Incidentally, he made the switch toward the end of the 2008 season.) Evans has an opportunity to right the ship on a career where he has been much maligned by many UGA fans. Defensive backs at UGA have had a tendency to step up for their senior seasons. The Dawgs' defense desperately needs Evans to do the same. Throughout all the problems he's had, he remains one of the fastest players in the SEC. That should serve him well at free safety.
Depth Chart Analysis: Evans enters the season as the starting free safety. He had a solid spring in his first extended action at safety, but a hamstring problem this fall has hampered his progress in the month of August. During that time, Sanders Commings and Makiri Pugh have made great strides and left a good impression on the Dawgs' coaching staff that they could step in for Evans if need be.
Other famous #3s in UGA history: PK John Kasay, P Jim Broadway, P Chip Andrews, QB D.J. Shockley
Per Tulsa World:
Oklahoma State sources confirm that quarterback Zac Robinson is healthy and will start in Saturday's season-opening showdown matching the ninth-ranked Cowboys and 13th-ranked Georgia in Stillwater.On Wednesday, the Internet rumor mill indicated that Robinson had re-injured his hamstring and could be sidelined for the Georgia contest.Any such report is "completely, absolutely false," an OSU source said. On Monday, Robinson said he would be "100 percent ready" for the opener.Against Georgia, Robinson makes his 25th consecutive start. The fifth-year senior from Littleton, Colo., is OSU's career leader in total offense.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Those were all quotes from an ESPN preview of the UGA -OK State game in 2007. This game is beginning to smell very similar. By the way, as we all know we beat their asses in 2007 by the score of 35-14. Check out these great highlight videos of the 1st half and 2nd half.
Other interesting things going on in Stillwater right now...
Oklahoma State is getting lots of media hype this off-season, along with the highest preseason ranking in the history of their program. 2 of their starting players have been arrested in the past 2 days and they lost their returning starting MLB for the season in practice today. Damn - preseason hype, players in trouble with the law, and season long injuries - are we talking about UGA 2008 or OK St 2009???
I say the Dawgs defense that has lots to prove this year comes out with a chip on its shoulder and forces a 3-and-out to start the game. Cowboys crap their pants and we win going away, just like in '07. Final score... Dawgs - 34, Cowboys - 17
5-11, 210, Norcross GA (Greater Atlanta Christian), RS Soph.
As a junior in high school at Parkview in Gwinnett County GA, King was one of the more legendary and heralded prospects ever to play in the state of Georgia. A broken leg as a senior at GAC took some of the shine off of him, but he was still recruited by just about everyone in the country. Ultimately he chose UGA, and after a redshirt was set for a big year in 2008. He got it started off great, with a 95 yard performance against Georgia Southern. Unfortunately, that was about the last flash of greatness that UGA fans would see for the season. He had a pretty good spring, but a nagging hamstring this summer has held him out for most of August.
Depth Chart Analysis: King went into this past spring as the #1 tailback. As of today, no one seems to know for sure if King will even travel with the team to Stillwater. That information may be available as early as Wednesday (tomorrow.) He's been participating in non-contact drills lately, but hasn't taken a hit in quite a while. It is hard to imagine that he'll be game-ready by Saturday. The Dawgs are not short on tailback depth, so chances are he won't play. King is a player with all the talent and ability in the world, probably as much as anyone on the roster. He hasn't really gotten to show it yet, most of which has been due to injury. When he's finally healthy this season, he'll have his shot to regain his carries.
Other famous #4s in UGA history: DB Champ Bailey, P Bucky Dilts, WR Sean Bailey