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The intervention of real life has put me a bit behind schedule, but I promised you postgame observations from G-Day and it is time for me to follow through on my commitment. The problem is that MaconDawg, Paul Westerdawg, Senator Blutarsky, David Hale, and all of you (in the comments, and, in RedCrake’s case, in the FanPosts) really have said all that needs to be said about specific players.
Accordingly, all I have to offer are random observations about the afternoon as a whole. Please bear in mind that, after my optimism of a year ago proved wholly unfounded, I didn’t exactly take the disappointment well, so I have opted for the greatest degree of pessimism possible, which led me to these initial conclusions after the spring scrimmage:
At the moment, I’m ready to do some or all of the following:
1. Move every running back to linebacker.
2. Move every wide receiver to defensive back. (We won’t get many interceptions, but we should get a lot of pass breakups.)
3. Make a three-tight end, two-fullback set our base offensive formation.
4. Call the head coach at Valdosta High School and ask him what it will take for him to send us his starting quarterback now.
5. Transport this team back in time to 1965, when it would have a chance against an S.E.C. schedule.
My expectations were as low as they’ve ever been, and they were not met. The M.V.P. of the game was Kevin Butler for his halftime kick.
O.K., so that may have been a little harsh. Here, then, are my observations following a pause for measured reflection:
- Let me begin by setting the stage for those of you who weren’t there. G-Day was well attended, but not so ridiculously well attended as to indicate that the fan base possessed unrealistic expectations (Alabama, I’m looking at you!). Based on the percentage of the stadium that was filled, I’d venture to guess that 40,000 or so were on hand. It was an interesting day, weather-wise, as it was generally sunny but fairly windy. I think I’ve decided to use the wind as my rationalization for the unwelcome recurrence of the dropsies, just so I’ll stand out from the folks who have decided to use the absence of injured players as their rationalization for the same phenomenon. Whatever gets you through the offseason, I reckon.
- I spent the first half watching the game from the lower level of the west end zone and switched to the lower level of the east end zone for the second half. In case you’re wondering, my attempt to inject a fresh perspective by switching seats didn’t help a bit.
- I’m O.K. with one team wearing the blackout jerseys for G-Day—it is the Red team versus the Black team, after all—but I was surprised by how many No. 7 and No. 24 blackout jerseys I saw being worn by fans. I have no problem with anyone continuing to pay tribute to Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Rockwell Moreno by wearing their (former) jerseys, but I think we as a fan base need to hang those blackout jerseys in the closet—maybe even in the back of the closet—for a season or so. There’s just too much bad mojo associated with those after 2008. The only exception to this, of course, would be if you happen to be a female between the ages of, oh, let’s say 18 and 42 who’s hot. Particularly if your blackout jersey is either a little too large for you or a little too small for you. And you’re wearing jeans. And you have your hair up in a ponytail. And you’re not wearing too much makeup. I’m sorry . . . what was I saying, again?
- Right, now I remember; I was talking about game day attire. O.K., maybe you’re not with me on the jersey thing, and, if you’re a big enough fan that you’ll wear a black shirt outdoors on a sunny day in Georgia in April, then bless your heart. However, I saw someone wearing a T-shirt from last year’s Cocktail Party. I’m not kidding; it read, “Georgia-Florida November 1, 2008.” Like the oafish assistant in the pilot episode of “Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire,” I nearly set the shirt on fire while the wearer was still in it. Seriously, people, if you buy a shirt beforehand to commemorate a big game, and we lose that game by 39 points, get rid of the dadgum shirt!
- It bears repeating (or, if you prefer, iterating) after every G-Day game that, each spring, at least one player performs impressively enough to make you think he’ll have a breakout season the following fall yet is never heard from again once autumn arrives. If you were wowed by Justin Houston, go ahead and feel good about that. Just be sure to reserve final judgment on, say, Sanders Commings or Carlton Thomas. I’m not saying they won’t pan out, and I certainly hope they will, but the likelihood that you saw the next Herschel Walker between the hedges last Saturday is significantly lower than the probability that you saw the next Torin Kirtsey.
- This is neither here nor there, but I spoke to a University alumnus of an earlier generation after the game and he told me a joke I’d never heard before. He said that, after Bear Bryant and Wally Butts sued The Saturday Evening Post, the rumor around Athens had been that the two coaches were going to take the money they got from the case and use it to start a girlie magazine together. They were going to call it Bare Butts.
- I agree wholeheartedly with Doug’s parents and it serves him right for skipping G-Day. Next year, Doug should invite his mother to tailgate with us, but, in the meantime, I’ve offered him my assistance in drafting his proposal (all right, his fauxposal) to Holly.
- I truly, genuinely don’t know what to expect from this team. I thought we’d see improved teamwork, but what we witnessed on Saturday simply was out of synch. There were some outstanding individual efforts, but we saw a lot of that last season, too, when what we needed were eleven players operating as a unit. It could all come together and become very workmanlike and efficient, or it could remain a half-step away from coming together for another year. If that isn’t enough to make you skeptical, then I suggest you check the schedule, which is downright brutal. Is it 2010 yet?