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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Contest Results

Hello again, kids. First, I want to thank everyone for submitting to the contest to win a free issue of the Maple Street Press Bulldogs Kickoff 2011 Issue. In the end, my warm heart couldn't decide on just one, so we have two winners.

Those people are Chris H. from Las Vegas, Nevada and Kerri L. from New York (the city AND state). Here are some of their answers that put them over the top (I've shortened them some to give you the gist of it):

1. Mark Richt will lead this team to "X" victories this year.

Chris: Mark Richt will lead this team to 10 victories this year.  I realize we have some big questions, however as I look over the schedule I really feel like we have a good chance in every game.  

Kerri: 11-3 (lose SEC champ game, win a bowl game) (Editor's Note: Kerri's big on brevity). 

2. We will lose to "X."

Chris: We will lose to "Florida" and "Boise State".  You know how much it kills me to type that?!  My faith in big opening games just isn't there which is why I worry about the Boise game.  Florida... A little piece of me dies as I watch our Dawgs give the games away.  If I always doubt a victory here it hurts a little less.

Kerri: Boise, Mississippi State, SEC West Champ* (*I'm going with Mississippi State because if we lose to the Gaytors again, even with the bye week, I may not make it through another season.)

3. The new site girl for the Dawg-gone Blog should be "X" because...

Chris: While I am not her biggest fan, she seems to be in just about everything coming out of Hollywood lately. Apparently people like her. (Editor's Note: LOGIC!)

Kerri: Torn between Pippa's butt (Editor's Note: emphasis added) and Olivia Wilde. If I have to choose one, I go for Olivia Wilde because of this: I'm a girl, I'm married (to a man) but that is hotness right there. 

So there you have it, kids. Now you see why I had to have two winners. Both made extremely valid points, and Kerri got a late surge by adding in Pippa's butt. Well played, madam. 

Oh, and while I'm talking about that, Ms. Wilde is very active on the Twittah's so I'm going to let this Cowboys & Aliens thing settle down a bit and then reach out to her to see if she'd like to have a college team for which to root. We'll see how that goes and if it results in me staying 500 yards away from stuff. 

Copies will be going out to each of them in the next week (though I may hand deliver mine to Chris because I'll be out in Vegas in late August). Congrats to them both, thank you guys for participating, thanks to everyone else who participated and thanks to you all for reading!

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Contest for the Calm Before the Storm

I was going to announce this on my personal Twitter account for my 8,000 tweet yesterday, but I got a small virus and that took precedence over doing any kind of contest. However, that's hopefully been fixed and so we can continue.

You guys might remember that not too long ago, I announced my participation in the Dawgs Kickoff 2011 Issue published by Maple Street Press. The Mayor T. Kyle King headed up the project and after I received my advanced copy, I realized what an EXCELLENT job he did in getting great writers to contribute fantastic articles.

The Bulldogs Issue for the MSP is a relatively new thing and I am of the mindset that if you've been a regular reader of Athlon, Lindys or otherwise, you'll enjoy this magazine. It has a distinct Georgia bias without ignoring the facts of what this team faces in 2011.

So how do you get a copy? Well, if you want to go pick up your own, you can go to any Barnes & Noble, Target or Wal-Mart newsstand. They should have copies there. If they don't, ask them to order some, or you can go to the Maple Street Press site and order your own.

But that's not why you're here. You're here to WIN a copy that I'll pay for and have mailed to you. I don't want to make this a random drawing or anything, so you will have to dig into your Bulldog conscious to win. I want you to email me at dawggoneblog [at] gmail [dot] com your answers to these questions:

1. Mark Richt will lead this team to "X" victories this year.
2. We will lose to "X" (may be more than one X).
3. The new site girl for the Dawg-gone Blog should be "X" because...

It doesn't have to be terribly long. I'd prefer it not to be, actually. Just keep it creative. It's going to allow me to keep a good pulse on what my readers are thinking and I'll reward the winner with the magazine issue and republish their post here. I'm not sure I'll make their suggestion the new site girl, but she will definitely be under consideration. I'd love to keep Keira around, but it's time for change.

Looking forward to the answers. You have until Friday morning. I should announce the winner Friday evening and order the magazine Monday.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Slive puts NCAA on notice

By now, you've undoubtedly heard about the statement SEC Commissioner Mike Slive made at the beginning of SEC Media Days. The long-short of it is Slive wants to raise academic requirements and create a system that gives the student athlete multiyear scholarships, and opens up their options instead of hindering nearly every aspect of their personal life.

I agree with a lot of what Slive said today. It seems to be a very proactive move that should win rave reviews from the same media (and B1G Ten officials) that take so much pleasure in blasting the SEC for oversigning, low academic requirements, etc. Slive dropped a PR bomb on the journalists in attendance and, as of this moment, many are still trying to wrap their head around all the information.

What may go under the radar though, is how Slive basically put the NCAA on notice. He mentioned NCAA president Mark Emmert by name many times but his tone was never one of the SEC being a part of the NCAA as much as it was the SEC flexing its muscle to the NCAA. Slive knows that the SEC is its own brand and he knows he's the head of the ruler of NCAA football. What he said today to the NCAA was "We're going to work on our house, but you have to work on yours. If not, we're changing neighborhoods." He never mentioned ever leaving the NCAA or even hinted at it, but the tone was clear and his frustration was noticeable.

Slive is not a dumb man. He knows that the NCAA has spent so much time shooting himself in its own foot that IF (and that's a big if) the SEC wanted to jump ship and create its own amateur sports league, it would probably have two or three conferences join as well. Remember, the NCAA didn't craft that SEC Television contract with ESPN. The NCAA didn't draw up the specifics of the CBS one, either. The SEC has the power, and it'll have the money for the next decade. The ball is firmly in their court.

Kudos to Slive to standing up to the boys in Indianapolis. Talking about change is the first step in getting it started.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Backfield to the future

In a somewhat surprising move, Richard Samuel has been moved back to Running Back. The move was announced this afternoon by Mark Richt, who released a statement. Samuel also released a statement confirming the move, adding he was "ready to do anything to help the team win."

Reading between the lines, I think the Samuel move was mainly due to blocking ability. Since no one's seem Boo Malcolme play, you can only assume that his blocking MAY not be where it needs to be yet. The same goes for Isaiah Crowell. There's no doubt that if you can't pick up a blitz, Mark Richt will not play you. Period.

Dawg fans need to support Samuel in this. I don't personally like the move because it happened to Kiante Tripp and we all saw how that worked out for him. I just don't want Samuel to become the victim of a lot of shifting. He's as athletically talented as anyone on the team, but we also needed another tailback. It's just a move that if it pans out, great, but if it doesn't, it's a shame.

Like everything else right now, I'll just throw my support to it and hope it all shakes out in the fall. There's a reason why I'm not paid to make these decisions and others are.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Dawgaholics Anonymous

I've always been against anonymous commenting. Usually it leads to people shooting out inflammatory remarks and open ended statements that fail to make a solid point. In my opinion, anonymous commenters are what Bob Costas (and Buck Belue) should consider "goons with a keyboard" rather than solid, detailed bloggers who make more valid points than either of those ever could.

Anyway, I'm dedicating an entire post to this one anonymous commenter who left a message on my latest Brent Benedict post. Not because it was ridiculously stupid like some of them tend to be, but because it's by far the BEST anonymous comment I've ever received. Read about it in its entirety after the jump.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Benedict comes clean...sort of.

A little while ago, Brent Benedict "confirmed" to Chip Towers that he left the UGA program mainly due to a difference in Strength and Conditioning philosophies between where he thought he was in his recovery versus what JT2 wanted out of him. Here's an excerpt:
Q: I understand this mainly had to do with not seeing eye-to-eye with new strength and conditioning coach Joe Tereshinki about training techniques with respect to your injury. I know he’s employing some old-school philosophies with a lot of lower-body work. Is that what this was about?
A: “Coach Tereshinski came in and he has his own philosophy and he and the coaching staff believe that it’s going to work and there’s no reason not to believe that. So,  there were a few things going on and I wasn’t able to resolve that (emphasis added). Of course I hope Georgia does well, extremely well. I’ve told all my buddies back there I wish them the best of luck and I really believe it will be successful.”
So where does this leave the saga? Well Benedict is going to Virginia Tech, so in my mind, the saga is dead. It seems as if the split was indeed mutual, he didn't end up at Florida and I'd bet $100 that says Richt called Beamer and told him to take a chance on the kid if he wanted to be patient. Why? Well, that's the kind of guy Richt is and it also opened up a scholarship in an area where patience wasn't a virtue.

Benedict had his chance(s). We stuck by him when no one else would and we wanted progression, whereas, legitimately or not, we couldn't get it from him. It made sense to move on and I'm glad that Benedict found a home in a place where he wouldn't have to go up against this team. In my opinion, everyone wins.

Look, I didn't like Benedict leaving just as much as anyone did, but that's where we're at. This season is going to be defined not by the hole the players put us in as much as the hand we're dealt. Benedict leaving was a personal choice because we went too hard in the weight room (the horror). King left because he couldn't cut it in the classroom. Ealey left because he couldn't cut it anywhere, from being responsible to buying in. I'm not saying it's addition by subtraction, but if we're going to begin a new culture at Georgia, it's got to start with eliminating the old culture, right?

I know I'm a Richt apologist, but I tend to believe that when a man has delivered some of the best UGA teams we've seen in the past 40 years, he deserves a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. Those '02, '03, '05 and '07 teams were flat loaded with playmakers. That doesn't happen if SOMEONE doesn't know what they're doing. Should Richt have acted sooner in regards to firing Martinez? Probably. However, how many people right now would accept Grantham as the next guy to be the head coach of this program? My guess is that it's pretty high. If that's the case, shouldn't we as a fan base give Richt a little bit of the benefit of the doubt for hiring Grantham in the first place? So, shouldn't he deserve one more go-round?

My thought is let's ride this train and see where it takes us. It could lead to change or it could lead to championships. The only way we're going to know is to buy a ticket and take the bumps in the road as they come. We don't know the destination, but when we get to the final stop, we'll find out if this was worth it or not. Until then, let's just ride this thing out.

That's just my two cents. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't lie to you, buttercup, would I?

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Must Break You

I'm not a person to slam someone else's work, in the sense of saying that they're a bad writer. In my opinion, even bad writing is still writing and putting something out there for others to critique, so just doing the exercise deserves a certain amount of respect.

That being said, nothing infuriates me more than a baseless article that forms a controversial opinion, which spends more time tossing out red herrings (it's a term. click the link if you don't know what it'll make all this easier to understand), than backing up their opinion.

Take example this article from Chuck Oliver's site. Now, I could go on and on about how, in my opinion, Tony Barnhart runs journalistic circles around Chuck Oliver, but that's another post for another day. Let me just put it like this, I'd rather spend an entire day talking to Wes Durham about the Georgia Tech schedule than to spend an hour listening to Chuck Oliver promote himself as "King College Football."

Anyway, Chuck Oliver didn't write the article to which I'm referring. A fellow named Will Newton did. Now, I don't know anything about Newton, other than he's of the mindset that Georgia Tech will be good this year (although everything points to them struggling to be bowl eligible). Then again, I'm a UGA apologist, so I'm biased. He does mention that he was in Athens for six years, but from the way he writes, he sounds like he's totally against Georgia succeeding in anything.

The main problem I have with articles like this though, is the incessant "making news where there isn't" syndrome that seems to be growing among those who want Richt out. There's no doubt Richt is on the hot seat, but instead of giving him the final chance to right the ship that HE DESERVES, it seems many want to keep kicking the man while he's down. For example, in another one of Newton's articles, he suggests that Richt is too nice of a guy to get the job done. Something that I think it's ridiculously stupid and The Good Senator echoes my statement.

The real key to making me think you're full of hot air though, is (after mentioning names like Akeem Hebron, Darius Dewberry and Kade Weston) to have sentences like the following:
"I’m sure somewhere Paul Johnson is wishing he could have had a crack at developing some of those players. "
Because THAT'S what Paul Johnson does. I'm sure somewhere inside of Paul Johnson's own mind, he thinks he could've developed them better, but there's no evidence to suggest that, AT ALL. Chan Gailey did a better job of developing players than Paul Johnson has. Let that one bake your noodle a bit. Also, let's point out that those names were all players on the defensive side of the ball, with two of them having been coached by John Jancek, and we all know how that turned out.

Plus, the added shot he took at Isaiah Crowell is a nice kick in the bag. Let's make sure not to cite any sources, or even allude to how you heard that one. Even if I do play devil's advocate and say it's true, I like hearing it. Yes, I like hearing stuff like that. It means he's getting broken by the upperclassmen. I had a friend explain to me one time how Phillip Fulmer was wildly successful at building recruits up and then breaking them once they got on campus. If Crowell's getting broken, I'm fine with that. Just don't get injured.

Look, Caleb King had his moments where he was an excellent player (think of in 2009 against LSU when he played with a broken jaw), and times where he made me throw things (Colorado 2010). The end all be all, though, is that he could not get it done in the classroom. It was said when he was found ineligible for the Liberty Bowl that he would have a VERY hard time getting back on track for the fall. But he was given EVERY opportunity to succeed. The blame falls squarely on him.

UGA has had plenty of misses, but they've had plenty of hits as well. Let's look at Thomas Davis, Tony Taylor, Kris Durham, Musa Smith, Ben Jones, Greg Blue, Sean Jones, Rennie Curran, Kenarious Gates and many others. Notice that I didn't just name heyday players as well. There are plenty of guys throughout Richt's time at the helm that have thrived while wearing the Red and Black. What it all boils down to is improved strength and conditioning, and those steps have been taken to rectify the problem. To give Newton credit, he pointed that out but that was another red herring in the bigger scheme of somehow placing the King situation on Richt. It's all very reminiscent of the Adam Krohn Gainesville Times article that linked the Columbus-Carver recruits' stealing of UGA players' property to Richt recruiting guys with questionable character. I'd link to it, but the newspaper site is down and I can't get it to pull up. Sorry.

One thing that I think is interesting to note is that there's no mention of Paul Oliver in this article. To me, there's a much better connection to King's story than Oliver's. Both were expected to contribute heavily in their final seasons as players, but after not getting it done in the classroom, both went on to enter into the supplemental draft. King's in much worse shape than Oliver was as a draft pick, but the stories are very closely related.

The point is that I'm tired of the far-reaching ways to expose failures in the UGA program. There is ONE failure right now and that is the inability to win close games. You fix that one, and you're going to Atlanta. It doesn't get easier than that. Yes, there are plenty of issues right now in the UGA program, but can we just take a second to stop making news and allow it to happen? We're less than two months away from kickoff.

So save your hit-job articles for the end of the season when you'll either be vindicated or vilified. Until then, you look just like every other person who is trying to get a rise out of a fan base that really just wants a time machine and BC Powder.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The high price of low grades

Undoubtedly, you've heard the news that Caleb King, UGA's "starting" RB for 2011, is academically ineligible and his career at Georgia is most likely over. If he were a redshirt freshman or sophomore, maybe he takes a year and gets things back on track, but as a senior, it just doesn't make any sense for him to stick around.

So what does that mean? Well, the reviews are mixed. Some say that it's something that most within the know had a feeling was coming. Others say that it's a kick in the bag, and even others say that it wouldn't matter because Isaiah Crowell was going to be the guy from the moment he stepped on campus. I say it's a little bit of all three...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Couple Site Additions

Hey guys. Nothing major happened yesterday and I'm hoping the same goes for today because I've been working in the afternoons/evenings trying to spruce up the site a little bit and make it easier to read and navigate.

First, on the left, I've added the old Podbean Jukebox that was on the first site years ago. It looks rough I know, but it was popular on the old site, so I figured it could find a place here, warts and all. The buttons are a little cut off due to sidebar width restrictions, but you can see the play button, the next button, and part of the volume button. To hear a song, just scroll down the list (it will do this automatically as you move your mouse down) and click on it. I set it specifically not to play automatically on the site, but if you have that problem, please let me know. Also, the Jukebox is in Flash so sorry to everyone who can't see it on a mobile device or tablet. Find me a better Jukebox and I'll change it.

Secondly, to go in conjunction with the new Jukebox, I created a new Gameday Mix to coincide with its launch. It seems that "Stronger" by Kanye West is one of the more popular mixes, so I really just updated it with calls from 2010 by Scott Howard. In a surprising twist, it's called "Stronger 2010." Shocking, I know. Also, it's the first song on the Jukebox. I like the way it turned out, but I'm still trying to figure out volume levels in GarageBand. If you guys have trouble hearing the music along with the calls, let me know and I'll play with it some more. Either way, it's a new Mix and that's always good to have...especially since the first "Stronger" was very outdated. UPDATE: I messed with the mix some and brought Scott Howard down and the music back up. It was too stark of a contrast. You can listen to the new version below and it's been updated in the Jukebox as well.

Finally, I've figured out how to put a "Read More" button onto the site, so that the main page can be more condensed for you. It was right in front of my face, but since I'm unable to read, I couldn't find it to save my life. Thankfully, the long national nightmare is over and you can enjoy shorter posts on the main page and have the choice to click to read more. Of course, that doesn't apply to this post, because I needed to introduce it before I did it. To celebrate, I have a special surprise for you after the jump.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flying coach from Eugene to Indianapolis

Chip Kelly, the head coach of the Oregon Ducks football team, has recently found himself in a little bit of a precarious position. If you're reading this blog, you probably already know that, but just to give you a brief background on the whole thing, let's just say that Oregon paid for a recruiting service that did less scouting than it did flat out delivering guys to play for them. The Yahoo! report that began all this basically pointed out how this recruiting service, called CSS and ran by a man named Willie Lyles, was influential in the signing of a recruit to Oregon.

So Chip Kelly finds himself in a mess because this recruiting service he bought was blatantly purchased to influence recruits. Oregon requested no written information from Lyles until they were already in hot water, while LSU and Cal both received written information and about $19k-20k less than Oregon paid. In a nutshell, Oregon did wrong, they know it and the NCAA is going to hit them with sanctions...we assume.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

UGA/Boise State Details Revealed

I sent this out over Twitter a littler earlier, but has a great post today about the upcoming UGA/Boise State game, including some contract details and a seating chart. I'll hit a few of the high points that I found interesting, but the entire post is worth your time to read.

My first reaction was to the seating chart and the amount of tickets possessed by the Dawgs. First, I don't expect all 53k UGA fans to hold on to the tickets they purchased. It'll be a big payday for anyone willing to part with their ticket, but I do expect any UGA fan that sells their ticket will most likely sell it to another UGA fan who didn't have the chance to purchase one. So, any tickets that Georgia fans sell will ultimately be a wash in the plus/minus category for numbers of fans we have in the Dome.

On the flip side, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see lots of Boise State fans let their seats go. I know that the number of tickets Boise has isn't very large in general, but even with reduced numbers, it'll be a LONG drive for any Boise fan, and I can't think there has to be a ton of them that live within the confines of the Southeast.

In the end-all-be-all, I fully expect about 57k UGA fans in the Dome, with the rest being Boise fans and casual football fans looking to see a big game. If all of those Dawg fans show up ready to make noise, it will be a very big plus in helping the team pull out a victory.

Secondly, I was just as surprised as The Good Senator was by seeing that upon approval of both schools, beer could possibly be served until halftime. I also agree with him, though, that I highly doubt it will actually happen. If it does, it'll be a big plus for Dawg fans as well since it's always good to have the home crowd liquidly lubricated for a big game. Why do you think LSU doesn't lose at night in Tiger Stadium?

Finally, using SEC officials is something that, as a Georgia fan, makes gives me "concerned relief." I say that because we are not always known for getting the best calls in games (warning, the video is loud), but it's such a marquee game for the SEC that I have to think the Refs may give us a little help here and there. With as much disdain for the SEC as there is out there, I can only imagine that it's a good thing we're not at the mercy of B1G Ten or Pac-12 officials, but if Penn Wagers takes the field as the head Ref, how much better off are we, really?

All that being said, I'd like to get the Ref below on the payroll for the Boise game, USC game, or both. It's obvious he has a disdain for Garcia and doesn't mind laying a hit. If Kellen Moore decides he wants to scramble, this guy maintains his gap, squares up, and drives through the hit. Good form.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The science (and frustration) of not knowing...

If you read message board chatter like I do, you know that it's always a delicate mix of those who know, those who kind of know and those who don't know anything. In fact, it's always possible that those who know could quickly become those who don't know in a matter of minutes. it just all depends on, well, what you know.

In the six years I've been writing about Georgia Football, I've always found myself working with mere crumbs of inside knowledge. In fact, my sources are the ones who have sources. Going one step further, I take the pulse of the Bulldog Nation through the blogs that I read (on the right) and the message board(s) that I visit (on the right). That's not to say I rip off the information I talk about, it's just that I'm not breaking news and I'm totally comfortable with that. It's nice being the guy who prefers commentary above scooping, particularly since I'm a heavy procrastinator.

When I say I take the pulse of the Bulldog Nation, that's exactly what I'm talking about. It's just a gauge to see if I'm in the majority or minority on any given issue. There's usually little information to talk about (thankfully this offseason has produced no police blotter storylines *knocks feverishly on wood*), and so we all kind of chime in on the same stuff. I typically find myself in the majority on most views, with a little bit more optimism than some. However, I like reading stuff that I agree with and I love reading stuff that I disagree with. It challenges my views and makes me an all-around better college football and UGA fan, at least in my opinion.

So why all that explaining and so little getting-to-the-point? It's because my point is that lately, I'm frustrated knowing that we all pretty much feel the same way. It's frustrating because there are DOZENS of UGA bloggers or twitterers (myself included) and you know how many of us know with a certain degree of accuracy what's going to happen this year?


If you encounter a UGA fan that knows for a fact (or with at least 90% confidence) that we're going to win 10 games or lose six, he or she is lying directly to your face. That person is blowing so much sunshine or smoke up your butt that you will either fart rainbows or signal an American Indian what you ate for dinner last night. There used to be a science to this from 2002-2005. UGA was always going to have a stout Defense, QB play was going to be consistent and we were going to milk the clock like it had an udder.

Since 2005, there's no formula. From Willie's maddening Sobakawa Soft Zone to Bobo's Quest for Balance in Running and Going Through the Air, we as fans have been stuck in this perpetual shrugging of shoulders when asked what we really think is going to happen to our team that upcoming season. Honestly, how many of you out there felt like the lightning in a bottle that existed in 2007 would even last until 2008? After the first arrest you should've known something was up. Speaking of 2007, everyone wants to look at the Florida game as our turning point. That's a load of crap. We were a forced fumble and a game-winning kick at Vanderbilt away from having a season that defied the logic of losing to them in 2006.

You'll notice that the title of this post mentions the science before the frustration. We haven't even spoken about the science. You know why? It doesn't exist. You want a formula to what a normal UGA fan thinks? Here it is:

Two parts "optimism"
One part "show me on the field"
Three parts "we're working harder in the weightroom this offseason than we have in years"
One part "why are our players on twitter?"
Half part "thank God we have the bye week before Florida"
Half part "...but we can't seem to win below the state line"
One part "when will we have a new Uga?"
One part "Michael Adams sucks"

Boom. UGA fans in a nutshell (again, myself included). How can anyone come up with a level-headed analysis with all that going on? The answer: You can't.

That's the problem right now. From The Good Senator to Tyler Dawgden at the Georgia Sports Blog and everywhere in between, there's this constant state of knowing what to fix, but not sure if the coaches are going to fix it, and it's MADDENING. Mackie thinks we'll beat Boise State but lose to South Carolina? Why? Because in his words:
"until I see them play September 3rd I have no idea how this team looks."

September 3rd is the date to remember, folks. It's a bigger game than I can put into words. Well, at least words that will do it justice. It's bigger than a day. It's an event. It is the time we'll find out whether 2011 is closer to 2002 than 2010.

Before that...we'll your guess is good as mine.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.