Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Caught him in a sensitive area…”

Man, when you’ve got the Big Ten Network’s microphones picking up sideline commentary directly from the players, who needs Erin Andrews?

Check out what Minnesota’s Simoni Lawrence has to say about his condition after semi-impaling himself on a yard marker (as you might expect, it’s NSFW):

(h/t Deadspin)

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Filed under The Body Is A Temple

SEC Power Poll Ballot – Week Four

Every team in the SEC has now played at least one conference game, so these rankings start taking on more focus.

  1. Florida. That first quarter against Kentucky was the most dominant performance I’ve seen from an SEC team this season.  Then the Gators kinda wanked around for the rest of the day and got their quarterback hurt.  I bet Tebow doesn’t play in a similar situation the rest of the season.
  2. Alabama. Really, it’s 1 and 1A right now between the Tide and Florida.  And the gap between the first two teams and the rest of the conference is large.
  3. LSU. I’m beginning to wonder if this team is ever going to show up.  The good thing is that they’re not turning the ball over like they were last year.  But the defense hasn’t improved as much as I thought it might and the Tigers look soft on offense.
  4. Georgia. This team does more dumb stuff than the rest of the SEC put together.  That 3-1 mark is a testament to how much talent there is in Athens.  A.J. Green is the conference MVP to date.
  5. Auburn. The yin to Georgia’s yang.  Chizik gets my vote as SEC coach of the year so far.  This, too, is a 4 and 4A ranking with the Dawgs.  And why isn’t this team getting its share of love from the poll voters?
  6. South Carolina. I’m not as impressed with the team overall as many seem to be.  Yes, the defense is good.  But that offense is still shaky – if you can play man-to-man and get a pass rush, you can muck up Garcia’s game pretty well.
  7. Ole Miss. Another good defense, questionable offense team.  Snead is turning into the biggest disappointment in the conference.
  8. Tennessee. I suppose the letdown after the biggest moral victory in the program’s history was inevitable.  The Vols move up only because the other mediocrities lost badly last weekend.
  9. Arkansas. So Bobby Petrino said his team played badly because it didn’t think it could beat Alabama and that mindset was his fault.  Anybody else think that’s a bad sign with the Hogs’ remaining schedule?
  10. Kentucky. That first quarter was wretched.  The Cats can’t be that bad, can they?
  11. Mississippi State. Mullen’s done a good job getting what little talent he’s got to play hard every week.  That playcalling at the end of the drive to pull off the upset shows that he’s not quite yet ready for prime time, though.
  12. Vanderbilt. Sorry, ‘Dores, but beating Rice isn’t going to get you out of the cellar.

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Filed under SEC Football

(Very early) first thoughts on Georgia-LSU

I know I’m out of the gate a little sooner than usual with this post, but it’s nut cutting time in Athens, boys.  I watched a replay of the LSU-Mississippi State game yesterday and between that and my Saturday night in Athens, here are a few impressions to chew on:

  • Vegas has to be cringing just a little bit at setting the line in this game.  The early number is Georgia favored by 2.5, which strikes me as being as good a number as any.  But really, is there any realistic spread that wouldn’t surprise you at this point?
  • The stat that scares:  LSU, first in the SEC in turnover margin at +7; Georgia, last in the SEC in turnover margin at -9.
  • Bobo’s biggest job this week is figuring out a way to scheme A.J. away from Patrick Peterson.
  • Cox’ biggest job this week is paying attention to where Chad Jones is on the field.
  • I’m not sure if this is supposed to reassure me, but evidently King’s fumble was caused by Ben Jones bumping into him.  If these backs can’t secure the ball well enough to protect against an accidental collision, how much better are they going to fare against defenders that are trying to knock the ball out on purpose?
  • These are not your father’s LSU offensive and defensive lines.  LSU currently ranks tenth in rushing offense in the SEC.  Scott and Williams did not suddenly become mediocre players.  And outside of Alem, the Tigers defensive line isn’t generating a consistent pass rush.
  • Combine that with LSU’s sudden prowess in the long passing game (and Georgia being a mirror of LSU on both sides of the ball), and I’m leaning towards another shootout on the scoreboard.
  • LSU looked like it really struggled with the option against Mississippi State, so maybe it’s worth trotting out Logan Gray in situations other than for one play on second down in the red zone.
  • Trindon Holliday.  Jon Fabris.  Directional kicking.  Just sayin’.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Broncos and Ducks and Senators, oh my.

I know The Concussion sucked all the oxygen out of the tent, but it seems to me that the big story from last weekend was how Boise State’s chances to play in the BCS title game increased exponentially.

In that regard, the Oregon win over Cal was huge, for two reasons.  First, it knocked out one of BSU’s competitors for the slot.  Second, the more the Ducks rehabilitate themselves, the better the Broncos’ opening season win looks.  And with their schedule, they need all the boost they can get from that game.

They’re far from a lock, but consider that they currently sit fifth in both polls.  In front of them are three SEC teams that will play each other at least once, unless ‘Bama or Florida play themselves out of the SECCG.  In any event, that’s all good for Boise, which is unlikely to lose a game over the rest of the year.

If Texas and one of the SEC schools win out, BSU will find itself locked out, which will no doubt lead to another round of whining from the likes of Orrin Hatch.  But as unpredictable as this year has already been, it’s not much of a reach to speculate on what happens if all the major conference players in the title game hunt wind up with one loss on their resumes.  If that occurs and an undefeated Boise doesn’t get the invitation, watch the howling from Hatch reach new heights.

**********************************************************************

UPDATE: To his credit, Tony Barnhart addresses the subject in his post today.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

“It was a great game… no, it wasn’t a great game.”

That was The Fifth Quarter Show’s A.J. Bryant’s Dickensian comment about last nights 20-17 win over Arizona State.

I know just how he feels.  This is a team that looked like for the first time all season it was getting its act together early in the game, marching out to a 14-3 lead, only to watch its offense wilt and allow an inferior opponent to take a 17-14 lead and then be given an opportunity to take a late lead as a result of a miscue.

Of course, from there it was no problem.  Three defensive stops, an A.J. Green field goal block (!) and a 36-yard completion to Green set up Blair Walsh’s game winning kick with two seconds left on the clock.

This team is driving me crazy.

Speaking of A.J. Bryant, it was on that show a couple of weeks ago that he and Kelin Johnson mentioned that Fabris favors directional kicking even in the face of its ineffectiveness because the man likes a challenge.  Unfortunately for Dawgnation, I think this team has taken on an identity.  It’s Fabris’.

Think about it.  Georgia is 3-1, despite having gone through a September slate of nothing but BCS conference opponents and having racked up a mind-boggling -9 turnover margin.  That’s close to impossible.

This team has no quit in it, and as someone who’s despaired over the occasional absence of any field presence that cropped up over the previous three seasons, I love those guys for that.  But they’re also squandering what looks like immense talent advantages – there’s no question about which team had better athletes overall last night – and leaving themselves in a position in every game to struggle to a win.

This team is talented enough to win any game on its remaining schedule.  But it’s also flaky enough to lose almost any of those games.  Sure, it’s impressive that Georgia stands at 3-1 right now, considering what it’s gone through.  But where do you think those Dawgs would be today if they had merely broken even on turnover margin in those four games?  Likely 4-0, with at least two easy wins and a top ten ranking.

A few specific observations from the 35 last night:

  • Spare me your arguments for Benn or Bryant or Jones.  Right now, A.J. Green is the best wide receiver in the country.  Arizona State tried every trick in the book to come up with something to stop him.  The end result?  Eight catches, 153 yards, one touchdown and a crucial catch to set up the game winner.  I’d almost call the blocked field goal icing on the cake, except that with the way things were going at the time, it was the clutch play of the night.  Just a spectacular performance.
  • The understatement of the night was uttered by Willie Martinez about Bacarri Rambo:  “I should have been playing him more.” No kidding.
  • Speaking of Martinez, he coached last night as if he’d been reading every message board comment and blog post anyone had ever made about him.  You wanted personnel changes?  Brother, he was moving players in and out of the game like he was being paid by player appearance.  He zoned.  He went man-to-man.  He stunted.  And granted, that was one crappy passing attack he went up against, but still, 204 yards yielded is 204 yards yielded.  And peel off the first two turnovers, it’s doubtful ASU scores 10 points.  So he lives to fight another week.
  • Anybody wonder how last night would have turned out if the Sun Devils’ starting kicker hadn’t been out with a groin injury?
  • The two players on defense that look like they’re coming on:  Justin Houston and Branden Smith.
  • How did the officials miss that face mask penalty?
  • I don’t know what Mark Richt was thinking on that fourth-and-one.  Skip the fact that ASU was stuffing Georgia’s power running game.  Given the way ASU’s offense was playing, how do you not take the three points in that situation?
  • Which reminds me – that was a pretty weak job we saw from the offensive line last night.  Back-to-back false starts, no push on short yardage plays and blitzers that were getting past the tackles – something tells me that Stacey Searels wakes up an unhappy man today.
  • Who would have thought that the key to Georgia’s season so far would be to hold the turnover margin under -3 in a game?
  • Mike Bobo, trust me:  everybody knows what you’re going to run when Branden Smith lines up as a wideout and when Logan Gray lines up at quarterback.
  • In the credit-where-credit-is-due department, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the kickoff team didn’t give up a single long return last night.
  • Joe Cox was one stubborn hombre last night.  And I don’t mean that as a compliment.  Both of those picks were ill advised throws that went right into where ASU ran its coverage.  And he’s lucky he didn’t get intercepted on another throw where Orson Charles was triple-covered.
  • On the other hand, he didn’t get much help from Caleb King, who dropped two perfectly set up screen passes.  I don’t know what you do about King, who also fumbled inexplicably, but had a couple of beautiful runs without the benefit of much blocking help from the offensive line.
  • And I don’t know what’s going on with Shaun Chapas, but his game was sure off last night.  Especially mystifying as the upback on kickoff returns, he’s lucky one of his moves didn’t result in a fumble.
  • When ASU took that 17-14 lead, that may have been the quietest I’ve ever heard a Sanford Stadium crowd get.
  • The third quarter/fourth quarter turnover implosion was awful, but it was set up by the general farting around on offense in the second quarter.  It was Bobo at his worst – after calling two brilliant scoring drives that had ASU on its heels defensively, he seemed to call plays at random as if to see what somebody could do, instead of sticking to what was working.  Just like the Oklahoma State game, in other words.
  • Did I mention A.J. Green?

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Filed under Georgia Football

And then he goes and spoils it all…

So, I’m reading Chris Brown’s terrific analysis of how Monte Kiffin schemed against Florida and thinking, boy, I hope the Georgia staff sees the same kind of stuff when it breaks down the game film… and then Chris had to finish with this:

I think these schemes were important, but Monte Kiffin coaches a disciplined defense. His defenders tackle well, fly the ball, read their keys properly, and take good pursuit angles. If you do those things, you will have a good defense.

Sigh.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

What I’d like.

Things I’d like to see today:

  • Georgia enjoying a positive turnover margin for the first time this season.  (Probability: 25%)
  • Ryan Mallett lighting up ‘Bama’s secondary.  (Probability:  40%)
  • Georgia Tech’s offensive line struggling with North Carolina’s defensive line.  (Probability:  80%)
  • The Zooker trying to upset Ohio State on the road for the second time in a row.  (Probability:  11.6895342%)
  • TCU upsetting Clemson.  (Probability:  40%)  And Gary Patterson remaining humble if the Horned Frogs do.  (Probability:  100%)
  • Florida not hanging 63 on Kentucky.  (Probability:  65%)
  • Miami’s offense outplaying Virginia Tech’s defense.  (Probability:  50%)
  • Notre Dame having problems at Purdue.  (Probability:  40%)
  • Lane Kiffin proclaiming that the results against Ohio are proof that his plan is working.  (Probability:  100%)
  • If either Houston or Texas Tech scores less than 50.  (Probability:  50%)

Feel free to add yours.

17 Comments

Filed under College Football

Let them eat cupcakes.

Mergz, from the comments:

… And kudos to Georgia for scheduling such fascinating games. It is really interesting to see matchups against both the Big 12 and Pac Ten with the different styles the conferences play.

You hear that Foley? Charleston [Southern] and FIU and whoever else you can get to fall off the short bus doesn’t cut it.

The response from the Florida athletic department to sentiments like that?  Talk to the hand.

… Unlike several other schools in the SEC, Florida doesn’t want to schedule any games against schools from BCS conferences that want a return trip – regardless of whether it’s a trip west or to a neighboring state.

“We’ll never say never, but it would have to be a unique situation for us to vary from our model that we have in place,” said Greg McGarity, UF’s senior associate athletic director for internal affairs.

The model that McGarity mentioned is this: play smaller Football Bowl Subdivision teams or Football Championship Subdivision teams in the early non-conference games and play a FCS school in the slot between the final SEC game and the Florida State game.

That means no games against schools such as Oklahoma or USC or Notre Dame on a home-and-home basis…

There may be a little crumb that – maybe – they’ll deign to consider – maybe.

“[Athletic director] Jeremy [Foley] would entertain ideas that may present themselves that might create a neutral-site game that would be unique matchup, Florida-Notre Dame, something like that, that wouldn’t require home-and-home,” McGarity said. “All those things are always on the table. … I think it really has to be unique [for UF to do it]. It’s got to be a school that the Gators very rarely, if ever, get to play that would really have a tremendous national presence. Thus far, we have not received any of those proposals.”

Now there’s a surprise.  Keep waiting, Mergz.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Trash talk

In light of the unfortuate attention the post-game North Campus has received, I did want to take a second to mention an e-mail I was sent concerning a worthy effort by Alpha Kappa Psi to do something about garbage collection.

You can get the details by clicking here.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Georgia-ASU: a bullet point preview

I can’t claim to have some coherent overview about how tomorrow’s going to play out – with what we’ve seen in the first three games, how could I? – so you’ll just have to settle for a bunch of bullet points, I’m afraid.

  • Given the relative national rankings of both schools, the minimalist in me wants to say it’s about the turnover margin, stupid.  Except that hasn’t mattered too much so far for Georgia, which is surprising.  The Dawgs have won the two games when they were -2 and lost the one in which they were -3.  But I’ve said all along I don’t see how that’s sustainable – either that pace, or winning in spite of it.  You’d figure something’s gotta give tomorrow night.
  • From what I can tell, Arizona State sounds like it’s going to come in running a game plan fairly similar to what South Carolina wanted to do:  run a ball control offense and leave it up to the defense to do enough to hold Georgia’s score down.  That didn’t work out too great for the ‘Cocks, thanks to special teams play.
  • On the other hand, if you’re ASU and your quarterback has any sort of an arm at all, aren’t you going to be the least bit tempted to take some shots throwing the ball well down field, based on what you saw from Georgia’s defense last week?
  • One thing I’ll be curious to watch is ASU’s defensive scheming.  At this point, it’s fair to say that Georgia’s passing game has established itself as a credible threat.  If the Sun Devils safeties respect the pass, that in turn should open up the Dawgs rushing attack.
  • For Georgia on defense, I’m interested in personnel.  I’m guessing that Martinez is going to keep throwing different combinations of guys out there in the hopes that he can find some consistent playmakers on pass defense.
  • As if the Georgia secondary doesn’t already have enough problems, a wet turf that affects their footing is bound to add to those.
  • I see a lot of people are calling this game a trap game, too.  How many trap games can you play in a row?
  • It really wouldn’t surprise me if Caleb King takes over the starting tailback job sooner rather than later, especially if he continues to pass block as ferociously as he did against Arkansas.
  • Can Drew Butler keep up the ridiculous pace he’s on?
  • Gee, I wonder what the Georgia kickoff team has up its sleeve this week.  I can’t wait to see what Coach Fabris pulls out of his bag of tricks.

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football