Go the distance.

I’m not the one saying this, Bruce Feldman is.

Georgia: Lots to be optimistic about here: The Dawgs have the most favorable schedule in the SEC since they avoid LSU and Alabama. Aaron Murray is off to a strong start. Their two young tailbacks have looked outstanding and the D has been superb, and that bunch should only get nastier now that they’ve gotten some key players back from their suspensions. The biggest hurdles: They host a capable Tennessee team later this month before visiting No. 7 South Carolina . Toward the end of October, they play rival Florida. The regular-season finale is home against Georgia Tech . The more you think about it, this all sounds quite doable for a program with the personnel Georgia has … if its O-line can hold up.

That’s from his post about the ten teams with the greatest likelihood of running the table in the regular season.

No question Georgia’s already had a few things click in its favor.  The early schedule set up well to allow Grantham to manage his defensive shortfall from the suspensions.  The running game has progressed faster than we hoped.  Aaron Murray looks like he’s rounding into form (there’s no question he’s improved his mechanics).  Special teams don’t look like a gaping hole.

I don’t know about 12-0 just yet, but Feldman’s right about how much of this season may be riding on the improvement on the offensive line.

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74 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

74 responses to “Go the distance.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    The defense especially ILB and the secondary may be a bigger concern than the OL

    • Sanford222view

      What has been wrong with the play of the ILBs? They have played well and Tree is coming back soon. I think the DBs will be fine too once Rambo is back and everyone is back to their natural positions.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Considering that with have two all-American type players at those positions in Rambo and tree that have not played a snap yet, I wouldn’t say I’m that concerned about ILB or secondary. Once Rambo replaces Norman at safety, our pass defense will take a huge step forward and tree is almost as big a playmaker as Jarvis jones.

  2. The other Doug

    Because of our drug policy we need to always start the season with two easier games. Hopefully we are done with starting the season with a blockbuster game.

  3. Amen to that! What exactly is our drug policy? Zero tolerance?

    • King Jericho

      I guess you could say “zero tolerance.” No one in the SEC has a stricter policy than us and, unlike most schools in the conference, the first failed drug test requires games to be missed.

  4. Derek

    I’ll say this. I’ve watched everybody that we’ll play, play and I don’t see anyone who is better than us on either side of the ball. Ergo, it seems to me that we will either get to 12-0 or blow it somewhere. I don’t see us showing up and just being beaten down by a better football team.

    • fuelk2

      Agree, Derek. We’re better than every team we’ll play. The issue, obviously, is that going undefeated requires you to play to your potential in every game against a quality opponent. We’ll have an off week or two before the end of the year. Question is whether those come against Kentucky and Ole Miss or against South Carolina and Florida. We’ll just have to see.

    • Cojones

      Many of us probably agree, but we still will consider it won’t be given, our opponents will ramp it up in “do or die” scenarios and somebody can get lucky. Cross your fingers and don’t give up when and if we suffer our first loss. They will continue to need our full fan support. SIC’EM!!

  5. Jim

    All this commentary is true.

    The bigger variable in my opinion is whether or not Richt can get over his horrible habit of the team being completely and totally unprepared for at least one game per year and therefore dropping a game that should be a “W”.

    Then all of the Disney-fans will bemoan how close we were and how the system somehow screwed us because we didn’t show up for one of our games.

    • Macallanlover

      You may very well be right, none of us know what will happen, nor when, that is why the games are played. But we also don’t know if we lose who will be responsible. There is an element of our fanbase who automatically assume ANY shortcoming is the fault of Richt, or Bobo, or Grantham, or Martinez, etc. but NEVER assume a player may not make the critical mistake. Applying all the blame to coaches, or a specific player makes no sense. People aren’t “Disney fans” just because they do not share your view of the strengths or weaknesses of UGA for a specific game. I find the simplistic “blame the coaches” as much in fantasy land as those who feel everything is always perfect; fantasy can encompass many different ways to lose touch with reality. I find most of our losses involve more than one issue, and more of those happen on the field than in the prep, but that is just my analysis. To prepare to assign blame in advance of not going 12-0, or 14-0 seems out of balance to me.

      • Jim

        So lets see where else we may fall short. Talent? Nope. Facilities? Nope. Alumni support/financial resources/facilities? Nope.

        I am not assigning blame for a loss that has not happened yet. I am simply stating fact based on watching our program the last few years.

        Do you think the coaches had the team adequately prepared in the following games?
        Sugar Bowl against WVU.
        2007 UT or SC. I can give a pass on SC but UT was an embarrassment.
        2008 ‘bama or Fl
        2009/2010 pick your game
        2011 Boise St

        • Macallanlover

          Without debating each of those specifically, I can say I see some of both on that list, with errors on both sides. You and I may not agree with that assessment, but a case can be made. Quickly I can say preparation was more an issue against UT 2007, and Music City 2001. I think it was on the players in the WVU Sugar and 2008 Bama. Fair to say there are games where bad coaching decisions and bad execution/effort both made significant contributions. It is rarely exclusively one or the other.

          Let’s also not forget there are games where the other team rises to a higher level, or is just more talented/experienced. Boise 2011 is an example where I felt we were prepared well, and looked pretty good until Tree went down. I also think Boise held some better cards than we did that game, especially in the 1st game of the year.

          It is all subjective but to assume losses are all on the coaches is pretty narrow. And we all like to think we have better talent/facilities/support than others, but that is looking through R&B glasses, imo. We can compete with most everyone, and we do, but we are not significantly better off than most schools in the Top 15. Recruiting decisions hinge on more than the factors you listed, and then come the issues of injuries, depth, disciplinary problems/standards, and development. Very murky area to me, and too complex for me to evaluate.

          • Jim

            My reply got sent to the bottom but take a look below.

          • shane#1

            It wasn’t so much lack or preparation in the 08 ‘Bama game as getting whipped by a better team. I talked with a bookie friend of mine at a local bar before that game and I asked him if UGa would beat ‘Bama. “Nope”, he said in a very low voice. When I asked why he whispered, “the lines, the Tide is too big and they are too young”. His look told me not to ask any more questions.

  6. DawgPhan

    4-0 is all that matters right now. 4-0 and healthy. Win this weekend and things setup nicely to keep getting better.

    • Ginny

      This. One game at a time…

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Speculation about what happens down the road is for bloggers. Worrying about what happens Saddy night is more productive for those of us who understand the role of the Kharmic Bitches, Ole Lady Luck and the dark danger of hubris.

        • mp

          Worrying about what happens Saturday night is productive for players and coaches. Your worries, believe it or not, have no result on the outcome. At all. So, if bloggers (or, *gasp* fans) might want to dream of what happens with success, it’s not your job to tell them how to enjoy being fans. Self-flagellation is not for all.

          • Cojones

            Of course it isn’t , but Scorp has volunteered to take the worrying load all on his shoulders. He places his forehead in the way of permanent wrinkles for the rest of us. You should learn each of our roles here before you misunderstand. Scorp does this in tribute to Munson who used to worry about every game for us all.

            C’mon Scorp, you have a lot of moaning to do by Sat. You have some understanding bloggers on here waiting. Is Vandy bringing their longsnapper?

            • mp

              No, I do recognize SJIII’s Munson-style worrying and talking up of opponents, and I do admire his ability to be unendingly pessimistic even in the face of evidence to the contrary. I just get pissed off when someone tells someone else how to be a “true” fan. Re-reading his comments here it didn’t quite rise to that level, so I must just be in a bad mood. But I’ve read and heard from enough Downer Dawgs who only want to piss in everyone’s punchbowl and suck the fun out of being a fan.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                I don’t tell anybody anything about being a “true fan”….whatever the fuck that means. I leave that to the more keen observers. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, whatever that actually may be, but I am also entitled to mine.

                What I believe is that conversation about things proven with no proof offered other than an opinion is ultimately the reason Mike Bobo gets blamed for you having to eat your words.

                There is only one proof….winning the game.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Cojo….I do this because it must be done. Munson understood that, but what I try to do is not in tribute, more in understanding.

              I don’t have any problem with non-believers babbling about what we are going to do to whom down the road as long as they are aware of the danger hubris carries. It would appear some are not.

          • adam

            Agreed.

            Fans (unlike coaches and players) don’t have to take things one game at a time. Fans can dream, worry, fantasize, etc. That’s the luxury of being a fan – looking ahead won’t hurt you.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            “Your worries, believe it or not, have no result on the outcome.”

            Prove that, please.

            • adam

              Correlation does not imply causation.

              There’s another argument about “burden of proof”, but yeah…

            • mp

              I can’t…but, I can question your efforts since 1980! What the hell is wrong with you? Where’s your focus? If you can’t deliver your best fears and doubts week in and week out, then I’m not sure you’re committed to this team.

              Right now, somewhere in Georgia, there’s a young boy watching a pee wee football game. He’s concerned, and someday his concerns will develop into worries…and then anxieties. He may not be ready to worry about UGA today, but he will be soon. And when he is ready, he’s going to come and take your place if you don’t step it up! GATA!

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                Of course you can’t prove the negative.

                And if you were more familiar with the blog you would know the story of my 34-3 hat and the loss of it and because of the loss of it, my failure….but not since 1980, since 1982….what you should do for that pee wee watching child is to warn him of the dark hubris of fans, how they will say the Kharmic Bitches don’t exist and you, now a grown man, are full of shit. But if the little mutha fuckah has the right stuff, if he can keep his head when all around him are losing theirs and blaming it on him, he can have this terrible burden.

                And I can go back to being a normal fan, full of delusional blabbering about what we ain’t done yet or what we are gonna do at the end of the season cause of this and that.

                See, there you go….GATA could be about anybody, somebody in October.

                This week, it is Anchor Up They Damn Ass.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            “Your worries, believe it or not, have no result on the outcome.”

            Prove that, please.

        • Cojones

          Don’t forget about snakebite.

    • Darn straight! Don’t get ahead of yourself. Focus Vandy!

  7. Bubs

    Luckily we have been able to see our flaws and have corrected them pretty well in the first 3 games. Ex. pass catching was much better last weekend than against Missouri. Blocking is slooowly improving and Mark Beard hopefully emerging as a serviceable option at LT is a big plus. The RBs are getting noticeably better at pass protection. The D is stout when it needs to be (and it will need to be more often than not starting this Saturday night).

    There is room for Feldman’s optimism but we are 3 games into the season and have only played one decent opponent. The next 3 games will tell us how good of a team we have this year. I still think this team has 2 losses coming at some point, but that outlook may change in the next couple of weeks.

  8. rugbydawg79

    DawgPhan +1 I am always gonna worry about fla-we just need to go 1 game at a time till then -stay healthy and continue to improve

  9. stoopnagle

    Am I the only person who see Tennessee as being woefully over-estimated?

    • fuelk2

      No. But they are still more than capable of beating us if we play a half-assed game.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        True, we should whip their a$$. But they like to air it out and a few lucky long strikes, or ref-assisted first downs, or an AM pick 6, and we’ll be wondering how we coulda lost.

        As I’m sure most Dawg fans would agree, a lot of our opponents have UGA circled on their schedules – ut, scu, gtu, aubie, fu, even fricken vandy now! This UGA team can be very special if we can avoid playing down to the opponents level or sleepwalking through a game (or two). Hope we don’t give any games away this year.

  10. Turd Ferguson

    I’m sorry, but … “the D has been superb”? Jarvis Jones has indeed been superb, and I’ve been really happy with Shawn Williams and Amarlo Herrera. But after two cupcakes and an over-matched Missouri team, we’ve still only got the 8th best defense in the SEC (45th nationally). We’ve given up 135 more ypg than LSU and Alabama, and greater than 10 more ppg.

    Don’t get me wrong. I understand that we’ve been without some key guys, and I still believe will finish in the top-10 nationally. In Grantham I trust. But no way has “the D has been superb” through those first three games.

  11. Dog in Fla

    Donnan has waited 60 years to see a Georgia team like this.

  12. Jim

    All good points but I think my main point is getting lost in the ghost of seasons past and the fact I did not state it very well.

    The fact is we control our own destiny here. Absent a major rash of injuries or some other huge unexpected problem we will be favored in every game we play between now and (hopefully) Atlanta. That doesn’t mean we will win every game and the players will execute perfectly.

    It only means that the biggest risk to the season I see that remains in our control is the risk we come out flat for one of our games and earn ourselves an “L” when we shouldnt. Just that simple. Until we get whipped by a better team, WE control our own destiny

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Jim….here’s a bit of unsolicited advice from someone who has battled the natural tendency to look ahead, to worry about down the road.

      One game at a time, dude….if you can do that, the rest of that stuff will take care of itself.

      It’s like finals…finish the one you are taking, don’t worry about the next one till you are done with this one.

      Anchor up they ass.

    • Macallanlover

      And I agree totally with the thought. That is often why so many teams finish unbeaten while having the ability to win 8 of 10 against their schedule. Happens a lot in baseball where they play 162 games, but somehow occurs every CFB season when they have at least a week to prepare and focus on just a 4 hour period of time. We will all go bald with the amount if head-scratching that occurs for all teams. UGA may have a higher propensity for that than some, but it is attributable to more than coaches was my point. Let’s hope those let downs don’t occur on 9/29, 10/6, or 10/27 and I like our chances of getting a shot at the ring in Atlanta. Go Dawgs!

      • Macallanlover

        OK, should be “so few finish unbeaten”. I need to work on my focus.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          See Mac, that coulda been a pick six….you are thinking about next week or next month when you oughta be thinking about Vandy.

          You just can’t tempt the kharmic Bitches…even typing.

          Repeat after me….Anchor Up They Damn Ass.

          • Jim

            SJ3 – we are saying the same thing. I want one game at a time – focus on THIS saturday and not what is down the road. I just hope our coaches are BEATING that into our players heads – prepare for THIS Saturday and play like your hair is on fire THIS saturday.

            Tenn seems like more of a “trap” game than Vandy though. See what i did there?

            • Cojones

              Don’t you think that the coaches, with all their investment in training, retraining and psyching them up for games, would have prepared them better than we know how?

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                Time for a point, Cojo….of course I agree with your point about the coaches and their motivational abilities and all….all I am trying to do is make sure I am prepared. I’d love to have some help, but hey.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Jim, I think they are all traps.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                Oh….wait, Jim…..are you talking about a “trap” in the Kipling sense….a “trap for fools”….if you are, then my answer is the same, but smooth, dude, smooth.

                A tip of my pointed hat to you.

  13. artful codger

    This season our best chance to do something special until 2014 at least. Have to start over with the D next year, losing way to many starters. Next years defensive starters will be bringing mostly mop-up experience.

    • Bubs

      In Todd We Trust.

    • Cojones

      There will be a core left, some who played last year as Freshmen. Read the roster and you will see recognizable names who are Sophomores.

      • artful codger

        Other than Mitchell, I can’t pencil in 3 other definite starters in the secondary next year to replace Smith, Commings, Williams, and Rambo. I recognize the candidates. We will need some of those guys to really emerge to avoid a drop-off.

        • artful codger

          Sorry … should have said “ink” in, not pencil. I can pencil in a bunch of ‘em.

          • Macallanlover

            Careful. We have folks who will not let you look past fau much less the balance of this year. We do lose some talent but the cupboard will not be totally bare. Plenty of time to worry about that after we see who chooses to leave. Right now we need to worry about TN. JK

  14. It’s very, very,very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, difficult to go 12 and 0. How many teams do you see doing it most years? I’d love to see it, but its (see above adjectives) difficult to do. I hope for it but certainly don’t expect it.

    • Cojones

      You are correct, Ug. It takes a little luck as well.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        No, No Cojo….you can’t say luck….that conjures images of laughing kharmic Bitches, dark hubris….luck does not exist….just ask some a them fellers above.

        In actuality, what it takes is miracles.

        • Miracles as in “RUN Lindsey! RUN!”…
          I hope we’re in for a similar ride this year.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Yes, that would be a miracle, as in “The Miracle on Duval Street” (HT Loran Smith.)

            And think about it, one of the things that was so spectacular about that magical year is that it came almost out of the blue, completely unexpected (except maybe by Vince and Erk, and they lay low).

            All this talk about we woulda, shoulda, cudda….next week, next year….can you remember a time, hell can you remember a quarter of a game during that year when you were thinking about anything but winning this game?

            That’s what all of what some people view as gloom and doom is about….I want to be surprised again….just once before I lose my voice forever.

            I do believe hubris tempts Fate. (and no, I don’t mean Don Leeburn’s daddy) And fate….man that gal she sho do like to slap the white outa yo rice.