Archive for December, 2010

Well Done, Refs

Posted in Bowls, Hate, Other People's Business, Referees with tags , on Friday December 31st, 2010 \am\31 4:43 am by Big Muddy Dawg

I don’t know if you guys happened to watch the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Syracuse Orange last night. It was a pretty back and forth game with both offenses seemingly moving the ball at will against the opposing defenses.

With just over a minute remaining in the game and down by 8, Kansas State scored a touchdown and had a chance to tie it up with a successful two-point conversion. However, the refs flagged Wildcats’ receiver, Adrian Hilburn, with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he saluted the crowd after making a big play and scoring the touchdown. Instead of enforcing the penalty on the ensuing kickoff, the refs called for the penalty to be carried out on the extra point attempt, essentially making Kansas State have to go for two for the tie from the 18 yard line instead of the normal 3 yard line position. As one would expect, Kansas State failed on the 2-point conversion, was unable to recover an onside kick and Syracuse won the game.

Now, I understand the letter of the law states that a player is prohibited from drawing attention to himself. But this was a simple salute. It’s not like he blew kisses to the crowd or, in what I think might be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen, pretended to strap on an imaginary belt around his waist. Alright. So maybe I’m still a little bitter about something or other.

Besides, Syracuse’s mascot is the Orange. And I hate orange.

Speaking of which, anybody watch the Music City Bowl last night, matching up North Carolina and Tennessee? Also another tight game that came down to a referee’s decision. Oh, wait. Tennessee lost that game.

Well done, Refs.

Russ Is Back

Posted in Allaying My Own Fears, Bowls, Pre-game jitters with tags , on Thursday December 30th, 2010 \pm\31 4:57 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

According to the AJC, Uga VIII will not be prowling the sidelines of the Liberty Bowl due to suffering from an illness. In his place will be Russ, our interim mascot once again. Russ is currently undefeated in bowl games, having presided over last year’s Independence Bowl victory over Texas A&M. Russ hasn’t been our mascot since week 6 of the season, when he passed over the reins to Uga VIII. Let’s hope he isn’t too rusty and is able to keep his bowl game winning streak alive.

Good luck to Russ and get well soon, Uga VIII.

Practice Photos Part 2

Posted in Bowls, Inspired by true-life events!, Memphis with tags , on Thursday December 30th, 2010 \am\31 8:07 am by Big Muddy Dawg

Apologies, first off, as I’d meant to make this post yesterday afternoon. But important, end of the year type stuff got in the way of that so here we are.

Yesterday’s practice was off limits to the general public and I didn’t feel like pressing my luck with my “press pass” so, instead, here are a few more photos I took on my previous visit to a Dawgs’ bowl practice.

As practice began, the team lined up on one sideline and worked their way to the opposite sideline doing all sorts of little hops and high steps along the way:

With that all done, the guys split into two groups on opposite sides of the field with one group practicing punt returns and the other group doing the same with kick off returns. Drew Butler was in top form, thumping several balls high in the air:

Next up, the groups split up to do position drills. I was closest to the receivers and so got a few pictures of Coach Tony Ball running the guys through some route running drills as well as strip drills:

I mentioned in yesterday’s post how impressed I was with Coach Belin’s well-projected voice. Well, Coach Ball ain’t no slouch in that regard either. He was on Israel Troupe for seemingly the whole practice, providing constant encouragement by way of some light and not so light-hearted ribbing.

As I watched each position group practice, I began to notice some of the players who weren’t participating in the day’s practice. First up, Richard Samuel, who pretty much spent the time walking along the track:

I also got to see Quintin Banks hanging around. Quintin, if you’ll recall, decided to end his football playing career after a series of unfortunate knee injuries kept him from performing at a hundred percent for most of his time with the Dawgs. The other seniors on the team took it upon themselves to honor Banks by taking turns wearing his jersey number throughout the season. Very cool.

Here’s a photo of Justin Houston and Carlton Thomas on the sideline between drills.

And here’s one of Alec Ogletree, Brandon Boykin, Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings watching the kickoff return drill while Coach Scott Lakatos confers with Jordan Love:

Alright, that’s it for now. I had a great time watching practice and was glad to be able to snap a few photos before my hands froze off. Quite an unfortunate event, really, losing one’s hands to the cold. Which gives me the perfect excuse for why this post may be filled with typoes (in reality, I’m making this post from my iRobot phone so apologies for any grammatical errors).

Go Dawgs!

Photos From Practice

Posted in Bowls, Inspired by true-life events!, Memphis with tags , on Wednesday December 29th, 2010 \am\31 3:47 am by Big Muddy Dawg

So I’ve never been to a bowl practice before. I didn’t even know if security would let me past the front gate and in the case of such an unfortunate eventuality, I planned ahead. You see, I dummied myself up some credentials in the form of a pretty slick and professional looking press pass:

As I pulled up to the guard shack, I imagined just how it would all go down:

Draconian Guard: (Motioning for me to stop my car) Papers, please.
Innocent Me: (Handing over my press pass) I think you’ll find that everything is in order.
Draconian Guard: (Peering suspiciously at me and then the press pass) Get out of the car, sir.

That’s as far as I got with my little espionage fantasy before I found myself rolling down my car window at the guard shack. What really transpired was that the guard was exceedingly courteous and more than happy to direct me to a parking spot so that I could watch the Dawgs practice.

OK, with that adventure out of the way, on to the cool stuff, starting with the coolest thing first. As the team were milling about on the field with individual players warming up here and there, I noticed a tall fellow in a track suit walking along the sideline by himself. Further inspection revealed this person to be T.J. Stripling.

If you’ll recall, he suffered a pretty bad looking knee injury during the Colorado game and had season-ending surgery shortly thereafter. While the team practiced, T.J. walked around the track and on his second time around, he walked right in front of where I was sitting and looked up towards the stands. I gave him my biggest smile and asked how his knee was doing to which he replied with a grin, “It’s doing good”. You hear that, folks? It’s doing good.

Prior to practice starting, Coach Richt called the team together and gave a little talk.

It was at this exact moment that some grounds crew guy decided to start up his weed whacker so I was only able to hear snippets of what Coach Richt had to say. But I did hear “discipline” and “play hard” mentioned as well as something along the lines of not embarrassing the Presidents. I suppose this was in reference to playing in the Liberty Bowl, which I think is where we beat the British to advance to the next round of the playoffs for the Independence Bowl (played in Louisiana, naturally, where in 1814 General Jackson chased the British down the Mighty Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico).

One thing that struck me during practice was the voices of the coaches. Coach Warren Belin’s voice, in particular, stood out. It wasn’t like he was bellowing but let’s just say the man is able to project his voice quite ably. I suspect that if James Earl Jones ever got tired of saying the “This is CNN” slogan, Coach Belin could take over without much fuss.

I’ll post up a few more photos later on, along with some thoughts on the practice itself. But here’s one more:

I believe practice was listed as starting at 1:45pm. I got there early and upon rounding the corner into the stadium, I saw Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason having a game of catch in the endzone. This was roughly twenty minutes before anyone else other than a few coaches and miscellaneous staff was around. Watching them, it really reminded me of back in the day when a buddy of mine and I would spend hours just tossing the football around on his street or at the intramural fields. Well, except that maybe their passes might have had a bit more zip to them.

Go Dawgs!

Mission Accomplished

Posted in Bowls, Inspired by true-life events!, Memphis, Recruits, Roundball with tags , , on Tuesday December 28th, 2010 \pm\31 6:54 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Got a chance to see the Dawgs practice earlier today and managed to take a few photos in the process. Here’s one of Aron White discussing important football matters with members of the sideline staff:

I’ll post up a few more photos tomorrow. In the meantime, take a look at this “Hot Seat” interview with Dawgs commit, Corey Moore, over on Scout. Something about that kid makes me like him.

Also, seems Coach Fox’s boys are playing a game against Charleston Southern in Stegeman right now. Well, actually, it’s at the half and Georgia is up by 21.

Practice Photos 1
Practice Photos 2

Go Dawgs!

A.J. & Washaun Represent

Posted in Bowls, Memphis, Roundball with tags , , on Tuesday December 28th, 2010 \am\31 3:51 am by Big Muddy Dawg

Apparently the Dawgs got to watch a Memphis Grizzlies game last night at the FedEx Forum. In addition, Coach Richt was presented with a Grizzlies jersey and A.J. Green and Washaun Ealey got a chance to be part of the halftime entertainment, beating two members of the Central Florida’s football team in a basket-shooting contest. According to Seth Emerson, our boys combined for 3 airballs but A.J. made a 3-pointer and Washaun contributed 2 lay ups for final score of 9-8. Here’s a photo taken by Christian Robinson of the Dawgs’ view from the stands:

Dawgs continue their practice today at 1:45pm. I don’t know if the practices are open to the public or not and I’d prefer not have to resort to Geraldo Rivera tactics and disclose sensitive information. Besides, I’m not too good at clandestine operations. Hopefully, I can report back with a few pictures. Wish me luck.

Go Dawgs!

Let’s Go Falcons!

Posted in Bowls, Hate, Other People's Business with tags , on Monday December 27th, 2010 \pm\31 4:02 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Air Force Academy Falcons, that is. Kick off for the Independence Bowl between Georgia Tech and Air Force is minutes away. It is our patriotic duty to root for the Falcons and against the Yellow Jackets.

Tech better look out. Fast movers inbound.

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