Archive for the 'Football' Category



Grasping For Silver Linings

Is there a more wasteful group of individuals in sports than bowl selection committees? Other than showing up at the top games of each season in their blazers and getting to watch for free, what do they do?

As we saw Sunday night, they are good for one thing – putting together terrible bowl matchups.

The initial prospect of the Gator Bowl was a good one at an earlier point. Though going back to Jax isn’t what you play for to start the season, the prospect of facing a Michigan or even Iowa was exciting.

That never happened thanks to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl snapping up the Wolverines. Still, Minnesota, a team with one of the better feel-good stories of the year was an option.

But no, the Gator Bowl folks liked last year’s Capital One Bowl so much that they lined up a rematch with the Dawgs and Cornhuskers. No disrespect to Nebraska, but a bowl rematch a year later is good for nobody. Players on both sides I am guessing are not thrilled, and neither are the Georgia fans I know of, for the most part.

Honestly, the crowd for this game stands a good chance of being smaller than a Jaguars game (and I’m a Jags fan, too).

But there are some positives.

Firstly, the Dawg Nation knows this area well. We know where the hot spots up and down the first coast and golden isles are. I mean, it’s an excuse to go back to our favorite WLOCP spots. Personally, I’m looking forward to having some great shrimp at a place below Jax. I won’t name it out of fear that it’ll no longer be a well kept secret, but let’s just say that Kensington Dawg knows all about it as well.

Secondly, it’s great for South Georgia Dawgs. I can understand some fans from Atlanta not making this trip. For me, being a South Georgian, this trip is a great way to visit home and cheer on the Dawgs.

Thirdly, JOONYER!!! That’s right, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be tossing the coin before kickoff.

Fourth, Taxslayer is based in Augusta. So Georgia is in a bowl game sponsored by a Georgia company.

Fifth, the offseason will be tough and we’ll need a football fix. It’s a great way to get one more game in in-person. As frustrating as the year as been, we’ll miss football when it’s over until next fall.

Go Dawgs, and see you in Jacksonville!

Lugnut Dawg

Saturday may have been pivotal for UGA, and that’s a bad thing

This night is fast becoming one of my least favorite of the year.

Tonight a year ago, I was still in a state of shock, kicking in the gut from one of the worst tipped passes I’d ever care to think about…wondering what Georgia would have to do to win a MNC.

After this past Saturday, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Georgia will never get to that point…at least with Mark Richt at the head of the program.

Look, I’m a huge Mark Richt guy. As long as he is here, Georgia should have a pretty good program, winning 9-11 games and contending for a national title. But winning one? Personally, I’m not so sure. As Ohio State wet the bed Saturday night, gift-wrapping Auburn a trip to Pasadena, it was just a reminder that other rivals continue to rise to heights that Georgia cannot get to.

Think about it. Auburn has a QB who was not on campus until August that has accomplished something that both Murray and Stafford never could.

Going forward, the task of keeping Georgia on the same plane as its rivals will be tougher than ever before. Auburn has quickly awoken from its slumber. Tennessee is on the way back. Mizzou is proving it’s SEC caliber.

When it comes to in-state talent, two of Georgia’s toughest foes are Auburn and FSU. Well, if there’s any recruits on the fence right now, both of these programs just became VERY attractive. I mean who could blame a kid for wanting to be at a program playing for a MNC rather than one cannot get to that level?

I hate to mention the hot seat topic. But the bottom line is this. Auburn will be paying a combined amount of over $500,000 next month for Gene Chizik’s buyout and Gus Malzahn’s current salary. I’m pretty sure no Auburn folks are complaining one bit about making a change.

In other words, ‘continuity’ wasn’t as important to Auburn as it is in Athens.

I’m convinced that Georgia will have a good program as long as Richt is here. Other than that, I’m honestly not sure.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Keys to Beating Tech

Five Novembers ago, we experienced in Sanford Stadium something that I would not wish on any Bulldog – a loss to the North Avenue Trade School.

Here’s what I think they keys are to winning for the fifth time in a row against the Maggots.

1. Defense has to stay on target. With the triple-option being unconventional, it relies on two things to have big success against a team such as Georgia – missed assignments and players not finishing plays – both of which result of big plays – see Reshad Jones in 2008. This worries me…a lot. How many times has Georgia’s defense missed on assignments this year? It will be very critical for Grantham’s charges to not get worn down and frustrated by the mundane nature of defending Tech’s defense. Tech will get its chunks of three or four yards per play. But if Georgia can force numerous third and longs, it’ll have itself a good day.

2. Mason doesn’t need to win it, but can’t lose it. Hutson Mason doesn’t need to takeover the game, but he’ll need to do enough to make Tech think about the pass. If Georgia can have some measure of success, it’ll prevent Tech from putting eight or nine in the box on a regular basis.

3. The tight end. The best way to catch a Tech defense looking for a heavy dose of Todd Gurley’s running sleeping? Quick passes over the middle to Arthur Lynch to spread things out.

4. Absence of the red zone. With Tech’s offense able to pick up short-yardage first downs more easily, multiple trips inside the 20 could bode well for the Jackets. Georgia needs to prevent that from happening by snuffing out scoring drives before they advance that far.

5. Up the Middle. Georgia doesn’t have a John Jenkins or Kwame Geathers up the middle to clog the center of the running lanes. The Dawgs will need to come up with a combination of linemen or linebacker play to shut this option (no pun intended) down and force running plays towards the perimeter, which could equal a big day for Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Sunday night reflections…or Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good Dawgs?

1. This team is a magnet for misery. It’s almost as if this team is destined for adversity, no matter what it does to avoid it. How many times this year have we been frustrated with Georgia not coming out taking care of business against a lesser opponent? And the one time it all clicks early? You lose one of the most beloved Bulldogs to injury.

2. I mean, how cruel and unfair can you get. It was a night set up to be all about Aaron Murray. Students were dressed in black to honor him. The crescendo was building in the first quarter to either the end of the game of when he left the game in the second half at some point, symbolically handed over the reins to Hutson Mason.

3. Worst of all – Murray could have easily pulled himself out of the game. But doing that isn’t in his makeup. I’d rather have a player pushing themselves beyond the limit than a soft prima dona like Crowell.

4. Reggie Davis looks to be the guy returning punts. Even after a muffed punt, he was back there again. The message was sent – he’s the guy and we’ll keeping sending him out there.

5. What is it with our senior QBs final home game? Murray, Greene and Zeier all had injuries in their final home games.

6. To the moron behind us during the App State game saying that ‘maybe Mason should have been starting all year..’ well you got your wish.

7. Im not too worried about Mason under center against Tech. We beat a Tech team that won the ACC with Joe Cox at QB, for crying out loud.

8. I’m scared to death about our defense this week. The triple option kills you if guys miss assignments or don’t finish plays…this defense has a very bad habit of doing that.

9. A sadness fell over me last night as I pulled onto the loop and headed towards Watkinsville. It’s a whole 10 months until we’ll all be back in Athens for a game, unless you count G-Day. This season has given us a lot of frustrations in Sanford Stadium, but incredible memories Between The Hedges and amongst our tailgating communities as well.

10. Tuck Fech.

Go Dawgs

Lugnut Dawg

Thank you, Seniors

Tonight Between The Hedges, the Bulldog Nation will bid its Sanford Stadium farewell to a group of seniors that will probably go down as the most beloved since the 2004 group that includes the likes of Greene and Pollack.

A quick glance of this group’s list of accomplishments in the past four years shows that Georgia has firmly taken control of beating teams that define success as Bulldogs.

Two SEC East titles

Two New Year’s Day Bowl Games

3-1 against Florida with wins in the last three games.

2-2 against Auburn (with the loss coming on a play pass that’s incomplete 99 times out of 100);

3-1 against Tennessee with wins in the last three games.

3-0 against Georgia Tech and hopefully that’ll be 4-0 after next weekend.

Of course, the figurehead of this group is and will for years be remembered as Aaron Murray, and for very good reason. He’ll be highly revered as not only one of Georgia’s greatest signal-callers, but what he stood for off the field as well.

These seniors, during their time here, elevated Georgia back to what it had lost sight of – an elite program in the SEC. It was one thing in 2002 to 2004 to first move Georgia to the top of the SEC East. But moving this team’s stature up from the dregs of a program that had lost its way is harder to do. And for that, the Bulldog Nation should be forever thankful.

 But perhaps most of all, this group fully understood what it means to be a Bulldog. And there was never, ever any doubt about the fact that the ‘G’ on the side of the helmet meant something special to each and everyone of them.

This program has regained its footing, and for that, this Bulldog says thanks.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Georgia’s problem is luck….or is it?

It unfortunately becomes a broken record for the Georgia program.

With any loss, the fact that Georgia won’t win a MNC comes up. And shortly after, the back and forth handwringing over ‘we’ll never win a championship with Richt’ quickly ensues.

Usually, Georgia’s bad fortune as inopportune times is brought up. While it’s true that this team needed a break it didn’t get in 2002 and 2007, at what point due you stop blaming bad luck for this program’s shortcomings?

While a tipped pass cost Georgia the 2012 SEC title and very likely the MNC, Georgia was in a position to play from behind because of porous run defense.

Saturday’s heartbreak on The Plains falls on a similar route. Georgia didn’t lose the game on the final play. It lost because it was flat-footed to begin the game and the horrendous start put Georgia in too deep of hole to climb out of despite some incredible heroics from Aaron Murray.

Georgia was outplayed in the first half on both sides of the ball. Luck and pathetic officiating by an official whose name is not worth dignifying have nothing do with that.

Things are going to go wrong in football, as they will in many other things. You are going to have breaks go against you. 

Until this program finds a way to make up for the breaks it doesn’t get, the question of “when is Georgia’s turn to win a MNC’ will continue to be asked. 

Maybe it’s time to scrap “Finish the Drill” in exchange for “No More Excuses?”

Lugnut Dawg

 

Ten post-heartbreak thoughts

1. No way around it. This one stings. It hurts. I’d rather lose by two scores than to lose like that. 

2. Incredibly proud of this team. It won’t get the result it hoped for in August, but it’s fight makes it one of the more exciting and stressful ones for cheer for. 

3. We’re really going to miss Aaron Murray.

4. I turned to my wife before the pass and said, ‘I feel bad about this distance on fourth down.’ I hate being right.

5. Can this season be summed up more than on that pass? A fluke play that happens due to fundamentally bad defensive technique and just happens to deflect the ball right into the hands of a receiver just standing there. 

6. Gurley was a non-factor in the third quarter, but that was forced by being down by multiple scores. When the game was closer, you saw what gameplan Bobo wanted to do from the start.

7. I feel sorry for Georgia fans near Wilcox County having to fight against revisionist history that Nick Marshall ‘transferred’ or made a small mistake.

8. With the way Georgia’s season has gone, I am shocked Murray wasn’t concussed on the touchdown.

9. Let’s pack Sanford and send these seniors off with a bang. 

10. I’m not sure Larry would have made it through this game. 

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg



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