Friday, October 17, 2008
This morning on ESPN First Take, I happened to catch Michael Kim’s interview with Mark Richt.
Here’s a synopsis of the questions and answers (both are paraphrased), as well as my reactions in parentheses:
Kim: What is different about Vandy this year, as opposed their previous teams?
Richt: Their team speed and physicality have improved and even dominated in their games this year. Part of it is also the past misconceptions about Vandy being weak and unable to compete in the SEC.
(No one, except on occasion Florida, ever clobbers Vandy. This year they just happen to be living up to some of their usual potential. However, Vandy reverted to their typical nature by losing to Miss St.)
Kim: What are your thoughts on Mackenzie Adams starting at QB?
Richt: He is a QB with great confidence, passing ability, and a great ability to run and move quickly down the field. Typically, with a QB like him it allows our coverages to become simpler because of his tendancy towards running, but his additional great passing ability will make this a challenge for us.
(Please say hello to my friend, Rennie Curran.)
Kim: How much are you concerned about injuries and depth at your different positions?
R: If we keep losing left tackles, we won’t make it through the season (laughs). We’re on our fourth left tackle, we’ve lost Sturdivant and Vance, and Clint Boling will be there this week. As long as we stay healthy, we’ve got a chance.
(FYI, we have open tryouts to fill out the depth chart at left tackle.)
Kim: Stafford and Moreno rarely get big stats because of the multiple threats of your offense. What would you say to Heisman voters to sway them to vote for one of them?
Richt: Richt essentially said we have a balanced offense between Stafford, Moreno, Green, Massaquoi, and how they each allow for the other to make big plays.
(You could tell Richt wanted to say, “Because they’re awesome. Period. What is this bullshit you’re insinuating about them?!” But, Richt is much more level headed and is not, well…me.)
Kim: Earlier this season you called out ESPN for not showing Knowshon’s hurdle. Since then, we haven’t stopped playing it. Where do you rank it out of all the plays you’ve seen?
Richt: It’s probably tied for first with another time he did it in practice. (Richt then described how Knowshon once did the same thing in practice, but it sounded even more impressive than the hurdle in the Central Michigan game).
(You morons better not stop playing that hurdle, either.)
Kim; Does Knowshon going airborne ever make your heart stop?
Richt: No, it is really more of a wow sensation.
After the commercial break, Dennis Franchione all but said Vandy will upset us. (I don’t even know how to say it…who cares what Franchione thinks?!)
Dana Jacobson said she’d like to see the upset, just so Skip Bayless will be a little happier. (Well, isn’t that convenient. How about you stop talking about every sports team in the State of Michigan, because they all blow right now.)
Ole Miss at Alabama: I hear a lot of people saying "Watch out for Ole Miss, They beat Florida". Well, they also lost to Vandy and they are going to lose to Bama and it won't be close. John Parker Wilson throws for 600 yards and plays Tarzan in a Drama Department production on Tuesday night, true story.
Terrance Cody was going to have a cameo in the play but fell through the trap door and I hear he was stuck until last night. Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis was able to wean him from powdered sugar doughnuts and he slipped right through after a 3 day fast. Seriously though, Bama wins 28-10.
Arkansas at Kentucky: Two things that you will never hear during the commentary of this football game or in the coming years:
1) "Long time Arkansas Head Football Coach, Bobby Petrino..."
"... Celebrates his 230th win and retires beloved by the Razorback Nation"
2) "Impressive All SEC Quarterback Mike Hartline..."
"... is nimble on his feet and has a Rocket Arm"
If either of these two phrases are ever uttered, I will learn the Notre Dame Fight Song and sing it in my underwear at a Purdue basketball game. Kentucky is reeling from their lack of offensive production and if there is a defense in this conference that will allow them to make some plays, Arkansas is the one. I don't know why Auburn missed the memo last week. Oh, wait, Tony Franklin was too busy going nuts and getting fired, I remember now.
Kentucky should win this game. It will be sloppy and both teams will probably combine for at least 5 turnovers. On a sadder note, WR Dicky Lions, Jr. had his football career ended when he blew out his knee this past weekend and B'NE would like to take a moment to salute him. Now that that is over, I hear that there is a factory in Glasgow, KY that actually pumps out white wide receivers that wear the number 12. The B'NE pick is UK 21, ARK 14.
Mississippi State at Tennessee: Nick Stephens was fairly impressive as a leader last week in Athens and has a much better head on his shoulders than Jonathan Crompton and the last three UT Quarterbacks. MSU is not very good and will not be able to consistently move the ball against the Volunteers. If UT does not turn the ball over and get in their own way, they win 24-6. I know that is asking a lot from the last place team in the east (ha ha), but they need to prove something to their coach and fans Saturday.
LSU at South Carolina: This game will be very interesting. South Carolina has slowly built on their 1-2 start to the season and now sits at 5-2 with the third ranked defense in the country. LSU on the other hand was thoroughly embarrassed last week in Gainesville and their impressive early season win against Auburn does not look nearly as strong.
South Carolina is going to pressure Jarrett Lee all night and Eric Norwood will be on him like Terrance Cody on powdered sugar doughnuts (before the stage incident, I think he's back to cake doughnuts now).
That does it for this week and we will see you after Homecoming in Athens.
Vanderbilt comes to Athens ranked #22 in the country touting a 5-1 record. Could this be the worst ranked team in the country? The statistics would say yes:
Vanderbilt's defense is ranked 10th in the SEC (ahead of only Arkansas and Ole Miss) and Vandy’s biggest strength on defense is their ability to get turnovers. Vanderbilt has 11 interceptions on the season and that includes all four starting members of their secondary having at least 2. They are also very good in Red Zone defense.
Things get really ugly for Vanderbilt on the offensive side of the ball as they are ranked 118th out of 119 Division I teams in total offense, featuring a passing offense that averages only 90 yards a game. The running game is not that much better; Jared Hawkins leads the team in rushing with 333 yards on the year and their second leading rusher is on again/off again starter Chris Nickson. Auburn game hero Mackenzi Adams will get the start in place of Nickson and Dawg fans will remember Adams as the guy who led Vanderbilt down the field in 2007, nearly upsetting UGA before a Daryl Gamble forced fumble saved the day. However, Vandy does an excellent job converting turnovers into points and is very efficient in the Red Zone.
"Your name is Mackenzi? You would go to Vanderbilt, wouldn't ya?"
What are the Dawgs going to do?
Hopefully, the UGA Homecoming crowd will get a healthy dose of Knowshon left, Knowshon right, and Knowshon up the middle. Vanderbilt's strength is their secondary and their leader is standout two way player D.J. Moore. Coming out and establishing the run will be huge and there is no reason to think that Knowshon Moreno can’t have another 100 yard game or get closer to 150 yards, as he did against the Commodores last year. These yards should be easier to come by than the 100 yards he had against Tennessee last week. However, Vanderbilt tackles very well and is disciplined on defense, making strong offensive line play pivotal. Expect Mike Bobo to continue to call screen and swing passes to AJ Green early in the game. Getting Vanderbilt's D to bite on these established plays should open up passes over the middle later in the game.
Knowshon for Homecoming King, '08
On defense, having Adams in the game may present some problems for Georgia. The pass defense is statistically the worst in the league, giving up 222 yards a game, and Adams is a better drop back passer than Nickson. DC Willie Martinez should try to confuse Adams early, sending blitzes to hit the Vandy play caller in an effort to force mistakes and turnovers. If Georgia jumps out to an early lead, look for the linebackers to drop back into pass coverage and attempt to contain short passes and the option game.
What's going to happen?
Historically, Georgia is a slow starter in these 12:30 games. Rarely do the Dawgs come out and put away a team they should beat early in the first half. Georgia dominated Tennessee last week but failed to put the Vols away with a couple of costly turnovers. This week, history shouldn’t repeat itself and expect the ever changing O-Line to leave gaping holes for Moreno. After failing to score for the first time last week, expect at least 2 touchdowns for the kid from New Jersey. Vandy's offense will struggle against UGA’s physical defensive line and look for Georgia to get a couple of turnovers that lead to quick scores. The Dawgs need to stay focused with two huge games looming and a solid, dominating win would create great momentum.
Georgia 34, Vanderbilt 13GO DAWGS!!!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The song states in its opening line, "Lady - you bring me up when I'm down, Maybe you're gonna change my life around." This was often the role of the Vanderbilt Commodores football team. No matter how poor a team was playing, they could get back on track and get a solid win against Vandy. Much of this has changed with the recent arrival of Bobby Johnson and the 'Dores will be a true test with their 5-1 record. However, just as the 80's video of the week is a flashback to another time, let's hope the Georgia Football team can track back to their memories of 1981 where the Dawgs beat the Commodores 53-21.
Without any further waste of time, Lionel Richie and the Commodores:
Oh, I bet the dancing soccer referee in the video knows more about football than Penn Wagers.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Leonard Pope had 3 catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. This game was a warm up for his 2 touchdown performance against the Gators two weeks later.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Georgia 26, Tennessee 14
- Now that's more like it. I know the media has downplayed our victory over Tennessee and I agree the score was not indicative of the game. However, after the crushing loss to 'Bama and two straight crushing losses to UT in '06 and '07, we needed this one bad.
- The two interceptions in the Red Zone were discouraging, however I was proud of the way our offense played. We had players hit the "Big Game" milestones at all three positions (Stafford with 300 yards passing, MoMass with 100 yards receiving, and Knowshon over 100 rushing).
- Blair Walsh is a beast. Only a kicker who drills the ball like he does is able to get a kick that was blocked squarely to still go through the uprights. He is a future All-SEC kicker.
- I love the 1-2 punch of Massaquoi and Green. We finally have a set of receivers that make Stafford look like the good QB that he is (we'll look the other way on AJ's touchdown drop. He is still a freshman).
This is how to resond to a cheap shot - by scoring a TD just a few plays later.
- Willie dialed up a great defensive plan. We held UT to 1 yard on the ground. Considering what Fulmer has done to us in the past, this number is amazing.
- Eric Berry may be the best defensive player in the SEC. He is the reason Knowshon had trouble breaking off any big runs. If only he would have stayed in the state.
"Berry throws a left hook and down goes Moreno."
- And lastly, the 17-play, almost 11-minute drive in the 4th may have been one of the best drives I have ever seen. We basically took Tennessee entirely out of the game by not letting them have the ball. It was awesome.
The Red River Shootout
- Like expected, neither team played much defense in this game. Texas is a solid team and Colt McCoy looks like the Heisman front runner. I wonder what the final score would have been if that INT in the end zone had not been overturned.
Massacre in the Swamp
- The Gators put a whipping on the Bayou Bengals like they did to Tennessee last year. The media is gushing over Tebow again and Florida is back in the top 5. I'm not sure where Les Miles's vaunted defense was, but they sure didn't come ready to play this week.
Vanderbilt - Back to Reality
- Vandy, you got Croomed. See ya at 12:30 next Saturday.
Missouri Falls to Okie State
- Oklahoma State is much better this year than the team we saw last year in Athens. Mike Gundy has got his team firing on all cylinders and Chase Daniel looked human.
Bad SEC Teams
- Coming into this season would anyone have belived that at the midway point the three worst teams in the SEC would be Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky ?
This season is turning out almost as crazy as last year. We get Vandy for Homecoming this week and then the real season starts in Baton Rouge on the 25th.
Just one more thing that Auburn and Clemson have in common, firing a Bowden.
UPDATE: Joe Schad at ESPN is reporting that Cullen Harper said Bowden DESERVED this (Bowden pulled Harper as the starting QB of Friday). CJ Spiller was also quoted as saying that Bowden had lost the confidence of many of the players.
Read these for more (ht to GeorgiaSportsBlog):