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Buying a Tiger

Georgia
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This is why the Internet was invented.

Uploaded by cwashpt . HT – trillium via the DawgVent.


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Strength and Conditioning

Georgia
Content provided by Georgia Sports Blog.


Mark Richt rebuilt the Georgia Bulldog football program in 2001 on the core premise of Finishing the Drill. The idea was simple. If we work harder than the other guys, we’re going to win the fourth quarter and therefore the game. (Image by Jim Hipple)

There’s been lots of bitching and moaning here and elsewhere about our strength program. The crux of the argument usually sounds like this, “Look at us getting mauled at the line of scrimmage.” Or “I hear bad things about S&C.” Beyond that the feedback is usually either very vague or full of innuendo.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know what goes on in the weight room. But you know what? I don’t care. I don’t give a damn if they try ballet, dabble in yoga, bust rocks or replicate the Siberian Workout Scene from Rocky IV. The process is of no interest to me. All I care about is the outcome.

This year against BCS opposition, Georgia was outscored in the fourth quarter/OT in 8 of 10 games by a combined score of 54 UGA to 88 opposition. In the six losses, the numbers are even more lopsided at 37-61. That point differential is an unacceptable outcome.

This isn’t a symptom of some larger issue. This is one of the DNA-level problems that Coach Richt has to resolve between now and next season, and it’s not going to be solved by touting fake 40 yard dash times or making field trips the swimming pool.

It’s time to GATA again.

PWD


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Video: Aaron Murray Season Highlight

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2010 Season Highlights from Aaron Murray. The video was uploaded to Youtube by pr1sonmike

Watching this is about as encouraging as it gets.

PWD


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Aaron Murray’s Freshman Season

Georgia
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If you had told me preseason that Aaron Murray would throw for 2,851 yards, 24 TDs and only 6 INTs with one game remaining on the schedule, I would’ve thought for sure that we’d have won 9-10 games. Easily. But here we sit at 6-6.

As a point of comparison, here are the first year starter totals for other recent UGA QBs:

  • Joe Cox (RSr.) – 2,584 yards / 24 TDs / 15 INTs
  • Matt Stafford (Fr.) – 1,749 / 7 TDs / 13 INTs
  • DJ Shockley (RSr.) – 2,588 / 24 TDs / 5 INTs
  • David Green (RFr.) – 2,789 / 17 TDs
  • Quincy Carter (Fr.) – 2,484 / 12 TDs
  • Mike Bobo (RJr.) – 2,440 / 13 TDs
  • Eric Zeier (Fr.) – 1,984 / 7 TDs

INT information isn’t as easy to get your hands on prior to 2004. Also…Bobo was technically a first year starter in 1995, but he was injured so early that I didn’t think it was fair to post those stats.

Murray’s current passer rating of 162.7 is greater than Mike Bobo’s UGA single season record of 155.8. His 61.8% completion percentage is third best in UGA history for a single season, and he’s one TD away from tying the single season Georgia record Matt Stafford obtained in his final season before being the #1 pick of the draft.

All of which baffles me when I think about us being 6-6.

PWD


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The Struggles Start Up Front

Georgia
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What’s the difference between Van Gorder’s saw blades of doom and the Martinez/Grantham* sieves?  I’ll give you a few hints: David Pollock, Kedric Golston, Quentin Moses, Marcus Howard, Charles Johnson and Will Thompson.  Those are the defensive lineman who were on the roster in 2004, Van Gorder’s last year.  All of those guys went on to leave a lasting impression on opposing quarterbacks and offensive linemen as players you had to scheme around.  If you didn’t, your offense was going to get disrupted and the defensive back seven would make plays on you.  This was the cornerstone to those great defenses of the early 2000′s.  Get pressure with four and let the back seven reap the benefits. (Image: Dean Legge at Dawg Post.)
I would argue that one of the chief culprits in the current defensive erosion into mediocrity has been the inability to get pressure with our four down linemen.  That has been a direct result of the recruiting battles we have both won and lost in the period of 2005 to 2008. Of all the defensive line recruits in that period signed by Georgia, only one has been an outstanding player: Justin Houston.  All the rest of our recruits were either average players, nonqualifiers, discipline casualties, medical casualties, or are too young to evaluate (including almost our entire DL this year).  That group includes Corey Moon, Brandon Sesay, Rod Battle, Brandon Wood, Michael Lemon, Demarcus Dobbs, Neland Ball, DeAngelo Tyson, Toby Jackson, and Cornelius Washington.
In compiling that list though, I was surprised to see how few good recruits the State of Georgia turned out in that four year period.  The Peach State has an excellent record of producing defensive lineman, as evidenced by the group on the 2004 roster.  Between 2005 and 2008, though, the state produced zero D-line All-Americans and only three first team all-conference players: Eric Norwood (an All-American and All-SEC outside LB at South Carolina), Allen Bailey (All-ACC at Miami), and Cam Heyward (All-Big 10 at Ohio State).  Jermaine Cunningham was a second team All-SEC selection at Florida.  So, of all the DL prospects in Georgia, only three were difference makers on the D-line and we missed on all but one. 
What does this tell us?  First, it shows that the talent pool in Georgia over the past few years was much more limited than in the 2000-2004 classes.  Second, when there was a prominent prospect on the board, we weren’t likely to get them. (See also, Kyle Moore and Omar Hunter.)
Until we can start to land serious D-line prospects, either from our state or otherwise, I wouldn’t expect the defense to get substantially more intimidating.  And if Georgia isn’t producing them, we have to find them elsewhere.
Quinton
*It’s unfair to lump Grantham in with Willie, but so far, the defense ain’t much better than last year.  Some progress is evident, but we have a long, long way to go.


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Source of Concern: UGA’s Toughness

Georgia
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When you rock the “I Run This State” body paint and eye patches, the other team typically doesn’t forget it. Much like celebrating in an end zone…you don’t just have to back that up for one year. It’s something you have to back up year after year after year.

I loved the confidence last year…I just hope the team realizes they have to live up to that swagger this year, too. Because I can assure you Tech hasn’t forgotten.

PWD


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Source of Concern: UGA’s Defense

Georgia
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Georgia’s 2010 defense has issues stopping misdirection, playing assignment football and consistently tackling well. Unfortunately, Paul Johnson’s entire career is built on preying upon teams that have those faults.

It’s no secret that one of the biggest problems in defending the Triple Option (T.O.) is having enough practice time to install the offense with your scout team in a competent enough manner to properly simulate what you’ll face on game day. Teams who’ve had more than a week to prepare for GT’s T.O. have obviously fared dramatically better than those that haven’t. However, there are exceptions.

In 2008, Coach Martinez had a bye week to prepare, and it didn’t help at all. The Yellow Jackets ran for a bazillion yards.

To his credit, Martinez wised up in 2009. He realized that he didn’t have a bye week to get ready so he and Richt quietly came up with another plan to prepare the Dawg defense. They devoted a practice session everyday from Fall Camp to Thanksgiving to learning/defending the Tech offense. The result was a well prepared UGA defense holding Tech 109 yards below its season rushing average.

So…how will Grantham prepare the Dawgs to stop Tech? How will he overcome our fundamental problems in managing misdirection?

Well..they don’t exactly run Johnson’s offense in the NFL so it’s hard to say what he’ll do. Based on his resume, I don’t think Grantham has coached against any true belly option teams since the 1996 Michigan State at Nebraska game, which ended about like every game against a mid-90s Husker team ended.

Coach Belin saw the T.O. several times at Vandy including two losses to Johnson’s Navy squad and several other match-ups with military academies and other smaller programs. He probably has the deepest breadth of experience on the staff outside of Garner…and the graduate assistants.

Coach Lakatos appears to have last faced the triple option in 2006 as Paul Johnson’s Navy team beat UConn 41 to 17 in Storres, CT. He has some other military school encounters vs terrible Army teams with better results, and he was at Div I-AA Maine from ’95-’00 where he probably saw the T.O. quite a bit. Although, the next piece of information I have about Maine football will be the first.

Basically — I’m saying I have concerns with our ability to stop them. GT operating without Nesbitt *should* mean a massive UGA victory, but you still have to play smart, physical football and tackle well. And UGA hasn’t done much of that this season.

GT isn’t going to roll over and play dead for us just because their “Heisman candidate” is out with a busted arm.

See Also:
Grantham braces for Option – DawgPost.com

PWD


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Hoops: Enormous Week for Dawgs

Georgia
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I was looking for a video that showcased the end of UGA’s win at Saint Louis, but I can’t find anything. However, I can direct you to a first hand recap of the game from Bulldog in Exile who was in attendance. Apparently, Georgia got off to a lackluster start from an intensity standpoint, but snapped out of it before it was too late.

My top two concerns for this season are:

    1. Developing the mental toughness to win on the road. This is a skill set that needs to be developed totally from scratch as UGA was 1-19 away from Athens over the prior two seasons. In fact, Georgia hasn’t won more than two SEC regular season road games in a single season since the 2002-2003 season…Jim Harrick’s last in Athens. That group went 4-4 on the road in SEC play. That’s why Saturday’s win was so huge from a momentum standpoint.

    2. Staying healthy. We’re already struggling here with Trey’s ankle injury and now Connor Nolte’s broken nose. It looks like Trey won’t play this weekend in Orlando and Connor will need nose surgery when the team returns from Orlando.

Speaking of Orlando:
The bracket for the Old Spice Tournament can be found here. The TV Schedule is:

    Game 1 vs. Notre Dame: Thanksgiving Night 7:00 pm ESPN2

    If we win Game 1:
    Game 2 vs. Cal or Temple: Friday at 5:00 pm on ESPN2

    If we lose Game 1:
    Game 2 vs. Cal or Temple: Friday at 7:30 on ESPNU

    Game 3 on Sunday depends on what happens in the earlier games with two of the three scenarios televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Three of ESPN.com’s top basketball analysts/writers have Georgia winning this tourney even without Trey Thompkins. In fact, Fran Fraschilla goes as far as to say don’t be surprised “if Georgia’s Gerald Robinson Jr. is the MVP of this tournament. The Tennessee State transfer has given Mark Fox another scoring option this season, and he could have a breakout performance here.” (See bottom of page)

PWD


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Source of Confidence: UGA’s Offense

Georgia
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I'll make this pretty brief.  Georgia Tech has positively no one on their roster who can cover AJ Green.  Not in single coverage and likely not in double coverage.  Al Groh's only hope of
stopping Georgia on Saturday is:

A.  Clog the running lanes on 1st and 2nd downs.  Pummel Murray on 3rd and long and knock him out of the game.

B.  Hope that Bobo stops calling plays that work.

I don't think Tech can stop UGA's offense if Murray stays upright.  Only Mike Bobo and Mark Richt can stop it.  If they go into this game with some pursuit of balance for balance's sake as often happens, we'll predictably run into issues.  Or if Bobo stops calling plays that work, we'll predictably run into issues.

Last year, Bobo ignored his demons until the last 3rd down call of the game and pounded GT with run after run after run after run.  Why? Because it was working.  I personally think the answer this year will be throw it deep, then deeper still and then deeper again.

Statistically, GT has a better pass defense than run defense, but that's partially because they haven't faced very many competent passing offenses.  The NC State group was probably the best unit they've seen, and NCSU went for 368 yards through the air.

If we don't try and outsmart ourselves and don't turn it over, we should win.

The next posts are the flip side of this post….My 2 concerns.

PWD


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Zabransky’s Revenge?

Georgia
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In 2005, a much-hyped Boise State team came to Athens on a quest for legitimacy.  The Broncos weren’t yet the BCS perennial and national title bridesmaid they are now.  Many in the national media picked Boise as a sheik upset pick to beat the favored Bulldogs because of the departures of David Greene and David Pollack.  The result was, um, not pretty.

That game served Boise with notice of what it takes to play college football at the highest level.  They seemed to figure it out in subsequent years.  Recent Boise teams look nothing like the 2005 Boise team that played in Athens.  They are now poised, exciting, well-coached, and don’t make a bunch of silly mistakes.  In the documentary “Out of the Blue,” the Boise players that subsequently upset Oklahoma in Tempe say that during that game, some were thinking back to Athens and using that humiliation as motivation to beat the Sooners on the big stage.  (They amusingly recall that trip to Athens around the 9:00 mark in the linked video.)
Georgia has also changed quite a bit since that game.  Check out the athletes in that video.  Our bench seemed to overflow with playmakers.  In the past two seasons, however, it’s been the Dawgs who give up the key turnover or make the silly mistake.  
Which brings us to the rumored rematch between Boise and UGA for the Chick-fil-a kickoff game next year.  Initially, this looks like a sound move from Greg McGarity, even though he has been outspoken about eliminating the cross-sectional home-and-home games we’ve enjoyed the past few years.  We swap a degraded Louisville series for a national showcase game in Atlanta without a return trip.  We keep recruiting rivals like Alabama, LSU, or Auburn from that national stage.  There’s also a tidy bit of cash money split between the teams.  All of these are sound points.  The Senator makes a fine case for the game and I can’t see much fault with his arguments. 
But, McGarity might also be clearing out more than just future schedule warts.  If Georgia loses to Boise to open the season next year, I think Mark Richt will be declared terminal with the Georgia fan base.  Given the steady decline in results over the past three years, there are already many UGA fans who have abandoned their hopes of a championship team with Richt at the helm.  If we get beat by Boise, a team that few SEC fans respect, the boosters are going to start passing the hat for a buyout and placing odds on the next coach.  In other words, Richt might be coaching for his job in that game.  That shouldn’t be a comfortable position for Richt considering he will be without one of the greatest offensive threats in school history and his only legitimate defensive menace, both of whom will be sitting on piles of money. 
I can hear those comments now.  “You’re scared.”  “You’re not a real Dawg if you are scared of Boise.”  So, let me retort preemptively.  I’m not scared of playing Boise.  I’m all in favor of inventive and courageous scheduling.  I want to keep those cross-sectional home-and-homes going, unlike most fans and my athletic director.  I’m just pointing out that if you play a national spotlight game with fragile fanbase credibility and lose, the consequences can be long lasting and fatal.  Ask Tommy Bowden.  McGarity is throwing his coach in the deep end here.  Can Richt swim?
Since 2005, Boise has performed at its best when it was in the national spotlight.  When was the last game we won in the national spotlight? 

Quinton


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