Monday, September 2, 2013

Georgia Bulldogs: Post-Clemson Observations...

Now that we've had time for the dust to settle and the nerves to calm down a bit, not to mention the frustrations, I've been thinking about a few observations regarding Georgia and their opening game loss to Clemson. These revelations come after reading a lot of  Dawg blog comments, as well as talking to members of the Bulldawg Nation:

  1. Georgia continues to be one of the worst tackling major college football teams on the planet. This isn't just a one-game hiccup, this has been going on for several years now. I'm certainly not a football coach, so I don't know if the problem is fundamentals, strength & conditioning or whatever. Nevertheless, this problem is real and needs to be remedied quickly. What's the deal here, and will it ever improve? Why do we fail to wrap guys up and tackle well?
  2. I have spent many years wanting Mike Bobo to commit to the running game, only to be frustrated to the point of giving up. Saturday night he commits fully to the running game, but between the tackles with a tailback built to run outside the tackle box. Not to mention against a defense that stacked the interior defensive line to the max. We go super conservative when we had a realistic chance of putting some point margin between us and the Tigers. I know we were concerned about burning up some clock, but our play calling really left a lot to be desired. What am I missing here? Keith Marshall only needs a crease with his speed, so why not bounce him outside? Then it's third and long and Clemson sends the whole house after Aaron Murray.
  3. I'm not saying we are right or wrong in the way we discipline/punish our players. However, if we continue to schedule formidable opponents such as Clemson on opening day with key Dawg players serving suspensions, we will always place ourselves at a distinct disadvantage. We hamper ourselves EVERY single year in this regard. The name I have heard mentioned the most since Saturday night is Josh Harvey-Clemons, a player who never saw the field due to being suspended. I'm not commenting on the validity of the suspension, only on the way it severely handicapped the Georgia defense. Harvey-Clemons would definitely have been a difference maker. I would go so far as to say his presence in the defensive backfield would have been enough to swing victory over to Georgia's side. I realize that is speculative, but what is your opinion?
  4. Finally, a fifth year starting quarterback must play like a fifth year starter. Murray did not do that. The loss isn't on him, but he has to know where the play clock is located. And he has to read the thing! Right or wrong?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

If You Sign, Don't Be Asinine...

The Johnny Manziel case continues to be all over the sports news universe. I suppose it will be until the final verdict is rendered. Did he get paid for signing his autograph on hundreds of items? If he did, he is violation of NCAA regulations, and his college football career could be all but over. But today we aren't talking about the player Manziel in particular, but the system itself overall. Colleges make millions of dollars from the names of their athletes, as well as the individual numbers these amateur athletes wear on their uniforms. Yet, in spite of that fact, the athlete himself is not allowed to benefit from his fame at all, at least not monetarily. Is this right? No. Could it be challenged, and perhaps changed? Yes. Will it be? Not anytime soon. In the meantime, college athletes better be aware of the perils that await them. Their sea is full of money hungry sharks ready to lure them in. With the rules as they are, the athlete can't make a dime, so he/she just better play the game on the field. Anything beyond that has to be charity.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bryce Harper: Get Over It...

Bryce Harper made a diving, run saving catch in the third inning Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves.  Then the Washington Nationals' slugger homered in the bottom of that inning to post the first run of the night. In the bottom of the fifth, Harper was plunked in the leg by a Julio Teheran 94 MPH heater. After a few expletives directed at Teheran, and an umpire assisted escape from Braves catcher Brian McCann, Harper fumed his way to first base. He homered, showcased his free trot around the bases, and then paid the price with a shot to the thigh. Just the way baseball used to be played. The over-rated Nationals went on to lose the game 2-1 and fall 14 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League Eastern Division. The desperate situation the Nats find themselves in was perhaps more the cause of Harper's frustration than the shot to the 
leg. Just sayin'...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Manning Brothers: Football On Your Phone!

What won't guys do for the love of the almighty dollar? Check out the video below of Peyton and Eli Manning and you'll have the answer. (Dad even gets in on the act). Directv is pulling out all the stops!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Riley Cooper: Is He Really Such A Bad Guy...

Riley Cooper made a huge mistake. He knows it, we know it , the entire nation knows it. He regrets it, we regret it, the entire nation regrets it. But he did it. He uttered a racial slur. He spoke the infamous and unspeakable "N" word. That just can't be done in today's society. As a country, we're supposed to have progressed beyond such things racially, whether in actuality we have or not.  Nevertheless Cooper said that word,  and as we all know, once something is out of the mouth, it can't be crammed back in. Now that we have established the guilt of Riley Cooper, let's talk about the punishment. He didn't sell any drugs, nor take any banned substances. He committed no crime, nor physical harm to anyone. Thus, no one is dealing with a crime scene or murder investigation. No pornography and no sexual abuse or misconduct is Cooper guilty of.   There are no robbery, nor any other felony or even misdemeanor charges. So why is Riley Cooper being treated like the lowest form of human life on the planet? He opened his mouth and said the wrong thing, but this week he opened his mouth and tried to say all the right things. He apologized. He is genuinely sorry. He is sick to his stomach at himself. Why can't we forgive the guy? Why can't we accept his apology? Why can't society let him get on with his life as a professional football player? He made a mistake and he is in the midst of suffering the consequences of that mistake. I'm not condoning his slur, but neither am I condoning the relentless punishment. His punishment is bordering on exceeding the crime. I don't believe Riley Cooper is such a bad person, and his own teammates have said as much. Let's forgive the guy and allow him to show us what a good guy he really is.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oregon: The University of Nike

Oregon's 145,000 square foot Football Performance Center is set to open this week. The state-of-the-art facility is projected to be the new standard in both player recruitment and development. Nike's Phil Knight controlled the entire design and construction of the building in order to ensure that his exacting standards would be met. Knight, who bankrolled the project, would not reveal the final cost. No stone was left unturned as Oregon strives to stay at the forefront in major college football.

Johnny Manziel: Fun Loving College Kid or Teenage Punk?

Johnny Manziel has been in the sports news headlines practically the entire "off season", or so it seems. We learned of his displeasure over a parking ticket at Texas A&M, read about his dismissal from the Manning Camp, and heard about his being tossed from a frat party at the University of Texas. In some circles he has been perceived as one not contributing positively to the image of a Heisman Trophy recipient. Contrary to the title of this post, I perceive Manziel as a young college student/athlete who has had an extraordinarily huge dose of fame and recognition dumped on him in the course of one football season, and I believe it has simply overwhelmed him. The accolades, the spotlight, the never ending attention, etc. has perhaps been more than "Johnny Football" could cope with. His support group, whoever that might be, could have possibly done a better job of preparing him for all of the off-field uproar that awaited him. But honestly, it's a good bet that most of the circulating information surrounding his actions has been blown way out of proportion. What he needs now more than anything is football. He needs the discipline and control of his Aggie coaches, the pre-season and then the week-to-week focus of nothing but football, and the camaraderie of his teammates. Being a successful student/athlete at Texas A&M will be the medicine for anything that might be considered a pitfall with Johnny Manziel. Come to think of it, I think we're all ready for a good dose of "Pigskin Therapy". Hang in there Johnny, football is just days away.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Alex Rodriguez: Beisbol no mas

Major League Baseball is out to get Alex Rodriguez, and I get the impression that the New York Yankees would help sign, seal and deliver him any way they could. Anything less than a lifetime ban from the game would be too light in the eyes of many observers. Rodriguez himself knows that his predicament is shaky at best. He is trying to cut a deal with MLB, but the commissioner's office knows they have the upper hand in this face-off. I believe the only reason the charges have not been brought forth against him is because the length of his suspension from the game has not yet been determined. It's only a matter of time. It's a done deal. A-Rod is definitely going down. It's just a question of how long the count will be for.

David Ortiz: A Free Pass On the House (Phone)

David Oriz goes ballistic after striking out and being ejected. I'll admit, he did get two bad strike calls during the at-bat, but wreck a dugout phone over it? Now MLB says Ortiz will not be suspended for his actions (and all the while I was under the impression that baseball wanted to clean up it's image). I don't think many coaches will use the video as a teaching tool for sportsmanship. Oh well, but beware next time something happens to set Big Papi off. No property is safe, especially since he fears no repercussions. Just sayin'...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Todd Gurley: The Best of The Best

The Sporting News ranked the best running backs in the Nation's best conference, while at the same time predicting this to be the year of the running back in the Southeastern Conference. Holding down the Number One spot is none other than Georgia's Todd Gurley. He is followed closely by Alabama's T.J. Yeldon and his own Bulldog teammate Keith Marshall. The article went on to label the Athens twosome, know as "Gurshall" to the Bulldog Nation, as the best running back combo in the country. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Kolton Houston: Just Go Play Big Guy!

This Dawg is out of the kennel! Welcome back to eligibility Kolton Houston. The persevering offensive lineman has been reinstated by the NCAA with two years of playing time and the possibility of a third with an appeal. Although he is not 'game ready' at this point, Houston's presence adds needed depth to Georgia's line corps. (Did I just type that the Bulldogs have depth on their offensive line? Wow!). Nevertheless, it is good to have the drama that has surrounded  this player resolved. Gratitude, thanks and congratulations also go out to Ron Courson, Georgia's sports medicine director, for his untiring efforts on behalf of Kolton Houston. Happy Birthday, Kolton. You deserve it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ryan Braun: Far Worse For Baseball Than Pete Rose...

Ryan Braun gets a 65 game suspension for taking PEDs. Pete Rose gets a lifetime ban for betting on baseball. What do the two have in common? Well, they both lied, and neither one of them will ever get to make it into the Hall of Fame. A sin is a sin, but is one guys fall from grace bigger than the other's? I will say that although Pete Rose tampered with the integrity of the game, he never disgraced the game on the field in any way as a player. On the other hand, Braun has stepped on every legitimate element that is the "Nation's Pastime". I personally believe Rose should be pardoned and allowed to enjoy the fruits of his career as the "Hits King", even being inducted into the HOF. And now I believe Braun should be banned from baseball for life. His stats are doctored by a foreign substance, his career numbers are phony, and his accolades are all undeserving. Braun has wasted his God given talents. Now he should be forced to sit out the game he cheated and feel those same talents erode from his very being. 

Phil Mickelson: Nice Guys Do Finish First!

Phil Mickelson won The British Open. He played a final Major round for the ages. He hit a three wood shot in the clutch we won't soon forget. He renewed his quest for a career grand slam. He again carried us along on his roller coaster, but this time he didn't break our hearts. He let us enjoy this monumental victory with him as he played tremendously well over the stretch of the final 6 holes. And he did all of this with his usual class and style. The British Open has a richly deserving champion, and all of us have a genuine hero.

Fredi Gonzalez: That's Why They Pay You the Big Bucks

The Braves B.J. Upton is finishing up a stint on the disabled list. That's really not such a huge deal because he's played as if he was disabled all year long. I think it's a much bigger issue that fellow outfielder Jordan Schafer is out with an injury. But to get to my point: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez must keep the strong hitting Evan Gattis in the every-day lineup. His bat is much too valuable to the team for him to be sitting in the dugout. He can spell Brian McCann behind the plate occasionally, as well as Freddie Freeman at first base. However, he could start in the outfield every day. If B.J. comes back the same unproductive player he has been so far this year, Gattis has earned the right to replace him at one of the corner outfield positions. The question is, will Fredi Gonzalez have the guts to make this move. After all, it would be for the ultimate good of the team. Not to mention that's what a manager gets paid to do: make the tough calls.

Tim Hudson: Going Down When He Just Got Going...

Tim Hudson had not been particularly impressive during much of the first half of this 2013 MLB season. In fact, his name had been battered around in possible trade discussions. However, all of that began to change just prior to the All-Star break. He had finally begun to resemble the Tim Hudson of old. The "go-to" veteran on a Braves staff stacked with talent, but lacking experience. The starter Atlanta was counting on to lead the Braves in their second half stretch run for a division title is now lost for the year after suffering a broken ankle in Wednesday night's game against the New York Mets. A freak accident suffered in the 8th inning of his best outing of the season. Gone is the experience, the leadership, the stability and the tremendously proven ability. The Braves went on to earn the important victory for Hudson, and here's hoping Atlanta has enough to overcome the extreme cost of this win. They definitely have someone to play for now.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dan Uggla: Can You Give Us a FULL Season...

I realize it is only Spring Training. The games don't count, the errors don't count, the batting average doesn't count. None of the stats matter to a certain degree, I suppose. But on the other hand, try telling that to a young prospect trying to make a major league squad. However, Dan Uggla is no young prospect. He's a seasoned veteran who is a critical piece in the Atlanta Braves lineup. But Uggla has struggled with his game all spring. And he continues to struggle. He's committed a team high six errors up to this point. He's hitting a chilly .210 with only one extra base hit. He's struggling big time. But Uggla has struggled half the time he's been with Atlanta. He has yet to put together a full season of positive production for the Braves since he arrived from the Marlins. Here's hoping the second baseman can turn things around and be the big time player Atlanta needs him to be. For a full and complete season. And the regular season is only a week away, when everything counts then. Don't let things get 'uggly'.

Friday, February 8, 2013

National Signing Day Observations

Now that the smoke has cleared, here are a few observations from National Signing Day that, for the most part, seem to be accurate:

  • If Saban wants 'em, Saban gets 'em
  • If Georgia doesn't get 'em early, they don't get 'em
  • Don't bet the farm on anything an 18 year old football player tells you before the fax goes out
  • But you can bet the farm on the fact that Georgia will always undersign its class
  • It makes for a touching story that the nation's number 1 recruit would choose to play college football with his brother even though it means he will play in a glorified high school stadium and  forfeit the opportunity to ever play in his conference's championship game.
  • National Signing Day is not the time for coaching rumors to be circulating around
  • National Signing Day is not the time for coaches to undergo hip replacement surgery
  • And lastly, many aspiring high school football player signees can be sold more easily on the "delusions of grandeur" as opposed to the reality of the truth.