Archive for the Gung Ho Category

A year of the Dawg

Posted in Bowls, Catharsis, Gung Ho, Lessons Learned, Memories, Memphis with tags , on Saturday December 31st, 2011 \pm\31 2:39 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

On the evening of December 31, 2010, as I walked out of the Liberty Bowl, it began to rain. I sought shelter under a tent to wait out the sudden downpour and thought about the game I had just seen the Dawgs lose to the University of Central Florida Knights. And I wondered how in the world we ever got to where we were.

“There’s reasons why we ended up the way we did,” Richt said. “We’ve got to make changes. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again in the future. When you start saying ‘change,’ that doesn’t necessarily mean personnel… It’s more of how we go about our business. We’re going to improve. We’re going to get Georgia where it belongs.”

I was worried. I knew what was coming and I dreaded it. And it was as if the weather was playing along, crying for me and them Dawgs. No, actually, after the way we played that game in the Liberty Bowl, we didn’t deserve any sympathy. And Coach Richt was right. Things had to change.

“I don’t know if you’d call that the straw that broke the camel’s back or that last spark that lit the fire that got things moving around here,” tight end Aron White said. “It was definitely time for a change. … It definitely got us going. It definitely lit a fire under us and got us to working and pushing.”

And now look at us. A year later and a completely different team from the one that limped out of Memphis and back home to Athens. As I think back on that night a year ago and I remember that hard rain that fell after the game, I’ve come to realize that it was a cleansing rain. And I’m glad Memphis and the Liberty Bowl happened. Because it precipitated a change within the program that we all love. A change that we can now be proud of.

Happy New Year, folks. Let’s keep this thing rolling and start off 2012 undefeated.

Go Dawgs!

Put in Coach Fox!

Posted in DGD, Go Team!, Good Feeling, Gung Ho, Hearts & Minds, Roundball with tags , , on Saturday August 27th, 2011 \pm\31 2:25 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Have I ever mentioned what a big fan of Coach Mark Fox I am? Firstly,  he’s a great coach who has begun the journey of bringing our basketball team back to prominence. Secondly, he loves UGA. And now there’s this Tweet.

I’m proud to have coaches on our staff who genuinely love doing what they do where they do it. Only good things can come of that sort of attitude and passion.

How ‘Bout Them Dawgs!

Sassy

Posted in Fearless Leader, Gung Ho with tags , on Monday July 25th, 2011 \pm\31 7:19 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Tampa 2

Posted in Fearless Leader, Go Team!, Gung Ho with tags , on Saturday July 23rd, 2011 \pm\31 1:08 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Along the lines of my post the other day regarding The Tampa Connection, here’s a photo posted up by Dawgs linebacker, Christian Robinson, showing the boys taking a breather while they put in some extra work:

Click the picture for a link to Robinson’s Tweet, which includes another showing Murray and Artie Lynch (with quite the pose, mind).

The Tampa Connection

Posted in Gung Ho with tags , on Thursday July 21st, 2011 \pm\31 5:04 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

I don’t know how well known it is that freshman wide receiver, Malcolm Mitchell, has gone by the nickname “Tampa”. I first heard of it during his commitment to the Dawgs earlier this year. But I’m pretty sure it’s quite well known that Aaron Murray is from Tampa Plant High School. Take a look at what Murray has to say about Mitchell:

“Every day after pass drills he’ll get with me and we’ll work on routes a half-hour or 45 minutes. That’s every day. Three times a week he’ll call me and say, ‘let’s go work on routes; let’s go do this and that.”

I’m a big fan of our receivers getting in tight with our quarterback and it looks like this is exactly what our Tampa boys are doing.

Happy First!

Posted in Good Feeling, Gung Ho, Inspired by true-life events!, Joe T Regime with tags , on Thursday March 10th, 2011 \am\31 10:01 am by Big Muddy Dawg

Happy first day of Spring Training, everyone! We’ve gone through a few changes in the off season so far and today’s practice will mark the first time where a lot of these changes come together. For instance, we’ve got two new assistant coaches in offensive line coach, Will Friend and linebackers coach, Kirk Olivadotti. What better way to really start a new job than on the practice field, right? That’s got to be one of the coolest offices to have, where one’s brand new office door leads to so many possibilities.

In addition, we will all get to witness for the first time the effects of the changes made to our strength and conditioning program. A source of great hemming and hawing these last few months, these changes in the weight room as well as in areas of nutrition should, by now, begin to show fruition. We’ve all seen the tweets by some of our players regarding the new workout routines. Seems they weren’t exaggerating.

Of note, Robinson is up 15 pounds to 230 after playing at 215 last season. He’s moving over to Akeem Dent’s middle linebacker spot. Tight end Orson Charles is now pushing 250, and quarterback Aaron Murray was adamant that it was a chiseled 250. Murray has also gained 15 pounds and weighs 215 going into the spring. Alec Ogletree, who’s moving from safety to inside linebacker, is pushing 240 pounds.

And speaking of tweets, let’s take a brief look at what some of our players are thinking about today’s practice:

The players are excited, the coaches are excited and I’m definitely excited. Next thing you know, the boys will be back from Spring Break and onto the practice fields once again. Then we’ll head on into G-Day and before you know it the season will be here. See, I really believe what I just wrote. Every year. But then the long Summer months show up and spoil everything. Every year. Hope Springs eternal, which leads to an eventual Fall. But that’s when football is played.

Go Dawgs!

Week 6 – Tennessee Volunteers

Posted in Gung Ho, Jinx, Orange Crush, Pre-game jitters, Way Too Dramatic with tags , on Friday October 8th, 2010 \pm\31 2:32 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

In late November, 1943, as the Second Marine Division sat in their invasion fleet off the coast of Tarawa Atoll, part of the Gilbert Islands in the Central Pacific, Rear Admiral Kaigun Shōshō Keiji Shibazaki, so confident in the fighting ability of his men as well as the defensive fortifications they had built, exclaimed that “it would take a million men a hundred years” to conquer this tiny atoll. The Marines captured Tarawa in 76 hours.

We’re on the eve of the Georgia-Tennessee game so why the little history lesson? While I’m in no way trying to equate the Dawgs struggles this year with one of the bloodiest battles in the Second World War, I think the situation that we face tomorrow is an interesting one. See, that Japanese commander, while he may have been prone to hyperbole, didn’t think anyone was capable of taking his island. Ever. Yet, roughly 35,000 Marines, Sailors and Army men did so and in considerably less time than Adm. Shibazaki predicted. So, basically, something had to give. And it wasn’t us doing the giving because the Marines were too busy taking.

Elaborate and bordering on “what the hell are you going on about?” introduction aside, this is what we’re looking at tomorrow. We’ll see a team that has struggled to protect its quarterback, convert third downs and defend against the pass. Dawgs, on the other hand, have had problems developing a consistent pass rush, stopping anyone on third downs and stretching the field with our passing game. Something has got to give.

I really wish that picture above truly represented how big this game is. But when both teams are still fighting for its first conference win at this point in the season, I think it’s safe to say this game might hold only “regional interest”. In fact, tomorrow’s game will mark the first time since 1906 that both teams will meet while having a losing record. But you know what? It’s like a friend of mine remarked yesterday, “…it may be two dung beetles fighting over the same turd, but I never have trouble getting pumped for UT”.

Me neither. Because I live amongst the enemy. I have plenty of friends and co-workers who made a conscious decision to clothe themselves in that horrible, despicable orange and support a team that does the same. And I have no doubt, should the Dawgs falter tomorrow, that my life could become quite unbearable for a time. But not nearly as unbearably bad as how our boys might feel if we were to lose again. So let’s not dwell on that right now. Instead, let’s think of something fun!

Like friendly get togethers. Because when your opponent’s quarterback actually says these things out loud for other people to hear and record in some fashion, well, isn’t that akin to a public invitation to a party in the backfield? I certainly take it as one. Houston and Washington need to meet in Athens somewhere six to eight yards behind the line of scrimmage many times tomorrow. Kind of like this:

And as far as entertainment for our little shindig tomorrow, the inimitable A.J. Green will of course endeavor to keep smiles on our faces. By the way, check out the work of art created by the Leather Helmet Blog. Surely, this will make the rounds of all the major museums before settling into a nice spot in the Louvre, one would assume:

One final note about the festivities. With the announcement that a new Uga will be unleashed against Vanderbilt next week, tomorrow will mark the last game for Russ, our stalwart interim mascot during these tumultuous times. He finishes his stint on our sidelines with an unfortunate record of 3-4. But I have to say that this includes a big win over Tech last season, when we needed it badly. Surely this accomplishment is deserving of a farewell party for Russ.

I gotta bring the ice and the Dixie cups?

All attempts at history lessons and humor aside, our lack of success stopping our opponents from converting third downs has been a big factor in our losses this year. Our defense is forced to stay on the field for extended periods of time which just leads to more success for our opponents as the game wears on. And this is my biggest concern for tomorrow’s game. While the Vols’ offensive line has shown a propensity for giving up sacks, they managed to run-block well enough that they’ve got a running back who averages 5.3 yards a carry. We cannot allow Tauren Poole to run all over us tomorrow. While our offense is in much better shape now than it was back in week two, against South Carolina, if our defense continues to give up third down conversions, our offense might not see the ball enough to make a difference.

Regardless of how the rest of the college football world sees this match up tomorrow between the Dawgs and the Volunteers, we all know how important this game is. We’re struggling right now and a big win will help our boys feel a whole lot better about themselves. And that can only help as we progress into the meat of the SEC grind. It’s interesting to note that last year, when we went up to Knoxville to play these guys, we were coming off a crushing, last-minute loss to LSU. This year, when the Volunteers come down to Athens, they are also coming off a crushing, last-minute loss to LSU. Other than the fact that LSU are a bunch of poopyheads, this leads me to believe that the Vols might still be feeling a little down on themselves. It’s unfortunate that we’re once again coming off a poor loss ourselves. And so it’s a matter of seeing which team can respond.

While this is hardly a match up between an immovable object and an unstoppable force, the fact remains that we approach a resolution of some sort tomorrow. And while the prize might be next to last place in the SEC East, I hope that our boys feel that’s a turd worth fighting for. But that’s the thing about us. American history has shown that we’re willing to fight tenaciously for the most remote, out of the way, seemingly worthless piece of real estate. Because, like Tarawa, one step forward always leads to another. And the lessons learned along the way may prove immeasurable for this Dawgs team.

Go Dawgs!

I’ve Got A Notion

Posted in Dinky Dau, Fear and Loathing, Gung Ho, Jinx, Pre-game jitters, Strategery, The League, Videos with tags , on Wednesday September 29th, 2010 \pm\30 2:04 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

The subject of Georgia’s substandard running game has been the topic of much fervent discussion lately. Reasons for why we have underachieved in this area of our game abound: poor blocking by our offensive line, predictable and unimaginative play calling by our coaches and our running backs’ inabilities to gain yardage after first contact seem to be the most agreed upon culprits.

Whatever the reasons may be, I’ve thought of a solution. In case you are unaware, the distance that separates Denver and Boulder is 24.34 miles. Hell, that’s just a hop, skip and a jump away. Now, who do we know that lives in Denver who might be able to make that trip in a hop, skip and a jump?

Knowshon Rockwell Moreno.

And, if it turns out that our best blocking fullback, Shaun Chapas, is still feeling the effects of that high ankle sprain he suffered against the Gamecocks in week two, well, maybe we can convince Knowshon to bring along some divine intervention.

Mr. Moreno prefers the red Powerade. I made the mistake of bringing him some orange Gatorade once and, well...

Go Dawgs!

Everyone

Posted in Fear and Loathing, Gung Ho, Jinx, Pre-game jitters, Random movie references, Strategery, Videos with tags , on Tuesday September 28th, 2010 \am\30 9:43 am by Big Muddy Dawg

Word is Kris Durham, who suffered a neck stinger in the final quarter of Saturday’s game, is recovering well and should be good to go for our game against Colorado. This is huge for us because Kris has really stepped up his game this season and made some pretty big plays for us, including catching Aaron Murray’s first collegiate touchdown pass.

On top of that, The Anti-Orange Page‘s transcription of this week’s Bulldog Hotline reveals that right guard Chris Davis, who has been hampered by hip and knee injuries, is “ready to go”. Hopefully, his return to health can help spark our woefully underperforming offensive line, particularly in the area of inside blocking.

And although fullback Shaun Chapas was listed as ready to go this past Saturday, he ended up only playing sparingly in the second quarter. It sure would be nice to get Chapas back after losing him to an ankle injury midway through the first half of the South Carolina game three weeks ago. The offensive line can use any little bit of help it can get with blocking. And there ain’t nothing little about Chapas.

I feel like I’m leaving someone out. Who am I missing?

Oh. Right.

I don’t know that A.J. is a cure all for our offensive malaise. At the same time, I can’t help but feel that his addition back onto our starting roster can only be a good thing. And besides, I like watching him play. And there are precious few games remaining for us to see him in the Red and Black.

I really hope to see some drastic improvements with our offensive play come Saturday. Not only do we get our most dynamic playmaker back on the field, we also return some pretty important players to help. In fact, other than possibly missing Chapas, we return just about everyone. But you know what? The following scene from The Professional just isn’t as effective with Stansfield yelling “Almost everyone”! So we’re just going to hope that Shaun Chapas makes a full recovery by this weekend.

Footbawl

Posted in Catharsis, Gung Ho, Inspired by true-life events!, Lessons Learned, Strategery, The League with tags , on Sunday September 26th, 2010 \pm\30 1:58 pm by Big Muddy Dawg

Before delving too deeply into the despair, I’d like to take a moment to spare some thoughts on my friend and coworker, Jim. You see, earlier this week, Jim discovered that he has a lacerated colon. But Jim’s tough. He’s served our country as a Marine, after all. Still, I have to say, that’s got to be a real pain in the ass. But at least now his problems are behind him. So, take care of yourself, Jim, and here’s to a speedy recovery (before you go thinking I’m some sort of caring person or anything, I just mentioned that last bit because I’m tired of picking up his slack).

On a side note, although I’m familiar with splicing a comma or fragmenting a sentence, I didn’t even know one could lacerate a colon. I guess that’s just one more thing I can add to my bag of literary tricks that I like to call “Creative Punctuation”. For those of you playing along at home who would like to learn more, “Creative Punctuation” requires one part ignorance, two parts indifference and just a dash of mixed martial arts (remember, the pen is mightier…).

Alright, with that pleasantness out of the way… Sigh, where to begin? Let’s start with the fumble. To my recollection, Washaun Ealey has fumbled the ball three times since starting his running back career at UGA. Each of these fumbles have proven to be quite costly. The first was on the goal line, late in the Kentucky game last year, as we were driving to tie it up. His second fumble came a few weeks earlier this season against South Carolina. Again, the fumble occurred on the goal line as we were driving to bring the game to within one point. And, finally, his third fumble last night, occurring once again on the goal line as we were driving to equalize early in the game.

The NFL instituted a new rule this past offseason which states that when a ball carrier loses his helmet, the play is blown dead and the ball is spotted where the helmet came off. While this new rule will negate memorable plays like this one from taking place in the future, I think it’s an important step in the right direction as far as player protection goes. With this in mind, I really wish the NCAA would look into adopting a similar rule.

If you’ll recall, Ealey’s fumble last night on the goal line occurred when he was sandwiched between two defenders as he was rumbling in for a touchdown. His helmet came off after the big hit and the ball squirted just across the goal line, where it was dived on by a State player. Here’s the thing. Ealey was in the best position to pick up the ball because it was just inches from him as he sat up from the tackle. In fact, he looked right at the ball but didn’t react to it at all. This, to me, shows a player who is clearly in a daze and should be protected from further contact.

While Ealey’s fumble certainly didn’t help matters, I can’t say that it was the sole reason we lost the game. I saw problems with our team all over the place, on both sides of the ball. On offense, our highly touted line once again remained inconsistent in pass- and run-blocking. This situation has been a frustrating mystery to me all season and, like our coaches, I don’t have an answer for why it is so. And I believe this statement by Coach Richt sums up how the play-calling went last night:

“We just, at times, called a couple running plays just blindly and just said, ‘Hey we’re going to run this no matter what.’”

Why, Coach? I assume you guys have a thinking when it comes to game planning and play-calling but I’m really starting to question some of that thinking. And while the play-calling has done him no favors, quarterback Aaron Murray reminded us at times that despite the poise and composure he’s shown us so far, he’s still a redshirt freshman on only his fourth collegiate start. I’m not worried about our quarterback though because he’s only going to get better. And he’s pretty damn good right now. But I do worry about the play-calling. I worry quite a bit about the play-calling.

On defense, to say that it’s a work in progress is quite the understatement, I’m afraid. While we have shown improvement from game-to-game and certainly from the defenses of the previous five seasons, we continue to make some of the same mistakes each week. I know it’s early in the adjustment to the new scheme and that we just do not have the prototypical players suited for the 3-4 Defense in our system yet. But I still find it hard to believe that we cannot stop a quarterback from consistently gaining four to six yards running the ball right up the middle. If we don’t address this issue right now, we will not win another game this season.

You know, I brought my buddy Jim up earlier in this post for a reason. Because, like he’s done, we need to put our problems behind us. And we do this by solving them and leaving them in our wake. But what can we do when the problems surround us, seemingly choking the life from this team we all love? Well, I believe the answer is that, like all good Dawgs, we hunker it down one more time. And like the Few and the Proud in the Frozen Chosin, we don’t retreat. We just advance in another direction.

Go Dawgs!

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