Archive Page 2

More Keys For A Georgia Win

Yesterday, I said I was changing my heart on the outcome of the Missouri game because we have Todd Gurley, and they do not.

I was reviewing the stats and box scores from last year’s game, and something I had forgotten (I have tried to forget that game as much as possible) were the amount of turnovers we had.

One fumble by Murray led to s scoop and score, right after Missouri scored a TD to go up 21-10.  So just like that, it was 28-10 and the Dawgs were behind the 8 ball all day.

On the very next possession for Georgia, they put togethr a nice drive, going all the way down to Missouri 10 yard line before Brendan Douglas fumbled.  Missouri then basicallly ate the clock to end the first half.

Right there, that was a 14 point swing.  Georgia lost by 15.

Georgia fought back to make it 28-26 early in the 4th quarter.  James Franklin got hurt, then Missouri and Pinkel made a great call to do a trick play on a WR pass for a 40 yard touchdown.

So having a year to digest everything and looking back, to over simplify things, three big plays were really the difference.

Like with any game, if Georgia can avoid turnovers and big plays we should be in good shape.  If Georgia just goes out and plays its game and avoid the catastrophic moments, Georgia should win this game.

The good news is Georgia has been on the plus side of the turnovers this season.  We’ve only lost 1 fumble-which was a questionable call on Michael Bennett, and for the most part with the last two games excluded, Mason has been solid protecting the football.

As bad as the secondary has been, Georgia is the only team in the SEC who hasn’t given up a passing play of 40+ yards.  Georgia does rank dead last with passing plays of 20+ yards.  But overall, the big plays haven’t hurt hus.  For long running plays, Georgia is one of the best teams in the conference in lmiting long runs of 20+ yards, and has not given up a rushing play of 30+ yards.

If these trends can continue-not turning it over and limiting the big plays-Georgia should be in good shape Saturday.




Has the Secondary Become the New Offensive Line?

For years and years, it has seemed that the offensive line was the one position that has always plauged Georgia.  Beginning in 2007, every year it seems that we are just one catostraphic injury away from being in serious trouble on the 0-line.  In 2009, Georgia was best in the SEC in sacks allowed.  In 2011, Georgia was near dead last in the Conference with 33 sacks.  Of course, Murray detractors point to him not being very good as a reason why he threw so many interceptions that season, and not to the fact he was under constant duress.  Injuries, attrition, and just not recruiting well

However, it seems that this season Georgia’s offensive line is playing much better than normal.  Having a special back like Todd Gurley makes the running game look stronger, and of course we don’t throw it much so therefore there are less opportunities for sacks, but I’ve been overall pleased with the line play.

It seems now that the secondary has become the booger bear.  In the 2012 season, things were so dire becuase of suspensions that Connor Norman was your starting safety at Missouri and Malcolm Mitchell had to start the season at corner.  Last season the lumps they took are well documented.  None of the starters outside Damian Swann are back from last season, and it clearly shows.  Injuries, (LOTS of) attrition, and not recruiting well have brought us to this point.


But, They Don’t Have Gurley

I was thinking about the Missouri game last night as I was driving home from a late night meeting.  Somewhere around McDonough, I had a moment of clarity.

Missouri couldn’t beat a mediocre Big 10 team without Todd Gurley.

How can they beat a mediocre SEC team with Todd Gurley?

Missouri gave up 241 yards rushing to Indiana, and the Hoosiers’ leading rusher Tevin Coleman had 19 carries and 132 yards (6.9).  He even broke a long run of 49 yards. 

Now, I watch as much college football as my wife and 2-year-old will allow.  Admittedly, I can say I had no clue who Indiana’s leading rusher was in that game before going back and looking at the box score.  So this may be an ignorant statement since I’ve never seen Coleman play, but I can all but guarantee you he isn’t as good as Gurley.

Georgia is playing good football in areas that have traditionally plagued us.  We are one of the fewest penalized teams in the league, we are on the plus side of turnover margin (about equal with Missouri), and our OFFENSIVE line is doing a good job in run blocking and pass protection (only given up 6 sacks).

Just looking through some of the stats at, Georgia and Missouri pretty even statistically.

Both teams have a single bad loss.  Georgia lost to South Carolina, who is losing to everyone.  Missouri’s lone loss was to Indiana, which was beaten by Bowling Green.

Missouri had to struggle to beat South Carolina.  Georgia really struggled, but was successful, in losing to South Carolina.

The difference in this game should be Todd Gurley.  Both teams are very even.  It is on the road, but it is an early kick off, so that is a wash, too.

Georgia has Todd Gurley.  Missouri doesn’t.  Georgia should win simply because of that.




Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Raise Those Chicken Fingers

Had it not been for the Braves winning the National League West race over the weekend, the news out of Athens Saturday night would have been even more startling.  Georgia beats Clemson in football. You believe that? The Braves winning the West was a miracle. Georgia beating Clemson also had to be divinely structured.

It couldn’t happen. But it did. I thank you, God. Ray Goff thanks you. Everybody whose allegiance is colored red and black thanks you. We never needed one any worse.

As the Clemson revelers headed up Field Street to Sanford Stadium an hour before the evening kickoff, you could sense the possibility of losing had not entered their minds.

A fat boy, wearing shorts and an absolutely filthy T-shirt and an orange hat, shouted to Georgia tailgaters, “Y’all about to get whooped and whooped bad.”

A few shouted retorts. I wondered aloud if fat boy could even spell “Clemson.”

“You can’t spell it, either, ” a companion said to me. “It’s not ‘Clemson.’ It’s ‘Clemmons.’”

I’d forgotten.  Clemmons College. That’s what we called ‘em before they started beating our brains out.

God, last year in Death Valley. The heat was nearly unbearable. People fainted. And I was stuck, as are all Georgia fans when they venture to Auburn-with-a-lake, deep in the end zone.

Didn’t matter. I didn’t want to see what was happening on the field, anyway. It was Clemmons 94 and us totally embarrassed.

You don’t want to be a Georgia fan losing to the Tigers at home.  Several years ago a friend was walking out of the Clemson stadium when an orange-clad held a chicken bone in front of him and said, “Come here, Dawg, and get your bone.”

My friend, known as Rocky afterwards, let the guy have one upside the head. How we got home alive, I’ll never know.

Last year they were actually laughing at us. A car sped past my party as we huddled together after the loss and the driver shouted, “Them Dawgs are a joke!”

I pulled out my .45 and shot the car full of holes. No, I didn’t. I just sank deeper in my sorrows.

So Saturday night was payback. A Tech fan had said to me earlier in the week, “It’s going to be a long ride home for y’all Saturday night.”

Turns out, it was Tech that took the long ride home. Tech is 2-3. Georgia is 4-1. You believe that?

I always tailgate with B.A. and Nancy. Chicken and Nancy’s marvelous deviled eggs.

At each home game this year, we’ve had chicken fingers. B.A. has gone into the chicken finger business in a place called Oscar’s on Baxter. He’s got chicken fingers, big burgers and biscuits from scratch.

“It’s the chicken fingers, ” he said to me after the Saturday night victory.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“We’re 4-0 at home. My chicken fingers are undefeated.”

And so they are.

We remained at our tailgating site and welcomed Sunday morning. The Clemmons fans had gone quietly into the night. I wanted to tell fat boy to wear a clean shirt next time.

Now Ole Miss. B.A. can’t make the trip to Oxford, but I’ll be there.

We’re trying to figure out how to fax chicken fingers.

Time For A Change At QB

Folks out there are tiptoeing around the issue, but I’m going to just say it.

Hutson Mason no longer needs to be the quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Look, Mason seems to be a good kid.  He is loyal.  I hope he proves this Monday Morning armchair quarterback wrong.

But if he stays starting quarterback, then this team is going to lose another couple of games-at least.

He can’t make the throws needed to win SEC games.  For as good as Todd Gurley is, at some point in the very near future, the quarterback is going to have to take a game over and win a game for you in this league.  Even the great Alabama has needed it in the past.  This quarterback can’t get it done.

It won’t make a damn if we get Justin Scott-Wesley or Malcolm Mitchell back.  If you can’t get them the ball, what does it matter?  Sure, their presence may give opposing teams something to think about, but Georgia has got to be the easiest team in America to game plan for.  Our offensive strategy revolves around Todd Gurley breaking big runs and holding him back until the 4th quarter.  This is risky, and it is not sustainable.

I’m a big believer in running the ball, especially when you have the horses that we have in the backfield.  We should be a run first team for sure.  But there are times when you need to throw, and there is no way we can throw the ball right now.  Nothing I have seen makes me think we can improve in this area?

I posed the question before the season-Will Hutson Mason be the next Joe Cox?  I said no, because he had more talent around him than Joe did.

I was wrong.  Hutson Mason is not the next Joe Cox.  He is worse.  Joe’s problem wasn’t his ability.  He was talented.  He threw a bunch of touchdowns and a bunch of yards.  He was even part of the Elite 11 QB camp the same time Stafford was.  Cox’s problem was I think he tried to do too much and make too many big plays.

I don’t want to sit here and say I know more about quarterbacks than Coach Bobo and Coach Richt.   But I also know that Coach Richt is loyal.  Loyal to a fault.  How long do we have to sacrifice the betterment of our program for loyalty?  We did it with John Eason, Dave Van Hallanger, Willie Martinez, Joe T. III, etc.

I would love to be wrong.  I hope Mason leads us to an 11-1 regular season.  I would be tickled pink if that happens.  I’ll eat my words.  But I don’t think that will happen.  I don’t know what is going on with Brice Ramsey or Faton Bauta in practice and behind the scenes.  But I can clearly see what is going on with Hutson Mason.  If we are going to be no better off with a Redshirt Freshman at quarterback, we might as well try.

We aren’t going to win the SEC East in our current situation.  Forget about the quarterback situation.  This defense that gives up 30+ points to SEC opponents is a liability.  We knew that going into the season, so that shouldn’t be surprising.  We can do something about the quarterback situation.  How many more games are we going to lose before a change is made?  If you are being honest with yourself, what kind of chance do we have against Missouri?  Against Auburn? We might as well start preparing for next season and the future.

There is always next season.  That is the motto of a Georgia fan.


NOTE:  I look at recruiting rankings not for the number of stars, but for who else has been recruiting that kid.  Mason had offers from UGA, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, FSU, Indiana, Mississippi State, UAB, Virginia and Western Michigan.  Brice Ramsey had offers from UGA, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, FSU, and Ohio State. 

Not giving up on Mason…yet

When Rick Pitino was head coach of the Boston Celtics, he once famously exclaimed the the likes of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish are ‘not walking through that door.”

That, to me, is the realization that is more real than ever for Georgia football when it comes to Hutson Mason.

Mason is the best option under center for this team right now. He won’t be Aaron Murray, no one else will be, and Mason is in the unenviable position of replacing one of the top signal-callers in Georgia history.

Fortunately for Mason, he has a healthy Todd Gurley in the backfield. This team has gone from being carried by Aaron Murray a year ago with patchwork running backs at times to Gurley carrying this team’s offense with a limitation at quarterback.

The good news for Mason is that I’m not sure we’ve seen all that he can do. Not even going back to last season against Georgia Tech and Nebraska, Hutson Mason did not have the full arsenal of receivers to throw to.

As frustrating as it may be to not see Mason stretch the field, he can only take those shots if the chances are there. This team has had one true deep threat the past four games in Chris Conley. So when defenses key on him, it’s easy to stack 10 in the box.

But if you get even a somewhat healthy Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell on the field, it gives defense something to at least think about – and more receivers that can stand a better chance of getting open.

It’s an adjustment not having a QB who can chuck it deep. And not an easy one to get used to. But having more to work with will at least give Hutson Mason a fighting chance.

As odd as it sounds, the Vanderbilt game will be highly important for this team. It’ll show if it has any chance to have any sort of passing attack or if its hopes will hinge on Todd Gurley staying healthy.

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


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