It Is Not The Same, Yet It Is

Though Crystal Balls are as uncommon as Crystal Footballs are in Butts-Mehre, you all could see the headlines being written before kick off Saturday.  Had Georgia won, the headlines would have read something like “Alabama Dynasty Over, New King of the Mountain.”  But, since Georgia lost, and lost in glorious fashion, the headlines now read “Georgia losses another big game, Mark Richt sucks.”  Or something like that.

Saturday was an awful day for Georgia fans.  It is hard to argue with the headlines being written.  I am not going to delve too deep in the game; we all saw it, there isn’t much else to say.

However, I do want to say this.

This wasn’t the same typical Georgia not showing up, looking unprepared, bed wetting we have seen in the past.

The two worst blowout games I can think of are the 2007 Tennessee and 2012 South Carolina games.   In both of those games, Georgia wasn’t competitive.   The 2007 Tennessee game, the Volunteers got up 28-0 at the half and it felt like it was 60-0.  Against South Carolina, Georgia was down 21-0 in the first quarter, and not for a garbage touchdown, Georgia would have been shut out.

Georgia had opportunities last Saturday.  They didn’t capitalize on them early.

To say that “Georgia doesn’t show up to play in a big game” is lazy or uninformed statement.  There have been some clunkers.  But there are many “big games” where Georgia wins, and (gasp!) wins big.

Georgia did what I thought they had to do early, and that was stop Derrick Henry.  On Alabama’s first possession, Georgia forced Henry to fumble, and Georgia took over in Alabama territory on the 42.  Alabama then went three and out on their next series and Georgia took over at their own 43, and went three and out again.

On Alabama’s next possession, they drove the length of the field, and got a big 50 yard pass, and were held to just a field goal after getting it to the Georgia 15.

Then, late first quarter and early second quarter, Georgia drove the length of the field and had to settle for a field goal, but put together a 14 play, 71 yard drive that ate nearly 7 minutes off the clock.

Georgia didn’t come out lifeless.  Georgia wasn’t unprepared.  This wasn’t akin to similar beatings that we’ve seen.  What happened Saturday in the late second quarter and early third quarter is exactly what happened to South Carolina against us in the third quarter of that game.  A few big plays, one team grabbed momentum.  So everyone needs to back off on that particular narrative.

At this point, if you are familiar with anything I’ve written, you’re probably thinking, “There goes that Corbindawg again, being mindless homer and shill for Coach Richt.”

Oh, but I’m not done yet.

What was the same?

The same conservative nature of Coach Richt.  A Tiger isn’t going to change his stripes, but what cost Georgia the game and the point when I knew we were in trouble was the moment we punted the ball on the Alabama 38 yard line, and only gain 24 yards in field position.  That is something that makes Davis Shaw warm on the insides.

You have Sony Michel, Malcolm Mitchell, and Nick Chubb.  Why not attempt to go for it?  If you lose because you are swinging ferociously, at you lose fighting.  If you lose by curling up in the fetal position, you deserve to lose.   A team like Alabama needs to be pounced on early.  You are at home, and have all the momentum.  Roll the dice!  And on the next possession, at midfield, you have ti 4th and 1 at midfield with one of the best running backs in America.  4th and 1!

Think back to some of the recent big wins.  Against Auburn last year, we attempted a fake punt and went for it on 4th and 1 (famous David Andrews dance afterwards) that led to a score.  How many times does he try an onside kick?  Remember the 2012 SECCG?  Arthur Lynch completed a pass to convert on a fake punt.  How about the 2011 Florida game?  Going for it on 4th down twice-and twice throwing to the end zone-and twice scoring touchdowns.

Where was the aggressive team we saw against South Carolina that was still throwing the ball in the 4th quarter with a 24 point lead?

I get the frustration.  I get the anger.  I get the disappointment.  I get it all.  But don’t be lazy and complain about things that simply aren’t true.  Georgia was ready to play.  Georgia showed up.  Georgia did not shit the bed.  Mark Richt can’t be blamed for that.

I’ve said it many times.  When Mark Richt coaches with a chip on his shoulder, he is among the best.   When he coaches not to lose, 28 point losses happen.  That is once again the failure of Saturday.

It is easy for members of the media and fans to say blanket statements. But dig deeper, and we should have seen this loss coming halfway through the first quarter.  We could have all left then, and been a lot drier.

We’ve seen this story before.  Early loss, adversity, then rally.  But, for once, it would be nice to be in the lead.

Because, as Lewis said, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”







And we still don’t know

On Saturday, before everything hit the bed, myself and few of my other tailgating comrades in arms were mushing over so many aspects of what we thought may or may not happen on the field at a sloshy Sanford Stadium.

One comment that was said still sticks out…”we don’t know how good we are.”

Honestly, I’m still not sure how good…or bad this team is.

This team isn’t as good as it looked against South Carolina. As we’ve seen, bad teams make other teams look great, and Spurrier’s bunch are a very bad football team that may not win four games. One concern that I had Saturday was, ‘what if Lambert looked good because USC’s defense is that bad?’ That turned out to be right, in a way.

At the same time, this team isn’t as bad as it looked on Saturday. A very motivated Alabama team had something to do with that. Bama came out of the corner swinging desperate punches like its life depending on it, and it showed. Why Georgia didn’t show that desperation? That’s another post for another time. Alabama found some holes in Georgia’s defense and exposed them (vulnerability to covering the tight end finally caught up), and Lambert’s first look at a top of the line defense exposed how to easily rattle him.

Still, there is something to be said about how much field position and Georgia having to go away from its running game turned things on Saturday.

It’s a broken record, and I tire of saying it, but despite the loss, all things are still in reach for this team. Is Georgia as good as it looked against USC? No. But it’s not as bad as it looked on Saturday as well.

Lugnut Dawg

Final Thoughts About Massive Showdown Tomorrow

Some final musings about tomorrow’s game…

  • I have been going back and forth all week about this game, but I finally came around to UGA winning about Wednesday. I thought that Georgia had too much speed.  Nick Chubb can break away, Sony Michel is explosive, and our receivers are fast.  Alabama isn’t as good as they have been in recent years.  They are still very good, but not the invincible juggernaut we’re used to seeing.
  • Then the rains came.  The rain shouldn’t hurt the home field atmosphere, despite University administration trying their best to.  But, the fact remains I am worried about the ferocity of the crowd in a hurricane.  I hope I am wrong.
  • And the wet weather might neutralize our biggest strength, the aforementioned speed.  If this game is going to be a slobber knocker, I tend to like Alabama’s chances.
  • What can Georgia do to win?  The same as what Alabama has to do:  stop the run.  Stop Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake.  If Alabama has trouble establishing their running game and placing the burden on Jake Coker to make plays, I like our pass rush to put pressure and force mistakes.  That is it.
  • This game is the biggest game of Georgia’s season so far.  Then, the Tennessee becomes the biggest game of Georgia’s season.  Then Missouri.  Then Florida.  Then Kentucky.  Then Auburn.  Then Georgia Tech.  Then what comes after that.  This is a HUGE game. But the talk is Georgia NEEDS TO WIN THIS GAME FOR LEGACY REASONS.  I can buy that, to an extent.  But this game is a game against a top 15 team.  We have played these games.   The 2012 South Carolina, Florida, Alabama games. The 2013 Clemson, South Carolina, LSU and Auburn games.  The 2014 Clemson and Auburn games.  In these past 9 games, Georgia is 5-4.  So it wouldn’t be the Jacksonville State over Auburn level of upset if Georgia does win.

The point is, Georgia has played in monster games recently.  Coach Richt has been around and has the scars to show victories and defeats.  The memes and narratives might lead you to believe that Georgia is new to this stage and Coach Richt needs to prove something.  Georgia has won big games before.  Georgia has lost big games before.  Mark Richt has led his team to close victories, close losses, blowout wins and blowout losses in similar situations.

I don’t want to downplay the importance of tomorrow’s game.  I am not attempting to hedge my emotions in case we lose.  If we win, we have to beat Tennessee-Georgia Tech.  If we lose, we have to beat Tennessee-Georgia Tech.

Tomorrow is the biggest game of the college football weekend, one of the biggest games of the 2015 season, and one of the most important games in Sanford Stadium in quite sometime, and one of the most important games Georgia has played-since the last time a game was must win.  Which if you believe the internet, was the Belk Bowl.

Let’s stick to a narrative about tomorrow.  But let’s stick to the right one.

The correct narrative is Georgia has a chance to be the new top dog in the SEC by beating Alabama…for the next week. It would make a huge statement to win, but this is one game in early October.

Show up early.  Wear a rain coat.  Wear rubber boots.  Be loud.  Cheer on our beloved Dawgs to victory.

Most importantly, BELIEVE!!!!!

Final prediction:  Georgia 28, Alabama 17 on a Nick Chubb TD late to seal the deal.  


A PSA About The Weather

Let’s be candid for a moment, shall we?
The weather Saturday is going to suck.
So what? If it is rainy, cold and dreary, I hope our fans still show up and GET LOUD!
A big key to victory Saturday is going to be a raucous home field advantage.
Georgia has done better in the big home games, and the improved environment at Sanford Stadium has assisted that improvement. South Carolina and LSU in 2013, Clemson and Auburn last year, and South Carolina two weeks ago were great environments.

Now, the University is going to try their best to dampen the mood. Shutting down tailgating on campus locations to protect the turf is ridiculous. PLANT MORE GRASS! Laying sod isn’t exactly rocket science. I’ve done it.  And not that expensive. Encouraging fans who don’t have tickets not to come to campus? Wanting fans to take Athens transit buses? Have you ever?

It’s gonna rain. Prepare accordingly. It’s called a raincoat. I bought a pair of duck boots yesterday. Been wanting to get some for a while and this pushed me over the top.

Wipe the sand out.

Anticipation for these kinds of games is what gets us through the cold days in February.

Get to campus. Drink booze. Be loud.

Rain be damned.


Another Big Game

Usually, when Alabama and Georgia meet up, it is a huge deal.
In 2002, we all remember Georgia being “man enough” to get their first ever win in Tuscaloosa. This game featured one of many spectacular David Greene-orchestrated game winning drives.
2003, Alabama was feeling the effects of their probation, and a Coach Fran had one foot out the door and was just overmatched. Not exactly a classic.
The 2007 game was a big game. Though Alabama would eventually go on to go a disappointing 6-6 in Saban’s inaugural campaign, they were better early in the season. They had just upset Arkansas earlier (trusting my memory-the week before perhaps?) and College Gameday was in town. This was my last college semester we took a road trip there and had a helluva time. Great game, too, with the overtime win.
2008 was another mammoth game, and unfortunately we all know how that’s game went. It was the game that vaulted Alabama to the National Stage, and the game that literally cast a “black” shadow over Georgia’s program for many years to come. That day was the day when the warts on Mark Richt’s program were on full display, and honestly have been fighting ever since to remove.
2012. What can I say? I still haven’t had the heart to watch the replay of that game. 
Saturday will be another big deal. Unlike others, I am not using hyperbole to say this is MOST IMPORTANT GAME EVER FOR MARK RICHT’S LEGACY CLICK HERE AND READ WHY, but it is huge.
It doesn’t happen often. But when Georgia and Alabama square off, it is a big deal. Saturday is no exception.


Jeremy Pruitt was associated with Alabama football from the time Nick Saban arrived until the end of the 2012 season.  From 2007-2009, he was director of player development, whatever that means.  I think it means he was an assistant coach, but not really an assistant coach.  In 2010 he became the secondary coach, until he became Florida State defensive coordinator in 2013.

We know about him since then.

A lot has been made of the impact Jeremy Pruitt has made on the Georgia football program, from helping push facility upgrades, to details as specific as routines for practice and game days, and even big picture aspects such as the overall culture of the program.

If you hear some people talk, he is basically the head coach, and Mark Richt is the figure head.  I think that is overblown, and Richt does deserve some credit, if for the very least not letting his ego get in the way of stopping the changes.  Being willing and able to adapt and change is the reason Mark Richt is still head coach at UGA today, and not forced to depart after 2010.  That is why Mack Brown, (soon to be)Steve Spurrier, Phil Fulmer and others are no longer coaching.

However, I believe Jeremy Pruitt has had an immeasurable impact to this defense and this program.

You notice how the defense is changed.  Yes, I know last season there were some ups and downs.  In the three losses, the defense was shaky. I will say, though, that every coordinator struggles the first time they see Georgia Tech’s triple option offense.   Even with their struggles so far in 2015, I’d suspect that the Georgia defense will do better against Tech in Year 2 of Pruitt.

Since Jeremy Pruitt’s departure from the Capstone, in three seasons Alabama’s once invincible defense has given up 40+ 4 times, only winning one of those games (Auburn last season).

Also, is it a coincidence that since Coach Pruitt left, Alabama has had a rash of player arrests in recent season, including 5 in the past calendar year, while Georgia has seen that problem all but disappear?  I believe the last player to run afoul of the law was Jonathan Taylor, who was also infamously admitted (and famously dismissed) by Alabama.

But the defense has really made the biggest strides.  You can see the big difference.  I told someone I was sitting with during the Louisiana-Monroe game that the defense plays with disciplined aggression.  You don’t see stupid penalties (except in Nashville where BS targeting calls appear), but they are fast and hit hard.

Could you imagine how much better this unit would be if Shaq Wiggins, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Tray Matthews and the aforementioned Jonathan Taylor would have had their heads sewn on straight?

If you want to know the difference of the game this Saturday, the Pruitt affect will be it.  For as good as Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Malcolm Mitchell, the offensive line and the others on offense are, even without Jeremy Pruitt Alabama still has a great defense.  Sure, they have been susceptible to give up big plays and a lot of points in recent years, but that says two things.  One, offenses in college football are just better than they were 5 years ago.  They just are.  It is an offensive-centered game now.

But the teams that Alabama has struggled with defensively are teams that run the spread or have a mobile quarterback.  Texas A&M, Ohio State, Auburn, Ole Miss-these teams present a different look compared to what Georgia likes to do.  Against comparable pro-style teams, Alabama still plays good defense.  Against LSU, Arkansas, Wisconsin, etc. they continue to play very well.

Now, I don’t think it is entirely fair to put a once size fits all pro-style label on Georgia’s offense.  For those of us who follow the Dawgs closely, and watch a lot of other college football, that is oversimplifying it.  We have speedy play makers, go up-tempo, and quite frankly Nick Chubb is unlike any other running back in America, with apologies to Leonard Fournette.

But to expect Georgia to score 30 points against this Alabama defense is living in the clouds.  If they do, I will dance an Irish Jig all the way back to the car.

Conversely, Alabama’s offense is good.  Really good.  They have problems at quarterback, but against Ole Miss, even with 5 turnovers, they scored 37 points and ran 100 plays!  Lane Kiffin gets a lot of the attention, mostly negative, much like Mike Bobo.  But Kiffin has done a hell of a job there, and while I don’t think Alabama’s offense is as good this season as it has been, don’t be fooled.  They can still score points.

It is hard to gauge this early in the season because the level of competition has been so weak across the board.  Last year, for all the different narratives, Alabama’s offense still scored 37 ppg.  That was the same as Mississippi State and about the same as Auburn and Texas A&M.  Matter of fact, it was more than everyone else in the conference other than Georgia’s 41 ppg (Blame Bobo!).

So you want a key to the game this Saturday?  I think it is easy.

Of course, you get the stock answers like turnovers, special teams, blah, blah, blah.

The intangibles are even.  Georgia is at home, has revenge on its mind, and will be fired up to prove it belongs among the elite of college football.  Alabama will be fired up to prove it deserves to stay among the elite.  Win or lose for either team, and I think both are still really good teams.  Although Alabama does have a much smaller margin for error.

No, the key to the game will be Georgia’s defense against the Alabama offense.  It will be if Georgia can put pressure on Coker, force him to make mistakes, stop the run and not let the dink and dunk passes move the chains.  If there has been a weakness in this Georgia defense since Pruitt’s arrival, it has been getting gashed in the running game and being exposed in the passing game.

Alabama’s defense is still good.  Georgia will have a hard time moving the ball, I think.  I think they can, but it won’t be easy.

But can we stop this offense?

The Pruitt affect will decide if Georgia wins or loses.


This was for you, Ray Goff

Few head coaches at The University of Georgia have been as maligned as Ray Goff, who had the unfortunate circumstance of taking over as head coach of a handstrung program that at the same time became a glutton for punishment at the hands of the Ol’ Ball Coach, especially when he hung half a hundred on the Dawgs in 1995 in Athens.

I wasn’t in Sanford that day – but know plenty who were. If you had to endure that day, Saturday night was especially sweet.

1966 was a lifelong torture. 1997 was sweet revenge. Last night? That was an undressing. Georgia has a good team, and showed it. USCe is down, and Georgia exposed it in a big way.

Detractors – you know they are out there. They’ll pull out the fact that, “but…USC is a bad team. That win isn’t that big.”

Not hardly.

How many times has Georgia played an inferior team and slopped its way to an ugly win. I’ll eat crow – I expected it on Saturday. But what we saw on Saturday is what championship teams do – take care of business and make a statement – do what you are there to do to start with.

Will this team play on that level the rest of the year? Probably not. You cannot expect that over the course of a season. In a perfect world, you could bottle up the emotion of Saturday and sprinkle it around each week. We remember all too begrudgingly the 2004 LSU win followed up by a flat loss to Tennessee…even the 1997 Florida win followed by laying an egg against Auburn.

But if this team plays at a fraction of what we saw Saturday – executing on both sides of the ball and a lack of special teams gaffes…for the most part…bigger things could be in store later down the line.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg


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