Archive Page 3

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 http://www.cfbstats.com, 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.

Corbindawg

 

 

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.

Corbindawg

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

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

30 years ago, this Lewis wrote this classic

30 years ago today exactly, Kevin Butler’s mammoth field goal kick upset Clemson.

We’re guilty of re-posting this column of Lewis Grizzard’s but it’s very, very fitting on a day like today.

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.



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