Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mark Richt: Saving A Redshirt But Not A Season

Mark Richt said last year he never should have red-shirted Knowshon Moreno. I wonder if he will feel the same way after Aaron Murray and/or Zach Mettenberger has played his last game as a Georgia Bulldog. As Georgia looks squarely down the barrel at a 6-6 season, one feels compelled to question Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo after they have maintained all along that Joe Cox at quarterback gives the Bulldawgs the best chance to win. I'm inclined to believe now that Georgia could go 6-6 with a freshman quarterback. I have said all season that the UGA coaching staff should have been giving backup QB Logan Gray meaningful playing time throughout this season. That has not happened, unless you qualify "mop-up duty" as meaningful playing time. I, for one, do not. Not only are you in the grasp of a mediocre season at best, you also have not given any one of your other quarterbacks experience for next season. Joe Cox has been loyal to the Bulldawg program for five full years, but at some point Richt had to realize that Joe could not lead this team on the field as expected. Why not at least begin setting the table for 2010? Cox is not the only reason Florida demolished Georgia 41-17 this afternoon, but he certainly didn't give UGA the best chance to win.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Time for the Dawgs vs the Gators...

This Saturday, the 2009 rendition of the Georgia-Florida classic will get under way at 3:30 P.M. in the fine city of Jacksonville, Florida. The un-ranked Bulldogs are a decided underdog to the top ranked Gators, which should come as no surprise to anyone in the Southeast. Georgia does enjoy the luxury of having an open date last Saturday, so they should be well rested and adequately prepared to face Florida. But the question begs, are the Dawgs capable of being a legitimate foe to the Tebow-led reptiles? I, for one, am not convinced that Florida is indeed the best team in the country. But I am convinced that their defense might be the best in the land. After all, they returned all eleven starters from a year ago, and this cannot bode well for the Canines from Athens. After all, A.J. Green, who I am convinced is the beat wide receiver in college football, can only do so much. Especially in the absence of a significant ground attack by Georgia. When did you think that Georgia, with their storied history of great tailbacks, would NOT have a formidable running game? The young offensive line of Georgia is older and more experienced than a year ago when they really were "Bullpups" instead of "Bulldogs". However, they just haven't performed well as a unit this season. Will Saturday be the day when they step up and play as we've expected them to all year? They will have to in order for the Dawgs to be able to use the talents of Mr. Green effectively. Defensively, Georgia must stop the quarterback draw and defend Florida's screens. They must challenge Tim Tebow to beat them with his arm down the field. Florida's 'D' will not allow many points Saturday, so the Bulldogs must play their best defensively as well. Both of Georgia's coordinators will have to come up with their absolute best game plans of the year in order for the Dawgs to keep the game close. If Florida wins, it will be by a lot; conversely, if Georgia wins it will be close. My heart definitely says Bulldogs, but my head says Gators. 'Hope' always springs eternal...

Atlanta Braves: 1995 Champs!

On this date in time, October 28, 1995, the Atlanta Braves defeated the Cleveland Indians 1-0 in the sixth game of the World Series. The victory gave the Braves their first World Series championship since moving to Atlanta from Milwaukee. It would certainly be nice to see the Braves return to those glory days...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

SEC Officials: And the Hits Just Keep Coming...

One Southeastern Conference officiating crew has already been placed on "Double Secret Probation" by the conference for making calls no one could find justification for after reviewing film. Now other crews are coming under fire for calls, or no-calls, this weekend. The Alabama-Tennessee game, as well as the Florida-Mississippi State game had controversial situations involving seemingly blown calls. The real tragedy is, both of these were close, hard-fought games where you always want the plays made on the field to determine the outcome, as opposed to the decisions of the zebras. All anyone is asking of officials is to just get it right. Stay as invisible as possible, and make the calls as you see them. But don't try to make 'em if you don't see 'em in the first place. Any questions?

Payne Stewart: Already 10 Years...

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the tragic death of golfer Payne Stewart. And the world of professional golf misses him just as much now as they did those ten years prior. We miss the throwback knickers, the fantastic personality, the unmistakable character, and the dynamic charisma. We miss it all, because we miss Payne Stewart.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shut it Down, Sam!

Sam Bradford should leave the cleats in the locker for the rest of this season. He's hurt the same shoulder twice this year, and he shouldn't risk that third time. You know they say "the third time is always the charm", not so in this case. He should rest that Grade 3 sprain and either begin intensive rehab or have the corrective surgery. That way he'll have nine months before training camp 2010 opens. His football future will still be intact. Shut it down now , Sam. There's another saying out there: "healthy, wealthy, and wise". If he's wise now, he can achieve the other two later. Take heed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

North Carolina: Navy Blue & Just Plain "Blue"

North Carolina was all spit-shined for the big dance. First Thursday night national spotlight game against a once powerful foe, all navy blue uniforms for the first time ever, and former Tarheel stars Lawrence Taylor and Julius Peppers on hand for support. All the pieces were in place, especially after jumping out to a two-digit lead over Florida State. But the slipper came off before the midnight hour, and all of the air was let out of the UNC balloon. Final Score: Seminoles 30 - Tarheels 27. This on a night that before the season started was targeted to be a showcase event for the supposedly revamped, revitalized, and rebuilt Tarheel football program. But conversely, it was a night where Butch Davis' program definitely took a giant step backwards. North Carolina does not have a single ACC victory this year, but somehow is 4-3 on the season. Tarheel gridiron fans now are faced with the very real possibility that the rebuilding process hasn't even begun, or that it began and fizzled out quickly. At any rate, North Carolina will remain a "basketball school" for a lot longer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mark Herzlich: "Full of Heart"

In May, Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Today, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year is 99% cancer free. The only reason his doctors won't say 100 % free is because a biopsy hasn't been done. His name, which means 'full of heart', says all you need to know about Mark Herzlich. He's battled his toughest enemy to date, cancer, just as hard or harder than he has battled his adversaries on the football field. Although he has been unable to play this year, he has been back with his teammates on the field and in the locker room. Don't think for one second he has given up on ever playing football again. That is definitely was of his main goals, and he will return to workouts this fall. He admits, "it's really up to God and medicine how everything works out". Here's hoping it all works out to the advantage of Mark Herzlich!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No "Blue Skies" For Logan 'Gray'

I keep lobbying for more playing time for UGA quarterback Logan Gray. Not punt return duty or mop-up QB duty. Meaningful playing time. At least one significant series per game. Not one play, but one series of plays. I've stopped referring to Joe Cox as an "average" college quarterback. I simply refer to him now as a "mediocre" college quarterback. Having said that, and thus admitting that Joe is by no means a "superlative" college quarterback, would there be any harm in Mark Richt and Mike Bobo playing Gray? It is evident that they do not plan to burn a red-shirt for either one of the freshmen signal callers signed last winter. With Aaron Murray and Zack Mettenberger assured of only clipboard duty in 2009, why not have at least Logan Gray with playing experience when we head into the 2010 season? We're going to be in Columbia, S.C. next September before you know it, so get someone on this team some quality minutes. More playing time certainly would not have hurt Cox last year. In all fairness, Logan Gray might not be Georgia's quarterback of the future. But he very well could be the QB of the early 2010 campaign. Give him some PT these last five games. We have every 'excuse' in the world to do it now.

Carlton Fisk: This Day in Time...

October 21, 1975. What avid baseball fan could not recall Carlton Fisk pleadingly waving for his homerun to stay fair? A fair ball it was and it forced a game seven between the Red Sox and Reds. Fisk's homer is one of the most famous and dramatic in major league history.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Georgia vs Vandy: A Win is a Win is a Win...

Georgia defeated Vanderbilt 34-10 in Nashville Saturday afternoon. Georgia did not stomp Vandy, nor dominate them. The Dawgs just scored more points than the Commodores. And that is all that mattered this third Saturday in October. Get the "W" and get back to Athens at 4-3, take advantage of a much needed off week, and prepare for the annual clash with Florida in Jacksonville on Halloween. I don't think Georgia really found out anything new and enlightening about themselves against Vanderbilt. They moved the offensive coordinator down to the field from the press box, played five different running backs, and didn't lose the turnover battle. They kept a winless SEC team winless, and quieted the critics for at least two weeks. The Bulldogs still aren't very impressive, nor very good. But they survived to fight another day, with the minuscule chance of knocking off the number one team in the country on their next trek. After all, Gator season is in.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rick Tomberlin: Kicked Out of Valdosta Again...

Valdosta (Georgia) High School will not re-new the contract of head football coach Rick Tomberlin. That is not shocking news to anyone familiar with high school football in this state. He has been a total disaster while at the helm of this once storied program. Tomberlin was in over his head from the beginning at the AAAAA level, and he arrived at Valdosta very much overrated to begin with. His tremendous success at the AA and AAA level at Washington County was because of the outstanding talent he enjoyed year after year after year. He had the luxury of having the likes of Takeo Spikes and Robert Edwards playing on his WACO teams. And the schedule at that level was much, much softer than what he faced week to week down south. To Tomberlin's credit, he was one of the state's first coaches to buy completely into the 'Bigger, Faster, Stronger' program of conditioning. He had his Washington County kids on the program year 'round, and schools just could not match up to his power style of football. He dominated the competition until everyone else caught on and started to become bigger, faster, and stronger as well. No other program could out work Rick Tomberlin Sunday through Thursday. He put his staff and players through the mill. But he couldn't coach a lick on Friday night. If you could match up with him, you could out coach him. No contest. It's that simple. Tomberlin has an ego the size of Berlin. It was said when he left Sandersville, he had to have an extra van just to haul that over-sized head out of town. This firing won't do anything to change that because he never lets the blame fall on him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mark Richt: Restore the Respect

Mark Richt is not an embattled football coach. Neither is he a coach on the proverbial 'hot seat'. His job is not in jeopardy. However, his football team is a team headed in the wrong direction, and he is the one who must "right the ship". He will not make staff changes in the middle of this season, nor will he give up on the season by making wholesale personnel changes in order to begin preparing for 2010. Be assured, Mark Richt will not 'mail in the season', but he will devote himself to salvaging it. His Bulldogs stand at 3-3 halfway through this 2009 season. He has a date with Florida which he will not win, and he has one with Tennessee Tech that he will. He has games with Vanderbilt and Kentucky that he will be favored in. Games that he should win if he plays differently than he did in Knoxville. That leaves contests against Auburn and Georgia Tech that Georgia probably will not be favored in, but could still obtain victories if the present way of playing football in Athens changes. Running the table except for Florida is not likely under the present conditions, but it is nevertheless possible. 8-4 is possible, not that I would wager on it, but still a possibility. That is the reason Richt isn't ready to give up on this edition of his Dawgs. But regardless of how things play out this season, Mark Richt must make significant changes to his program before spring practice. Even with all the talent he has stockpiled from awsome recruiting classes, no other team fears Georgia anymore. No team dreads playing Between the Hedges anymore. No team feels that they can't beat Georgia. Richt does not have to rebuild his program at this point, but he certainly must re-tool it. In a big way and in a hurry. He must do that to restore the pride within his program, and the respect outside of it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How Did Everything Get so Bad at Georgia?

Georgia lost to Tennessee by the score of 45-19 Saturday afternoon in Knoxville. Before this season began, I really didn't think I would see a Bulldog team look that bad and get whipped that thoroughly for a long, long time. I thought with the talent level that Mark Richt had stockpiled in Athens, that we would just reload and not have to worry about being rebuilt. I thought we had reached the level with our program that we could compete with anyone else in the country, and play them even or better. I further thought that we had perched ourselves beside Florida on that top tier in the SEC East, which means the entire SEC by the way, and it would be Tennessee who would have to completely rebuild to join us on that perch. As you can see, so much for my thinking. I've read most of the blogs and media articles about Georgia in the past twenty four hours, as I have been all season. I understand all the viewpoints as to why Georgia has digressed as a football team week by week this season, and I have had my own theories as well. But to be quite honest with you, as we now have fallen back to the "Donnan Dawg" years as an inadequate team, I really don't know what I think is wrong in Athens. We have talent, facilities, resources, revenue, and support. We have it all at the University of Georgia. We supposedly put in the same effort and hours year 'round that everyone else does. We just don't seem to be able to put it all together on Saturdays. I have no idea why we can't do that, but I know that we do not play smart. We play with the Jacksonville mentality all year long now, whereas we used to save that for our annual participation in the Cocktail Party. We don't seem to execute like a UGA team used to, nor do we seem to "get after their asses" (GATA) anymore. We aren't hungry and crazed; we're lackadaisical. Why? Again, I have no answers. But I'm really tired of speculating. And I'm tired of finger pointing, just as I'm tired of lame excuses coming out of Butts-Mehre. But most of all I'm tired of seeing highly touted athletes and very adequately paid coaches perform so poorly, and with too little emotion. I'm just tired of it all. Why? Because that IS NOT Georgia football, and something is wrong in Athens.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Georgia vs Ga. Tech 2011: Leave it Alone!

Initial talks have begun regarding the possibility of Georgia and Georgia Tech opening the 2011 season as opposed to closing it, as is the norm. The Atlanta Sports Counsel has proposed that the two teams oppose each other in that year's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The 2011 game between the two interstate rivals is slated to be played at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta as the last regular season game for both squads. To further complicate the matter, Georgia Tech says the only way they will consider the move is for Georgia to agree to play the 2012 contest, scheduled for Sanford Stadium in Athens, in Atlanta as well. Are you kidding me? Leave the rivalry fields alone, as well as the alternating stadium rotation. Keep the games at the end of the regular season on alternating campuses. End of subject. Case closed. Wreck Tech!

Would You Play Tim Tebow Against LSU?

Tim Tebow is almost two weeks into his recovery from a concussion he suffered in Lexington against Kentucky (some prefer to say Kenyucky). That's 'concussion', not sprained ankle, just for the record. As you know, one is much more serious than the other. Florida faces a very average LSU squad in Baton Rouge this Saturday. As you recall, the Tigers narrowly defeated an even more average Georgia Bulldog team last Saturday, while Florida had its feet kicked up enjoying an open date. As of yesterday, Tebow had been cleared to practice, but not to play yet. Tim Tebow wants to play, his teammates want him to play, and the entire Gator Nation wants him to play. But should he play? Is he far enough removed from the date of the trauma to risk another blow to the head? Will Urban Meyer play him if the medical staff clears him to play? Florida probably won't need #15 to beat LSU, but on the other hand they probably could run the remainder of their schedule without him. However, things would be a little more 'dicier' for the Gators if he weren't in the lineup. Whether you like him or not, he is arguably the best player in college football. With all of that said, I think Meyer plays him Saturday if the doctors give the O.K., but I think he plays him a little differently than before. Maybe his passes will be more of the quick release variety, without the deep drop waiting for receivers to come open. I would also expect Tebow to set a personal record for hand offs to his tailbacks. For what it's worth (not much!), I would sit him out of this one. I'd give him one more week to recover without those LSU linebackers and defensive ends head-hunting him. Even Dirty Harry knew his own limitations!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vintage Brett Favre: Advantage Vikings

In the Minnesota Vikings impressive victory over the Green Bay Packers Monday night 30-23, it is easy to see why Brett Favre cannot stay retired. He was a throwback of his mid 90's self, except maybe smarter in the sense of being less of a gunslinger than before. Last night he was 24 of 31 for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns. He did not suffer an interception, which speaks both for his accuracy and his unwillingness to force throws. He was precise, emotional (yet under control), passionate, and hell-bent on winning. Vintage Brett Favre. Just what you'd expect and what you'd gladly pay to see. By his comment after the game, I have no difficulty understanding why he cannot stay retired: "It never gets old, even though I do". He just can't give it up yet. If he continues to perform as he did against his old team last night, the talk of retirement might have to wait. But "Old Number 4" does turn 40 this weekend, and it is a long grueling season in the NFL, so time will supposedly tell again after all. But I, for one, am glad he was back behind center last night. I wanted the Vikes to have the ball all night, to watch that craftsman at work. We don't know how many of those performances Brett has left, but he certainly did not disappoint last night. Thanks 4!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Georgia: Just a Special Teams Coach Away

The University of Georgia desperately needs a FULL-TIME special teams coach. We do not need a special teams coach who doubles as a position coach. We need a coach whose only focus is to improve special teams play at the University of Georgia. We need a coach who is tough, aggressive, and enthusiastic. We need an individual who will not accept inept special teams play. And we need him as soon as possible (a summer a year ago would have been nice!). Does this need to be entered in the form of a Christmas wish? A birthday present? It might be in the form of saving someone else higher up a job one day (I'm just sayin'...). It can't be a money issue for one of the most fiscally sound athletic programs in the country. If it is, we'll just raise the money from the Bulldawg Nation. Paul Westerdawg will help get the word out. So will Bernie, as well as Catfish and Cornbread. The Senator too, and Bubba and Earl. Not to mention Dawgxile, and Mackie! And of course, Kit at Dawg-Gone. Perhaps we can get David in on it. And there are many others, just check the rest of my Georgia links. As well as Bulldawg sufferers everywhere. This can get done. This must get done. We're dying a slow death here.

Georgia Celebrates and Deflates to LSU

Georgia did not lose to LSU 20-13 because of an utterly ridiculous "celebration" penalty. Georgia lost to LSU because the Bulldogs failed to cover the kickoff following the insane call. That and the fact they had no offense for an entire half of football. Georgia is a very mediocre team that is led offensively by a very mediocre quarterback. We should hope "average" is not an annual condition that is leading the entire program down the path to mediocrity as well. Georgia has already fallen off the top tier of the SEC, it's now a matter of how long will this downward spiral last? As for covering kickoffs: Mark Richt's Dawgs haven't been adept at kickoff coverage for two years now. A major college program playing in the toughest conference in college football cannot cover a kickoff. Unbelievable. Our final kickoff from our own fifteen was returned 40 yards by LSU to the Georgia thirty eight yard line. They only needed a field goal to win, and they were almost there after the kickoff. We returned their final kickoff, also from their own fifteen, about two yards to the Georgia thirty three. Quite a difference, huh? If you can't smell what's cooking here, let me assure you it stinks! There is too much talent in Athens to lose at home to a very average LSU team, which came into the Classic City ranked number four nationally by the way. And by the way, no way. The Tigers are not a top ten team at all, but they didn't need to be to defeat Georgia. One Bulldog said before the season that this team could go as far as Joe Cox would take them, and I believe that to be true. I think he can take the Dawgs to about a 6-6 record when all is said and done this season. And, as we say in the South, "Ain't that a crying shame?"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nike and Michael Vick: What's Up Guys?

Michael Vick has a new contract with Nike. Wait a minute, no he doesn't. Vick's agent says he has a deal, but Nike says not so fast; he will only be supplied with product just like other athletes
without contracts. Now Vick's agent, Joel Segal, has no comment. I guess he doesn't. He's probably so busy putting out this fire with Nike, he can't speak about anything. Imagine how much trouble it would be for a sports agent representing high profile athletes to be on the bad side of the biggest product manufacturer in the world. No comment possibly means "I'm too busy trying to save my own rear end, as well as my firm's relationship with the most important and powerful product label in the entire industry to talk. Period." I'll tell you guys, until I hear further, I'm believing Nike on this one...