Friday, September 30, 2011

Picks are Due

Get them in.


Mississippi State Preview

Mitchell with the catch (Image:Hipple)
Here we are, another game that we have more talent than the team coming to Sanford Stadium, but not confident we have enough of the other stuff that it'll take to win.  Last year, Mississippi State was, well, Mississippi State.  They came into the game at 1-2 (0-2) in the conference with a close loss to Auburn and getting dominated by LSU.  Mullen had his team ready to play and they donkey punched Georgia, 24-12.

They would go on to reel off 6 straight wins, with the only really big win coming against the Florida team that looked terrible in their worse home game in years, 10-7.

Mullen will have his team ready to play again. On paper, this is a simple win for Georgia. If being a Georgia fan has taught me anything, there rarely is such a thing as a simple win the past few years.

The biggest source of concern is the one drive that the defense allowed a TD last week. Two misdirection plays that allowed receivers to be open way behind our D backs and bam! Touchdown.  Maybe it because I still get the shakes when someone mentions a wheel route, or maybe it is because Relf is a very dangerous misdirection weapon, but I am worried about how we handle those plays.  Bacarri Rambo was the source of many of those very plays I am worried about, and he is a big key in this game.

I didn't trust him at the beginning of the season.  I was wrong. He is leading the nation in interceptions and is sixth in passes defended.  His play is notably improved and he plays like the guy we thought we'd see based on his Freshman year.  It isn't an overstatement to say Bacarri is very much the biggest defensive surprise of this team.  Between the edge rushing threat of Relf and Ballard, and the ability of Relf to force defenses to decide early to stop a run or a pass, Rambo's new mindset and approach will be put to the test.  Getting CRob back to provide run support and edge contain will help, as the Dbacks will have to respect Chad Bumphis' ability to get separation and Relf's ability to plant and throw to him at nearly any time.

On offense, it is simple: Four yards at a time.  Runs or passes.  Murray needs to be sharp.  Orson, White, Figgins, Crowell, and Samuel need to catch what is thrown to them.  Crowell, Thomas and Samuel should focus on extra yards, not the home run.  Louisiana Tech wore Mississippi State out with its short passing game.  The 17 year old starting QB for Tech was 29/40, averaging just over 5 yards per pass.  Tech was effective enough neutralizing the Bizzaro Dawg's speed.  Add in the Mitchell/King/Brown deep threat and that is a pretty good recipe.  That and scoring TDs anytime we can, instead of running three times and settling for the FG inside the 20.

Finally, we are going to see a fake punt, onside kick attempted and/or some other trickeration.  Count on that.  Hopefully, the 'extra focus' on special teams will pay off this week.

In the end, I am far more hopeful about this game than I was sweltering on the Marta platform for an hour after the Boise State game.  Georgia isn't quite the super team we've seen the past two weeks.  Mississippi State isn't the slogging mess we've seen the last two weeks. We'll have a good idea which team Georgia is by about 4pm on Saturday. I think we win, but don't pull away until late because we don't do anything easy.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bauerle to Receive Hartman Award

The Hartman Award is the highest award the University bestows on a former student-athlete.  Bauerle has led the Women's Swimming and Diving program to 4 National Championships and coached the US Olympic Swim team.  He'll be recognized during the game on Saturday.

He is a gem of a guy, to boot.

Congrats to a DGD.


Stat Worth Watching

Figgins on the move, something I hope we'll see against MSU (Image: Hipple)
Digging around, looking at Mississippi State's season, something really jumped out at me.  Teams are completing 71% of pass attempts against them.  It isn't as if they have faced a low number of attempts, as they are in the middle of the pack in that regard.

Considering the need to get the ball delivered quickly and the speed of the Bizzaro Dawg's defense, it wouldn't surprise me to see Georgia focus more on Orson and screen passes to establish a short passing game.  I hope Bobo doesn't forget that running past speed rushers and swing passes are another way to neutralize that threat.

How do you think Georgia is doing if Murray is 14/19 at the half with 103 yards?


Mississippi State - 3 Questions

Unlike other games this season, there were way more than 3 questions rolling around in my head.  This article literally could have been 13 questions.  It took some doing to get this down to just three.
  1. Does last year's loss, and all the malaise that resulted from it, play into the game this year? Other than the Florida game, which is too much of a long term pattern to be mere coincidence, I don't put too much stock into what happened last time we played some one.  Sure, there are lessons to be learned, but on the mental side of the equation, the games are independent events with independent actors.  For whatever reason, I don't think that is the case this year.  Way more than Georgia's pride was wounded by the loss in Starkevegas. The 2010 Georgia Bulldogs will to fight was demolished.  Does that mean anything this year?  I hope so.  There is no doubt this team plays with more passion and want to than last year's team did.  I think we'll see that translated into much more level headed, and hard nosed, play this week.
  2. Can we make Relf look like he did against LSU? I am not saying our defense is as good, fast or strong as LSU's.  The level of their competition is higher, to this point in the season, than ours.  I am saying that in order to be assured a win, we have to hold Mississippi State to under 250 yards offense.  I worry about our defense's ability to edge contain. Last year, we didn't contain him (or Ballard, for that matter) at all, allowing Relf 107 yards rushing on 20 carries.  We have to make him make tough decisions and do so often enough that his first thought is 'get the ball to Ballard because one of these big mofos is about to treat me like the pretty girl in her first day on the cellblock.'  Relf's confidence is as shaky as a Jim Donnan investment scheme.  We have to shatter it.
  3. Can we game plan competently enough on offense to counteract Mississippi State's very active defense? Think back to the Boise State game.  Spit the throw up out of your mouth.  Now remember their defense bring pressure from everywhere, even from seemingly behind Murray.  That is what we'll see from Mississippi State.  Now, last season, we handled that well enough...until we got close to the goal line.  Just to refresh your memory, we settled for two short field goals in the second quarter.  We put either or both of those into the end zone, we have a different game.  However, going back to the issues discussed in question one, can we do that this year?  With the TEs and FBs, coupled with a much better running back option, I think we can.  We have to be able to for a win.
Look, if we lose to Mississippi State again, the sky will be falling again.  If we win, we will have beaten a 2-3 (0-3) team that needed a miracle to beat LaTech.  I don't believe a win, other than another total domination game, changes the fans' mind set.  I do believe it changes the emotional and mental state of the team for the rest of the season.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2010: We were in a bad place

I've hinted around at this for long enough, so hear goes...Without naming names, it is clear enough now that the whole 'team cancers' meme from last year wasn't some excuse machine?

Looking at the quotes from guys about the team bus after the Mississippi State game, it isn't hard to read between the lines about the actual tenor the discussions in the locker room and on the bus.
"We were just in a bad place."
Yeah.  No doubt.  I do have to wonder, is guys leaving because they realize there isn't playing time for them a sign that you will have to compete now, instead of getting deeded playing time due to longevity?

It is hard to say this, but I'm not disappointed with guys leaving the team.  Oh, I'm disappointed on an individual level for each player not finding what they want at Georgia, but looking at who has left and their reasons for leaving on whole, I'm not disappointed.  I felt the same way about Nate Hybl (I realize it was a different situation):  If you don't want to play here, work to beat out someone, and help the team if you don't, leave.  Especially if you are creating team chemistry issues.  Hey, I get it if you want to go somewhere else that you might have more playing time.  I understand that.  But it is also a sign of ME-team thinking, regardless of how it is couched.

One final thought, I am ok with the level of secrecy the coaches have about guys playing or not playing.  I'm hoping it is part of the trade off:  Play your asses off, work as a team and compete; we as coaches will do whatever we can to protect you and your reputation in the press and blogosphere. I applaud that.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Larry Munson

Here's to 89 more years of living the life you have lived.


Fun with Conference Expansion

Since I have been so right in the ballpark written about conference expansion, I thought I'd throw my idea out for a 13 team football schedule.  For better and more well thought out ideas, check out Mr. SECs plan (short version: use the MAC's current 13 team scheduling as a guide) and Team Speed Kills' plan (short version: use the MAC's current 13 team scheduling as a guide, but since it is for one year, throw South Carolina and Tennessee under the bus by sending them to College Station because they suck at recruiting Texas).  In all honesty, the MAC was my first thought, too.

I believe the SEC will add another team in enough time to get a full 14 teams scheduled for 2012.  We've given our thoughts on who that team might be, but, hell, I'm way more wrong than I am am right.  Given that, we've got to consider the possibility the SEC will have 13 teams for at least one season.

So, if the SEC doesn't expand before 2012, what will the schedule look like?  The simple solution is copy the MAC.  I won't rehash the scenarios competently laid out in Mr. SEC's or Team Speed Kills' articles linked above, but the gist is the East side of the schedule will be exactly the same, except for the two East v West games that will have to be lost somewhere to get the West side enough slots for games.  Four West teams will play five division games, three will play six. The kicker is only division games count for winning the division, at least if you go strictly by the MAC plan.

Where does that leave us? It is simple, to me.  Make Texas A&M quasi-independent in football for one year.  They play an eight game conference schedule, without regard to division.  Put the eleven schools that aren't already playing them (Arkansas has them scheduled) in a hat, and draw.  They won't be eligible for the SEC championship game.  Their results don't count in conference standings.  As a carrot, they are eligible for the SEC's BCS slot if they are ranked higher in the final BCS standings than the conference champion.  In a strange way, they could enhance their BCS national championship or at large chances by avoiding the SECCG.

Imagine playing Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, and South Carolina, with games in Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Athens and Gainesville.  You go undefeated against that schedule, it'll be hard nearly impossible to get left out of the BCS championship game.


College Pick'em Standings: Week 4

A strong week for four players, with all of them putting up a perfect 12-0.  Andyweaver wins the week on the tiebreaker.

On the season, Richt Flair moves in to first.

Standings for Week 4
Rank Selection Edit W-L Pts Tie
1 andyweaver's picks 12-0 78 31-17 (*)
1 UGASmitty's picks 12-0 78 28-13
1 HunkerDownDawg's picks 12-0 78 24-20
1 Hobnail_Boot 12-0 78 24-14
5 HUTCH's picks 11-1 77 32-24
5 Richt Flair's picks 11-1 77 27-17
5 CvilleDawg's picks 11-1 77 27-17
5 hunkering hank's picks 11-1 77 23-17
5 richt1881 11-1 77 23-10
5 watergoat's picks 11-1 77 21-17
5 tampadawg99's picks 11-1 77 21-10

Overall Standings Through Week 4
Rank Selection W-L Pts
1 Richt Flair's picks 34-12 243
2 jondeal's picks 37-9 242
3 blaked04's picks 36-10 240
4 UGASmitty's picks 35-11 239
4 Moses's picks 33-13 239
6 aueagle's picks 36-10 238
7 drzoom's picks 33-13 237
7 wdouglas's picks 32-14 237
9 contrarian's picks 35-11 236
9 Big K's picks 32-14 236
9 papadoc19's picks 36-10 236
9 ecdawg's picks 35-11 236

All Saturday games this week, so you have until about 11:30 on Saturday to get your picks in.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tennessee Kickoff Time Announced

Georgia will kickoff at 7pm Eastern in Knoxville on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.  The network will be announced next Monday pending the outcome of the Mississippi State vs. Georgia, Alabama vs. Florida, Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, and Auburn vs. South Carolina games (and presumably the Buffalo vs. Tennessee game).  Florida vs. LSU is the CBS game next week.

This week, Auburn at South Carolina is the 3:30 CBS game, with the Alabama at Florida game the 8pm CBS game.  Texas A&M vs. Arkansas at the Jerry Jones Football Palace will be at noon Eastern on ESPN.

Ole Miss Review

A conference road win, one that was much, much more dominant than the score indicated.  An overwhelming defensive performance.  Coach Richt going old school.  Didn't it feel like 2003 or so?  A relatively close game that never felt like it was close at all?

The Good:
  • The Defense. Second straight game allowing less than 200 yards offense.
  • Pressure on the QB.  Are we finally comfortable running the 3-4?  We brought pressure from multiple spots with multiple players.  We dropped Abry Jones into underneath coverage more than once (he almost got a pick on a tipped pass).  We played stifling pass defense, with two very notable exceptions.  We got stronger as the game wore on.  Very happy with the defense.
  • Coaching.  Going to Mitchell right after he got a hold that negated a long run was genius.  The game plan was well thought out and we deviated from it to keep doing what worked.  The only gripe I have is that we didn't try to put another TD on the board when we were in the red zone early in the 4th quarter, instead opting for merely running the ball and the clock.
  • Richard Samuel catching passes.  For all his flaws as a ball carrier, he is that good as a receiver. 
  • Carlton Thomas' pass blocking.  If Crowell learns to block like Thomas, he'll be as complete a running back as Moreno.  Thomas pass blocks like a much bigger guy.
  • Run blocking.  Crowell and Thomas both made plenty of second effort yardage, but they were doing so after rushing 5 yards untouched.  The 29 yard Crowell run on 3rd and 9 from the Georgia 2 yard line was the best blocked run play we've had all season.
  • Guys getting into the game due to injuries and ballin'.  Gilliard, Vasser, Bennett, and Lee come to mind immediately.
The Bad:
  • Edge contain. Yes, Ole Miss only gained 34 yards rushing (the running backs had more like 60 on 16 attempts), but the edge players were bailed out time and again by Williams and Rambo.  Washington and Vasser had a couple of nice stops, but both sucked inside too often. Oh, and before anyone comments about the long swing pass that the holding penalty negated, I say without the hold, that is a two yard gain, at most.
  • This is a corollary to the previous statement, but the defense's ability to read where the ball is has to improve.  Weis will eat us alive with Demps and Rainey.  Johnson will do so with all of his offensive players.
  • Droppsies.  Some were on Murray due to poor throws.  More were on the receivers.  Troupe and King both dropped balls that were just about as easy catches as you would expect.  Charles and Bennett both missed balls that hit them in the hands, as well.
The Ugly:
  • Special teams.  I'm not talking about Walsh's misses (although, since I brought it up...), I'm talking about punt coverage and onside kicks.  On the season, we have given up a TD to Rerun on a fake punt.  We have given up a TD on a punt return reverse that I heard people in the stands yelling about before the ball was fielded.  Don't get me started with the onside kick stuff.  Also, we don't set up punt returns or rush the punter well.
Overall, this is the kind of game that in the last couple of years would have likely been an utter nail biter.  Ole Miss is about as good as last year's Colorado team, but they are certainly better than 2009 Arizona State team that we had to beg, steal and borrow to beat on a last second field goal.   

I'd also like to make a note about Crowell and how his running changed later in the game.  Of course, it changed.  He ran the ball double the number of times he ran in any one game this season.  It is easy for me to judge that, but the fact of the matter is he is an 18 year old that has to do many, many things for his game to be where we, his coaches, and he want it to be.  Learning what it feels like to get 25+ carries is important for him to know what he has to improve. Judging from Boise State to now, any reason to think he won't?


3 Questions Answered: Ole Miss

Turned out my concerns of this being another Colorado game were unfounded. Outside of a two trick play drive and the continued lack of competent special teams play/coaching, this was a total and utter domination by Georgia. 
  1. Can the Georgia team that showed up last week and against South Carolina (minus the freebie points) do so for a third consecutive week?  Three strong performances in a row.  We gave them freebie points, but that was all we gave them.  The defense is really coming into their own and the offense is competent, mostly, at moving the ball.  There are places for improvement, particularly in the passing offense, but this was a good road win.  Instead of playing to the level of the competition, which wasn't very good, to be sure, we came out and controlled the game from the kickoff. 
  2. Does Mason get in the game anytime other than late in mop up duty? Coachspeak. 
  3. Do we finally acknowledge that we have to be a bit more innovative to give the QB time to run the offense since, you know, we are almost down to playing recruits on the offensive line? Murray only got sacked twice, with one of them coming on a Frank Roger Dorn'esque olĂ© by Crowell.  As I said above, we have some improvement in the passing offense to go, with one of those areas being blocking for Murray.  On the upside, the rush blocking was very strong.  I'd still like to see a few more screen plays for Charles, and the swing pass was open nearly every time we snuck a RB to the flats giving potential there.  Murray's footwork is a mess a times, which is exacerbating the protection issue, but all of that is improving.  
One final thing, I don't know why we don't run the play action with Mitchell running deep play 5 times a game. Even if we don't throw it to him, it always has to suck at least one guy (and probably keeps a safety honest) out of coverage.  That is as money a play as we have.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Road Trip to Meaningful Use Land

The voice on the phone seemed genuinely amused, “Let me see, the GPS can’t find our location, right?” Right. One U-turn by the burnt barn, a right after the Conoco station, another right at the end of the road, a left across the John Deere and two and a half hours from the city on highway W, brought me to a small and very white store front, housing a nail salon and a busy family physician practice. If I stretched out both arms, I could put one hand on the front desk, and place the other hand on the back of a waiting room chair. There were six chairs separated by small tables adorned with yellow silk flowers. A texting young man in jeans and baseball cap and a middle aged woman clad in floral attire and a big green purse, occupied two of those chairs. And then Bessie walked out the doctor’s office behind the usual and customary tennis ball footed aluminum walker which was almost as tall as her, and helped by the front desk lady made a slow trek to the one chair with arms on both sides. They were calling Joe to come pick her up. Joe was going to be there in ten, fifteen minutes, tops. It was 4 PM and they were running behind.

Looks can be deceiving though. This practice is an anomaly in the rural health continuum. There are computers in every room and not even a trace of paper charts. They’ve been on a top of the line Cadillac EMR since 2005, paying a small fortune every year for the privilege and for IT guys to support it. They kept up with all the upgrades and are on the latest and grdatest certified version and would very much like to get the Meaningful Use incentive that will cover about three quarters of what they spent on EMR maintenance this year. The doctor would even like to try the patient portal. He thinks it could make him more efficient. They were all ready to go on October 1st, but then something happened. They started getting solicitation emails from their EHR vendor informing the doctor that there are several accessories that he must purchase in addition to his fully certified EHR, if he wants to qualify for Meaningful Use incentives, and of course, the Cadillac vendor has a special sale on accessories this month. Confusion and frustration were palpable around the huge, and completely out of place, formal pedestal dining table in the break room.

I’ve been to this movie before, and I never had any luck convincing this particular vendor that a certified complete EHR should allow the user to achieve Meaningful Use with no need for other bits and pieces that were not mentioned anywhere during the certification process. Unfortunately, those who certify EHRs and those who supervise the certifiers are turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to what is essentially a regulatory issue. In the break room the confusion and frustration were slowly changing to anger and the big plastic QT cups of pink lemonade that were brought in by someone didn’t help much. The conversation shifted to the various Meaningful Use measures and by now I wasn’t surprised to hear that they are doing rather well on most, from electronically prescribing everything to recording race and ethnicity and generating beautiful CCD clinical summaries. They weren’t sure how to give folks electronic copies of their medical records, but nobody ever asked for that and it’s highly unlikely that anyone will in the next three months. That should be good enough.

“Am I also good on immunizations? I don’t do many of those either… maybe a few HPV and some flu shots for elderly patients to save them a trip to the pharmacy. I shouldn’t have to report anything, right?” Eh… wrong, doc. Even if you only do one immunization in the next three months, you would have to test an immunization interface with the State registry, and your Cadillac EHR can’t generate the test file at this time although it is fully certified for Meaningful Use. I’ve been trying to get an answer from this vendor for months. I’ve asked CMS for a solution over a month and a half ago. I have written a blog post that got more page visits than anything I ever wrote before, and came up empty on all fronts. But the doctor seemed to be working his way to an innovative solution all by himself.

“So if I don’t give any shots after October 1st, I should be OK…. We have one bottle of HPV left anyway and Marcie needs her shot… I have a week to do that… They pay peanuts for shots, you know…. They’ll just have to go to the pharmacy…. It’s not that far…. I really don’t give many shots anyway… Yep. It should work… “. October is flu season, and I was wondering if Joe picked up Bessie by now and if the pharmacy is on their way home. I wanted to know if the pharmacy had a chair with arms for Bessie and if the pharmacy folks would also call Joe to pick her up after waiting in line for her flu shot. But instead, I just found myself mumbling that this wasn’t really the intent, but yeah, this should work.

A couple of months ago, I heard a story about a geriatrician who chose to stop giving courtesy flu shots to his patients because of Meaningful Use. I found it hard to believe then. Needless to say, I believe it now. I am certain this was not the intent at CMS and I am pretty sure this was not on the Meaningful Use roadmap at ONC. I am not in the habit of pleading and begging the powers to be to do the right thing, but I will make an exception this once. This unremarkable little practice in the middle of nowhere could have been the poster child for successful EHR adoption. Can somebody at HHS, CMS or ONC help these small practices stand up to the greedy whims of a powerful EHR vendor? And above all, can we do something to help Bessie keep her “I” in Health IT, please?

Disclaimer: In order to protect their privacy, the names of all people and locations mentioned in this post have been changed, as have certain physical characteristics, quotations and other descriptive details.

Saturday, September 24, 2011



Ole Miss Preview

I really struggled with this preview.  I had planned to do a breakdown of both teams, using stats and such.  However, I stumbled on one stat that was glaring, so unreal, that I decided to just use it and move on:

Ole Miss 2011 Total offense: 757 yards.  That is 252.3 yards per game.  For comparison sake, Georgia is gaining over 125 yards per game more.  Ole Miss has played the number 10 (Vandy..what?), 46 (BYU) defenses by total yards, plus DI-AA Southern Illinois (who the Rebels didn't exactly pile it up on with 315 yards).  Before you fret about that, remember, Elon gained nearly 100 more yards against Vandy than Ole Miss did.  Utah doubled Ole Miss's offensive output against BYU.

The key to this game really is sound defense.  On offense, run the ball and run it some more (they are stout in the first quarter on run defense, but fade through the game).  Take shots down field, but don't get fancy.  They aren't geared to spread the field and love to run the ball on third and anything.  Just about a vanilla as you could imagine. Defensively, use the meat upfront to create match up issues for them.  Force them into making mistakes, since they are so good at that.

It is time to get the road mojo back.  This is just about as good a road game as you could ask for in the conference to do so.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ole Miss: 3 Questions

Todd Grantham happy with his defense (Image: Hipple)
With a quarter of the season past us, we should be past figuring out what works and what might not.  Regretfully, injuries and continuing to grow into schemes make this game another lets see what works game.
  1. Can the Georgia team that showed up last week and against South Carolina (minus the freebie points) do so for a third consecutive week?  Last year, Georgia only put together one back to back strong performance (Tennessee and Vandy).  Coming out and playing passionate, businesslike football against an Ole Miss team that has a lot of pride to reclaim, but a long way to go on the talent side of the ledger, results in a big win.  Ole Miss is better than the manhood robbing 23 point loss to Vandy showed.  They aren't good enough to win without Georgia helping them out.  A lot.
  2. Does Mason get in the game anytime other than late in mop up duty? I am not sure if the Mason nugget was coach speak or a shot across Murray's bow.  For my money, I say it is coach speak, but if we see #14 come out early in the game or with the game still in doubt, well, we have a genuine QB controversy on our hands.  Here's hoping if Mason comes in with that situation, Murray handles it well.
  3. Do we finally acknowledge that we h`ve to be a bit more innovative to give the QB time to run the offense since, you know, we are almost down to playing recruits on the offensive line?  We implemented a shotgun spread formation to move the ball around quickly and to give the QB options quickly.  I take that back...teams normally implement the shotgun spread for that reason.  We implemented it to run the quick draw with one less blocker on the line.  We've done very well moving the ball from the traditional two back set.  IF we go to shotgun spread more, here's hoping it is for a bait of TE and RB screens, coupled with rolling the QB out to find Mitchell going long.
Hey, we should win the game.  However, this has the makings of a Colorado type game.  That turned out so well.  Hopefully, we'll see Grantham smiling more than grimacing.


The Grove

I shot this in the Grove in 2006. That's me laughing and singing into the mic. You can practically smell the bourbon when you watch the clip.

Damn I wish I was going this weekend. #Jealous


College Pick'em Due

Hairy Dawg is looking for your picks (Image:Hipple)
Tomorrow at noon.

Get your picks in.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

South Carolina's Offensive Coordinator is Hardheaded, too

Image: Hipple
You know, we in these parts make our thoughts on Coach Bobo's intractability when it comes to utilizing the players he has, as opposed to molding those players to his philosophy. In my mind, that is one of the most maddening parts of being a Georgia fan right now, the insistence on running the same plays we ran with Musa Smith in 2002 with Carlton Thomas in 2011.  Just nutty. 

However, this quote:
"We don't go into the game thinking [Marcus Lattimore is] going to run 35 or 40 times. But when things start happening in the passing game, you wonder, 'Why in the world are those guys trying to pass?' So you end up running, running, running trying to win the game." - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier
Really illustrates how old dogs and new tricks just never get familiar.  Hell, even I could game plan for South Carolina:
  • Lattimore touches the ball on hand offs and toss sweeps 30+ times.
  • Jeffrey is thrown to deep on the first opportunity after a long first down run by Lattimore.
  • Lattimore is thrown to at least 5 times a game: two swing passes, one underneath screen, two RB screens.  This is my play of choice on any 2nd and less than 4, plus 3rd and 7 to 3rd and 15.
  • Jeffrey gets at least 10 looks, all in patterns that don't require the QB to throw the ball in a seam or to a location (in other words, fly patterns, deep outs and short fades that allow Jeffrey to use his size to get separation. 
  • Lattimore is the safety outlet on any pass play. Lattimore on a quick three step and cut is my hot route call.
  • Garcia has to drink a cement mixer shot for every jump ball he throws, preferably on the sideline.
It is really simple to me.  Now, I know Spurrier knows way more than I do, but it isn't clear he knows more about game planning around your strengths than anyone else.


Who's gonna wear their shoes?

Well, the offensive line just went to nano-wafer thin.  Freshman David Andrews might center against Mississippi.  Last time he started at center was in the State Semifinals against Savannah Christian, a week after Georgia last won a game against a DI opponent. 

I'm not a prepare for next year kind of guy, but all of these young guys getting reps on the offensive line will bode well, if we continue to recruit like we did this year and avoid any more injuries and/or quitters. 

If not, moving Artie Lynch over might be among our better options for adding depth.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mid Week Thoughts

We find ourselves at the beginning of a four game SEC binge that will end with the open date on October 22nd, the week before the Georgia-Florida game.  Three of the games are on the road, including this weekend's tilt at Ole Miss.  Fortunately, there are only snippets of stuff to talk about.  Unfortunately, there are only snippets of things to talk about.
  • Injuries...or not.  Who cares?  Someone is unavailable, someone is unavailable.  I didn't get the bruhaha about Rambo in the Boise State game.  I don't get the bruhaha about Tyson against Coastal.  If I am Coach Richt, I call Bill Belichick for pointers on how to handle this, if for no other reason than to gig the mainstream media a bit more.
  • SEC Expansion...or not.  Hahaha, guys.  You got me. So it isn't Mizzu or WVU.  Oklahoma isn't going to the Pac-1X. Hey, wait a minu...nah.  Not buying it.
  • Mason to get playing time...or not.  Ok, now it is getting serious.  Hey, if Mason is a better option than Murray, then fine.  Play the kid. If Murray is the better option, there is plenty of stuff for Murray to work on that only playing will help.  Ask South Carolina how the 'you're my guy, wait this other guy might be more my guy' thing is going.
  • Nutt will get fired after this week...or not.  If Georgia administers a Vandy style beating on them (did I just type that?), it could happen.  I still say it comes during their off week after they go to Fresno.
  • Vandy is fo'real...or not.  This week at South Carolina will tell us a lot about that.  Of course, if Garcia throws five ints against them, not only will Spurrier pull Garcia's arm off and beat him with it, Vandy wins.
  • LSU takes a big step forward this week...or not. Crazy haha vs. Just Crazy, in the coaching department.  You figure out which one is Holgorsen and which one is Lesticles. 
What did I miss?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birmingham and KC Papers Reporting Missouri to be 14th SEC Member

At this point, who knows.  Birmingham papers are reporting Auburn would move East.  PWD, whom I expect to post on this, discussed this scenario today.  He has some interesting thoughts on what would happen if that is the case, among them who our 'natural' West rival would become.

Suffice it to say this is a fluid situation, one that could change many, many more times.  Honestly, I like Missouri more than the WVU thing. Columbia isn't the worse town in the world.  The area is called Little Dixie.  The academics are much better than West Virginia's (for those that care).


2012 Offensive Line Suggestion

Depending on who returns for the 2012 season, Georgia could field a very interesting team overall.  Assuming no NFL departures, we return 7 starters on offense and 9 on defense. We lose 3 offensive linemen and Figgins on offense plus Tyson and Boykin on defense.

The biggest question mark for the 2012 season will be the offensive line and special teams.  The biggest specific area of concern is offensive tackle.  It's damn bad luck when your program loses three elite left tackle recruits in three consecutive classes.  Sturdivant was injured, Benedict was lost to rehab related arguments and Long isn't an offensive tackle following his injuries.

The OT prospects for 2012 are:
-- J. Theus - True Freshman (terrifying)
-- W. Dantzler -- playing mop up minutes as a FR
-- K. Gates -- currently a guard
-- Z. DeBell -- currently injured
-- Unnamed Juco -- statistically likely to be fat and/or dumb

I really wish the coaches would consider bulking up Artie Lynch a bit more and trying him at OT.  He's already 275 lbs with great feet.  Adding another 15 pounds isn't asking that much.  Move him before the bowl game, and he would have time to learn the position.  Besides, UGA has a good history of moving high school and college tight ends to the offensive line.

We would be thin at TE, but it's a dramatically easier to find tight ends than offensive tackles.  Especially considering we have plenty of plays that call for zero tight ends in the formation, but no plays that call for less than two offensive tackles.

What's in it for Artie?  NFL tight ends make a helluva lot less in the NFL than OTs.

Player utilization wins.


Caldwell-Pope Cleared to Play

According to Coach Fox. I was worried they'd find a less familiar relationship between the AAU coach and Kentavious.  I haven't seen the finding, so not sure why he was cleared.

I'm just glad he is.


SEC Quarter Season Review

A quick look at each team and how their seasons are going.

Alabama - Yawn. Alabama keeps winning with defense and a nine fingered sock puppet as QB.  This team is what Spurrier wishes South Carolina could be: Strong running game coupled with safe QB play and a stout defense.
Arkansas - Rolling up the offense, but sure did make Troy's offense look good.  The only bonus for them is that the two better teams in the division are defensive minded teams.
Auburn - I'll take bags of poo on fire for $1000, Alex.  A: Auburn's Defense
LSU - By arresting victory, we set in motion bales of time that eventually results in a continuum of lack of losses.  Douglas Adams said that.
Mississippi - David Cutcliffe quietly pushes another pin into his Pete Boone voodoo doll.  All the grass on The Grove dies.  Alumni take ad demanding firing of Rebel Bear.
Mississippi State - That winning thing is harder than it looks when you don't have but one option on offense.
LSU and Alabama are still the teams to beat in the West.  And the conference.  And the nation.  Go ahead and write down November 5 at 3:30 as the kickoff of the game of the week of the decade this century.  

Florida - Looked good against Tennessee.  Back to back games against 'Bama and in Baton Rouge loom.
Georgia - Good news, the Dawgs have faced two of their four toughest games.  Bad news, Dawgs still have to beat Florida to win SEC East.  Ugly news, only 30 teams have more yards rushing on the season than Georgia Tech did against Kansas, and Georgia isn't exactly stopping the run well.
Kentucky - Kentucky is setting offense back 70 years, yet are 2-1.  The world makes no sense to me.
South Carolina - South Carolina will need turnovers to keep winning.  Good running game, coupled with 5 fingered sock puppet senior QB equals someone eventually stopping said running game and crushing the Gamecocks.  More than once.
Tennessee - Losing Justin Hunter just caused this season to go from one of promise to one of 'we hope we don't lose to Vandy.'
Vanderbilt - Vandy won't keep getting turnovers to help them win.  They will go to a bowl this season.
Paul Westerdawg was right calling this a kingdom of blind men.  South Carolina and Florida currently have legs up with wins in the division, but they have brutal conference schedules in front of them.  Georgia is playing better, but you know somewhere, there will be another UCF/Colorado style meltdown that will cause them to lose a game they shouldn't.  Tennessee is young and has shown it consistently; the bonus is they have to play the rest of the season without the Braymaker Justin Hunter.  Vandy is playing very well, but until they face a bit better competition, it is hard to say much about them.


Georgia and Mississippi - Two Approaches

Dead Career Walking
Imagine for a minute you have a coach that has been the most successful coach since the national championship years at your program.  Imagine your AD fired that coach after his first losing season, just one year after a 10 win season. A 10 win season in which the second best QB in school history, as well as three other standouts that were key contributors at their positions, left.  Oh yeah, imagine part of that firing was due to the coach's refusal to make staff changes mandated by the AD.

Then imagine your school hired Houston Nutt, who was run out of his last job guessed it, not necessarily managing the coach's role within the athletic department's hierarchy.  I'd love to throw some Springdale jokes in here, but let's be honest:  If Gus Malzahn stayed in Arkansas, he'd be the head coach and Nutt would be the coach at Auburn.  Funny how those things turn out.

So, are you happy we have an AD who taken a very measured approach or one that sees a number of losses and says make my changes or else?

Apparently there are Ole Miss alumni tired of the AD and President's management of the the football program.  If you want a strong current example of a fan base really up in arms, that is as far as you have to look.

I don't know if Coach Richt will survive this season.  If the team plays and improves like it has the past two weeks, I think he does and does so on the strength of a strong season.  If it plays like it did against Boise, well let's just say Nutt won't the the only coach facing that particular opposing team for the last time.  I do know absent a Lazarus style get up and walk out of the burial clothes miracle, Nutt is done, possibly by October 2nd.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Thoughts on Marcus Lattimore

If Spurrier doesn't kill the kid from overuse, Marcus Lattimore will be in New York for the Heisman ceremony.  Lattimore already has 87 carries on the season and 96 total touches through three games.  He has 534 yards rushing and 7 TDs along with 66 yards receiving.  Last season, he finished with 1197 yards and 17 TDs rushing combined with a stunning 412 yards receiving and 2 TDs.

Granted it's obviously a small sample, but he's currently on pace to rush for about 2,300 yards and 30 TDs (not including the SEC title game in either stat).  Even though the pace will cool...he's the Return on Investment Player of the Year.

I'm trying to remember the last back with Lattimore's size and speed who caught the ball as effectively out of the backfield as well.  Any one have some thoughts?

Spurrier may have a lot of flaws, but he knows how to get his best player the ball.  Compare that to Mark Richt who waited til Boykin's fourth season to even try getting him the ball on offense, and we STILL haven't seen Branden Smith on offense again despite being the biggest homerun threat on the UGA sideline.

So much of coaching is player utilization. Remember the 2003 Auburn at UGA game when Cadillac Williams had about 3 carries in the first half as the Tigers were obliterated in Athens?  There's an object lesson in there somewhere with Hugh Nall's picture next to it.

I always point to the 1994 UGA at Alabama game as the shining example for player under utilization.  We had Hines Ward at RB, Robert Edwards at CB, and Terrell Davis was sitting on the bench.  If you don't put your assets to maximum use, you end up in the Fried Chicken or investment business.  I'm very curious to see how things continue to unfold here.  We've seen progress here, but why is it like pulling teeth to get Richt to implement some of the more obvious fixes?


Quarter Season Review

Ok, not so much a review of the team as a review of...what?  How we feel as a fan base?  How I feel as a fan? 

First, group hug.  No seriously.  All those that want Richt fired and preferably last January and those that are ok with him staying arguably want the same thing: a successful program.  The problem lies in the definition of that. Now, I am not smart enough to try to suss out the definitions and the motivations for that.  I am smart enough not to say it should be one or the other. 

All that is to say that Mark Richt will be our coach at least until the end of the season.  Those that want him gone will only find satisfaction in us winning the rest of the games with no turnovers, no errant passes, no stupid penalties, no ill timed draw plays, no blown coverages, no missed field goals, and preferably 45+ point shutouts.  Those that want him to stay forever will find reasons to keep him, regardless of how ill prepared and under coached the team looks.  Now, Greg McGarity views success for the football program the same way Potter Stewart viewed pornography: He knows it when he sees it.  A lot of him 'seeing' that comes from what the money people tell him and President Adams.

As long as McGarity is the AD and there are no serious issues with a team revolt, Richt will coach the team until the Georgia Tech game.  My personal feeling is that he'll be here longer than that, but honestly, I can see the team reverting to last year's barrel of fail and him being gone.  The next few weeks will be far more important than the last three were, in that regard.

Hopefully, Georgia wins this week, which I think we will.  If not, Nutt will become the second coach in two seasons to get one of his few wins in his firing season against Georgia.  That guy is as fired as Damon Evans on July 1, 2010.

Georgia - Mississippi State Game Time

I'll have an update when it comes out, but the SEC office has already said their will be no competing games for the two CBS games (3:30 and 8).  All other games will be noon or earlier kickoff. 

I'm guessing the two games will be some combination of Alabama at Florida (which is a near mortal lock for one of the CBS slots), Texas A&M at Arkansas (at Jerry World in Dallas), Auburn at South Carolina (SECCG rematch), and Mississippi State at Georgia.  Just looking at that list, I don't see any way CBS picks the UGA game over both of those other two games without ESPN doing some serious late season horse trading to get the other games.

So, I'm going with Noon on ESPN. 


UPDATE: Noon on Fox Sports South, per the SEC. 

College Pick'em Week 3 Results

This week saw movement at top.  ECDawg took over first place with a strong showing this week.  Papadoc is still very much in the game just one point back.

This weeks standings:

Standings for Week 3
Rank Selection Edit W-L Pts Tie

1 mw4uga's picks1 11-1 75 24-27
2 B1G Leader's picks 11-1 73 34-37
3 ChiliDawg's picks 11-1 72 24-34
3 jud92's picks 11-1 72 21-24
3 Tombstone's picks 9-3 72 48-38
6 BallGroundBulldog 11-1 71 17-24
7 UGASmitty's picks 9-3 70 31-34
7 Buckeyesrule's picks 10-2 70 27-24
7 kevtiger's picks 9-3 70 24-20
10 cantondog 10-2 69 21-24

Season standings:

Overall Standings Through Week 3
Rank Selection W-L Pts
1 ecdawg's picks 25-9 168
2 papadoc19's picks 25-9 167
3 Big K's picks 22-12 166
3 jondeal's picks 26-8 166
3 drzoom's picks 23-11 166
3 Richt Flair's picks 23-11 166
7 blaked04's picks 25-9 165
7 aueagle's picks 25-9 165
9 wdouglas's picks 21-13 164
10 Cstrickland's picks 23-11 163

For the week, Westerdawg had a big week, getting into the top 25 for the week.  On the season, I am still in the top 20.  Paul wishes he knew what the top 20 felt like. 

All Saturday games this week, so you'll have until 11:30ish Eastern on Saturday to get your picks in this week.


SEC Power Poll

1. LSU - The Tigers dominating defense give them the luxurious option to play conservative offense.  With their ability to run between the tackles and throw effectively at short and medium range, their offense doesn't need big plays, just moderately competent offense.  That's good because that's the offense they have.
2. Alabama - Everything I said about LSU applies to Bama.  LSU has just beaten better teams.
3. Arkansas - We'll find out if this spot is justified Saturday.  The Hawgs are, on paper, better than everyone that follows, but the loss of Knile Davis takes a big weapon away from them that they need in conference play. 
4. South Carolina - They're lucky they have an absolute beast at tailback because they are not getting much production from the rest of their offense. 
5. Florida - The Gators looked solid at home against UT, whose biggest offensive weapon was hurt on the first drive.
6. Auburn - Auburn's chances this year rest solely with Gus Malzahn because they can't stop people. 
7. Mississippi State - State has, it appears to me, four plays.  Those four moved the ball some on LSU, but this team will go only as far as Relf can carry them. 
8. Georgia - The Dawgs are building momentum, but need to beat someone. 
9. Vanderbilt - A junior version of the LSU/Bama model, just not nearly as talented. 
10. Tennessee - The loss of Justin Hunter is huge, removing the biggest offensive threat from UT's offensive arsenal.  It still appears to me that UT is just too young or too thin to compete over the long haul.  They have some nice pieces, but the overall product is wobbly.
11. Kentucky - Talk about wobbly.  UK has looked like their old selves for three weeks.  Better get it figured out this week which starts a run of three ranked opponents, two on the road.
12. Ole Miss - Thumped by Vandy.  Need to show up this weekend at home as the Nutt administration continues it crumble. 


Washaun Ealey Update

Not to kick a guy while he's down...except he didn't really give a damn while he was here so what's the difference.'s your Washaun Ealey update through 3 games:

  • 45 carries for 182 yards and 2 TDs
  • 5 catches for 97 yards* and 1 TD

He's averaging 4.02 yards per carry and 60.3 yards rushing through three games.  In fairness, the Georgia State game last week was his first quality appearance with 21 carries for 83 yards.

No offense to UTC fans, but I don't think JSU had really faced the top teams on their schedule yet.


*The receiving yards are skewed by a 43 yard catch in one game.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Power of Empowerment

Grant Wood, American Gothic (1930)
Housing is expensive if you want to live in a Tudor style mansion on a half-acre wooded lot. Housing is a lot cheaper if you choose to rent a two-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of a square building with no elevator, 45 minutes away from your workplace. And it won’t kill you to rent. Food is also very expensive if you want a varied, fresh and gourmet diet, but food can be cheap, and it won’t kill you to cook your own food and stick to a diet of mashed potatoes and boiled cabbage, with an occasional bit of tripe. Health insurance is very expensive if you insist on having all your medical needs covered by an insurance policy. Health insurance can be a lot cheaper if you pay for most of your medical care yourself and if you only buy limited coverage for the eventuality of falling off your dressage horse, and cheaper still if you promise to drop dead shortly thereafter.  Health care itself is very expensive if you insist on receiving medical care from highly trained professionals, using cutting edge technology in state of the art facilities. Health care can be a lot cheaper if you find a way to take care of your health without involving doctors and hospitals and their overpriced opinions, chemicals, machines and unnecessary procedures. It’s all about consumers empowered to freely make their own choices: mansion or rented apartment, steak or tripe, Cadillac or catastrophic health insurance, ICU or alcohol rub…..

The Consumer Empowerment terminology originated in the health insurance industry to mark the transition from having insurers pay for every cut, bruise and sniffle, to the more responsible way of paying for much of your health care directly out of your own pocket leaving the insurer responsible for rarely incurred catastrophic expenditures. The newly empowered consumers discovered that health insurance is now much more affordable, and perhaps even unnecessary, while health insurers discovered that magically, their profits are also improving, probably because empowered consumers seem to generate significantly less reimbursement claims, than the irresponsible and unempowered crowd served by public entitlements.

Although empowering consumers to pay for their own health care proved to be a stroke of genius, we have a long way to go before the overall cost of health care is contained. The problem here is that over the years Americans figured out that staying healthy doesn’t really pay off and quite the opposite is true, because once you get really sick there are all sorts of freebies made available to you, from amputations to chemotherapy to mastectomy to castration - a veritable smorgasbord to choose from, and the temptation is huge since the monetary value of these free goodies can add up to more than many people make in a lifetime of hard work. Not to mention the fatherly physician figures busy offering you helping after helping of a carefully selected array of the most expensive fare available. And then an innovative idea was put forward by selfless luminaries, and is catching on like brushfire after a long global warming induced drought. If health care insurers were able to cut costs and increase profit by empowering consumers to insure themselves, could health care providers achieve the same spectacular success by empowering consumers to care for themselves?

Empowering consumers to engage in their own health care may rank up there with cold fusion and perpetuum mobile in its transformational potential for humanity. Empowering millions of people to actively manage their medical care, by making their own medical decisions, breaking free of the old-fashioned paternalistic directives of financially conflicted physicians, and restoring the nineteenth century self-reliant approach to health care, will slash costs, improve quality and eliminate disparities in health and health care in one patient-centered fell swoop. And how do we accomplish such monumental task? We harness the unlimited power of the Internet. This is the Information age, and just like the Industrial age brought a car and a television set to every home, the Internet puts the entire world’s knowledge at the fingertips of all humanity with astounding effects already visible in the education attainment of our children. But the world’s knowledge is missing a vital piece of information pertinent to our goals in health care.

Enter Health Information Technology (HIT). HIT will pry loose the last piece of the puzzle – the secretive documentation amassed and jealously guarded by doctors in their offices. Information kept in detailed color coded charts and recorded in strange cult-like symbols that prevent anybody but doctors from understanding the contents. Once that information is made available to computers and the thousands of new high tech tools chomping at the bit to translate, analyze and recommend what you should buy to treat any ailment ever recorded, the Internet will bring this knowledge to every hamlet and fuel a renaissance of rugged Americanism where every man woman and child will be empowered to manage his or her own health care. The amount of money spent on health care will decrease sharply since the time people spend researching, diagnosing and treating themselves at home, and the cost of technology tools and over the counter remedies to facilitate these activities are not considered health care expenses. The quality of such care will be exponentially improved by harnessing the knowledge and insights of millions, instead of just one medical school graduate. And by definition, the Internet eliminates all disparities, as evidenced by the blossoming democracy in Egypt.

So much empowerment may seem a bit daunting to some who grew accustomed to getting advice from doctors. No need to worry though because this will be a gradual and gentle process. It’s not like you will have to perform an appendectomy on yourself come Monday morning, although it wouldn’t hurt to start practicing simple things like freezing warts at home and researching minor chest pain on Internet boards. When you finally keel over in pain, or are otherwise ready to confront a doctor, you must prepare yourself mentally to act as empowered as possible. While the civic minded insurers have been happy to empower people and let them spend their own money any way they saw fit, doctors find it much harder to relinquish control of their patients. You need to come in with all your symptoms researched, a tentative diagnosis formulated and most important, a preferred course of treatment that fits your cultural values and preferences. You need to resist your doctor’s efforts to tempt you into partaking in the smorgasbord of free tests and procedures, some of which will be harmful to you and others will be very unpleasant for your friendly insurer. If you concur with your doctor’s opinion and have some tests done, make sure you understand WBCs and RBCs, units and normal ranges for the lab you are going to use after shopping around for a good price, and be sure to validate whether you need a differential count or not. The Internet is your friend and all this information is available online. But whatever you do, don’t leave your doctor’s office without an electronic copy of your medical records in a computable format, because any day now, there will be a free app for all these decisions and iWatson will empower you to care for yourself and your loved ones in ways that the log-cabin pioneers couldn’t even dream about. Better, faster and infinitely cheaper.

Coast Carolina Review

Mitchell with the catch (Image: Hipple)
I'm not going to break down in my typical fashion, since about the only bad or ugly thing I can find are the infernal holding penalties (admittedly mostly committed by young guys that got playing time).

Hey, I wanted Crowell to get 100 yards in the first half.  He got close, but had to settle for 86 on the day after dinging up his ribs again.  Murray hit five in a row to start the game.  He only really telescoped one pass all day.  The defense played well against an over matched offensive line.  We didn't get any sacks, but we had 9 tackles for loss.  We spread the passing around.  We got young guys reps.  We shut them out.

Hey, if you need to find places to complain about something, go for it.  I just can't find it this week.


PS. I meant to include something about Rambo's return and fumble.  He probably should/could have gone down, but if he had, I might have found a reason to gripe about that.