Thursday, November 6, 2008

Georgia vs. Kentucky Preview: Righting the Ship

This how we all feel after last week’s debacle in Jacksonville:

I sympathize with the guy who gets punched and then later strangled. Reminds me of Alabama and then Florida. Notice that Andy Samberg’s shirt is blue with orange lettering.

Now is the time for the Dawgs to put last week behind them and focus on closing out what can still be a very good season. The road ahead begins Saturday in Lexington. Here’s a preview of what we’ll see.

Kentucky Wildcats – Who are these guys?
Thanks to an out of conference schedule filled with cupcakes (Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky) and conference wins over Arkansas and Mississippi State, Kentucky is already bowl eligible for the third straight year. At 6-3, an upset over Georgia could propel Kentucky to a bowl game outside of Shreveport or Nashville.

Last time Kentucky went a bowl outside of Nashville it was the Outback Bowl in 1998. The ‘Cats proceeded to drop that game to Penn State, 26-14.

Kentucky on Offense
Kentucky has been a team plagued by inexperience and injuries during the 2008 campaign. After All-SEC quarterback Andre Woodson moved on to the NFL and Chris Pulley was kicked off the team (he now plays at Florida A&M), Coach Brooks has yet to settle on one quarterback as the new leader of the team. Randall Cobb, a converted wide receiver, and Mike Hartline have split time under center for the Cats this year. According to coach Brooks, we will continue to see a QB rotation for the remainder of the season. Kentucky lost its senior leader on offense when receiver Dicky Lyons, Jr. went down earlier this year with a leg injury. If you have never read the comments Lyons made about having dreams with Matt Stafford in them during SEC media days, check out the story here. The only other threat Kentucky had in the passing game was sophomore running back Derrick Locke. Unfortunately for Kentucky, he also suffered a season ending injury. Locke was not only the Cats' second leading receiver but also their leading rusher. With little experience, don't expect an explosive offensive performance from Kentucky on Saturday.

Kentucky on Defense
The strength of the Kentucky team resides on the defensive side of the ball. With the exception of the blowout loss to Florida, the Kentucky defense has not allowed another opponent to score more than 20 points. This includes holding Louisville scoreless (the Cardinals’ only score came on a safety). Linebackers Braxton Kelly and Micah Johnson lead the team in tackles with 31 each. Kentucky is also solid in the defensive secondary, where Marcus McClinton and Trevard Lindley both have 4 interceptions a piece. The defense only gives up about 300 yards of total offense per game and should be quite a challenge for Stafford and the Bulldog offense (which averages about 420 yards per game).

What Will the Dawgs do?
Coaches Mark Richt and Mike Bob have taken a lot of criticism this week for the failures of Georgia’s offense to put up points in the red zone. There has also been criticism surrounding Knowshon Moreno’s absence from the huddle on several plays throughout the past few games. Look for the Dawgs to try and silence some of the doubters this week. Matt Stafford will play a controlled game and should put up decent numbers, but the tandem of Moreno and Caleb King will get a lot of carries. Look for Georgia to once again control the clock as they did in the Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arizona State games.

Knowshon had 124 yardsand 1 touchdown against Kentucky last year. Look for more of the same on Saturday.

On defense, Georgia will need to find a way get some turnovers. Kentucky’s line does not allow many sacks, so the Dawgs are going to need to at least put enough pressure on the inexperienced Wildcat QBs to force some bad throws into coverage. I also look for Georgia to make a big play on special teams. Georgia blocked a punt in the game in Athens last year and Kentucky exposed an inability to provide good protection for its kickers during the Florida game (UF blocked two punts and a field goal on its way to 63-5 destruction of the Cats).

Believe it or not, I actually think the Dawgs will come out on fire in the first quarter. The loss to Florida hurts and this young team will be hungry to make a statement. Knowshon should go for at least 125 with two or three scores. On defense, look for the secondary to step up and make plays and help fix Georgia’s current turnover deficit (-1).

Georgia 38, Kentucky 17


BulldawgJosh & Bubba's 80's Music Video of the Week

This week's video is from one of my all time favorites. Here is Billy Ocean's 1984 hit, "Loverboy."

This video has it all and is just absolutely ridiculous. It's in space, terrible special effects, riding horses on beaches, weird ass creatures, and echoes of star wars. Bubba correctly described this video as a "disaster." A beautifully maginficent disaster!

Better Late Than Never...Kentucky Motivation

I still haven't recovered from yet another Cocktail Party hangover and I don't even know where to begin...should we play the blame game? Should we accept that maybe we're not as good a team as we thought we were...and maybe we're not even having the best season in our own state? Perhaps we should just focus on this week's task and get back in the win column...

I'm having particular difficulty dealing with the outcome of last week's contest. Part of it has to do with my absolute, lifelong, unadulterated disdain for the University of Florida. Part of it has to do with the images burned forever in my memory, images of a Georgia team with such promise, such high expectations failing so miserably to execute against the Gators on one of the largest stages in college football...especially this year. Those images are even more poignant given the vantage point from which I witnessed the Cocktail Party disaster. Bubba and I had great seats: in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium's club level, 12 rows from the field, on the 40 yard line...on the Florida side of the stadium. After Saturday's experience, it has never rung more true and I will never yield in my stance that Gator fans are perhaps the most classless fans in the conference. They were not happy about Georgia's end zone celebration last year, and Bubba and I heard about it.
Bubba and I were on the left side--staring longingly over to the right side and hoping for someone to save us...
Regardless of how we as fans choose to cope with the massacre we witnessed last weekend in Jacksonville, we all realize that it will be a much harder pill to swallow if the Dawgs don't somehow right the ship and win out against teams that they should beat. We certainly don't want a repeat of 2006 when the focus of a young team was apparently lost after embarrassingly allowing Tennessee to hang half a hundred on us Between the Hedges.

A consecutive losing streak to all five SEC East opponents, including losses to very beatable Vanderbilt and Kentucky teams in 2006 and an early season slip up against Spurrier's Cocks in 2007, raised questions about the direction and future of the program. Let's not go back there again. Instead, let's rebound like we did in [most of] the second round of that SEC East schedule run (maybe skipping the 2007 Rocky Top embarrassment). And it all starts this weekend with Kentucky.

Bulldawg Josh and I are heading up to Lexington to cheer on the Dawgs, to help to motivate them, and let them know that, even though we're very disappointed with last week's showing, the Bulldawg Nation is loyal, resilient, strong, and still behind the team. Josh and I are taking these images from the 2006 Kentucky game all the way up I-75 with us, and we want all Dawgs to remember how this felt...and not let this happen again!
Yee Haw! Music City Bowl bound!

This should be more motivating than any silly end zone celebration...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.

With 3 games remaining in the 2008 campaign, the Dawgs will need to regroup this week against Kentucky to get back on track for a 10 win season. There is no better way to find that confidence than putting up a lopsided victory over a conference opponent. Georgia has posted a 7-1 record against the Wildcats since the year 2000, including games in which the Dawgs put up 62, 52, 45, and 43 points. A break out day from one of UGA's star players would also help heal the wounds left by the Gators last week. Here's a look back at the 2001 UGA - Kentucky game when a freshman wide receiver from Waycross put his name in the Georgia record books.

Fred Gibson came out of Ware County High School as a highly scouted two-sport star. Gibson had originally committed to Coach Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators, however he changed his committment to the Dawgs just days before Signing Day in 2001. Gibson had seen the field some during Georgia's first five games of the season, but Saturday, October 20, 2001 was a game he would never forget.

UGA and Kentucky fought a back and forth battle that Saturday. Georgia relied on the tandem of Jasper Sanks and Verron Haynes to lead the rushing attack as TB Musa Smith was nursing a groin injury. Even quarterback David Greene had 41 rushing yards as the Dawgs racked up 197 on the ground.

Up to the task however was Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen. The "Pillsbury Throw Boy" gave the Georgia defense fits all day and Lorenzen finished with 377 passing yards and 2 touchdowns (he also added 61 yards on the ground). Here are the highlights of Lorenzen's day:

As good as Lorenzen was, this game belonged to Fred Gibson. Number 82 set a Georgia single game record for receiving yards with 201. Among his 9 catches were two long throws from David Greene of 68 and 56 yards. Gibson's efforts helped propel passer David Greene to a 397 yard performance as the Bulldogs defeated the Wildcats 43-29.

What Georgia needs right now is a hero, someone UGA fans can rally around to bring some confidence back to the team. Fred Gibson was a little known freshman on that day, who knows who it could be this year.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elect Mark Richt

Don't forget that on this election day, write in Mark Richt's name everytime you don't know anything about the candidates running for an office. So, that's pretty much all of them!

Sure, it might not technically "count," but having a non-official write in candidate receive the most votes for your county's tax assessor office would just prove the might of the Bulldawg Nation.

Go Dawgs. Viva la Richt!

Monday, November 3, 2008



Week 10: At a Loss for Words

Week 10 of the college football season has passed. Here are my thoughts.

Florida 49, Georgia 10
- Is that score correct? Everything that could have gone wrong on Saturday did. We lost, plain and simple. Hats off to Florida, they are a good football team.
- We should have known Georgia was in trouble when Penn Wagers was assigned as the head ref for the game. There were four clear mistakes by the refs that made a difference in this game:

1. The failure to overturn the spot of the challenge. It was clear on the replay Tebow's knee was on the ground before he got the first.
2. Hands to the face on the interception. Both players had their hands up the other's face. Game changing call.
3. The no call on Stafford's first interception. Don't get me wrong, Stafford threw a bad pass but AJ Green was grabbed and the pass interference should have been called.
4. The no call against Louis Murphy on the 44 yard touchdown pass. Asher Allen is a great corner and there is no reason Murphy should have been that wide open. The replay clearly showed Murphy pull Allen out of the way. This play put the game out of reach.

- Once again, we moved the ball but failed to put points on the board. Walsh has done a great job this year, but missing a 27 yard kick is unacceptable. And once again, the play calling in the red zone was questionable at best.

- Hats off to Matthew Stafford for trying to play through the pain. The young offensive line had a bad day and Florida was constantly putting pressure on Stafford. We completely abandoned the rush after Knowshon's fumble and the other interceptions were a result of Stafford trying to make something happen.

Georgia Tech Upsets Florida State
- While the Dawgs can't seem to catch a break this season, the North Avenue Trade School keeps getting them. With under a minute left, the Seminoles fumbled into the end zone and Tech recovered. The Jackets are now in control in the ACC and have a very real chance of playing for the conference championship.

Texas Tech shocks Texas
- Mike Leach and his crazy offense may not be so crazy after all. The Red Raiders scored on a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with 1 second on the clock and shocked the Longhorns. The Red Raiders move on to face a tough Oklahoma State team next week. Two crazy coaches, two crazy offenses, and one shot at the Big XII title are at stake.

- The Crimson Tide is your new #1 team. If both Bama and Florida remain undefeated, there is a very real chance the winner of the SEC Championship will be headed back to the National Championship game.

My Final Thought
- This weekend was bad. Next weekend, Georgia heads to Lexington to meet Kentucky (who squeaked by Miss. State by 1 on Saturday). Dawgs, it is time to get back to winning before the trip to the Plains on the 15th.


Reality Bites

The real world is calling today given a 10 day road trip of awesome proportions.

For now, all I can say is I'm glad I'm not some son of a bitch gator (even if they did kick our ass).

Go Dawgs.