Archive for the 'Football' Category

Timing is everything

Sometimes, timing is everything.

Once the Gurley bombshell broke, one thing that immediately jumped out was that being on the road against Mizzou may have been the best thing for this team.

Halfway across the country, free of close friends and family and the buzz around campus, free of the fog of gameday on campus may have been just what this group needed. It enabled them to focus in and send the entire country a message, and it showed. The memo was laid out – if you think that this team will fold because its best player is sidelined by archaic NCAA rules, you have another thing coming.

And as if the day could not get better, we got to spend the rest of it watching Auburn, Tech and Florida lose. Icing on the cake!

Saturday was one of those moments, kind of like when Georgia hired Jeremy Pruitt, when you thought to yourself, “this is real? This is UGA football and not someone else?”

For whatever reason, it has been quite some time since Georgia dominated someone like it did in all phases of the game like it did Saturday that was a quality opponent. 2006 Auburn comes to mind.

Will this team click as well against Arkansas as it did on Saturday? Probably not. I’m already worried about stopping a run game that’s stronger than what Mizzou had.

But that’s a worry for another day.

For now, let’s enjoy this one.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Style points or not, it’s all about the wins from now on

- To quote the noted orator from Faber College, “nothing is over until we decide it is!”

In the midst of the fog of despair of the loss to USC-East, one thought, though tough to swallow, is that the pursuit of the SEC East was still within this team’s control. It gets old having that mindset for the Georgia program, but that is the reality with the way the schedule sets up.

All of a sudden, the game next month at Mizzou is very, very large. Funny thing is, it was one of the biggest worries of the season going in – back to back road trips to Fayetteville and Mizzou won’t be easy.

The bottom line is this – it doesn’t matter how you win in this league as long as you win. From here on out, it’s win out and you head to Atlanta. The wins still count the same amount, regardless of how hideous they look.

That’s how I look at the Tennessee win. Was it a bland victory in some ways? Yes. Georgia won in spite of a punchless passing attack and the good fortune of Tennessee catching fumblitis in its own end zone.

But it’s still a win. I’m sure USC would gladly take an ugly win over Mizzou instead of a loss on Saturday.

From here on out, it is all about getting a win – no matter how they come.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Has the Tennessee rivalry lost a step?

Rivalries are a funny thing. You highly dislike them and want to be beat them and beat them bad. But once you do it too much, can it lessen the rivalry.

To a degree, that’s where the Georgia-Tennessee rivalry is right now.

Unless you live up near North Georgia right now, Tennessee has taken on the look of another game on the schedule. The Vols have fallen on hard times (if you have had to endure UT fans, you shed no tears over it). To a point, you want to do a combination of laugh and pity them (maybe a small amount). That’s how it goes when you regularly beat someone.

There’s a part of Georgia’s younger fan base that wonders why UGA and Tech still play, and do not have a genuine dislike for the maggots. But the ‘old school’ fans…or those of us who lived through the 1998 to 2000 Tech wins, see Tech as a massive rivalry.

Tennessee is the same way. As Macon Dawg noted earlier this week, if you think the Bama fans (aka, the guy who saw Bama play on TV one time when he was 9 years old) are unbearable, you didn’t have to deal with the Tennessee fans in the 1990s.

This is a fan base that, and still does, shove the greatness of Peyton Manning down our throats. This is the program that got away with Nick Fairley-style cheap shots game after game with guys like Raynoch Thompson. UT took full advantage of UGA being mediocre in the 1990s and 2000s. If there was a recruit in the Atlanta area, the Volunteers and Phat Phil usually got them. You want to talk about lucking into a national title? UT took the cake in 1998 when Clint Stoerner inexplicably fumbled the ball right into Tennessee’s hands. And of course, there’s the engineering nightmare of a stadium in Knoxville. The capacity of that place needs an asterisk by it – it’s easy to cram 100,000 plus in with seats that narrow.

Oh, and then there’s that idiotic song that oddly enough was written by a Georgian.

Time has healed some dislike of Tennessee. Other than Lane Kiffin, there’s not much much to hate about Tennessee recently.

There will be if Butch Jones takes UT a step forward Saturday.

Somewhere along the way, the intensity of the rivalry has lost some steam. It needs to get back to the dislike of a bad guy wrestling in WCW.

Saturday’s kickoff is early, there is no doubting that, and Tennessee could benefit from a flat, late-arriving crowd (it did so in the 2004 upset).

If you’re heading to the game, get there early. The Bulldog Nation needs to get back to treating Tennessee like an old hated rival again.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Post USC-East takes

Maybe it was the emotional exhaustion of another grindfest in SEC play…or maybe it had something to do with an eight-week old girl in the house, but I somehow drifted into an unexpected nap on Sunday afternoon.

So after all that, and some time to let everything from Saturday sink in, here are a few takes.

- Was the decision to not run Todd Gurley four times at the four-yard line a knuckleheaded call by Mike Bobo? Probably (Of course, it didn’t help that officials botched the intentional grounding call…more on that later). But I’m more than willing to give Bobo some slack. This offense has averaged more than 40 points or so the past three years. If you would have told me we’d roll up around 40 points the first two games this year with a hovering above average QB and ZERO deep threats at receiver, I’d gladly take it. This team has some shortcomings right now. Mike Bobo is not one of them.

- The defense showed how far of a hole it has to dig out of. When you have inexperience, you can have the greatest coaching in the world, but it cannot compensate with lack of experience. There is talent on defense, but that talent has to grow up in a hurry. A few players that did not want to do it ‘The Georgia Way,” who are not worth mentioning, may help this team long-term, but they put it in a tough spot short-term. This defense will get on the right track. Hopefully, it will be before it is too late. Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins were non-factors against South Carolina…but the Chickens going max-protect had a lot to do with that.

- Did the referees cost Georgia the game? Yes and no. It baffles me that as much revenue as the SEC pulls in that it has no problem that its officials continue to embarrass the conference. And this is not only a Georgia gripe. Ask Kentucky’s fans, as well. An awful holding penalty call cost Georgia a touchdown and Heisman-highlight clip from Todd Gurley, and the intentional grounding call was an awful miss too.  For whatever reason, the SEC does not think its important to have quality officials. It is laughing all the way to the bank. The league, its teams and fans deserve way better. At the end of the day, though, you have to assume in every game you are not going to get certain breaks and have to play well enough to over come them. Georgia did not do that. Which brings us to…

- Football is a funny and illogical game sometimes. How Marshall Morgan’s field goal streak ends with two misses in the second half baffles me. If he makes one of them, it’s a tie game. If he makes both, Georgia wins. On the road in this conference, you have to make your own breaks and take advantage. Georgia did not do that.

- Despite many comment section and Facebook postings after the game, this season is not over. It’s a tough pill to swallow to lose to the HBC, but this team still controls its own fate. USCe will lose at least once more this season. More often than not, you won’t run the table in this conference, it just won’t happen as much as you want it to.

- I’m avoiding the call-in shows on Monday.

- You can’t pin this loss on one facet. It was a team loss. There were breakdowns on offense, defense and special teams that contributed to the loss. This team has a week to get better and heal up against Troy and take on what will be a pesky Tennessee team.

- Can we replace Uncle Verne?

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Last week was nice, but…

From the moment that Georgia’s 2014 schedule was released, one positive that jumped out was this week’s open date. The schedule-makers slotted Georgia with an open date between two brusing matchups – last week against Clemson and next week’s road trip to South Carolina.

While the Gamecocks will go up against a pesky East Carolina team, Georgia can rest up and guys such as Malcolm Mitchell and John Theus can get closer to being healthy.

Still, the open week could be a bad thing.

The Bulldogs are coming off of an impressive win last week against Clemson. Georgia has risen in the rankings, and very, very early talk of National Title hopes and a Heisman Trophy contention for Todd Gurley has been kicked into high gear.

Georgia’s fans have an extra week to reflect on how impressive the Dawgs looked last week – and the players have more time to hear about how good they looked.

Georgia’s season may be defined in how well it handles the open date. If it lapses this week, the Bulldogs could leave Columbia next Saturday 0-1 in SEC play, and the Clemson win would be little more than a nice win over an old rival.

It’s great to win, but that win cannot define a season.

Anyone remember 2004. Georgia whipped LSU in a much-anticipated rematch. The next week, a lackluster performance against Tennessee cost Georgia the game as well as the SEC Eastern Division title. Or as Georgia head coach Mark Richt said, “we lost the wrong game.”

Last week was nice for Georgia. But it’ll pale in comparison if the Bulldogs don’t come out with a win following this weekend’s open date.

Lugnut Dawg 

A few spring practice observations

1. As far as the most impressive spring so far, it’s J.J. Green is making a strong case. It’s too early, without question to pencil in anything as far as time on the field in the fall, but when a guy has pretty much been on offense since coming to Athens and leads the team in tackles during a scrimmage? That speaks volumes.

2. Brandon Kubanlow and Greg Pyke know that it’s ‘moving season,’ and it’s shown based on the info coming out of practice. The way things look now, I’d look for both to play extensively come August. This is their shot to make their move and show that they can contribute. If they can’t take full advantage, they could get bypassed.

3. To redshirt Keith Marshall or not? If he won’t be 100 percent it is a no-brainer. That said, I wouldn’t mind him being a ‘soft redshirt’ similar to Hutson Mason two years ago…redshirt him, but have him on emergency duty just in case Gurley gets banged up pretty good. There’s something to be said about experience, regardless of how talented these two studs at tailback coming in are.

4.  Speaking of Mason, we’re seeing why Mason is a very solid No. 1 based on how Brice Ramsey, Jacob Park and Fauton Bauta have fared this spring. The fact is that there’s a level that Mason is at, and the other three QBs won’t get to that point. It’s easy to hit the panic button based on the Gator Bowl. But Mason also had to contend with a massively depleted offense around him, and pretty much no one on the Georgia sidelines was excited to be there, and it showed.

5. Jonathan Rumph is having a nice spring. But then again, we heard how great he looked in practice last year and it never translated to the field. Seeing how far along he is progressing is one of many reasons to look forward to G-Day.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

 

5.

Bobo being taken for granted?

Let’s throw it out there. Mike Bobo is a massive lightning rod when it comes to the UGA football program. Mention his name and you’ll either have fans talk about how great he or how he needs to lose his job (which I still fail to understand, for what it’s worth).

Georgia, however, is running a high risk of neglecting Bobo. There was recent news that Bobo received a contract extension, but a pay raise was not included.

Look, I get the fact that the defensive staff has to be offered more to lure them in, and I have no issue with that. If Pruitt and Company produce, they are worth every penny.

But when you have a coach such as Mike Bobo, whose offense is the only reason that this team was a national title contender two years ago and made itself a factor for Atlanta again this year, you have to, as they say, “Pay the man.”

And then there is the fact that Georgia’s upswing in South Georgia recruiting has a lot to do with Bobo.

Bobo is a loyal guy to both Georgia and Mark Richt. But when you underappreciate someone long enough, the end result is that person making an easy decision to leave.

Let’s hope it never comes to that.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg



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