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A return, and way too early look at the schedule

Well, after a rather long hiatus, we’re back. Due to some real-job goings on and Little Lugnut Dawg having to go into the hospital the weekend of the Auburn game and having some after-effects, it’s been awhile (update on Little Lugnut coming at some point down the road).

At any rate, this is the least favorite time of the year. There’s too much time, as Munson would say, until the season gets here. All that’s left to do is think ahead to preseason camp and pray to all things holy that no UGA players do anything knuckleheaded off the field. It doesn’t help that the offseason will drag by at a snail’s pace with the looming trainwreck that is the Braves (thanks for the screw job, Frank Wren).

Speaking of that schedule, there’s a lot of time to mull over how it may shake it out. Here’s how it could turn out, week to week.

Sept. 5, Louisiana-Monroe

Should be a steady diet of getting things in sync and hopefully, time for Ram-Bau-Park to get a good feel for the offense

Sept. 12, at Vanderbilt

Nice scheduling break here, getting a first SEC road game for a new QB against a lower-rung team of the conference.

Sept. 19, South Carolina

This’ll be a war, as always. No beating around the bush. USCe’s offensive holes do make you feel a tad better until you realize the HBC is on the other sideline.

Sept. 26, Southern

Are they bringing their band?

Oct 3, Alabama

Possibly the most anticipated home game in Athens since many of us 30ish Dawgs were in diapers. The shot at Bama for the first time since five yards short? The first trip to Athens since a darker shade of jersey out? The atmosphere itself will be worth being in Athens for.

Oct. 10, at Tennessee

This has trap game all over it, being on the road and a week after what will be a charged game against Bama.

Oct. 17, Mizzou

Who’d of thought four years ago that Missouri would be a game with heavy SEC East implications riding on it?

Oct. 31, Florida

Given the rebuilding in Jortsville, Georgia should win. We said that last year, too

Nov. 7, Kentucky

Scrappy Kentucky team could prove to be a speed bump in between a pair of rivalry games.

Nov. 14, at Auburn

I’m more worried now that Bobo is not around to counter Muschamp. Take away the UF game last year, and Georgia had an apparent advantage. Not so sure now, although that could change.

Nov. 21, Georgia Southern

With GSU no longer running a true option, this game is less of an advantage preceding Tech. Georgia Southern now has a bunch knowing they can hang with big-time teams and be in the game. That could be scary for Georgia, especially if it is banged up or deshoveled after a loss to Auburn, if it happens.

Nov. 28, at Georgia Tech

Only thing worse than losing to the NATS? Losing to them twice in a row.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

You’re a DGD, Coach Landers

I’m not naive. I know that to many, Georgia women’s basketball is either a casual interest or niche sport, for the most part. But when you say Lady Bulldogs basketball, the first person to come to mind is Andy Landers.

He’s a only full-time coach that UGA has ever had – let that one sink in and marinate for a minute.

If you only judge a coach by championships – Landers was not successful. But that’s the thing – success is an entire body of work, and that is what Landers embodied during his career.

31 NCAA Tourneys

20 Sweet Sixteens

11 Elite Eights

5 Final Fours

7 SEC Championships

4 SEC Tournament titles

He had the highly unfortunate fortune to be in the same conference as the great coach in women’s hoops, Pat Summit. Put Landers in a different conference or region, and who knows what would have been.

No shortage of tremendous women’s greats have played for Landers – the Miller twins, Teresa Edwards (perhaps the most decorated women’s basketball player of all time), Katrina McClain, among others. But they came to Athens for one reason – the program that Landers built from the ground up into an elite operation.

Happy trails, Coach Landers. You’ve earned every bit of it.

Go Lady Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Biggest Basketball Game In Over A Decade

Hey guys.  Been a while.

Not trying to use hyperbole, but tomorrow night’s game against Kentucky is the biggest basketball game in Stegeman Coliseum since Georgia beat Florida way back in the spring of 2003, that from my memory, was a thrilling game.  I was a Senior in High School, just found out that I had been accepted to UGA, and was watching that game on TV with the electric atmosphere and thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to be  a part of that.” 

I was wrong.   There hadn’t been a game with that kind of importance at Stegeman since then.  Sure, there have been some fun games, but none like that one.

Tomorrow night is the first big game like that in Athens in a long time.  12 years.

Go Dawgs.

Corbindawg

Great Weekend For Georgia Basketball

You won’t find much talk about Georgia basketball around here.  For years, living in Macon, I hardly went to games.  I think in six years living in Middle Georgia, I only made it to a couple of games.  I went to an Alabama game for my birthday a few years back, and I went to the Missouri game last year when I was in Athens for work.  Georgia wasn’t great, and I didn’t have internet at my house to watch the weeknight games on ESPN3, so I didn’t get to watch as many games.  The affiliates down there didn’t carry the SEC weeknight games very often.  I’d catch them on Saturdays when I could.

We’ve now abandoned cable and are exclusively Apple TV, so I can now watch them regularly, and living closer to Athens now, I’m planning on going to a couple of upcoming games.  I’ve always liked basketball and growing up it was my favorite sport to play. My basketball career ended in 8th grade when I stopped growing and was no longer the size of a power forward and became the size of a guard.

My short and sweet take on the state of Georgia basketball:  Tyler Dawgden and others post about it more regularly, but I’ve often felt it was hard for Georgia basketball.  One, the fan interest just isn’t there.  Most fans are more concerned with the recruiting rankings than Mark Fox’s unit’s RPI.  The facilities have improved drastically.  Stegemen looks great now.  But for so long, Georgia basketball was an afterthought to fans and administration, and when good players and momentum finally came, the Jim Harrick scandal rocked it to its core.  There were so many challenges facing Georgia, and without the program prestige or commitment, that while Atlanta is a hotbed for talent, the talent wasn’t coming to Athens when other schools like Kentucky, Florida, UNC and Duke can come in and get the great ones.

The biggest challenge facing Mark Fox is his lack of recruiting, thought recently it seems that has gotten better.  Mark Fox is, I belive, a very good ball coach.  But his recruiting leaves a lot to be desired.  Only one player he’s brought in-KCP-could really start at programs like Florida and Kentucky.  Maybe Kenny Gaines.

But I watched the game Saturday and felt so much pride for the program.  TV said Stegeman was sold out (thought it appeared there were seats available).  Georgia knocked off Florida.  The hated Gators!  Georgia is relevent in basketball.  They have entered SEC play poised to make a march to March, instead of playing spoiler or the underdog role.

It’s all about expectations. I don’t want to accept mediocrity, but I know what Georgia is and understand its challenges.   I’d love for more than anything for Georgia to be able to make a postseason run.  But realistically, Georgia is where I’ve always wanted them:  fun to watch, competitive, and relevant.

I’d like more, but I’m happy with what we have now.  What we have now hasn’t happened in a long while.

Corbindawg

 

Nick Saban is Full of Shit

About 7 months ago, UGA defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor was arrested for allegedly choking and hitting his girlfriend in a dorm.  Taylor, by the way, is 6’5, 330 lbs.  So, as Mark Richt always does when it comes to violent crimes, kicked Taylor off the team.

About 5 months ago, in the wake of the Ray Rice scandal, Alabama brings in a speaker about domestic violence. 

Way to go Coach Saban.  Trying to be proactive and help educate your players to be better men.  I’m sure the positive PR you program received didn’t come into consideration for this decision.

Fast forward to the present day.

Former UGA defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor was admitted to Alabama and will be eligible to play right away.

Is this decision based on giving a kid a second chance or trying to get a monster defensive lineman?

You really want to know when Georgia’s 2014 season went south?  When Taylor was dismissed.  I’m not saying that the already improved defense would’ve been leaps and bounds better with Taylor, and I’m not saying that Georgia wouldn’t have found a way to follow its formula to lose 3 games.  But I do think that Taylor could have been a difference maker on this team and his presence might have made a difference at some point this season.

I really like the policy Alabama has.  We are going to educate our players and tell them how bad domestic violence is….but….if a great big defensive lineman that can play nose guard for us can come in and help us out, then we’ll look past his troubled past.

Just how disingenuous can you be?  Just when I thought they couldn’t get any more full of shit over in T-Town, I’m proven wrong.

Corbindawg

First Thoughts on Brian Schottenheimer as OC

News broke yesterday of Brian Schottenheimer’s hiring to replace Mike Bobo as Georgia’s offensive coordinator.’
My response:

What?

I had thought that Georgia would land Mike Bloomgren from Stanford, or Kurt Roper. I had heard Schottenheimer’s name mentioned as a possible candidate, but I didn’t think that would transpire.

But it did, so we have to go from there.

I’m still not sure what to think. I don’t know anything about him, really. I know he has experience in the NFL, but to mixed results. I don’t think lack of success in the NFL is any indicator of what he could do in college. In the NFL, so much is dependent on a competent front office and elite quarterback play. A good coach can get fired because of poor front office decisions (see what just happened with the Falcons).

If he was as mediocre as his resume appears, he wouldn’t be an OC in the NFL for almost 10 years. As good a football coach as there is in Jeff Fisher wouldn’t hired him-nor retained him.

We’ll have to just wait and see.

A lot of people are pointing to his lack of recruiting experience as a reason to be somewhat skeptical, but I’m not all that concerned about that. First off, (presumably) John Lilly and Bryan McClendon are still on staff, and those guys are great recruiters. So not much of a drop off there. And for all of Todd Grantham’s faults, he was a good recruiter himself. Now I believe that recruiting (among other things) has improved under Jeremy Pruitt, but Grantham’s recruiting wasn’t bad. Tray Matthews, Josh Harvey Clemons, Jordan Jenkins, Damian Swann, Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins were all brought in under Grantham.

Sure, he won’t be as good a recruiter as Mike Bobo was, but few people could be.

My main question for Schott (I am tired of typing that long name) will be his scheme. Not the complexity of it, as the case was with Grantham. Quite the opposite: the simplicity.

I don’t watch a lot of the NFL. I watch it some, but not religiously like Georgia, SEC and College Football as a whole. But what I watch it is obvious that everyone does the same things. You could watch almost any two NFL teams (with a few exceptions), and take the jerseys off, and it would look identical. It would be difficult to discern who is who. Everything is done so similar.

Teams run the same offenses, same schemes, etc. It all looks the same.

Can a NFL mind have the capacity for abstract thought?

Look at Sony Michel as an example. He is a special back. I think Chubb is the man, but Michel is a special, unique talent. He is not the kind of back you want to run behind a fullback between the tackles every time he touches the ball. But he is a dangerous weapon. Bobo found ways to utilize his talents-giving him sweeps in motion, Wildcat runs, lining him up as the slot receiver and throwing him the ball, etc.

Will Schott know how to use guys that aren’t the cookie cutter ‘pro-style” guys he finds in the pros?

I like a pro-style offense and am glad that Georgia runs it. I’m not advocating to run some type of gimmicky offense.
But when our offense was really at its most dynamic and when Bobo really showed he was emerging as the elite offensive coordinator in the country, the offense was more than a vanilla pro-style attack. Think back to 2012 and the first part of 2013-the offense would come out in a spread look one series, then be in a power formation the next. Murray was a good enough QB to adapt to the change of pace, and Gurley was a good enough back to be versatile enough to run out of multiple formations.  It was hard to prepare for, since it could all change at any given moment.

I don’t know if that will be the case with Schott. Time will tell. But I saw enough of LSU play to know that an NFL offensive mind can have trouble changing things up to make the offense work. I kept waiting for Les Miles to pull another rabbit from his hat to help his struggling offense at times this season. It never really happened. Mark freaking Richt rolled the dice more than Les Miles this season.

I’m not hating on the hire. I’ve got some questions. We’ll see in about 8 months how it all shakes out.

Corbindawg

Adios Vaya Con Dios Mike Bobo

First off, Mike Bobo should be given hearty “Thank you” from every UGA fan for nearly a 20 year commitment to the University of Georgia.  Secondly, he should be congratulated for making the next step in his career, and nearly tripling his current salary.  I am disappointed he is leaving, but I understand.   You should, too.  If anyone offered any of us at our current position a promotion and triple whatever your salary is, you’d take it.

But it probably isn’t about the money.  I do think that if UGA had ponied up the cash to make Bobo’s pay equal to what he deserved, he’d probably stay.  Or at least stay until something bigger or closer than Colorado State came open.

Despite what any message board comments may say, the coaches are competitive people, starting with Coach Richt.  It is an ego filled, testosterone fueled business.  He is an ambitious, young coach.  He wants to be a head man.  There aren’t many Bud Fosters or John Chavises out there.  Bobo wanted his chance, and he took it.  Good for him and his family.

I had always said that whenever Coach Richt decides to leave, or the time comes for the University to ask him to leave (and it is not yet), I’d want Mike Bobo to be the head coach.  I think Bobo probably wants that, too.  Going away is the best way for him to come back when momma calls.

Some fans will say “good riddance”, and to them I say, shut up.  If that is your mindset today, you abso-freaking-lutely have no idea what in the hell you are talking about.

Let’s take a look at UGA’s point production during the Richt era of calling plays, and then the Bobo era in calling plays:

2002: 32.1
2003: 26.5
2004: 27.9
2005: 29.5
2006: 25.2
2007: 32.6
2008: 31.5
2009: 28.9
2010: 32.1
2011: 32.0
2012: 37.8
2013: 36.7
2014: 41.7

The Bobo years are highlighted in bold.   Sure, ignorant people will say the talent was better, but that doesn’t take into effect who brought the talent in, who is coaching the talent, and who puts the talent in position to make plays.

And 2014 might be his best year yet.  With the exception of Nick Chubb/Todd Gurley, I would say there probably isn’t one offensive player from last year you would replace with someone from say, 2002-2005, 2008, 2012.  His best deep threat receivers were hurt basically half the year, the running back position was shaky at best, and you had a quarterback who struggled throwing it more than 20 yards consistently.

Sure, people will point to a bad call here or there.  I know I did.   By my math, UGA ran about 812 offensive plays in 2014.  Most were very successful.  It is easy to focus on the few bad ones and ignore the good ones.

What do you want from a position coach and coordinator?  You want a good recruiter.  Check.  You want someone who can coach ’em up.  Check.  For a coordinator, you want someone who puts the pieces in place to make the unit successful.  Check.  You also want the dreaded “L” word in the coaching business-loyalty.  Check.

I’m not going to speculate on what this means long-term for UGA.  It probably won’t be good.  Other coaches will leave, either with Bobo or because of the new guy, if they hire an outsider.  The other shoe will drop, and there will be time to speculate and worry about that later.

For now, I am just going to be like Bernie, and say I am happy for Bobo, but be sad for our program because we lost a good damn good one and a Damn Good Dawg.

Corbindawg


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