Archive for September, 2011

Sleeping with the enemy

Posted in Pre-game jitters with tags , on Friday September 30th, 2011 \pm\30 4:10 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

There comes a time in a man’s life when he has to admit to himself that there are unsavory things he must do that are for the greater good. I speak, of course, about rooting for Auburn and Alabama tomorrow.

We need the Auburn Tigers to beat South Carolina. Really, we just need South Carolina to lose. It matters not who plays them. They just need to lose. It’s rather unfortunate that we have to cheer on Auburn but, hey, at least it’s not Tech.

And then we also need to root for the Alabama Crimson Tide to beat Florida. Now, I don’t really have anything against Alabama and I’m always happy to root against the Gators. Still, I am loath to show ‘Bama any sort of support. It’s like rooting for the humans in Avatar. Or the cavalry in Dances With Wolves. Or Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles. It’s no fun and probably somewhat unethical on some grand scale.

Yet, we do what we must. Dawgs need to keep winning and we need every other team in the East to start or keep on losing. We were given a chance early on to control our own destiny but we faltered and couldn’t get the job done. Now we play and hope for a second chance.

We can do this

Posted in Strategery, Videos with tags , on Friday September 30th, 2011 \pm\30 12:34 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Did anyone watch the Jenn Brown game South Florida v. Pittsburgh game last night? I had it on and would glance over from time to time whilst doing other things. Early in the third quarter, I watched as Pitt drove quickly down the field. After a nice catch and run, the Panthers were set up inside the South Florida fifteen and ran this play:

Pitt first lines up in what looks like I-formation with one wide out to the right. There’s a tight end over the left tackle and an extra tackle over the right tackle. At the shift (which completely fools a South Florida player into jumping), the fullback slides out wide left and the running back to the right. The extra tackle on the right also shifts to a receiver position and the tight end on the left slips into the slot. Pitt has just gone from a Jumbo I-formation look to an empty set five-wide receiver shotgun formation with one shift. But that’s not all: it’s a tackle eligible trick play and the “left tackle” is actually a tight end, who waltzes uncovered through the middle of the South Florida defense and makes an easy catch for the touchdown.

Now, I’m not necessarily all that interested in the trick part of that play, although it was pretty slick. I’m much more interested in the actual formation shift. Because we happen to have the right sort of personnel to pull that off with legitimate threats lined up wide in tight ends Aron White and Orson Charles as well as fullback/tight end Bruce Figgins. Plus, all of our running backs have shown a propensity for catching the ball. And I think we run the ball pretty dang well with that set of personnel on the field, too. Just sayin’.

Come at me bro

Posted in Orange Crush, Other People's Business, Smash!, Snake and Nape, Videos with tags , on Thursday September 29th, 2011 \am\30 11:39 am by Big Muddy Dawg

Couple things real quick. First off, it looks like we aren’t the only ones utilizing tiny backs in up the middle runs. Secondly, what do you think Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower will be thinking when he is informed of Weis and Muschamp’s offensive game plan?

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”

Posted in Allaying my own fears, DGD, Fearless Leader with tags , on Thursday September 29th, 2011 \am\30 10:04 am by Big Muddy Dawg

I was reading ESPN’s piece on the recent rash of Dawgs’ transfers and came upon this quote by Coach Richt regarding a certain former #47:

“I’ll never forget David Pollack coming in my office as a freshman during camp and it was like, and I don’t think he’ll get mad at me saying this, but he was down and was like, ‘I can’t do anything right, Coach (Rodney) Garner’s all over me and I think I might have made a mistake. I don’t know if I can play here.’ Pollack’s the most decorated player in the history of Georgia football and he had those doubts, too. It’s hard. It’s hard to all of a sudden compete at a level that you just never had to.”

Good lord. I don’t know what Coach Richt might have said to Pollack to change his mind but it must have been on par with Henry V’s Saint Crispin’s Day Speech.

Best of luck to Derek Owens, Ken Malcome et al. Wish it could have worked out for everyone involved and I hope these guys get someplace where they’re happy and can contribute to their satisfaction.


Good luck, Boo!

Secondary concerns

Posted in Lakatos intolerance, Strategery, Videos with tags , on Wednesday September 28th, 2011 \am\30 7:43 am by Big Muddy Dawg

I made a post last season regarding the difference in mindset between Willie Martinez and Scott Lakatos on the role of the defensive back during coverage. Here’s the relevant quote:

“It’s more ball,” cornerback Vance Cuff said. “Coach Martinez wanted you to play the man, the hand and basket. He (taught) that in certain techniques, but Coach Lakatos, he wants the ball. Yeah, he wants the ball.”

The Senator touched on it in his post game write up and I’ve gathered some visual aids together to further illustrate the point:

OK, technically, that last clip didn’t involve a member of our secondary. But I’ve been impressed by the play of freshman linebacker Amarlo Herrera and wanted to show the nice read he made on a screen play, completely blowing it up. See how quickly he closes on the ball. Looked like a bigger Rennie Curran out there.

So far this season, I’m noticing a distinct lack of opposing receivers running free with nary a Dawg in sight (trick play notwithstanding). What I’m seeing instead are players who are in position to make a play on the ball. Hell, Rambo’s had at least one interception in every game he’s played in. Yes, Damian Swann is listed as doubtful for this weekend’s game and we’ve just lost Chris Sanders to season-ending surgery. But I think our secondary is in pretty good shape regardless.

Transcript of Coach Richt’s weekly presser

Posted in Fearless Leader, Pre-game jitters, Strategery with tags , on Tuesday September 27th, 2011 \pm\30 2:54 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Gentry Estes has the full transcript up at Dawgs247 of Coach Richt’s weekly press conference given earlier today:

“That play that Bruce has been catching is called 344 fullback. He’s the fullback, and the fullback is the primary guy. We actually called the play – I don’t know if you remember but Orson (Charles) caught a ball – You got the fullback out in the flat and then you got Orson running a deeper route and then you got a receiver that’s clearing it out if there is a receiver there. Sometimes we do it the backside of a twins to the left. Sometimes we just run it to the open side. But the number one guy is the fullback and the number two guy is the tight end. Both those guys get the ball quite often.

I love this play. Very, very much. Throwing to the fullback in the flat. Love it. The one Murray missed on when he overthrew Figgins this past weekend would have gone for a huge gain.

Also, make sure to check out Sports With Mike, who has a video of Coach Richt reiterating his opening statement. It’s a pretty important point which bears repeating:

“I want to talk to our crowd and our fans and want to educate our fans just a little bit. We need a lot of crowd noise. I know the fans know that part, but when teams no-huddle some times you are cheering and you might not be cheering at the right time. You might get exhausted, so I want to talk a little bit about what we hope will happen in the game. Chris Relf, their quarterback, gets into his cadence and then he looks for the ball and it doesn’t come and then he looks to the sideline. When he looks to the sideline, that’s when we need the fans to go berserk, because that’s when they are going to try to communicate to the line what they’re going to do. So we don’t want them to be able to communicate well. We want them to have trouble hearing each other. We want offensive linemen to jump offsides. So UGA fan base, that’s the time to go crazy. When the quarterback looks to the sideline after he starts his cadence, he’ll look to the sideline and that’s when you go crazy and make all kind of noise. Of course if they are down on the goal line, do that every play every moment.

I’ll take any advantage we can get over Dan Mullen and his band of tricksters. As such, I’ve already sent out a note to all of my neighbors apologizing in advance for any and all cacophonous occurrences coming from my vicinity this Saturday. Yes, I will be contributing, even from my living room in Memphis. Hell, if it would help, I’d totally do what this guy did:

Yeah, I ain’t proud.

More on Christian Robinson

Posted in Allaying my own fears, Fearless Leader, Injuries, Pre-game jitters with tags , on Tuesday September 27th, 2011 \am\30 5:33 am by Big Muddy Dawg

Saw this last night and thought I’d pass it along in case anyone missed it:

LB Christian Robinson said he “might end up playing” against Mississippi State this week after missing two games with a foot injury. “I’ve been getting better every day,” he said. “This week it doesn’t feel anywhere near the way it did. I’m not 100 percent, but I’m ready to see what they throw at me.”

I’m proud of the way Mike Gilliard stepped up in place of Christian Robinson. At the same time, I’ll be glad to see #45 back on the field if he’s ready to go. The learning experience that Gilliard received will, no doubt, serve both him and the Dawgs well in the future. But Christian is said to be the leader of the defense. And let it not be said that Christian Robinson leads his men from the rear.

Lions and Bengals and Akbears, oh my

Posted in The League with tags , on Monday September 26th, 2011 \pm\30 3:11 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

I don’t know what to say here. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all. Alright, look. I don’t like playing fantasy football. I really don’t. Because it makes me do things that I normally wouldn’t. But I have several very good friends who take part in it and, last year, I reconnected with a couple of these guys after too many years. So I readily agreed to join their league when it came up. And then I remembered why I dislike fantasy football. I drafted Calvin Johnson to my roster. Calvin Johnson. Megatron, himself. A Techie.

But, damn, he did me good. I got a lot of points off Calvin Johnson last year and when this year’s fantasy draft came up, I had every intention of drafting him again. But I hesitated when my turn in the draft came because of a certain former number 8 who used to play for the Dawgs. You may remember him as AJ Green, the eighth wonder of the world. I passed up on Calvin, thinking I could get AJ in a later round. And that’s exactly what happened.

After a big game last week, I had AJ all lined up to start for me this week. My opponent just happens to be the guy who drafted Calvin Johnson in my stead. As it stands right now, I am losing to him by roughly 8 and half points. But I still have one more player to go, some tight end for the Redskins, who play the Cowboys tonight. I don’t know who this tight end is because I scrambled to get him when it was revealed that the tight end I’d originally drafted, Antonio Gates, was injured and wouldn’t play this weekend.

Down by 8 and half points. I wouldn’t be facing this problem if I’d only gotten a little more production out of one of my wide receivers. AJ Green got me 6.9 points. My opponent got 29.8 points out of Calvin Johnson.

But, hey, at least it was Matthew Stafford throwing him all those points passes. I’ve got Stafford on my roster too, by the way. But I didn’t start him.

I really don’t like fantasy football.*

*In the interest of full disclosure, it really isn’t as dramatic as all that. The reason I didn’t start Stafford is because my other QB is Aaron Rodgers. In the end, Rodgers netted me just a few more points than Stafford would have if I’d started him. Also, the blame can’t solely be put on AJ. One of my running backs, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, of the Patriots, got me almost no points at all. BenJarvus, if you’ll recall, played college ball at Ole Miss, our opponent this past weekend. Damn those Akbears.

Update on Christian Robinson

Posted in Allaying my own fears, Safety first! with tags , on Sunday September 25th, 2011 \pm\30 4:55 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

OK, so “a chance” isn’t really all that much to go on. But it’s certainly better than “no chance”.

Go Dawgs!

Cursory thoughts on a lazy weekend

Posted in Good Feeling with tags , on Sunday September 25th, 2011 \am\30 5:33 am by Big Muddy Dawg

I don’t know about you guys but I’m pretty happy with that win. I was at work for most of the game and so was only able to follow the score and I have to say, just seeing those little numbers increase here and there with no other real frame of reference is pretty nerve wracking. It wasn’t until I got home and watched the replay that I was able to really appreciate our defensive performance.

Holding an offense to eight first downs and 183 total yards is damn impressive, even if it was against a clearly outmatched Ole Miss team. And the fact that we accomplished such a feat down two important starters in the defensive front seven gives me much hope for both the immediate and long term futures of our team.

While the offense looked a bit out of sorts at times, it’s hard to argue with gaining over 200 yards rushing as well as throwing for over 250 more. And I know a lot of folks will point to the second half and say that we took our foot the gas and let the Rebels stay in the game. But it seems to me that we were holding them defensively pretty consistently and it’s possible that we started thinking about our next game and how much more of our offense we wanted to show Dan Mullen. And, really, had it not been for the three missed field goals, 36-13 would have been the final score. While that may look nicer, the fact is 27-13 is, in the end, just as good.

And speaking of missed field goals, Blair Walsh is obviously going through a mental thing right now. We can hope that he gets through this rough patch sooner rather than later but, like Coach Richt, I have a lot of faith in him. He’s certainly earned it.

Overall, I’d say our special teams haven’t performed as well as we would have liked. While Brandon Boykin and Branden Smith have both made tremendous contributions, we also gave up a punt return for a touchdown (albeit due to a bit of trickeration) as well as a fake punt for a touchdown against Sakerlina. We’ve also gotten away with couple of mental lapses during the fielding of punts. But, hey, that’s why we have practice.

Yes, I’m quite pleased with our Dawgs today. We went on the road and got our first SEC win. Our defense played very well, our offense got the job done and, most importantly, we didn’t appear to suffer any major injuries. We’ve got a week to prepare for them Starkville ‘Dogs who, by the way, struggled against them Louisiana Tech ‘Dogs last night, pulling out an overtime win. You know, it’s like they say: It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Let’s hope it’s not us wearing the Milk Bone underwear next week.

How ’bout them Dawgs!

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