Opposite Reaction Than Normal

I wasn’t so much happy Saturday night as I was relieved.

It was a long time coming for a Georgia to show up like that in the early part of the season and physically dominate a quality opponent.  I was glad it happened, but I was just relieved that we didn’t have to hear the same old negative comments.  It is something to have the entire national media notice you and talk about how great the team looked, not how unprepared they were and how Georgia is overrated.

After a big win, my head is in the clouds.  I want the team to stay focused and prepared, not to look ahead, but I am a fan and can do it.

Being at the beach last week, I didn’t have access to the South Carolina-Texas A&M game.  I did however watch the Ole Miss-Boise State game.  I also had a little juice on it, and for the longest time, it seemed my meager $5 wager was wasted.  Ole Miss struggled for 3 quarters, then in the 4th quarter finally pulled away.  It was clear the talent, depth and conditioning was too much for the Broncos, who are a step back from previous years.

Everyone talked about this being why Ole Miss wasn’t ready for the West contention, etc.  Two days later, Georgia struggles for a half, doesn’t do anything on offense for 3 quarters, and gets 21 points from explosive plays.  And the narrative from the national media is how Georgia would be the #1 seed right now.

Don’t mistake this for complaining or being too negative.  I’m not like Bill Shanks who will complain even when things are going great.  I am going watch replays, pour over the stats, and enjoy a big win.  But I also don’t want to get too high in the clouds, either.  I’m glad Coach Richt and the other coaches are saying the same things.

My typical reaction is to be excited.  I’m going to be the opposite. If every year I get bummed out when we lose, I’m going to curb my enthusiasm just a little after this big win.

Becuase I know that South Carolina is going to give us everything they have.  Their season is going to be on the line.

If we come out of the Carolina game with a W, then I’ll probably be incredulous.  People will not want to be around me.  My wife says I suffer from a condition called “football brain” this time of the year, and I’m sure if we are 2-0 after September 13, I’ll probably have a terminal case of football brain.

But for now, I’m not going to buy into the #1 seed, Gurley for Heisman, or how great we are hype.


Michael Bennett Continues To Impress

Outside of obviously Todd Gurley, I believe that Michael Bennett might be Georgia’s most valuable player on offense.

He won’t burn you as a deep threat, but he is as clutch and sure handed as they come.  When the Dawgs need a first down or a big catch, he seems like he is always the one making the play.

Saturday, his numbers were just so-so.  He did lead the team in receiving, but only had 60 yards on 5 catches.  The whole passing game as a whole was pedestrian.

But something I noticed watching the replay yesterday morning stuck out.   Bennett’s blocking was amazing.  Georgia got their big runs on the outside, and it seemed like during all those runs to the perimeter, Bennett was right there throwing a downfield block to help the backs break free.  It is a cliche to say “things that don’t show up in the box score”,  and it is absolutely true in his case.


Clemson Prediction

I am finishing up my vacation today…one last day on the beach.  Tomorrow is a travel day, so I wanted to go ahead and give a very quick Clemson prediction.

I think the game will be close. Too close. But then I think the Dawgs get a big play on offense, defense, and-wait for it-SPECIAL TEAMS late in the game. It ends up being a more lopsided score than what the game actually played out. Very similar to the Missouri game in 2012.

Dawgs 31, Clemson 17

Go Dawgs!


Lewis Grizzard Wednesday II: Clemson Paratrooper

I couldn’t get the thing to imbed, so here is the link to the Lewis story of the Clemson paratrooper.


6 Bold Predictions

I’ll see how I did at the end of the season. 

Bold Predictions.

1. Alabama won’t win the SEC West:  I think the Crimson Tide are prime for a step back.  I do think a “step back” for them is somewhere around 9-3.  Too many unresolved issues at QB, and in this league, even as good as their defense and running game is, your QB is going to have to win you a ballgame.  Especially on the road.  I’m afraid they just won’t do it this season.

2. LSU will win the SEC West: I know they have to replace a lot of offensive skill players, and are breaking in a new QB also, but they get Alabama at home.  The Tigers do have tricky road games in back to back weeks at Florida and at Auburn, but I think they are able to pull it out.  They will win the SEC West and be a contender for the National Playoff.

3. Florida upsets Alabama, but Will Muschamp won’t finish the year against Florida State:  The former student will have his boys ready against his mentor.  The Gators will pull off the upset in Tuscaloosa on September 20. However, three weeks later against LSU, Florida will get beaten, then will lose again to Georgia.  I had originally thought that if Florida lost to Georgia, Muschamp would get the Kiffin treatment and be fired at the stadium and have to get his buddy Mike Bobo to give him a lift home, but the victory over Alabama will keep around another week.  No, it will be more poetic.  Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks will beat Florida and run up the score in the swamp.  He will be fired before Eastern Kentucky, and then of course Florida will lose to FSU.

4. Georgia will make the 4 team playoff, but not win the National Title: How many times have we said that If there was only a playoff, Georgia and Mark Richt would have a couple of National Titles by now? This year, Georgia will make the playoff but won’t win it all. I cannot yet see who will win it all, but it won’t be the Dawgs.

5. This will be Dan Mullen’s last year at Mississippi State:  One of two things will happen:  Dan Mullen’s best team will perform well and exceed Mississippi State expectations, or they will underachieve. Either way, the natives will get restless or another school (like Florida) will call and beg him to leave.  He made a mistake a few years ago for not striking while the iron was hot; he won’t repeat that mistake.

6. Hutson Mason will lead the SEC in passing:  I’m not sure why this is so bold.  Throwing to talkbacks count as passing yards.  Who are the other candidates?  Not Nick Marshall.  Has to be someone.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: To My Son

You knew this was happening…

Great moments in a would be father’s life

To my Son, if I ever have one:

Kid, I am writing this on September 3, 1984. I have just returned from Athens, where I spent Saturday watching the University of Georgia, your old dad’s alma matter, play football against Clemson.

While the events of the day were still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recount them so if you are ever born, you can read this and perhaps be able to share one of the great moments in your father’s life.

Saturday was a wonderful day on the Georgia campus.

We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.

I said the blessing before we had lunch. I thanked the Lord for three things: fried chicken, potato salad and for the fact he had allowed me the privilege of being a Bulldog.

“And , Dear Lord,” I prayed, “bless all those not as fortunate as I.”

Imagine my son, 82,000 people, most whom were garbed in red, gathered together gazing down on a lush valley of hedge and grass where soon historic sporting combat would be launched.

Clemson was ranked number 2 in the nation, and Georgia, feared too young to compete with the veterans from beyond the river, could only dream, the smart money said, of emerging three hours hence victorious.

They had us 20-6 at the half, son. A man sitting in front of me said, “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed.”

My boy, I had never seen such a thing as came to pass in the second half. Todd Williams threw one long and high, and Herman Archie caught it in the end zone, and it was now 20-13.

Georgia got the ball again and scored again, and it was now 20-20, and my mouth was dry, and my hands were shaking, and this Clemson fan who had been running his mouth the whole ballgame suddenly shut his fat face.

Son, we got ahead 23-20, and the ground trembled and shook, and many were taken by fainting spells.

Clemson’s kicker, Donald Igwebuike, tied it 23-23 and this sacred place became the center of the universe.

Only seconds were left when Georgia’s kicker, Kevin Butler, stood poised in concentration. The ball rushed toward him, and it was placed upon the tee a heartbeat before his right foot launched it heavenward.

A lifetime later, the officials threw their arms aloft. From 60 yards away, Kevin Butler had been true, and Georgia led and would win 26-23.

I hugged perfect strangers and kissed a fat lady on the mouth. Grown men wept. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. Stars fell, and joy swept through, fetched by a hurricane of unleashed emotions.

When Georgia beat Alabama 18-17 in 1965, it was a staggering victory. When we came back against Georgia Tech and won 29-28 in1978, the Chapel bell rang all night. When we beat Florida 26-21 in the last seconds in 1980, we called it a miracle. And when we beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl that same year for the national championship, a woman pulled up her skirt and showed the world the Bulldog she had sewn on her underbritches.

But Saturday may have been even better than any of those.

Saturday in Athens was a religious experience.

I give this to you, son. Read it and re-read it, and keep it next to your heart. And when people want to know how you wound up with the name “Kevin” let them read it, and then they will know.


Can Gurley Be Stopped? Yes, By Only One Team

While everyone is preparing for the game Saturday, I am beachside. My family is taking our vacation this week. Now, I’d prefer to be living, eating and sleeping football 24/7 right now, but being on the Gulf Coast isn’t bad. And don’t worry…we are leaving Friday morning to head home and will get up with the roosters Saturday to head to Athens.

The key to Georgia victory on Saturday is how effective Todd Gurley can be running the football. The key to Georgia having a good season is how effective Todd Gurley can be running the football.

That might be the duh statement of century.

Gurley’s Heisman and NFL draft pub isn’t just empty hype. He is a special player with once in a generation skill. He is awesome. I used to not think a defense could be able to stop a healthy Gurley.

Then, as I was swimming in the ocean today, and I had an epiphany. Not like Larry David when he almost drown, but still I had a clear mind.

There is only one defense in the country that can stop Todd Gurley.

It isn’t Vic Beasley or Clemson. It isn’t Florida’s.

No, it isn’t even the great Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide defense.

The only defense that can stop Todd Gurley is Georgia’s defense.

If our defense screws around and gives up lots of big plays, lots of points, then it will take Gurley out of the game plan.

Take for example the game last year at Auburn. Gurley only had two carries during Georgia’s 3 possessions in the entire third quarter as UGA was trying to mount their comeback. Now, as the game got closer in the 4th Quarter, Gurley did have 6 carries in the 4th.

Against Auburn, Gurley had 15 carries for 79 yards. Gurley only had fewer carries when he was either hurt (like against LSU or Clemson) or when he services really weren’t needed (like Kentucky).

I had that post written, but I then had another thought. My mind is going wild! I’m getting a headache doing all this thinking.

Gurley showed last year he can be a receiving threat. The Auburn game showed how effective Gurley can be as a receiving option. Because it was necessary to find your best player a way to get the ball, against Auburn Gurley had 10 catches for 77 yards. The next week against Kentucky, he had 5 catches for 90 yards, 4/36 against Tech, and 7/97 against Nebraska.

The only way that Clemson is able to stop a healthy Gurley is take him out of the game. Even then, as we saw last season, he is still a threat catching the ball.

So, is it really possible to take him out of the game? Can he really be stopped?

I still say yes. As great as a weapon as Gurley can be in the passing game, offense works better when a team throws when they want to. I still think a successful Georgia offense is one with Gurley getting somewhere around 20 carries per game. That probably means we are doing what we want to be doing.

The key to the Clemson game, and the rest of the season for that matter, simply falls on if the Georgia Defense will take Gurley out of the game. If Georgia is having to play catch up or from behind all the time, then Gurley won’t be near as effective.

I personally think the defense will be pretty good this season. So if Gurley can stay healthy, watch out.



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