Archive for the 'Strategy' Category

Why a Playoff is a Good Thing

Last night solidified why a college football playoff is inevitable. The sport has gotten so big that we virtually have to enter into this unchartered territory. I had been on the fence about this topic, but last night my mind was made up.

We were one sleazy coach and a tattoo parlor away from having witnessed The Ohio State University and Notre Dame play an incredible football game for the 2013 MNC. No doubt, that game would have been epic. It also would have been akin to watching Ole Miss and Vanderbilt play for all the marbles. Alabama proved, once again, that the SEC is the elite college football conference in America. So, to sum up that thought, a playoff will bring us year-in year-out what almost didn’t happen this year.

There is zero doubt in my mind that if we had a 4 team playoff this year, Notre Dame would not have been playing for the MNC. There is zero doubt in my mind that if we had an 8 team playoff that Notre Dame would have made it out of the first round. You can bicker about how many teams and who those are, but I guarantee you Alabama would have made it into the title bout. Had Ohio State not been on probation, the best team would not have won the National Championship, and that’s a shame. In a world of transparency, we need a clearly defined winner. A playoff is the only system that allows that.

Stumbling slightly off the beaten path, I’m fairly certain that if we had a 16 team playoff that allowed multiple schools from the SEC to play, you would wind up with at least 3 in the final 4 if scheduling allowed such an event to take place. Point is, and I’m not trying to be SEC homer guy, but the SEC is the home of the best football in the nation. To have any type of scenario where an SEC school doesn’t have a fair shot at playing for the MNC at the current day in age is a travesty. I know how that sounds, but it’s the truth. Notre Dame can’t play with SEC schools, but had a place in the big game when more deserving teams did not. It’s not just Notre Dame. I don’t think Oregon, Stanford, Ohio State, Kansas State, or others are in the same class as the big boys of the SEC. I believe the two best teams in the nation played on December 1 in the Georgia Dome. I believe the best team in the nation won that game and walked to a much-too-easy win against a team that shouldn’t have been in Miami.

Lots of rambling thoughts, but bottom line is I do believe last night proved the need for a playoff system, and I’m glad we’re moving in that direction. We’ll argue about that format for years to come, but the good thing is we won’t be stuck with 4 teams for very long. It will get to 8 and then 16 within a decade, and to me, that’s a good thing. 

Go Dawgs!


Three reason why Georgia wins, and three why it won’t

Honestly, I think Saturday goes either way. My contention all week has been that if it’s a blowout, Georgia loses. But if its close, Georgia wins.

Why Georgia Might Win

1. Airing it out

If there’s a weakness in Alabama’s defense, it’s its defensive secondary. If Murray gets protection, he could exploit that.

2. This team smells destiny

Since January, the goal for this team is being in Miami for the title. When a team of destiny is that close to a goal, it’s tough to stop it.

3. Gamechangers

Georgia has a more talented defense, and it starts with playmakers, Bacarri Rambo, Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones. Alabama has a talented defense, but it doesn’t have the playmakers who can turn a game on a play and take it over all by themselves.

Why Georgia Might Not Win

1. Aaron Murray

It’s funny. Murray is why Georgia may or may not win. If Murray presses too much and makes early mistakes (see Florida last year), Georgia is fighting uphill right away and will be in a hole that’ll be tough to dig out of. Georgia’s hopes of winning hinge on what Aaron Murray shows up.

2. Getting Personal 

If there’s been a blight on Georgia’s defense the past month, it’s been the amount of senseless personal fouls. Georgia CANNOT afford these against Alabama. If Georgia comes out wanting to carry its pre-game trash talk onto the field, it will lose, because it’ll result in either personal fouls or players trying to make too big of plays early with the result being busted players on defense.

3. The Line

Georgia’s offensive line has looked good recently. It helps a lot that it hasn’t faced a good offensive line in that stretch. It’s easy to break big plays against Ole Miss, Tech and Auburn. It’s harder against great defenses, and Bama has a darn good defensive line.

How much is the recent offensive success due to lack of competition? We’ll find out Saturday afternoon.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Dawgs vs. Clubber Lang

I’m one of those people who, whenever they are on TV, I can’t turn away from watching a handful of movies.

One being The Karate Kid (the original, not the Jaden Smith travesty) and pretty high up on the list as well are the first four Rocky movies.

Personally, I’m hoping that Saturday we’ll see the rematch of Rocky vs. Clubber play out in the Georgia Dome.

The more I think about it, this team has a lot of similarities to Rocky. This program, around 2007, was on top. It may as well have been untouchable. Then, through various reasons, it lots its way, it lost sight of the big picture and got caught up in things that’ll throw any championship contender off-balance, and it paid a high price, with the 2008 Blackout game being this team’s version of the first Rocky vs. Clubber fight. Georgia lost its ‘eye of the tiger.’

Now, here we are in 2012. If you listen to the experts and Bammers who ‘grew up a Bama fan’ but never admitted it until late 2008, Georgia may as well not show up Saturday. The Dawgs are just wasting everyone ‘s time – this is a coronation for King Nick, we’re all just spectators.

If you ask that crowd, Georgia has no chance.

But here’s why Georgia has a chance. I’ve seen it with the post-game celebration at Auburn and again after beating Tech. This bunch is focused. While in the past you have seen players leap into the stands and dance among fans, you have not seen that this year. The post-game celebrations have been very business like. Enjoy it, but there are much bigger things ahead.

That’s what sets this team apart from others. It knows what it has to do, and seems intent on not letting any outside, fringe noise distracting.

Win or lose, I actually feel somewhat good about Saturday. Not enough to guarantee a win, but enough to think we have a shot at this deal.

And as Munson/Dooley raised pessimist, that’s a bit intriguing.

Go Dawgs

Lugnut Dawg

Five Keys Against The Cowbell

1. Pound it, pound it and pound it

State likes to run a no-huddle and wear defenses down. Georgia needs to do what it did last week at Ole Miss – control the game by running the ball like there is no tomorrow. It may not yield style points, but it’ll keep Chris Relf and company on the sidelines.

2. Linebacker play is key

When you play a team like State which likes to rely on misdirection plays within its spread option scheme, you are up against a team counting on you to miss a defensive assignment or open-field tackle. That’s where the linebacker play take credence, namely Jarvis Jones and Cornelius Washington from the outside spots.

3. Be special

If Georgia’s special teams play doesn’t improve, we may be pining for the return of the Father of the Directional Kickoffs – Jon Fabris. Not only is Blair Walsh in a slump, but this team has been caught asleep by two trick plays in the past three games. In both of those instances, the plays turned the game’s momentum, and that can not be afforded against Mississippi State.

4. Consistent Murray

At times, it seems as if there are two Aaron Murrays – the first half version against Florida and South Carolina and the one who plays lights out like he did against USC. Murray needs to be consistently good and not make mistakes that’ll throw Georgia behind.

5. Hit ‘Em Early

For a team which entered the season with high hopes, this has been a disappointing start for Mississippi State. If Georgia can lead early, it could impact MSU’s demeanor, possibly inducing some foolish penalties similar to the first half of the Auburn game.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Well Played

Sometimes you just get had. Such was the case with Jameer Nelson, guard for Orlando Magic, after getting bounced by our Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs. Well played, Arthur Triche.


Where Exactly Does the Problem Lie With the O-Line

I’ve pondered this question recently, and have had some good conversations with corbin on this exact issue.

We have what was thought to be the premiere Offensive Line coach in America in CSS. He was on Saban’s staff when he won a NC, took our line from shambles to riches in 2007, and is generally regarded as the best in the business.

We have several offensive linemen who are projected to be great NFL linemen. We were told that our O-line would be the most dominant in the conference prior to the 2010 season. Yet we witnessed a line who under-performed all year long, had a difficult time opening up holes, and generally got out-played for most of the season.

So, the best I can tell, there are four possible answers as to why we seem to be struggling so badly on the offensive line. I will preface this by saying I was an offensive lineman, and while a great running back is a line’s best friend, a running back is generally only as good as his line.

1-      Coach Stacy Searels is not as great a coach as we all thought. Maybe he was the product of great athletes at LSU, came to UGA and had one of the best running backs we’ve seen since Herschel, and rode Knowshon to perceived greatness. He really didn’t do a great job early on but had good results based on personnel. Now that he’s left with the current personnel, he is not really all that good. I don’t think this is the case.

2-      Our “NFL-caliber” linemen really aren’t as good as they are cracked up to be. I don’t know how this could be the case, but maybe it is. I’m not a scout, so I don’t know exactly what the deal is here. I would think that the folks who look at this stuff know what they’re talking about, and that these guys really are good. But if they are that good, and Searels is that good, then something’s got to give. I guess this has a little more validity than the above point.

3-      Knowshon and Stafford made the line look better than they actually are, and Murray and Ealey/King are bringing the level back down. I touched on this in my first point, and while I don’t think it’s the case, there may be some validity here. I just find it hard to believe that Searels could have a unit look so great for a couple of years and then have a unit look so mediocre the last two years. But maybe 24 hit the holes harder and also elevated the play of the line. Who knows? If so, then what’s the fix? And what does that mean about CSS? What role does Bobo take in it?

4-      Maybe CSS is a great O-line coach, and maybe our guys are truly talented. They’ve just become a product of a bad system. Honestly, I hope that this is the case. Maybe CSS has been brought down a level by his surroundings. Maybe these horses haven’t been given the proper training in the weight room and the gymnasium. We could have an “FSU factor” in place, where you have NFL talent that isn’t being developed properly. But doesn’t part of that fall on CSS? Hopefully with changes in the S&C program, this area of concern will get fixed. But if this is the case, then we’re left with a head scratcher. Our linemen are big, no doubt. And we have seen the reports on how strong they are. Is there a disparity between weight-room talent and on-field talent? I really don’t know. If this point is valid, will the changes this year help fix the problem?

The bottom line is this: If CSS is a great coach, and we have really talented linemen, then something has got to give.

Listen, there are many, many things for us to complain about this offseason. Likewise, there are a lot of areas that need to be fixed. This is just one of many. I know we scored a ton of points this year, but when we needed it we didn’t have it. The run game digressed in 2010, and if we didn’t have AJ spread out wide taking attention away, Murray would probably have struggled infinitely more.

I’m just wondering what the problem is here, and if it is a S&C issue, is it something that can be fixed? I am one of the fanatics who thought CSS was the greatest thing to happen to our line when he came on board, and have sweated every time his name was mentioned elsewhere. I hope that I wasn’t foolish in my thoughts, and that he really is the best O-line coach in America.

Maybe I’m way off base on everything and I am concerned over nothing. What are your thoughts?


Five Keys For the Dawgs against State

1. Establish control early. This is something that Georgia has not done a good job of in the past two games, giving up early scores to both South Carolina and Arkansas. As a result, early momentum was handed over, and the Bulldogs found themselves in an uphill battle from the start. They cannot afford to do that against Mississippi State, especially given a certain noise in Stark Vegas…the Cowbell

2. Be consistent on offense. As good as the Bulldogs executed in the fourth quarter against Arkansas, they were that lethargic for the first three quarters from an offensive standpoint.

3. Force MSU into mistakes. State’s offense is still trying to find its footing. Georgia must take advantage of this by forcing the Bizzaro Bulldogs into turnovers and mistakes.

4. Establish the run. One of the more disappointing aspects of the Bulldogs’ offense so far this year is its run game that has not been able to get on track. Having Caleb King back in the lineup should help this week, but a strong running game is a must. It eats up clock and keeps State’s offense off the field. More importantly, a time-consuming drive puts the control of the game squarely in UGA’s hands.

5. Negate the big play. If you were at Sanford Stadium a week ago, you no doubt so way too many instances of a big play by Arkansas leading to or being a touchdown. UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham noted after the game that the defense’s progress is stunted with each busted play. To shut down State, the Bulldogs need to minimize defensive mistakes and not give up the big play. If they can do that, it’ll be a good day for the Georgia defense.

Lugnut Dawg

Before we hated him…

This year, even though Notre Dame has Brian Kelly, I think its going to take a few years for the Irish to be a player in the National Title discussion.  Irish fans up there are salivating for BCS bowl, even though the last time they got that far, their defense made Jamarcus Russell look like a #1 pick (And the Raiders were stupid enough to take him…but that’s another post).

The recent post from the folks over at Every Day Should Be Saturday features a baby faced Urban Meyer and the beginning stages of the “Tebow Dive/Where’s the ball?/Oh crap” offense. Could you imagine if Meyer had stayed there? And if Tebow would have gone there?

Here’s the video:

I’m more a fan of stifling defense and a run first offense. I really think Nebraska should bring back the option ASAP– with their defense they would be unstoppable, but it is a thing of beauty seeing this Urban’s offense in its beginning stages.


Christmas in July

Thanks for the welcome y’all! Hope to shoot some of my thoughts from campus as much as I can.

When Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals came to Atlanta a few weeks back, the ole AJC got into “Stras-mas” spirit.  ESPN was celebrating it every 5 days too…that is until he lost a game. I know baseball sustains us until the Fall, but the real holiday comes on the day of the first kickoff.  As we get older, the closest thing to waking up on Christmas morning as a kid might just possibly be the first Saturday in September.  We start playing Redcoat music a month out. We wake up before my phone alarm goes off.  The theme to GameDay brings up emotions that rival  those from Jingle Bells.  And if we’re at home, we might even spend all day in our pajamas.

One thing that does remind me about Christmas: wish lists. Not all lists are alike, but its always worth making one.

Now I know all of our lists would probably begin with National Champs, AJ winning the Heisman, hanging 50 on the board in Jax, Munson making a comeback, and hoping Herbstreit goes on Dancing With The Stars so-his-dreams-could-be-crushed-and-he-would-look that-much-more like-a-pansy…but I’m more about Fall Saturdays in Athens. Saturdays in Athens make the home losses bearable and the wins that much sweeter.

So here goes, my wish list — Christmas in July style:.

- No more black helmets. Period. I wouldn’t mind bring the Red britches back for away games though. If Herschel can, anyone can.

- All expenses paid trip to Boulder. It’s on my to-do list for the Fall. At least it is worth asking for.

-Teach ‘em young. This starts at Orientation…but the Orientation Leaders should make incoming freshmen know the words to “Hail to Georgia Down in Dixie.” (aka the real fight song–the one the Redcoats play after every FG). For someone that lived close to Athens growing up, learning to “call the dawgs” and Orientation was an awkward waste of my time.

- Practice. I don’t care where: In Sanford, the Steg, Myers Quad, Reed Quad, etc. There should be a pep rally of sorts the night before every home game. See….Midnight Yell.

- Make the entire stadium first come first serve. If the people want their seats, the AA can just charge more for their “reservations,” much like the red seats are already there.  Everything else should be fair game. It works like magic in High School.

-No more “SeatExchange.Com” advertisements during games. You know what I’m taking about. The bright green ads on the little LED boards. They’re terrible. The first time I saw it, I thought it said “”. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one.

- Two words: open tryouts. Over the past two years, the mic man has been irrelevant. And the mic “girl” experiment failed miserably. What better way to spice it up than to have a campus-wide open tryouts each week? No physical requirements necessary, just the ability to pump a crowd/the student section up (because without it, there is no noise). I can just imagine 5’5 300 pound, semi-obliterated 5th year on a mic during the game. RIPPPPPPP ‘EM UP, TEAR ‘EM UP.

-Encore showing of the Damon Evans DUI “You Drink and Drive, You lose” video. What better way for the message to get across?

- Add a little more post-game tradition. I know we have the chapel bell, but I’m talking about right after the game, after the post game prayer.  Coach Richt often comes over to the student section after a big victory…but what if that happened every game? And what if the entire team came? All it would take is one game, the entire team in the student corner, and the Redcoats blasting the sweetness that is the theme to “Tara”.

-Change the location of the trumpet solo. My idea? Right underneath the National Championship flags in the Upper Deck, West Endzone.

- More crunk Redcoats. If we’re not gonna be super traditional (Ohio State), might as well get crunk.

Exhibit A — LSU:

Exhibit B — BC

- More student seats. The last number I saw stated that a little over 10,000 students receive tickets for a game. And thats with enrollment at 35,000 + and a stadium of 92,746. More students = more noise = better game environment. I’m sure this has been drilled into the AA’s head, but stating one more time never hurts.

Now that last one may be a stretch, but miracles do happen on holidays. After all, Santa does wear red and drink Coke, so he must be a Dawg fan.

Merry Christmas!


2-QB System: Not For Me

Corch Meyers is going to utilize the 2-QB system this year, and that’s just fine with me.

Personally, I hate the 2-QB rotation. When Greene and Shockley shared time, it made me furious. And I hope that this year we do not implement a similar system with Gray and Murray/Mettenberger.

I understand why some coaches may see the benefit of this system. In the case of Florida, Brantley is really their only QB with any experience or deep knowledge of the program. So, with their style, on third and short, I kind of get why they’d want to put a more elusive QB back there. When we did it, I get the theory that it would cause opposing defenders to make adjustments.

That said, the cons of this style outweigh the pros by a long way. For starters, the QB is the most important position on the field. I was a lineman in high school, but I knew my place. To be successful in the SEC, or on any level for that matter, you have to have a field general leading the charge. You have to have a QB who commands the respect of the offense and of the opposing defense. I’ll go back to DG for an example. He was by no means the most athletically gifted player on the field, but he was smart, confident, and possessed that “it” quality that the great ones have. He was the leader. During his prime, there was no doubt who was in control. When you start tinkering with that, questions arise. Further, the leaders confidence has the chance to be shaken because he knows at any point he may be yanked.

Another problem I have with this system is the rhythm of the game. If you’re driving down the field and get in a third and short situation and bring in another guy to call the shots, you potentially ruin the rhythm. Of course, when it works out, it looks like a good call. But no competitor ever wants to leave the field, and when you do, it takes you out of that rhythm you’ve created. Same case for a drive-to-drive scenario. If you’re rotating QB’s every few drives it’s darn near impossible to get into a rhythm. I just don’t see the benefit in rotating 2 guys at the QB spot.

This is a lot different than rotating in O-linemen or D-backs, or any other position really. Most every other position on the field have a more narrow range of responsibilities. A QB has to not only read the defense, but develop a sense of what they’re doing and how they are handling different situations. You just can’t do that from the sidelines. You can do your job from play to play, but there’s so much more to it than that. You are charged with managing a game, and you have to be out there with your guys to do that.

I’ m all for UF deploying the 2-QB system. I think it’s a great call for them. But I think I will lose my mind if we follow suit. Pick your guy, whoever it may be, and let them have it.



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