Da' Dream Makin' Cold Blooded Sausage

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Friday, December 30, 2011

John Jenkins will be back with a goal in mind

And that goal will be giving Mark Richt's his first national title.

Him and Kwame Geathers will spearhead one helluva D if we keep Rambo and Branden Smith in the defensive backfield.

A look at Delaware St (2pm today in Steg)

It's Delaware freakin St, so it should be a gimme, but then again so was Winthrop and we all saw how that turned out (JUMP STOP!).

Delaware St are the Hornets. They haven't played since two weeks ago when they lost to Tennessee St (Gerald Robinson's former school). They've lost to a school called "Wagner", and come in on a 3 game losing streak with Howard and Delaware coming before the most recent TSU loss.

They have some size, but not much and play a solid rotation of 8. They take a lot of 3s, shoot pretty well, and have decent pressure defense forcing steals. So this one won't be easy either. 6'7 JR Marques Oliver gives them a decent threat inside, while senior Jay Threatt seems to do a decent job running point from the numbers. They're offense is led by young wings, a 6'4 soph in Casey Walker is their top perimeter shooter, and 6'5 fr Tahj Tate their top scorer overall.

Local note, their long time head coach, Greg Jackson, hails from Augusta, GA, so it'll be a homecoming of sorts. Let's hope it's a rude one, as we could really use a strong win. It won't happen, but we could use it.

Today's and tommorow's picks guaranteed* to win you money

After starting the bowl picks pretty low at 2-4, we did much better this past week, winning at least 5 of the 7 (the Alamo Bowl with Baylor was just starting as I write, edit-Baylor won by 11 to cover the 9 1/2, so 5-2). There's 9 bowl games today and tomorrow, so since that'll take a while to go through them all, let's get your picks guaranteed to win you money going.
New Year's Eve Eve
Armed Forces Bowl at noon - Tulsa -1 1/2 BYU
Tulsa has an explosive O, but a D just as likely to blow up. BYU can score, but has a much better D. It's just that simple, although the over is probably the play in this one. But combine a better D with their usual 26 yr old OL back from mission trips, and we're taking the Cougars to cover and upset the Golden Hurricane (seriously, is that like a massive golden showed from multiple directions?)

Pinstripe Bowl at 3:30 - Rutgers -1 1/2 Iowa St
Considering the name, we're guessing they play this one at Yankee Stadium. The Cyclones have had a series of streaks; a couple wins to start, followed by a run of Ls, then a handful of Ws and some losses to top 25 teams to close. Rutgers wasn't as up and down, but they lost to crap Big East schools, and will likely feel right at home in Knickerbockerland. But still, we're talking about a team that beat should-be-national-championship-game-participant Oklahoma St, vs a team from the Little Least. Yeah, take Iowa St to cover, and upset.

Music City Bowl at 6:40 - Miss St -6 1/2 Wake Forest
Jim Grobe has done well for the Demon Deacons, and Dan Mullen's Bizarro Bulldawgs struggled after a promising early start. But then, all of the Cowbells loses were to respectable teams, while Wake lost to Syracuse, Vandy, and North Carolina. Give up the points and take the Bullies to blow this one out.

Insight Bowl at 10 - Oklahoma -13 1/2 Iowa
With a name like that, more proof that there's way, way too many bowl games. We'd usually take the Hawkeyes just because of Kirk Ferentz over Big Game Bob. But they lost to Minnefreakinsota. Combine a crap team, against a team with multiple first round picks (that thanks to Stoopslow is in the Insight Bowl) we're taking the Sooners despite our coach is an idiot alarm ringing loud.

New Year's Eve
Meineke Car Care Bowl at noon - Texas A&M -10 1/2 Northwestern
OK, so apparently the Belk Bowl did not replace this game. Yep, way too many bowls. It's a nice little SEC vs. Big Slow matchup, but A&M ain't SEC yet, and we have a ton of respect for Pat Fitzgerald. Take the Wildcats to cover although they won't win.

Sun Bowl at 2 - Tech -2 1/2 Utah
Paul Johnson is preparing for his career in a mariachi band once he loses to Georgia a couple more times and gets fired. That means he and his team haven't been focused on the Youths. That, and the non-mormons have had a month to work on getting ready for his gimmick wing T attack. Utah covers and upsets.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at 3:30 - Illinois -3 1/2 UCLA
The Interim Bowl, as both the Zooker and Neuheisel are already gone. We'll keep this short as there's 2 more games to get cover. UCLA sucks, so we're taking the Illini.

Liberty Bowl at 3:30 - Vandy -1 1/2 Cincinnati
Thankfully, ESPN was smart enough to schedule another game in the early afternoon so we don't have to suffer too much of the Sun, or any of the Fight Hunger. James "I'm an asshole" Franklin has his cheap shot artists doing better than anyone ever expects out of the Commodores. The Bearcats on the other hand lost to Tennessee by more than 20 earlier this year. Take Lionel Ritchie's backup band to win this one easy, as the single point is nowhere near enough.

Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl at 7:30 - Auburn -3 1/2 Virginia
The Plainsmeagles have suffered through a lot of issues this past month. But the Wahoos are still a mediocre, at best, ACC team. Missing Michael Dyer gives us pause, but Ted Roof's departure is a massive addition by subtraction. The WarTigemen cover with ease and blow out Virginia.



*-guarantee only good on Christmas Eve, between 4:30 and 4:49 in the morning, if you're on your way to Toys-R-Us to get your kid the last Transformer doll, and right before you go inside you get smacked upside the head with a brick

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Boo Malcome has turned it around, and deserves this start

My, how far the kid has come in just a few short months. From transferring because he was too deep on the depth chart, to starting the bowl game. Congrats to Malcome as his hard work is paying off.

“Yeah it is [amazing],” Malcome said Wednesday as Georgia continued practice for
Monday’s Outback Bowl. “It’s amazing how God works. He pushes you to work through things and sees if you break down. For me, I did break down, but I said, ‘I’m gonna fight it,’ and I came out on top. It’s a good feeling.”

And the best quote to me...
“I know [Keith Marshall]’s coming in, but it’s something I don’t really think about,”
Malcome said. “I just know in spring, summer, I’ll be getting better myself. I can’t really focus on what other people do, as long as I work to get better.”

Rambo gets a "3rd round" grade

Seth Emerson has the scoop. Rambo got a third round grade from the draft advisory board, which is basically a crap shoot that would go up or down depending on how he worked out. The way Seth makes it sound, Rambo didn't like that grade, and thinks it'll go up with a solid senior season. We'd love to see that, because an all senior defensive backfield with Commings, Smith, and Williams would be quite wonderful in front of the mass of playmakers we have in the front 7. That is, provided Jon Jenkins and Branden Smith stick around too.

Gus Malzahn- Insane, Jumping a Sinking Ship, or Just a Gentleman with Impeccable Timing?

While naturally talking SEC Football at the barber shop yesterday Gus Malzahn's name came up.  My barber said "Ol' Malzahn got out of town he must know the ship is about to go down."  I thought for a second and said "I'll believe they catch Auburn when they catch em'.  This ain't their first time at the rodeo."

Then I got to thinking and had an epiphany.......Malzahn isn't jumping ship he is just positioning himself for his dream job.  Here is the deal.  Penn State can't get anyone to take the HC gig up there for obvious reasons.  The PSU deal will shake out one of two ways:
1. They keep the interim guy through next season and hope some heat dies down before making a play for a big name, or
2. They will realize that child rape is not something that just goes away and will decide to just back the money truck up to some coaches house this season.

Either way they are going to have to target someone with the following resume:
- Success as a college HC
- A name big enough to make it look as if PSU is still an elite job
- A name that can justify the enormous salary they are going to have to dish out
- A man with no morals, and
- A slutty, slutty, nasty, money whore who is always open for business.
Now cross check that in your HC data base and tell who is the first name that pops up......

"Oh No.....Pig Sooooieeee is going to lose the one big pig!"   What will the most unrealistic fan base in the universe do?     Simple they will look right down the road a piece and guess who is right there ripe for the picking.........

Eyes...slightly crossed,
Offense....wide open,
Timing..... Impeccable. 
Well played Mr. Malzahn.....well played indeed.

We Finally Got Scheduling Right!

I assume you have seen the 2012 squedual...HERE if you have not. 

So we finally got this thing right and here are the highlights:

- Non-Conference-  Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern:  That is three sure fire wins.  No traveling to the other side of the country through multiple time zone changes.  No playing a decent team that bases their entire season on the one game against us.  Just straight cupcakeage baby!

- Conference- Under Spurrier the Gamecocks have started hot and fizzled out late.  Under Richt the Dawgs have started ultra-slow and finished strong.  The bottom line is Georgia is a bigger state, school, alumni base- an original SEC member, a wealthier, and more nationally recognized brand than South Carolina.  So we finally start to throw our weight around a little in the Birmingham office ala Alabama and get some things that we want.

Well played by Glorious Leader!  We hire a guy with Athens roots who learned how to schedule down in the swamp.  Could it be that we will finally stop shooting ourselves in the foot?  Not quite cause we still ain't over signing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Further Winthrop thoughts

the earlier picture tells most of it, but with 1000 words down, we thought we'd add a few more real words to the subject.
As always, Gerald Robinson shows NBA caliber speed, unfortunately his decision making on when to drive and what to do when he gets to the lane is still pretty high school. He's that one piece away (well, that and a better outside shot) from potentially a solid NBA career as a backup PG at least.
The box score tells the tale, as it was always too close than it should have been considering how poor the Eagles record was coming in. We couldn't outrebound them except by an insignificant margin. We turned it over more than they did. We shot great (54% is outstanding), but otherwise not much good, especially considering we allowed significantly more points that we should have. Part of that was a red hot Andre Jones. But a bigger part was just crappy effort on that end of the floor.
The good news, Nemi Djurisic stepped in for Thornton and had easily his best game so far, with 17 points on excellent shooting to go with 9 boards and a blocked shot. No free throws in 34 minutes though is an issue, but then we are horrible at getting the ball in to the block. Caldwell-Pope had another strong all around game, scoring 18 on just 10 shots, in addition to 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Dustin Ware hit several critical shots for 20 points off the bench while Vincent Williams had a bad night. And in the ugly category, Donte Williams and John Florveus did combine for 5 blocks, but in 51 total minutes of them and Tim Dixon on the floor, they had just 3 rebounds (all by Donte Williams).
We'll get one more win against Delaware St, and it may be our last for a while. I'd think anywhere from 2-4 wins in SEC play would be expected, with a threat of Kentucky and Florida doubling us up. These next two months will be just another test in the masochism that is being a Georgia Bulldog men's hoops supporter.

SEC schedule thoughts

We lose the bye week before the Cocktail Party, but to Kentucky while Florida has a much tougher test from South Carolina that week. The bye instead slides up a week, between @South Carolina on Oct 6 and @Kentucky on Oct 20.
As many rumors suggested, we lose the oncoming ama game, and keep our return match with LSU. Meanwhile, our primary competition for an SEC East title see much tougher West foes. Florida has their usual LSU matchup, with a trip to College Station to welcome them to the SEC on September 8th. Meanwhile, South Carolina gets a trip to LSU following their game with us, and close out with their usual Arkansas matchup. The Gamecocks have a killer October starting with us at home, followed by a trip to LSU, @ Florida, and then back home vs. Tennessee.
A lot of people think getting SC later in the year is a bonus, while we subscribe to the Greg McGarity theory of it doesn't matter when. Carolina usually weakens with depth issues as the season drags on, but so does everyone else, and that is lessened as they recruit better and better. This coming year, it might be a negative as it gives new defensive shot caller Lorenzo Ward a little more time to get acclimated. I'd say it also gives Bobo some game film to see how he runs things, but unfortunately that doesn't mean too much for him.

Winthrop recap

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Just One More Reason To Hate Florida

Ok......So I have been a little MIA over the past couple of months and for that I apologize. 
There have been some major changes in the riding style of the Ol'Rider and that has been taking up a lot of my time.  All the changes have begun to settle and The Rider will be back in the saddle on the Reginald pretty soon here.  In the mean time I feel as if I must vent to the Cold Blooded Nation about some new little bit of hate that is currently flowing from the river of blood that runs beneath my throne of skulls.

I recently spent a week in Florida.  (**pause to vomit**)
I took the Riderettes down to this place:


Now as if Florida wasn't bad enough someone decided to place Hell right smack dab in the middle of the State.  They have a sign that says "Magic Kingdom" but it should say:
"ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE"

Now aside from all the screaming, crying, and whining there is also the following problems:
1. Europeans-  Why are you at Disney World?  It is an amusement park that is a replica of a European Castle so just stay in Europe (why are you at Epcot?  All it is is a replica of Europe).  Plus, if we are so non-sophisticated then why would you come to America?
2. Arabs-  Why are you at Disney?  Disney is the antithesis of all that your religion hates.  Plus, if you ain't nuts to butts in line they think that is an invite to cut in line.  Then they act like they don't speak English and you have to say "Back of the line Osama or I'll send you to Allah myself!" 
3. Old People without Children riding Hover Rounds-  Why are you at Disney? Here is a rule I just invented...if you can't walk you don't get to go to Disney-also if you have no children you can't go to Disney .  The icing on the cake was watching one old fart at our resort waiting on the bus.  He got up and walked around with no trouble.  Then a man with a child that was actually disabled and in need of a wheel chair came up.  When the bus arrived the old man tried to get on first with his Hover Round.  The bus driver told him no--that the kid was priority.  The old man got all pissy and argued that he was there first but the bus driver basically told him to shut his fat face.  I naturally began to proclaim in a loud voice that if my child was in wheel chair and some old fart raised up on him at Disney said old fart would be bludgeoned to death.  For some reason he wouldn't look over at my side of the bus stop after that.

Here are three things that Florida has:
1. Gator's Football
2. Disney World
3. Old People
Here are three things leading to the downfall of the American Civilization:
1. Old People
2. Disney
3. Florida Gator Football

"It's a conspiracy PAWWL, Slive wants the Dawgs to win the East and hates poor ol' Carolina"

The Chicken Littles in Columbia are about to fill the Congaree, Saluda, and Broad rivers with their tears when the SEC schedules are offically released. Apparently, they lose Miss St to add Mizzou, not LSU. While we drop Bama, keep Ole Miss, and slide their precious (20 yr old) tradition of having Georgia open the SEC slate to early October.
Here's what Georgia's 2012 schedule would look like, assuming the above:
Sept. 1: Buffalo
Sept. 8: at Missouri
Sept. 15: Florida Atlantic
Sept. 22: Vanderbilt
Sept. 29: Tennessee
Oct. 6: at South Carolina
Oct. 13: at Kentucky
Oct. 20: Open
Oct. 27: vs. Florida in Jacksonville
Nov. 3: Ole Miss
Nov. 10: at Auburn
Nov. 17: Georgia Southern
Nov. 24: Georgia Tech

I guess CB recruiting isn't going to well

if we had a couple of big time lock down guys on the radar, we probably wouldn't consider adding our best WR to join Jordan Love, Branden Smith, Damien Swann, Sanders Commings, Devin Bowman and Nick Marshall. Then again, maybe it's good news on Cordarrelle Patterson and perhaps another WR joining Mitchell, Conley, Bennett, King, Brown, and the other WRs.

So, about those Isaiah Crowell is failing out rumors

We had some commenters here say he'd be gone by the bowl game for grades. And we all heard the persistent rumor regarding his faltering academics. Well, with fall semester over and grades all in and accounted for, chalk that one up to another batch of message board idiots running their mouth.
Georgia coach Mark Richt was pleased to report Monday night that the Bulldogs had no academic casualties after the fall semester and will have every player available to play in next week’s Outback Bowl against Michigan State.
“You kind of expect it, but if it doesn’t (happen), you’re a little disappointed in that,” Richt said “Those guys have done well.”
...
[Aaron] Murray said having the team intact for the bowl game – and for the most part, healthy – is a relief that allows his team to just focus on the game ahead.
“Everyone’s eligible and ready to go. It gets rid of a lot of distractions. .. We have to worry about practicing and getting ready for the bowl game.”

Outback quotes from Michigan St's side

We're lazy, and needing to catch up on work, so we'll just copy and paste from the Spartans website.
Senior Quarterback Kirk Cousins
On getting over the disappointment of not reaching the Rose Bowl...
We're over it. That's water under the bridge, it's done, it's over. We're excited for the Outback Bowl. We feel the opponent we're playing against is as good as anyone in the country. It'll be a marquee game, a marquee matchup, it's going to be a great opportunity for us.
On the feeling of it being your last game as a Spartan...
I'm going to enjoy the process. Two weeks left, I'm going to make the most of the opportunity to play for Michigan State one last time; take it all in, even in practices, and the events leading up to the game, and the game itself. I'll make the most of it then move on. I feel I've given everything I have to this university; I have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of. I'll give it everything I have then move on from there.
On having the opportunity to play for Michigan State...
It's been a dream come true. It's been something a lot of people told me I couldn't do. A lot of people doubted me and my character and what was inside of me. The fact that I've been able to prove a lot of people wrong and accomplish more than most people thought I could has been very meaningful.
On importance of winning a bowl game...
Well, I believe that his program is ready for a bowl win. We haven't had one in awhile. We've played great opponents every year and this year is no different. We as a senior class want to leave with a win. You don't want to be in the locker room as your last game ever in a Spartan uniform with a loss. You want to be in that locker room celebrating a win the last time you ever play for Michigan State. We'll do everything we can to make sure we play very, very well and hopefully come away with a win.
Sophomore Linebacker Max Bullough
On winning a bowl game...
When it's early in the season you're not really worried about winning your bowl game, but now that we're into the bowl season and bowl prep, I think it's important as anything. It's a challenge for us, and it's obviously a great team we're playing in Georgia. So it would be rewarding to win a bowl game, but also rewarding in itself if we can beat a team like Georgia.
On a statement game against the SEC...
I think it always is. I think it always is when a Big Ten team is playing against an SEC team, a Big Ten team playing against a Pac-12 team, whoever it may be. Especially personally for MSU playing against any team, it's about wanting to establish MSU as an elite program and to do that you need to beat the best.
On confidence the coaches show in him...
I was happy (defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi) gave me that compliment, whether it's true or he's just saying it. The fact that he's talking about it is a good thing. Being a good defense I think it takes a guy to be out there getting things lined up to know what's coming. By the time I get out of here I don't want to be known for just that, I want to be known for being a linebacker and that's talked about secondary.
On exceeding expectations of the linebackers this season...
I think we exceeded what people thought we thought we could accomplish as linebackers this year. We had the confidence going in, we knew we had the talent, we knew we had the players. It was about getting the experience, giving us a chance to get the experience. We hadn't done it, we hadn't played in the games, and everyone said we can't do this we can't do that. Well let us play in the game and let us show you what we can do. I think we've proven that.
Sophomore Running Back Le'Veon Bell
On two- and three-star recruits coming together to form this team...
You have to give credit to Coach D, he was evaluating us in high school, understanding what we could bring to this team. We don't really have one guy, we have a stable of guys, three stars (in the backfield) that all help each other out. We all compliment each other well offensively and make our offense a lot better offense than most teams. Coach D just does a great job of evaluating us.
On splitting carries with Edwin Baker...
That really helps me out, having a compliment running back. He gives them a little change of pace. You really can't prepare for that because you're not going to see something like that in practice, Edwin's speed and my size. He definitely helps me out. I wouldn't ask for 25 carries, I don't need it; I just want to go out there and do whatever I can to win the game.
On sending the seniors out the right way...
It will mean everything in the world to me. They're the winningest class here. They had a great season this year and took us to the first-ever Big Ten Championship game. We have to send them out with a win.On facing a tough SEC team...We have to go out there and keep riding. We're going to have times of adversity when things aren't going our way but we have to find a way to turn it around and keep pushing. They're going to face adversity and when they do that we got to try and keep pushing and keep pushing. They're going to be a very good team, just like they're saying the same thing about us; we're going to be a very good team. It's going to be a very good game. Both of us lost our last game so we both want to go out there and get this win.
Senior Safety Trenton Robinson
On what you want people to remember about your time here...
That I was a team player and that I loved my teammates.
On being able to forget about the Alabama game and the 2011 Capital One Bowl...
Yeah, that's always been in the back of my mind. It's one of those dark places in your mind you don't ever want to be at again because that was rough, and that wasn't a good feeling. I never want to feel like that in football.On what a win would do for the respect of the program...It'll be good for us to go up against an SEC school and win. It's just going to be good, it makes the program look better, and we go out on a win because everybody thinks the SEC is better than the Big Ten. To go out here and get this win would be great for our program.
On getting over the loss in the Big Ten Championship Game...
I mean you don't lose the football game off of one play. We missed sacks, we missed deep balls. You need to have a short term memory as a defensive back so we can't sit and dwell on that or we'll have another bad game

A look at Michigan St

Basically, they look like a typical Big Slow team. Strong defensive numbers, a solid running game and play action passing attack, and very similar to us.
Their schedule has only seen one non-Midwestern team (Florida Atlantic in a 44-0 home drubbing), with standout games being a 31-13 loss at Notre Dame, 10-7 win at Ohio St, 37-31 win over Wisconsin, 24-3 loss at Nebraska, and then that 42-39 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Can't Count title game.
As said above, their primary strength is defense. They were the best D in the B1G, and had every starter named to the All-Big Ten (either 1st team, 2nd team, or honorable mention). The unit is headlined by 6'3, 310 junior DT Jerel Worthy. He's an All-American; big, quick, and capable of being a disruptive force inside with some projecting him to be a first round pick in the draft. Smallish sophomore LB Denicos Allen had 10 sacks this year, and their DBs have done a good job of creating turnovers. It's a 4-3 look that should be a good test for both our OL, and the occassionally turnover prone Aaron Murray.
Offensively, senior Kirk Cousins gets the headlines at QB. He's been strong on 3rd downs all year, so it'll be a test for the usual 3rd and Grantham defense. Cousins leads the nation in 25+ yard completions on 3rd down so they aren't afraid to go deep then.
Their star reciever is BJ Cunningham, who is a bigger body, and their all time leading receiver (not a bad accomplishment at the school that produced Plaxico Burress, Charles Rogers, Andre Rison, among others). But the smaller senior wideout, Keshawn Martin has been their leading pass catcher for the last 3/4 of this year. They use him as a jack of all trades, as he's scored rushing, receiving, throwing, and on both kick returns and punt returns Their offensive line isn't small, but it's not that big either, so don't expect them to come out like a traditional Wisconsin team with the power running game. Their running game is a rotation (again somewhat like us), with 6'2, 240 pound sophomore Le'Von Bell leading the way this season (900 yards, 5.5 per carry, 11 TD) as 5'9, 210 junior Edwin Baker has seen his numbers cut in half from the 1200 and 13 TDs he had last year down to 655, 4 yards a clip, and 5 TDs this year.
If the game is close, they've been at their best, going 8-1 in games decided by 10 points or less the last two years, with the B1G championship against Wisconsin being the only blemish.

A look at Winthrop (tonight in Steg, and on CSS at 7)

Tonight, the Hoop Dawgs welcome the Winthrop Eagles to town in hopes of continuing their current 3 game winning streak a little longer. Winthrop is generally a solid group, although they've taken a step down since Gregg Marshall left for greener pastures. Georgia will do so with reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but without leading rebounder Marcus Thornton (who is undergoing "exploratory" knee surgery). Georgiadogs.com lists a 4 G set of "probable starters" with Vincent Williams, Dustin Ware, Gerald Robinson, and KCP surrounding Donte Williams inside. If Fox starts a second big, it could be Nemi Djurisic or John Florveus, or we'd hope Connor Nolte. Either way, expect them to get more minutes while Thornton sits.
Winthrop starts a small lineup as well with two bigs around 6'8, 240, plus a trio of smaller guards. 6'2 senior Andre Jones is their primary weapon, averaging 18 points per with fellow senior, 6'1 Reggie Middleton, their only other scorer in double digits at 12.
They are 4-8 on the year. They're small and can be beaten inside (although probably not by us), and don't defend well. This game should be an easy victory. Our usual recap will be up tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Richt taking command of special teams like we want

Mark Weiszer has a good article up on our problematic special teams issues this year.
“I’ve been kind of putting my list together,” Richt said. “Certainly we’ve got to get some better answers in our special teams. It doesn’t necessarily mean changing any coaches on what they do or all that kind of thing, but I’m going to make that a point of emphasis for myself and for our staff and give them carte blanche to take trips or we may be bringing people in to really solidify what we’re doing and be certain that we’re doing the right things schematically and technically.”
Hold on with the "bringing people in" line. That sounds more like the usual coaches visits that occur every summer, either with some of Grantham and Olivadotti's NFL friends, or perhaps with Richt's old friend Frank Beamer. It doesn't seem like a "we're hiring a special teams coach" line, because that would mean changing coaches and someone leaving the staff since we're at our NCAA limit for assistant coaches.

But it may mean something we've asked for this season, for Richt to do like Beamer, Urban Meyer, and others and deal with the NCAA limits on assistants by taking responsibility for special teams on his own shoulders.

“I’m going to have a bigger push to use the best personnel regardless of if he’s a starter or not or receiver or running back,” Richt said. “I don’t care what he is. We’ve got to get the best guys.”

“I think there’s going to be a high sense of urgency on our special teams to become more than just decent,” Richt said. “We need to become really good. That’s one of the biggest things is that we try to become one of the top teams in the league and the country in special teams play. There will be some very heavy discussions about it. We’ll probably do more special teams work in the spring than we’ve done in the past.”

Christmas week bowl picks guaranteed* to win you money

We went 2-4 on our week 1 picks, so we took the holiday weekend off to get our regular season form back (or just got lazy and forget). How about we try and turn this thing around shall we? So without further ado, your picks guaranteed* to win you money.
Today
Polan Weedeater Independence Bowl @ 5pm- Missouri -5 1/2 North Carolina
An ACC vs a soon to be SEC team. After the Butch Davis debacle, the Tar Heels actually made a bowl. Why? Because there's 875 bowl games, and the ACC sucks enough they won 6. Mizzou on the other hand actually beat a couple solid teams this season, and the Tigers are generally decent under Gary Pinkel. They win this and cover, or else we revoke their membership in the conference.

Tuesday the 27th
Little Caeser's Bowl @ 4:30 pm- Purdue -2 1/2 Western Michigan
That is a frighteningly low spread. Does Vegas know something, or do they just expect Western Michigan to do well against air? It's easy to score in pass skel, so we'll take the Broncos over a phantom, and just because Vegas probably knows something.

Belk Bowl @ 8pm- NC St -1 1/2 Louisville
The Belk Bowl? See above comment re: 875 bowl games. Since it's in Charlotte, we're gonna guess this is the former Meineke Car Care Bowl or the Queen City Classic. Since it's close to home, and Boring O'Brien always has a solid bowl game (or maybe the only one of his we paid attention to was a great visit to the Music City in 2001), we're taking the Wolfpack to cover.

Wednesday the 28th
Military Bowl @4:30 pm- Toledo -3 1/2 Air Force
Yeah, we're not going too deep on this one. Air Force is getting points in a bowl game for the Military. Go Zoomies, as the Falcons cover the points and get the upset win.

Holiday Bowl @ 8pm- Texas -3 1/2 Cal
The Golden Bears actually improved after a mid season swoon, and got some respectability back for the always underperforming Jeff Tedford. But in Mack Brown's last game before the Longhorns hire Nick Saban, Texas will send the old boy out on top. Plus, a team full of tree huggers can't be a southern dynasty, can they? Take the burnt orange to cover.

Thursday the 29th
Champ Sports Bowl @ 5:30pm- Florida St -3 1/2 Notre Dame
Champ Sports? I thought Academy bought all those out. Either way, this was a helluva game back 20 years ago. Now it's a matchup of who cares. The Irish had a pretty decent season checking them out, and so did the Seminoles. So while both teams are mediocre, it should be a pretty even matchup and a good game. We'll take the Seminoles just for family reasons.

Alamo Bowl @ 9pm- Baylor -9 1/2 Washington
The Sarkesians limped down the stretch. And there's no denying our love for RG3. But this is an upset special, with a team close to home for plenty of distractions, combined with a star getting fat on the rubber chicken circuit, and an easy overconfidence playing a team they'd think they can walk on the field and defeat. Take the Huskies and lay the points.


*-guarantee only good on Christmas Eve, between 4:30 and 4:49 in the morning, if you're on your way to Toys-R-Us to get your kid the last Transformer doll, and right before you go inside you get smacked upside the head with a brick

Follow your 4 (or 5) NBA Dawgs

Several former Georgia players and one former UGA commit made NBA opening day rosters this year.
Sundiata Gaines will be suiting up for the New Jersey Nets this season.
Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins both made the LA Clippers.
Damien Wilkins has bounced around roster, landing on the Detroit Pistons this year.
And Louis Williams, who would have been a Dawg if not for going straight to the NBA, is still a Philadelphia 76er.

Several others, including Jarvis Hayes and Rashad Wright, will be plying their trade overseas in Europe.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night



Thank you all for making this a great year for Sports and Grits. We hope you've had a great Christmas, and we hope to bring you more great sausage making as we move on to the new year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Now everyone point and laugh at the stupid Gamecocks


With a hat tip to Leather Helmet.

Couple things, yeah, that's either a violation, or an unlicensed use of USC AD property of their jerseys.

But mainly, Clowney's nickname is "Doo Doo"? And he's hosting a party at a club while still 18, but underage drinking won't be an issue.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hines Ward can destroy the field as he runs

Basketball recap: We got us a winning streak!

Whew. That one was scary for a half.
It was a tale of two halves last night. The first half was frightening. We couldn't score, were letting Mercer get open looks, and the only thing that was even close to working was Gerald Robinson's drives to the rim (he's so great at getting to the rim, and so ugly once he gets there).
The second half was an entirely different team. Robinson started to hit shots, Vincent Williams continued his strong play, and Connor Nolte refused to let us give that one away. Nolte deserves player of the game for his performance off the bench, and we'll go more on him later. Donte' Williams and Nemi Djurisic rebounded well, as did Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on an off shooting night. It's good to see the kid find other ways to contribute when the ball isn't dropping, as he got 6 boards, a block, two steals, and 3 assists to 0 turnovers.
We took over in the second half, and the big statistical standout was FT shooting, where we went 1-6 in the first half and 15 of 20 in the second. We got Furman Friday, then Winthrop and Delaware St next week, which should put us at 9-5 going in to SEC play. How we do against SEC competition, we're not that confident. But this team is growing up little by little of late.
Going forward, we want to see a lot more of Connor Nolte, and have been saying so for two years. He fights hard on defense and rebounds well. On offense, he plays smart, works the system well, is a good passer and a dangerous shooter. He deserves 20+ minutes a night. He's arguably our best front court player, which is a testament to him as much as a damnation of the other bigs. Caldwell-Pope deserves 25-30+, with Robinson, Ware, and Williams splitting the backcourt minutes. Let Donte' Williams, Marcus Thornton, and Nemi Djurisic split the remaining front court minutes as their play deserves. Donte' has his moments, and Marcus Thornton may be coming around. I'm not saying we can do well in the SEC, but I think we'll see a much improved team on January 7th when we open the SEC against Bama than the ugliness we saw during that 6 game stretch of 1-5 in late November and early December.

Everything's coming up Milhouse!

It's been a pretty good off season so far for the Dawgs. We've landed some key recruits in Keith Marshall and Mark Beard. And on top of that, some of our recruiting competitors have taken relationship hits with coaching changes. We've been competing with Florida for quite a few kids, and Will Muschamp unexpectedly lost his failure of an OC when Charlie Weiss went to Kansas. Auburn has lost their DC in Ted Roof, deservedly, but also Gus Malzahn chose to take a significant pay cut from Arkansas St to get out of town (plus their best player in Michael Dyer may be on the way out too). Auburn's success with Cam, their attractive system, and proximity to west Georgia has helped them recruit, and this puts a lot of pressure on Gene Chizik to reload after losing so much of what worked two years ago. Could we see the Iowa St Chizik, and just how much of this is a boost for Georgia when we recruit a lot of similar kids?
And then yesterday, Southern Miss took Ellis Johnson from South Carolina. Spurrier has done wonders the last few years after struggling early in his time in the Armpit of the South (aka the Newark of the South). A big reason why, in addition to starting to keep their instate best on campus, was better assistant coaches in John Elliot on the OL, and Ellis Johnson replacing the dumpster fire DCs he'd had.
For all these programs, Georgia could be in a much better position depending on the replacements hired. While Muschamp can clearly upgrade from Weiss, and Chizik from Roof, the question remains will they? And it's hard to imagine Chizik doing better than Malzahn or Spurrier getting a better DC than Johnson, so those spots will almost surely downgrade.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The kid is growing up, and the fans should cut Crowell a little slack

A lot of Dawg fans have been extremely angry with Crowell over percieved issues from his attitude, to his suspension, to his penchant for getting hurt, to his hair. But he's saying the right things now, as hew enters a critical off season where his competition will increase significantly, and the attention on him increases significantly.
And while we agree on the hair issue (see here, and here, among countless other similar tackles), a lot of the rest have been nonsense.
For one, he's a kid, and kids do stupid things. He's also a true freshman getting used to a very physical SEC style of play where players are bigger, stronger, faster, than he's ever seen and he's had to carry more than he ever had after sitting so many quarters at Carver-Columbus blow outs. And through all this, he was a freshman All-American, Freshman of the Year in the SEC, and with 153 yards against Michigan St, can become just the second running back in Georgia history to top 1,000 in their first year on campus (Herschel and his 1,616 in 1980, where Knowshon had 1,334 as a redshirt freshman and the great #7, Rodney Hampton, is 3rd amongst freshman rusher at 890 in 1987).
But the man is saying exactly what you want to here right now, with exceprts from Seth Emerson's article below.
"Crowell, speaking after Saturday's practice, said he welcomed Keith Marshall aboard.
"Really I'm happy to get another guy," Crowell said. "I thought we needed more running backs. So I think that's a good thing."
...
"I think I need to be more accountable, and just handle my responsibilities better," he said.
He was asked what he meant by accountable.
"For all my teammates and coaches, who are counting on me, to do what I'm supposed to do," Crowell said. "Just different stuff."
...
Crowell was asked how he would summarize his season:
"It's been a lot of ups and downs," he said. "I'm gonna remember the mistakes I made, the good things I did. How I've gotta stay in my mind, keep working hard, be the best teammate and person I can be."
...
"I've always gotta be aware of if somebody is watching, or not even if you do anything bad, if you're just pumping some gas, I'm worrying about somebody taking my picture," he said.

We were wrong

We say a lot of things around here, sometimes these things are proven accurate and correct, while sometimes they aren't. We admit our mistakes, and thankfully, on this issue, we were wrong.
Kwame Geathers will return for his junior season and forego the NFL. YearoftheDawg has Anthony Dasher's tweet, and it's a great thing. For one, the big behemoth was finally coming in to his own, and is the biggest of Robert Geathers, Sr.'s football playing sons. Kwame is right there with Robert Jr, long time starting DE for Cincinnatti Bengals and former opposite starter to David Pollack, in terms of talent and NFL ability. We felt the Vandy incident, combined with a family tradition of getting to the NFL as soon as possible before that extremely damaging from the physicality of being a lineman football clock runs out on your body, made him a near lock to leave. But he'll be back to probably join Jon Jenkins in destroying opposing Cs, and allow the staff to redshirt incoming beast Jonathon Taylor, where redshirting is always a huge benefit to lineman.
We also echo Year's sentiment that the biggest recruits we have on the table right now in terms of next season, are all currently on the roster.

A recap of the Dawg roster...

In case you missed it last week, we had an overview of our roster as it stands for 2012 last week.

The offense can be found here (before Mark Beard committed). The defense can be found here, with the special teams here.

Overall:
The roster looks really good. Strong offense with good line depth, an experienced QB, and loads of playmakers. The defense is stacked with veteran DBs and as good a LB crew as anyone in the country. If the young kickers can just be solid, we've got the skills to do big things in 2012, huge things. But it all depends on how hard they work this offseason, starting with the month of bowl practice, and then all spring and summer. Continued dedication like last year helps, but taking the step from good to great is a lot harder than the bad to good we just made. We have room for 5-10 more in this signing class, so getting the right pieces to complement the puzzle are key, including a couple DBs and some more big uglies.

Basketball game recap: We beat Southern Cal

We now have quality nonconference wins over Notre Dame and Southern Cal so far in this struggling season. In the coming week, we get Mercer tomorrow, and Furman Friday, both at home in Stegeman.

Late Saturday night, we got the best game yet out of freshman Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, who went 7 of 12, including 4 of 5 from deep and 3 of 4 from the line, for 21 pts to go along with 5 rebounds, a block and 2 steals. Dustin Ware came off the bench to go 4 of 4 from 3, while Gerald Robinson started and scored 17, and most importantly just 1 turnover in 36 minutes.

It was ugly inside, as we got outrebounded by a small, poor rebounding Trojan team 35-23. Combined, we got 6 pts and 9 boards out of our bigs. But on the plus side, we defended great holding them to 36% shooting from the field.

All in all, we've got 4 easily winnable games over the holidays, which should put us at 9-5 going in to the SEC opener vs. Alabama (in Athens on Saturday January 7th). I'm thinking with our lack of inside play, we'll be lucky to win 4 or 5 SEC games, and the months of January and February will be painful. But we've got a couple weeks and 4 games to figure out how to best work our defense (more up tempo?), continue to improve our offense, and get some things working. Maybe they can grow by leaps and bounds, but it shouldn't be expected.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Congratulations to all the graduates today

getting a degree from the University of Georgia is a wonderful thing. Today, Trinton Sturdivant, and several other Dawgs will walk across that Stegeman stage to pick up their sheepskin. Among those others, Demetric Evans, who kept after it following a long, successful NFL career.
Congrats to them, and everyone else graduating today.
One note on Sturdivant's playing career, Weiszer confirms the October R&B comments that if the big man plays, it'll be as a TE, but whether or not he chooses to play one more season has not been decided yet.

Basketball tomorrow: at Southern Cal, on FoxSports, at 10 eastern

They've had some time off for exams since that last disappointing game against Tech. Saturday night, they face Southern Cal in LA. We'll be watching on FoxSports, and expect to see some differences after the layoff and Fox taking responsibility for their struggles. This week in practice has probably been hellific as Fox worked to address the problems of poor offense and defensive lapses.

But let's look at Southern Cal, coached by the historically crappy Kevin O'Neil. He'll be fired as soon as the sanctions from Tim Floyd's time end, if not sooner. They're 4-6, and like us struggle with rebounding, and have too many turnovers combined with bad ball movement.

They've only got one player over 6'7, and the junior C Blasczyk doesn't play much. 5'7 PG Maurice Jones is their leading scorer, although he'd be one of those termed a "volume shooter" as he hits under 40% from the field. 6'6 PF Aaron Fuller is their best big, averaging 11 and 6.

Expect an ugly game, as O'Neil's squads are historically low scoring and defensive focused, and this year's crew is no different. It'll basically be a contest of which team can hit shots, and if neither can (as they've both shown the ability to not), then who sucks worse. All in all, it's an ideal opponent to get back on track with a road win, but you gotta win for that to happen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Trey and Travis just saw their chances of making a roster go way up

The Chris Paul trade (yes, I'm gonna talk NBA for a minute) should be a big boost for the LA Clippers. Combine him with Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, and that's gonna be a lot of highlight alleys. But from a Georgia perspective, it also increases immensely the chance that Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie make the roster. Trey's was always dependent on him arriving to camp in better condition than he did the combine, and all reports indicate he did. The man is highly skilled, it was motivation as well as strength and conditioning that were his main question marks. Leslie was a matter of roster fit and if he'd improve his perimeter skills offensively. But with Paul arriving, Leslie can join that alley fest, but also sees competition for roster spots decrease when Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu head out of town.
Roster wise, you assume the starting set is now Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, then Griffin and Jordan. But Trey and Travis were always bench candidates. So with Aminu off the bench, and Gordon off the wing making for a smaller lineup, adding a bigger wing in Leslie has a fit, while Thompkins can fill Aminu's combo F spot. Eric Bledsoe backs up Paul, while Ryan Gomes backs up the front line. Leslie will now compete with Willie Warren and Renaldo Major for a spot on their deep bench, and he could also be a ticket draw for their D-League team as he continues his development. For Trey, losing Aminu and Chris Kaman from their frontline thins things considerably, and combined with his arriving in shape, makes him almost a lock to make the roster now.
Good luck to both, as Georgia could use some quality pros to promote the program.

2012 roster: The specialists and overview

We gave you the defensive rundown yesterday, and the offense on Tuesday (although that's changed a touch with Mark Beard now on board). So here go the specialists:
K-Marshall Morgan (Fr)
It's hard to expect much out of a freshman kicker. The Florida product shows similar to our recently departing Florida kicker, Blair Walsh, on high school clips. Strong legged, with a good frame, we expect similar results. Walsh was solid, but missed plenty as a freshman, in part due to messing with his stroke in Fabris' inexplicable love of the corner kickoff. Morgan won't have that, but he'll still have an adjustment period. We'll have a handful of walk ons battling for the job with him just in case he's more Andy Bailey than Blair Walsh but that's not likely.
P-Collin Barber (Fr)
See above, freshman kicker. He looks solid on film, and will have walk-ons pushing him for action. You expect some jitters, and nowhere near as good as we're losing in Drew Butler, but the kid sounds solid.
SN-Ty Frix (Sr), Nathan Theus (rsFr)
We'll be the only team in the country with two scholarshipped long snappers, that is unless Frix is graduating in May and walks then. But he's done a great job the last few years, so no complaints aside from piss poor scholarship utilization. Hopefully the elder Theus can give interior OL depth before taking the snaps from Frix full time in 2013.
KR-Branden Smith, Keith Marshall, Rantavious Wooten, Damien Swann, Nick Marshall
Those are the names most likely to be returning kicks next year. Wooten has shown some wiggle so he might work handling punts. Nick Marshall has the frame to do both, and Swann was hyped as a possible offensive weapon in recruitment, so we'll assume he can handle kick return duty too. But Keith Marshall has the raw speed to make an impact there. We'll expect he'll get a lot of return action, with Branden Smith only in special situations. He'll be used offensively and defensively, and while he's a big play specialist in the return game, we'll probably let someone else handle the regular duties to keep him fresh for regular snaps. That leaves the other 4, with Keith Marshall and Swann the most likely options. If Crowell steps up, that leaves the incoming burner in KM free to get touches through returns.
Overview-The roster looks really good. Strong offense with good line depth, an experienced QB, and loads of playmakers. The defense is stacked with veteran DBs and as good a LB crew as anyone in the country. If the young kickers can just be solid, we've got the skills to do big things in 2012, huge things. But it all depends on how hard they work this offseason, starting with the month of bowl practice, and then all spring and summer. Continued dedication like last year helps, but taking the step from good to great is a lot harder than the bad to good we just made. We have room for 5-10 more in this signing class, so getting the right pieces to complement the puzzle are key, including a couple DBs and some more big uglies.

Bowl week 1 Picks Guaranteed* to win you money

We went 76-50-1 on the season, so it's only right we give some bowl game picks that probably push things back closer to .500. But we're breaking things up in to 3 week spurts, and this'll be the first week's games. So take the picks, and go make that bank.
Saturday:
New Mexico Bowl at 2:00, Temple -7 1/2 Wyoming- Since when is Temple good at football? I guess Al Golden left some good things behind before going to Miami. But this is the New Mexico Bowl, and Wyoming are the Cowboys. Cowboys do well in New Mexico, while Phily kids won't know why the air isn't all gray and nasty. Take Wyoming and the points.
Idaho Potato Bowl at 5:30, Utah St -1 1/2 Ohio-The Drunkards from Athens take on the Aggies, and now, that's not a preview of our schedule next year. But the Ohio Athens we assume still has Frank Solich on the sidelines, and in a potato bowl (which sounds like KFC's new creation), will probably be looking around for the vodka. Utah St nearly upset Auburn in the season opener, and that's the extent of our knowledge on both teams. Take Utah St to cover.
New Orleans Bowl at 9:00, San Diego St -4 1/2 La Lafayette-Our research team has already taken holiday, so we aren't going by much in these meaningless crap bowls. In New Orleans, we'll have to assume the Ragin' Cajuns will have a strong homefield advantage since who's traveling from San Diego? Take Lafayette to cover, and probably upset.
Tuesday the 20th
Beef O'Brady's Bowl at 8:00, Florida International -4 1/2 Marshall-Considering the Tampa game is right up the road from Fla Int, it should be one with a strong homefield advantage for them. It's also in Tropicana Field instead of Raymond James, meaning expect one punt to hit those wires and cause some craziness. Because of that, and an affinity for the Wizard of Oz socks the Thundering Herd wore when they had Randy Moss, we're going with Marshall to cover the 4 and keep it within a FG, but not win.
Wednesday the 21st
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at 8:00, TCU -10 1/2 Louisiana Tech-Oh how we love that name. First, is it Poin-set-a, or Poin-set-ee-a? But the San Diego County Credit Union sponsor just exemplifies the craptastic level of these early bowls. Some back, that doesn't leave the southernest of southern California? That's a brand we all know and love. Why aren't we making comments about the game, because everyone who comes trolling here knows our love for TCU, the great Gary P, and Dickie Bumps. 10 and a half? Please. That'll be covered by halftime as Underoos Paschall throws for 500 and the Horny Toads announce their reemergence in to major conference football with authority.
Thursday the 22nd
MAACO Bowl at 8:00, Boise St -14 1/2 Arizona St-Without the Drunken Kung Fu King Dennis Erickson around, we don't know what to make of Arizona St. In general, a team like Boise comes in to this game all down and dejected because they got spurned by a big bowl, come out flat as Cameron Diaz's chest, and lose. The Sun Devils also have the evilness of Vontez Burfinct on D, who'll likely try for a live execution of Kellen Horse Teeth for us all to enjoy. But something about the Broncos makes me think that even after getting screwed by the BCS, they'll have a "We're just happy to be here. We're happy to be anywhere but the -10 degrees of Boise." attitude, and find a way to win. But winning and covering a 2 TD spread are two different things. Take the Sun Devils to cover.
*-guarantee only good on Christmas Eve, between 4:30 and 4:49 in the morning, if you're on your way to Toys-R-Us to get your kid the last Transformer doll, and right before you go inside you get smacked upside the head with a brick

European Vacay! Hooray!

These things are great options for teams. It allows us to start practice earlier, getting a jump on the much needed improvements of the team. Plus, it's a free European vacation. Maybe a couple of our alumni overseas can help them out, like Rashad Wright. Or Sundiata Gaines, since he played in Italy for a year before coming back to the D-League and catching on with the Utah Jazz and now with the Nets.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Someone must have missed the memo

Yeah, we're not big fans of McShay around here. But this should be mentioned, Isaiah Crowell, the #4 freshman in the nation, after being named SEC Freshman of the Year. Seems like Georgia fans forgot to cc the national media with the Crowell sucks memo.

And next year's starting LT is....

We'd assume that's the plan anyway. He enrolls early, which is a huge benefit, as well as having 3 years of eligibility remaining on arrival. That early enrollment puts him at an advantage compared to a John Theus, among other options. The big man from Birmingham was coveted by the Dawgs, and should give us a strong unit when combined with returning starters Gates, Lee, and Burnette in some form from LG to RT, as well as David Andrews, Watts Dantzler, Kolton Houston?, Theus, and others. A lot of people are acting like the OL is a suspect unit. But Will Friend did a very solid job improving them from week to week, and next year sees us capable of playing natural OTs on the outside instead of a guard and a backup DT. Losing Ben Jones hurts, but if Andrews, or perhaps Lee or Burnette, are ready to make the calls from the middle, we've got plenty of ability, and we should have for the first time in a long time, depth.

Todd Gurley, let's bring him in too

We all know we want more than 1 TB in this class. We got his good friend Keith Marshall, and early reports from the Shrine Bowl make Todd Gurley sound like another big time catch.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder showed a mixture of speed and power that impressed his coaches and teammates.

That combination is also grabbing the attention of the nation as Gurley has accrued 13 total offers, including Clemson and South Carolina. He has stated that the Tigers are in his top four along with Georgia, North Carolina and N.C. State and that a decision will be made on Jan. 3.

...
Gurley helped lead his team to its third straight 2A state championship rushing
for 242 yards and four touchdowns in a 39-36 win against Lincolnton.

Something don't smell right on the Plains

Maybe that's why they keep throwing toilet paper around, hoping someone will clean up the stink. But after Gus Malzahn reportedly turned down $3m per from Vanderbilt, something must have happened. Maybe it was being scared of NCAA sanctions. Maybe he just got tired of carrying the load for Chin Chizik. But he's now head coach back home in Arkansas, at Arkansas St. Even fishier, he's doing so by taking a half million per year pay cut. Yeah, that don't pass the smell test.
Of course, maybe his wife started to be an issue, but of course, Gus could always just tell her to "Shut Up!" Hell, maybe the powers that be over in the dirtiest little village were scared she'd turn Eric Ramsey on them and start telling tales, without the ability to put a contractual gag order on her like they did Tater Tot Terry.

2012 roster: The Defense

Yesterday, we reviewed the offense as it is currently situated. Today, we'll go over the defense. And we'll hit up special teams as well as a more general overview and numbers count tomorrow.
Same caveat as yesterday, in that there will be recruits added to these spots, and some guys will be removed for any reason from going pro (Geathers? Rambo?) to grades, injuries, and a million other reasons for their time potentially being ended prematurely in Athens. But as of right now, this is what our defensive unit is shaping up to be...
DL-Abry Jones (Sr), John Jenkins (Sr), Derrick Lott (Jr), Kwame Geathers (Jr), Garrison Smith (Jr), Mike Thornton (So), Dexter Morant (So), John Atkins (Fr), Jonathon Taylor (Fr), James DeLoach (Fr)
If Geathers sticks around, this is a very strong group. It'll be made stronger with at least one more addition in the signing class, and from reports at least one of the LBs adding weight and putting their hand in the ground permanently. Abry Jones came on strong at one DT/DE spot, and Garrison Smith stepped up when DeAngelo Tyson went down to prove he's ready to take over the other. Jenkins and Geathers give you a pair of dominant Noses, allowing the staff the luxury of one or both of Atkins and Taylor to redshirt. Mike Thornton can give more depth up front, and Derrick Lott should give Smith a fight for that starting DT/DE spot opposite Abry Jones. Add Dexter Morant for depth as he continues to grow into his frame, maybe Atkins or Taylor for more depth, in addition to we assume 1 or more from the bigger LBs (Burrows, Bailey, and Drew). We'll pencil Taylor's high school teammate, James DeLoach in here, as he seems to have similar toolsets as those 3, with the girth to join the DE/DT group, and the athleticism to start at OLB. But redshirting and adding size as his body matures, as well as the great depth at LB, lead us to say he joins Rodney Garner's group in the trenches.
LB-Christian Robinson (Sr), Cornelius Washington (Sr), Mike Gilliard (Sr), Alec Ogletree (Jr), Jarvis Jones (Jr), Chase Vasser (Jr), Rueben Faloughi (Jr), TJ Stripling (Jr), Ray Drew (So), Brandon Burrows (So), Amarlo Herrera (So), Ramik Wilson (So), Sterling Bailey (rsFr), Leonard Floyd (Fr), Kent Turene (Fr)
In the 3-4, you need plenty of skilled LBs, and from that list, we got 'em. We are also pursuing several elite talents, so more depth helps, and as mentioned above, some of the bigger bodies (Burrows, Drew, Bailey), are destined to end up joining Rodney Garner's DL. But the Grantham showed this year, he'll move guys around to create the match ups he wants, and to get the best players on the field. Jarvis Jones dominated (thanks Southern Cal), and exceeded expectations. He'll be back and a leading candidate for several awards going in to the year. Alec "You just ran in to an" Ogletree joins him as a big time playmaker causing havoc all over the field. Between those two, you have arguably two of the best LBs in the country in a system perfectly suited to bring out their best. Around them, you'll see Robinson, Washington, Gilliard, and Herrera fighting for starting spots, as all 4 proved they're capable of being great starters this year, with a competition likely to just make things better. Add Ramik Wilson for depth inside, TJ Stripling for depth outside, you've got a very strong and deep unit. That's not to mention Turene, Floyd, Drew, and any others incoming capable of making plays on the field as Grantham's group continues their domination of the world. Any wonder why he wants to return with all that talent staring him in the face to play with?
CB-Branden Smith (Sr), Sanders Commings (Sr), Jordan Love (Jr), Blake Sailors (Jr), Damien Swann (So), Nick Marshall (So), Devin Bowman (rsFr)
Smith and Commings make for a pretty strong starting pair, with Love and Swann competing with them or more likely for the nickel spot. Marshall, Sailors, and Bowman provide some pretty good depth. Those 7 make for a deep enough unit for 2012, but it looks pretty thin in the following seasons. Adding a big timer to compete with Smith, Swann, Commings, and Love to keep the cupboard full would be a great idea, especially considering Marshall or Bowman (or both) have the size to potentially move to S in the future. It's not the embarrasment of riches you see at LB, but it is akin to the DL situation where you have a very good group of starters, as good as any in the country, and several quality options for depth behind them or in case of injury.
S-Bacarri Rambo (Sr), Shawn Williams (Sr), Marc Deas (So), Corey Moore (So), Cootie Harrow (So), Chris Sanders (rsFr)
Same as CB, except a little more suspect depth wise. Rambo and Williams are the obvious starters. Moore will probably be the 3rd option behind them, and if Rambo leaves the starter. Looking at that list, we really hope Rambo doesn't go. Deas has shown some potential, but hasn't stood out, same with Chris Sanders who we assume redshirted due to a sprained backiotomy after playing only 3 games this year. Cootie Harrow has been a special teams ace, and could be a Greg Blue type missile over the middle of the field, but like Blue, we wouldn't trust his hips too much in coverage, and with the increased emphasis most of our opponents place on passing that will be an issue. Adding 1 or 2 big timer options here, to compete for the spot behind Rambo and Williams, and keep the cupboard full going forward, would be a great idea. And while we have no commits at DB right now, expect at leasst 3 come signing day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Does this mean Thursday nights got a little more tolerable?

But before we celebrate both his, and Bob Davie's departure from ESPN booths, let's not forget they still have Ed Cunningham, Jesse Palmer, and I'm sure several other former braindead players to spout driveling nonsense at us while we ponder watching games on mute, or finding a quality radio feed that is 5 seconds behind/ahead of the tv broadcast feed.

Sports and Grits Gives a Kid a Chance-- A New Contributor on S&G

So the Ol' Boys at S&G get requests all the time and we are usually very gracious in dealing with our devoted fanbase.  Recently you may have noticed that CCRider has been less prominent on this blog.  Alas real life and a real job catches up with the best of us from time to time.  We have considered allowing others to write for us but often find that there are very few who have the stomach to deliver the unabashed truth 24-7.  Recently we were approached by a young man who came off as an arrogant, self-absorbed, obnoxious jerk.....you know one of our own.  He has asked for an audition and so we are going to give it to him.  So without further pomp and circumstance here is the first in a series of audition articles from--- The Dealer.    


A soft wind blows and another fan changes their mind about Richt and  the entire UGA football program.  I find it interesting that the same fan base who was ready to bury Richt and the state of our football program after the attempt to play in the Chick Fillet Kickoff ; was the very same fan base that thought we had a chance to win in the very same Dome this past Saturday afternoon.  Insanity!!!  This fan base if we get smoked in the Outback Bowl will howl for Richt's head; yet during spring practice next season will all claim how this year "Could be our year for it all"!
     We all know the definition of insanity.  I retract that before mentioned statement.  Half the Goons blogging on the Dawgbone do not know the definition of insanity, much less the dumb masses (say that fast or after 3-Beam & Cokes) who  moonlight as UGA cheerleaders 30-40 days a year. (Two days before and two days after each game plus G-Day). 
     Did you see the other team last week in the Dome?  Or were they too fast?  I'm not sure those weren't all Ninja's dressed in white, purple and yellow.  They are deep, they are powerful, they are disciplined and they know how to win with command.  Why? Because they have one of the best paid, detail oriented, ass kicking coaching staffs in all of the NCAA.  We only have one of those three!  One out of three gets you into the Hall of Fame in Major League Baseball but kids, this is the SEC Football League, not some lame MLB!  You have to be firing on all cylinders of your program if you want to compete with the best on a consistent basis.  Anything less is not an option!!!  Look at Saban and Miles' attitude towards winning and over-all world domination.  Look at UGA's!  The only common ground you will see is the Personal Financial Statement's of the Coaching Staff (Grantham may be the lone exception in the World Domination claim).    In fact if Mr. Grantham were not so damn big, I might thing he was a ninja as well.  Perhaps 1/2 ninja 1/2 Godzilla!  He is a Ninjzilla!!!
    You say you want to be the best, then make choices with your coaching staff, athlete training and discipline, game day preparations and adjustments that reflect your desire to BE THE BEST!.  If not then accept meritocracy and playing down to your level of competition!  To expect any different is insanity. 
    I love UGA!!!  I love Georgia Football Saturdays!  It makes me sick to spend $5,000 / year on season tickets to witness what is less than it should be.  Disagree, then let me know.  But don't bring some lame ass reply attacking me, cause you are now dealin' with the Dealer!  You better bring your A game like Ninjzilla!

Good trends for the Outback Bowl

Since the Hall of Fame Bowl (where we were 0-1, against BC in 86) became the Outback in the mid 90s, Georgia has won all 3 appearances (against Wisconsin after the 1997 and 2004 seasons, and in a strong comeback over Purdue in the first football game of this millenium after the 1999 season). So we've had good success in Tampa.
Against Michigan St, we're 2-0, beating them in the Citrus after the somewhat disappointing 08 season, and in the Gator after 1988 when they had Tony Mandarich. Against the Big Slow, we're also pretty successful, having beaten them all 7 times we've played in bowl games (the 5 mentioned above, plus Purdue in the 04 Citrus, and Ohio St in the 93 Citrus). Yeah, we lost to Penn St in the 83 Sugar, and Nebraska in the Sun Bowl over 40 years ago, but neither of them were in the B1G at the time.

2012 roster: The offense

We'll do this in three parts. The offense here. Then the defense. Then special teams and an overall summation.
Of course, we aren't there yet, but in our minds, the 2012 offseason began as soon as LSU ended. Bowl prep doesn't mean jack to 2011's season aside from good feelings in the winter and a cherry on top. But it is the beginning of the hard work needed to keep progressing in the right direction in 2012. The usual disclaimer that some of these guys may go pro (Orson?), or otherwise depart the program for any of the millions of reasons kids leave like playing time (Mason?), homesickness, grades, girls, drugs, and on and on and on. There will be a few more additions in the signing class, like a WR, another RB, and some more OL. But as of now, this is what we got on the roster for next year's offense.
QB-Aaron Murray (Jr), Hutson Mason (Jr), Christian LeMay (rsFr), Fauton Bauta (Fr)
This spot shapes up pretty well, especially is Mason continues to stick around. You return arguably the best QB in the SEC in Murray. He still has issues with learning to throw it away, and reducing his mistakes and turnovers, but he's still a very good QB and does a great job when he has a decent running game to take pressure off. He could improve his deep accuracy, and reduce his tendency to stare down primary receivers, but that should come over time. Mason and LeMay give some great backups, with LeMay on the old Richt at FSU plan of bide your time behind a good vet, learn the system, take over as a JR, and do it all over again once that guy moves on. Bauta provides a little extra depth here, and may stick, although with Brice Ramsey in the pipe, we still think he eventually moves to a TE/FB role, or to LB after a year.
RB-Carlton Thomas (Sr), Richard Samuel IV (Sr), Xander Ogletree (Jr), Brandon Harton (Jr), Boo Malcome (So), Isaiah Crowell (So), Keith Marshall (Fr), Quayvon Hicks (Fr)
Not a bad depth chart already, especially if Crowell can have a strong winter and summer and come back even better and more focused. He is the key to this thing, as even with supreme talent in Marshall around, you don't trust a freshman, let alone a 190 pound freshman to carry the load. Enrolling early will be a big boost for Marshall, but it's still hard to expect him to be a 200+ carry, 1000 yd guy immediately. Carlton Thomas has proven an effective #2, if he sticks around and has his act together. Samuel, in spite of that Florida game, still has issues with vision, breaking tackles, etc in terms of natural ball carrier stuff, and we think he joins Xander at FB giving a strong 1-2 punch there of blockers and guys who can do work with the ball passing or on the quick handoff, while Hicks redshirts. Harton is decent deep depth, and the wild card is Malcome. He showed some solid flashes against Tech and LSU. He's long been considered a good talent, but his injuries and other issues have kept him off the field. With the way the position shapes up right now, he could be anywhere from starter, to 4th string, to transferring elsewhere as he almost did midseason. This is the big ? offensively, and we need a good answer to complement Murray. The good thing about that ? is there's plenty of talent to answer it, especially if we add a Mike Davis, Todd Gurley, among others to the mix. As physical as the SEC is, and as suspect as some of those guys have seemed, you can't have enough quality ball carriers.
TE-Orson Charles (Sr), Arthur Lynch (Jr), Jay Rome (rsFr), Ty Smith (Fr)
Personally, we are a big fan of the balance you can get froma 2 TE set, and the mismatches you can exploit with playmaking big guys like Charles, Rome, etc. More depth would be nice, but as we do things, this is a pretty good group. Lynch is a good player, and can hold down the spot if Charles goes pro. Rome has similar playmaker skills as Charles, and thanks to the depth that gave us the luxury of redshirting him, he'll be that much bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter when he finally does take the field. The NFL is going to basketball body TEs, and Mark Fox's reserve PF certainly fits that athletic big body mold. Ty Smith is one you hope redshirts, but unless we add a JUCO (and we may need to if Charles goes), he might be forced in to action because of the thin depth chart.
WR-Marlon Brown (Sr), Tavarres King (Sr), Rantavious Wooten (Jr), Michael Bennett (So), Malcolm Mitchell (So), Chris Conley (So), Sanford Seay (rsFr), Justin Scott-Wesley (rsFr), Blake Tibbs (Fr)
When Richt got to town, he talked about wanting to have 10 quality WRs to run his no-huddle, spread attack. That group represents 9 solid players. Brown came on strong this past year, and with good health should be even better as a SR leader. King had his ups and downs, and while he really needs to work on those hands, he still makes plenty of plays. Wooten redshirted after a bad car accident, and has shown flashes of ability with his speed and quickness although never consistent with it. Seay, Scott-Wesley, and Tibbs provide depth. We may add one more player to the group, but after the emergence of the Three Wise Men, do we really need it? Michael Bennett, Tampa Mitchell, and Chris Conley produced better than any trio of freshman pass catchers Georgia has ever had. Mitchell brings the speed and big play ability you want, while Conley and Bennett have the size and hands to work short and intermediate stuff to perfection. Combine those three, with Brown, King, and the others, and you've got plenty of ability on the perimeter. If the staff things someone won't be back, we might need one more. But as is, that's as strong a group as you're gonna see, and we probably would be better off adding another RB, another TE, and some big uglies.
OL-Austin Long (Jr), Dallas Lee (Jr), Kenarious Gates (Jr), Chris Burnette (Jr), Kolton Houston (So), David Andrews (So), Hunter Long (So), Watts Dantzler (So), Zach DeBell (rsFr), Xzavier Ward (rsFr), Nate Theus (rsFr), Greg Pyke (Fr), Chester Brown (Fr), John Theus (Fr)
Ideally, you want over 15 and closer to 20 guys here, considering some will wash out. Adding 2 more this class is what the staff seems to want, as they've gone hard for guys like Florida OT Avery Young, and some JUCO OTs. They are targetting OTs because we've got good depth inside, and if Kolton Houston gets his eligibility mystery squared away, it's great depth.
Dallas Lee can handle C if need be, but was coming on strong at G before breaking his leg. David Andrews served as Ben Jones' understudy this season, and seems destined to take over the C spot next year, allowing Lee and Burnette to stay at G. Burnette and Kenarious Gates would seem like the battle for the other G spot opposite Lee, with Gates able to slide out for RT if that forms the best 5. Expect Watts Dantzler to be a big part of that battle for starting RT with Gates and others. As said above, if Houston has his eligibility worked out, that's a strong backup for both G spots. Hunter Long adds more depth there inside, and can play C or G. Nate Theus was brought in as deep snapper, but at his size can probably help some on the interior OL if need be. And while ideally, you want all freshman lineman to redshirt, Greg Pyke and Chester Brown both seem to have the size and tenacity to help at G immediately if need be.
That leaves the bookends as the main issue to be answered. You assume Dantzler and Gates can form a good battle to decide RT, with hopefully a finally healthy Austin Long joining them. But LT is the key spot on an OL, and our biggest ?. If John Theus were able to enroll early, that'd be a big boost, but since Bolles doesn't allow that, it puts him a bit farther behind than you'd like. Dantzler, Gates, or Long might work in there, and probably do in spring, but they are more RTs than blindside protectors, especially Dantzler and Gates. Ward and DeBell have the long frames you want in that left side end, but both have been said to have trouble adding weight after being under 275 when they enrolled. They may well get closer to the 290+ range you'd want them in after another 9 months in S&C and at the training table, but if they'd shown themselves to be studs by now, someone would have said so. That's why we're looking at Avery Young, to hope between him and Theus one works, but like Theus although he's a great talent, he wouldn't early enroll which leaves you crunched to get them up to speed in the summer (Trinton Sturdivant was a great true FR LT, but he early enrolled). That's why they've targetted some JUCOs, who could be here come January in S&C and get a spring practice under their belt to learn the system, as well as summer workouts. We'll add two more OL to this class, at least one of which will be an OT, if not both since we have plenty of depth inside. People point to this as a problem area, but with 3 returning starters, as well as Andrews or Dantzler to fill a 4th spot, this group looks as good and deep as it has in the Richt area. The only question is who fills LT, and if we add a Mark Beard or other elite JUCO by the end of the month, them plus Theus (and maybe Young too) should be more than enough to occupy that spot.
All in all, this unit looks like it could be one of the best in the country. We need to figure out LT, and have Charles return, but it's got talent all around, and should be a strong group capable of averaging 30+ pts per next year.

No regrets? Not a one?

Mitch Mustain, the guy who was rated by some over the almighty Tebow and #1 pick Stafford, doesn't regret the path he's taken.

On the brink of oblivion in football circles, Mustain says he wouldn't
change a thing.

Any bets his mama told him to say that?
Not one regret Mitch? Not involving boosters and mama every step of the way at Arkansas? Not picking Southern Cal instead of a school where you might have actually played? Not any step along the way for a guy who was considered on par with multiple NFL starters, and is now selling cars in Wal-Mart's hometown as he tries one last chance at football in avoidance of the Marines?

Mustain applied to Marine Officer Candidates School last summer. Now, he is
working at a friend's car dealership in Bentonville, Ark., easing into life after football.

Mustain signed Sept. 30 with the Georgia Force of the AFL, putting the Marine Corps on hold. The season starts in March, and Mustain will be ready for his last chance to resurrect his football career.

"In the end, I wouldn't change anything," Mustain said.