Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Question of the day

Wednesday October 29, 2008

When, exactly, did Georgia’s celebration in last year’s Florida game become known as THE STOMP? Bonus question: just whose logo was involved?

Post Quote of the day

Wednesday October 29, 2008

Auburn has had a halftime lead in every game this year, and they’ve jumped out to double-digit leads against teams like Vanderbilt and West Virginia. The second half hasn’t been so kind to the Tigers, and suddenly stagnant offense has had a lot to do with those collapses. Auburn’s outstanding defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks tried to explain what’s going on with the offense but could only come up with an answer accurately described as "amusingly diplomatic and seemingly incongruent" by the Montgomery Advertiser.

"They made a lot of progress. Y’all have seen what they did in the last game — move the ball in the first half and really had a lot of success," Marks said. " I really don’t play attention to what they’re doing or how they do it. I play defense and I don’t really pay attention to them."

Post Boldly going where only Herschel has gone before

Wednesday October 29, 2008

By now you’ve probably read that Georgia is seeking its first consecutive wins over Florida since 1988-1989. The Dawgs have won two other times over that span but have been unable to build on those victories in the following seasons. A win on Saturday wouldn’t only give Georgia two straight. It would also be three of the last five.

There’s another drought dating back to the 1980s that could fall this weekend.

With 75 yards against Florida, Knowshon Moreno will pass the 1,000-yard milestone for the second time. In the rich history of Georgia running backs, only one other tailback has recorded multiple 1,000+ yard seasons. I’ll leave the identity of that other tailback to your imagination.

Post Opponent watch

Wednesday October 29, 2008

Georgia Southern (4-4): I haven’t bothered to track GSU this year, but their win last weekend deserves mention. The Eagles were down 31-3 to Western Carolina in the fourth quarter and were able to come back to force overtime and win the game. A 28-point fourth quarter comeback will turn heads.

Central Michigan (6-2): The Chippewas are flying high at 6-2, but their 5-0 conference record hasn’t been without its close calls. Three of their conference wins have been by three points or less, and it doesn’t get much closer than their one-point comeback win over Toledo last week. CMU’s only losses of the season have been against teams from BCS conferences, and they will dive back in to that pool this week for their second game of the season against a Big 10 team. THIS WEEK: @ Indiana

South Carolina (5-3): The loss to LSU took some of the steam out of a nice run, and the Gamecocks have had a bye week to regroup for the home stretch. There’s still quite a lot to play for, and it’s very reasonable that they could win three of their last four games to finish 8-4 and head to a decent bowl. First they’ll have to face a Tennessee team playing for its own postseason fate and the fate of its coach. The strong South Carolina defense should see no reason to fear the Vol offense. THIS WEEK: Tennessee

Arizona State (2-5): Georgia’s marquee nonconference opponent has gone down the drain. The defense, as we saw, is porous, but the high-powered offense also isn’t doing much. Things don’t project to get much better on a road trip to Corvallis. THIS WEEK: @ Oregon State

Alabama (8-0): Pundits wanted to see Alabama close the door on a team, and they did it in Knoxville. The Tide didn’t come out of the gate with all guns blazing and even gave Tennessee several chances to take early control of the game. But the Alabama defense, even without Cody, was too much for the punchless Vols. They get the next best thing to a bye this week before the big showdown in Baton Rouge next week. THIS WEEK: Arkansas State

Tennessee (3-5): The Tennessee defense did what it could to give the team a chance in the rivalry game with Alabama, but it was painful to watch that offense try to cash in on its opportunites. The usual lightweight November fare actually gives Tennessee an even shot at finishing 7-5, but they’ll have to win this weekend in Columbia. If they’re going to pull the upset, it’s going to take big plays by Eric Berry and the defense. THIS WEEK: @ South Carolina

Vanderbilt (5-3): Heading into their first bye week a month ago, Vandy was 4-0 and on top of the world heading into the Auburn game. Now they’ve dropped three in a row with a week to rest up for Florida. The opponent mistakes on which they feasted early in the season aren’t occurring as often, and games which had been won by the narrowest of margins are losses now. Is Bobby Johnson still doing a great job and likely to be in demand after the season? THIS WEEK: BYE

LSU (5-2): LSU has two losses as they did a year ago, but neither was an overtime nailbiter. With two sound defeats already and Alabama still out there, the Tigers are in danger of three regular season losses for the first time since 2002. Like Alabama, they get a lightweight nonconference game this week to prepare for the showdown next week. THIS WEEK: Tulane

Florida (6-1): We wondered if another 12:30 start would find the Gators still asleep against Kentucky, but it took about five minutes for them to prove otherwise. Florida has put up over 100 combined points in their last two games, and the defense and special teams aren’t too shabby either. No excuses this time – Georgia will get a Florida team playing out of its mind lately. THIS WEEK: Georgia

Kentucky (5-3): A tight win over Arkansas stopped the bleeding after a pair of close losses, but Kentucky never had a chance at Florida. The Wildcats were down before the Florida band returned to their seats and were simply overwhelmed for the first time this season. Injuries took their toll for sure, but even the healthy part of the team fell apart in Gainesville. There’s no time to dwell on that blowout though – they remain on the road for what’s become a must-win for the homestanding Bulldogs. A win locks up at worst a .500 season for the Wildcats and all but closes the door on MSU’s postseason hopes. THIS WEEK: @ Mississippi State

Auburn (4-4): With Georgia and Alabama still to go, this week’s game at Ole Miss would seem to be do-or-die for Auburn’s postseason chances. Needless to say, it hasn’t been a pleasant time for Auburn since the West Virginia loss. THIS WEEK: @ Ole Miss (Nov. 1)

Georgia Tech (6-2): Tech’s presence in the rankings didn’t last long, and a loss to Virginia might only be the beginning. Some strong teams remain on the schedule starting this week against FSU when the ACC’s top two rushing offenses meet the conference’s top two rushing defenses. Turnovers continue to be an issue; Tech has lost a staggering 14 fumbles this year. THIS WEEK: Florida State

Post LSU storylines

Friday October 24, 2008

If you need to drum up some kind of grudge for the game, both teams will have to reach. LSU can look back at the last two meetings between the teams – way back in 2004 and 2005. Georgia can drum up indignation over the 2007 BCS. There’s not much bad blood – certainly not as much as you’ll see in coming weeks when Georgia plays Florida and LSU plays Alabama. But that doesn’t mean that it’s casual and insignificant when Georgia and LSU play. Two of the last three meetings have been in the Georgia Dome with the SEC title up for grabs, and the odd game out was between the defending national champion and the #3 team in the nation.

Both teams enter this game with an opportunity for a little bit of redemption. The lopsided nature of Georgia’s loss to Alabama and LSU’s loss at Florida knocked both teams down several pegs, and both have been waiting for another chance on the national stage to put up a better result. Georgia bounced back with wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt, and LSU put away a resurgent South Carolina team. With a lot on the line, here’s what I’ll be looking at in the game:

Keying on the run

There’s no question that the running game is the focal points of both teams’ offenses. One of the biggest consequences of Alabama’s quick start at Georgia was taking Knowshon Moreno out of the game, but Moreno is coming off a season-high effort last week. Mark Richt kind of bristled on Saturday when he was asked why Knowshon Moreno kept coming out of the Vanderbilt game. It’s true that it’s more or less Moreno’s call, and that’s fine. I think the question has more to do with this: after that touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half, the SEC Offense Player of the Week was more or less a non-factor until the drive that began with 8:29 remaining in the game. He had three carries for three yards and a nice 10-yard reception over a span of time that was a little longer than a quarter.

The running game is even more important to LSU. With a relatively inexperienced quarterback, the Tigers have leaned on Charles Scott this season with good results, and Keiland Williams has been more than an effective change of pace. LSU has started using both in the game at the same time with the bruising Scott playing a little fullback. Georgia will no doubt be paying attention to the run, and we’ll have to see if the dual-QB approach can make Georgia pay with opportunities in the passing game as Alabama did.


The Dawgs recorded a pair of interceptions last week, but the ones they missed have been the story this week. What’s also noteworthy has been Georgia’s giveaways. Though the season total is still relatively low, Georgia has had two giveaways in each of their last three games. That’s not a positive development after a relatively thrifty start to the season. Most concerning is Stafford’s five interceptions over those three games after zero in the first four games. This is as good of a chance as Stafford will get to shed the interception bug; LSU is 11th in the SEC (yes, behind even Georgia) with only four interceptions on the season.

Second half points

Georgia scored 30 points in the second half against Alabama. Whether or not the Tide let up, it was at the very least a commendable effort by Georgia to get back off the mat.

In the four other games against BCS conference teams, Georgia has managed in aggregate that same 30 points in the second half. The Dawgs scored no more than ten second half points in any of those games, and there has not been a single fourth quarter touchdown. Yes, those were all wins, but they were also (with one exception) one-possession games into the fourth quarter. It’s not like Georgia was sitting on leads of 20+ points. Mark Richt might not be worried about style points, but being able to close the door with the offense is another matter.

The third option

The emergence of A.J. Green should have opened things up for other Georgia receivers, but it hasn’t really happened. David Hale notes how the trend is actually towards the opposite: a higher concentration of passes going to Massaquoi and Green. Goodman is really the only other receiver to do much lately, and he only has a handful of catches. The disappearance of the tight end and injuries to Durham and King haven’t helped. LSU is right there with Georgia when it comes to struggles against the pass, but the Bulldog passing game – protection willing – should be in a better position to do something about it. Will Green and MoMass continue to make plays despite the attention they’ll get, or will that third option that Hale mentions emerge this week?

The matchup

Georgia’s young an injury-riddled offensive line versus LSU’s group of big, bad men. It seems every time we go to Baton Rouge lately, the Georgia offensive line is an issue. In 1998, Anthony McFarland was a menace against the interior Georgia line, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win for the Tigers. In 2003, David Greene was harassed all day, and numerous passes were tipped. The challenge for the Georgia line seems at least as great this year. If there’s positive news, it’s been the steady progress of the line over the past two games. The ability to lead solid fourth quarter drives against quality SEC defenses was very impressive, and the line held league-leading Vanderbilt without a sack last week. LSU is no Vanderbilt, but will this prove to be as big of a mismatch as people expect?

Post Opponent watch

Friday October 24, 2008

Georgia Southern (3-4)

Central Michigan (5-2): CMU found themselves in a bit of a shootout with Western Michigan before a late field goal gave them a 10-point win. The Chippewas are a solid 4-0 in their conference, but they begin a three-game road trip this week. THIS WEEK: @ Toledo

South Carolina (5-3): With or without the help of the referees, the Gamecocks have to feel as if they missed out on a great chance to make some noise last week. They had LSU down, but the Tigers dominated down the stretch. With three SEC losses and Florida still left to play, the missed opportunity against LSU means that prospects for a New Years’ bowl game are fading fast. THIS WEEK: BYE

Arizona State (2-4): ASU has had two weeks to think about things after a disappointing start, and the rest has helped Rudy Carpenter’s ankle. The bad news is that they’ll try to get back on track against a decent Oregon team also coming off a bye. THIS WEEK: Oregon

Alabama (7-0): Ole Miss was the second team to push Alabama in the second half, but the Tide have been so good at establishing large halftime leads that it hasn’t cost them yet. The injury to Cody is a serious issue; Ole Miss was able to move the ball once Cody went out. Alabama’s balanced attack should be able to move the ball on the Vols at least as well as Georgia did. THIS WEEK: @ Tennessee

Tennessee (3-4): The Vols got a much-needed SEC win against Mississippi State, and a pair of defensive touchdowns helped them open up a close game. More big plays from the secondary will be Tennessee’s best chance to pull the upset in what might well be Fulmer’s Last Stand. Cody might be out, but can the Tennessee offense and the running game in particular take advantage of Cody’s absence? THIS WEEK: Alabama

Vanderbilt (5-2): Can you feel the slightest bit of pressure starting to surround Vandy? On one hand, they’re a solid and legitimate 5-2 with five games left in which to become bowl-eligible. On the other hand, they’ve lost two in a row and still have some very respectable teams to play. A lot seem to hang on this week’s game against an improved Duke. Win, and the pressure is off. They can poach another win or two down the stretch and end up with a decent bowl. Lose to Duke and things become interesting. Remaining games with Kentucky and Tennessee would become pushes at best, and they’d likely be underdogs to Florida and Wake Forest. THIS WEEK: Duke

LSU (5-1): LSU bounced back and, like Georgia, had to come from behind at South Carolina. Once the Tiger defense figured things out, they looked pretty impressive. The Tigers should be pretty healthy on their stout defensive front for the first time in weeks, and that’s not good news for opponents. THIS WEEK: Georgia

Florida (5-1): The Gators have had two weeks to relish their best performance of the season in a dominant win over LSU. The challenge this week is getting back up after two weeks of rest for a 12:30 kickoff. Florida didn’t fare so well in their last early home game. Will they come out focused, or will they hit the snooze button for the early start as they dream about the big game next week? THIS WEEK: Kentucky

Kentucky (5-2): A comeback win over Arkansas stopped the bleeding after consecutive losses and kept alive hopes for a third-straight winning season. Injuries have taken their toll, though, and there’s not much in the tank as the team heads to Gainesville. Watch to see if Kentucky’s secondary full of playmakers can make things interesting for Tebow and his receivers. THIS WEEK: @ Florida

Auburn (4-4): If you caught either of Auburn’s games against Vanderbilt and West Virginia, you didn’t need to see the other. Up 13-0 in one and 17-3 in the other, the Tiger offense and ground game that looked unstoppable early on simply shut down and couldn’t muster an answer when the opponent came back. Auburn has led at halftime in every game this season, but they’ve been completely powerless to answer second half comebacks. When Tuberville – clad in his finest Longhorn orange – has to pull out the “deny them heat” tactic, you know there’s not much left that can be done. THIS WEEK: @ Ole Miss (Nov. 1)

Georgia Tech (6-1): Yes, that’s Georgia Tech as the ACC’s sole representative in the rankings. Close, ugly, very little passing, doesn’t matter. They’re winning. If the Florida schools can’t derail Tech, could this be a one-loss team coming to Athens in a month? THIS WEEK: Virginia

Post Once and future Dawgs

Thursday October 23, 2008

Georgia Sports Blog notes this week’s commitment from WR Rantavious Wooten. With the departure of Walter Hill (not to mention the graduation of Massaquoi and Goodman), getting a couple of quality receivers in this class is one of the few remaining priorities, and Wooten fits the bill. His offer sheet is a who’s who of college football, and getting a prospect of that quality out of Miami is always good news.

(As an aside, I note that George Godsey is on O’Leary’s staff at UCF. Just in case you were wondering.)

Star QB commitment Aaron Murray will have surgery on his broken ankle this Friday. The good news, if there is such a thing, is that broken bones typically heal more cleanly than torn ligaments. Though the true extent of the injury won’t be known until the surgery, "doctors don’t think there’s any ligament damage," said Murray. The fact that he likely won’t have to rehabilitate torn ligaments means that the recovery time could be no more than eight weeks.

Murray is determined to return to action this season. He is using crutches and hopes to be walking on his own in 4-6 weeks. He wants to be playing football again in 6-8 weeks.

Brothers, Denver Bronco teammates, and former Bulldog players Boss and Champ Bailey are also in the injury news. Both were injured in Monday night’s game against New England. Boss’s knee injury knocks him out for the rest of the season, and Champ will be out for at least a month with an groin injury.

AccessNorthGa.com has a profile on dominant Buford lineman Dallas Lee who has been getting it done for the top-ranked Buford program on both sides of the ball.

Lee now has a team-high 54 stops, along with four sacks and two fumble recoveries. He’s also been a key blocker for an offense that has outgained opponents by over 1,000 yards this season — 2,275-834.

Lee will play on the offensive line at Georgia, but it doesn’t matter to him. "I just want to line up and beat the guy in front of me. My mentality really doesn’t change that much," he said. Nice to have that attitude coming to Athens.

Finally, expect Georgia running backs coach Tony Ball to be a candidate for the vacancy at Tennessee-Chattanooga. Ball, a Chattanooga native, played and coached for UT-C and is a member of the program’s all-century team. If you have to lose assistants, you want it to be because they’re on the way up and not because of more unpleasant circumstances.

Post Injury summary

Thursday October 23, 2008

Taking stock of who’s out and who’s back as Georgia begins a four-game stretch away from home…


QB: No issues.

RB/FB: No issues.

WR: Tony Wilson is out for the year. Kris Durham is probable.

TE: All three active tight ends are injured to some degree. Tripp Chandler is working back from an injury and might play at LSU. Aron White is likely out for LSU. Bruce Figgins is playing through a shoulder injury that will require surgery.

OL: Vince Vance, Trinton Sturdivant, and Chris Little are out for the season. Chris Davis is playing through a hip injury.


DE: Jeremy Lomax is playing through turf toe.

DT: Jeff Owens is out for the season. Brandon Wood is suspended. Kade Weston is possible for LSU.

LB: Charles White, Marcus Washington, and Akeem Hebron are out for the season. Dannell Ellerbe is possible for LSU.

CB: No issues.

S: Quintin Banks is out with a knee injury.

Post Meanwhile, at a Baton Rouge Buffalo Wild Wings…

Monday October 20, 2008

“I dunno…we’re not really ready to see LSU lose. Any way you can stop the QB run around the end?”

“No problem.”

Post Church musical beats Led Zeppelin for family-friendly concert experience

Thursday October 16, 2008

There’s a great piece in the AJC today that could almost pass for an Onion article. I credit a UGA journalism grad for coming up with such a clever backhanded compliment of the football experience on North Avenue.

I must concede her point. If you care nothing about the quality of competition and the world revolves around keeping your five-year-old entertained, taking in a major college football game probably isn’t for you. McDonald’s will be a better dining choice than Five and Ten. A Thomas and Friends DVD would be a better family entertainment option than the Atlanta Symphony. It’s tough for wiggly kids to sit through Rachmaninov.

Offered as points in Tech’s favor:

  • "Tech routinely has family deals and free ticket promotions. Last year for the Tech-Duke game we bought tickets that included a hotdog and Coke for each person."
  • "This year we actually got FREE tickets for me and the kids…You will get free ticket offers every Tuesday."
  • "Because Tech’s stadium isn’t usually filled to capacity, it is very easy for families to spread out. We sat in the top deck and had plenty of room."
  • Plenty of family-friendly events…just avoid those soul-sucking video games.
  • Parking is tight in Athens, and a walk back to the car can be of some distance. "I am certain the sight of me struggling up that hill with three children prevented some co-eds from having sex that night." Notice she said "some" and not "all" …that’s how you can tell she was describing the Georgia campus.

It’s all true, I’m afraid. If you can round up enough neighborhood kids, you might even be able to set the starting time to suit your busy schedule. And if the scene at Tech still proves too rowdy for you, try your local 8-year-old rec league.

I see this sentiment as nothing but win-win. Georgia tickets are in high demand, and the fewer that get used by uninterested kids and dispassionate parents who’d consider a Tech game a viable substitute, all the better. Anything to protect the kids from this:

"Two years ago when Michael took our then 3-year-old son to the Georgia game, there was a bunch of apparently drunk college girls trying to cuddle him." First, we have to clarify whether the girls were trying to cuddle the 3-year-old or Michael the husband. Cute kids are second-only to bulldogs as chick magnets. Either way, she writes as if this is a bad thing. The kid has learned a valuable lesson: at age 3, he’s already getting more female attention at a Georgia game than any guy who chose the alternative.

Post Opponent watch

Thursday October 16, 2008

Georgia Southern (3-3)

Central Michigan (4-2): CMU got by Temple and remain undefeated against opponents outside of BCS conferences. Now they get a Toledo team that won at Michigan last week. The Chippewas are winning, but their offense isn’t really lighting people up anymore. THIS WEEK: @ Toledo

South Carolina (5-2): Don’t look now, but the Gamecocks are 5-2. Losses to Georgia and Vandy had them reeling a bit in September, but a pair of nice SEC road wins have contributed to a four-game winning streak. The quarterback shuffle continues; now it’s Stephen Garcia’s turn to start under center. A primetime home game against LSU is their opportunity to get back into the SEC picture. THIS WEEK: LSU

Arizona State (2-4): The good news is that the toughest part of the schedule is past, but the bad news is the damage it did to the program. The Sun Devils haven’t won since the second week of the season. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that two of the four losses were out of conference, so they can still make some noise in the Pac-10. They have a bye week to rest up, regroup, and try to salvage the season. Will two weeks be enough time to heal Rudy Carpenter’s ankle? THIS WEEK: BYE

Alabama (6-0): The bye week has come and gone for Alabama, and they got a chance to enjoy the unique experience of being jumped over for the #1 ranking. No worries, though. As the second half of the season begins, Alabama has to keep from being publicly giddy about how the remaining schedule has opened up for them. Traditional rivals Tennessee and Auburn are reeling. The only challenger for SEC West superiority, LSU, showed more than a little vulnerability last week. College football has a harsh way of making questions like this seem silly, but is LSU the only team left with a shot of derailing Bama in the regular season? THIS WEEK: Ole Miss

Tennessee (2-4): You know, Nick Stephens isn’t that bad, but the bread-and-butter of Tennessee football has been and should be the run. It’s amazing to me that quality backs like Foster and Hardesty can’t get much behind a veteran offensive line. Stars on defense like Ayers and Berry aren’t enough to cover for a weaker-than-usual supporting cast. Watching Georgia drive for ten minutes behind a piecemeal offensive line to seal last week’s game went against everything you thought you knew about Tennessee football. There’s no looking ahead to Alabama – the Vols are still looking for an SEC win, and MSU will do everything they can to make it close and ugly as usual. THIS WEEK: Mississippi State

Vanderbilt (5-1): The perfect start to the season is over, and now Vandy has to be looking at the schedule wondering where win #6 will come from. There’s a "new" quarterback who has posted points against the Dawgs, but Vandy’s lack of production on offense go deeper than the QB. It also isn’t a good sign that the SEC’s #10 rushing defense has to go up against Knowshon Moreno. Two years ago turnovers turned a comfortable Georgia halftime lead into a shocking upset. Can Vandy count on that happening again? THIS WEEK: @ Georgia

LSU (4-1): We can empathize with LSU. Two weeks ago, Georgia was the team who had to convince everyone that they weren’t as bad as their last game showed. Now it’s LSU’s turn, and not many teams will have the speed to shred LSU the way Florida did. They’ll have a tough job of getting back off the mat on the road against a South Carolina team regaining a bit of confidence. If LSU can’t move the ball against a tough Gamecock defense, this could be a close low-scoring game. THIS WEEK: @ South Carolina

Florida (5-1): Wow. It’s almost as if the Ole Miss game never happened. The Gators put it all together against LSU, and the results were impressive. Now they get the bye week to feel good about themselves, but the challenge will be sustaining that level of play through the bye and on into next week’s Kentucky game. As impressive as the offense was, let’s not overlook that Florida is #2 in the SEC in scoring defense at the midway point. I don’t know if that’ll hold up, but it’s hard not to give them their due. THIS WEEK: BYE

Kentucky (4-2): Last week everyone was patting Kentucky on the head for a nice effort in a loss at Alabama. That’s not the case this week. The Cats had every chance to put South Carolina away in the first half and couldn’t. It turned into a sloppy, unnecessary loss, and it – for now – flipped the fortunes of those two programs. Now the Cats have to deal with an Arkansas program feeling pretty good about themselves, and Kentucky will also have to play the rest of the season without playmaker Dicky Lyons Jr. THIS WEEK: South Carolina

Auburn (4-3): Tommy Tuberville got asked this question this week (h/t EDSBS): "What’s it been like for you guys being kind of passed by Alabama as the top team in the state?" Again, just because of questions like that, nothing would be funnier than to see Auburn find a way to extend the streak this year, especially if Bama comes in 11-0. THIS WEEK: BYE

Georgia Tech (5-1): Although they’re not beating the likes of Hawaii, I guess it’s a credit to Tech that they keep winning, and a lot of their remaining games seem, well, winnable. Carolina’s star is out for the year. FSU and Miami are average, and if Tech can prove to be above average, I guess that’s saying something relative to expectations for this year. Now Tech gets Clemson in the first post-Bowden game, and who knows what to expect? THIS WEEK: @ what’s left of Clemson

Post “The NFL can wait.”

Thursday October 16, 2008

Several Bulldogs will have the opportunity to enter the 2009 NFL draft as underclassmen, but it sure sounds like Geno Atkins won’t be among those leaving early.

Loran Smith reports that Atkins’ mother Sandra is clear about her preference. “I told him I wanted to come to the senior banquet, and I want to walk on that field on senior day when he is recognized when he plays his last game in Sanford Stadium,” she said.

Post Revisiting Stafford’s 2008 goals

Tuesday October 14, 2008

Back in August, Matthew Stafford laid out some ambitious personal goals for the 2008 season. Now that half the season is in the books, we’ll take a peek at how he’s coming along.

Goal: 35 TD
So far: 8 TD
Projected*: 16 TD
Comment: Not gonna happen. Even the Richt-era record of 24 set by Shockley in 2005 seems out of reach at this point. This isn’t a problem indicator; the SEC leaders only have 10 TD each, and the running game has been doing a great job of getting in the endzone. If Stafford can get to 20 TD on the season, I’ll be thrilled.

Goal: 3,700 – 4,000 yards passing
So far: 1503 yards
Projected*: 3000 yards
Comment: It’s probably not going to happen without a huge increase in production. Stafford did just post his first career 300-yard game. Even if Stafford averages 300 YPG the rest of the way, he’ll be at 3,300 yards heading into the postseason. That would put him in a position to beat Greene’s Richt-era record of 3,307 yards. If Stafford can average 250 YPG in the remaining six games, the SEC Championship, and the bowl, he’ll be in a position to challenge Eric Zeier’s all-time Georgia mark of just over 3,500 yards.

Goal: 64% completion rate
So far: 61.7%
Projected*: 61.7%
Comment: This goal is still very much within reach. Stafford has already improved his percentage over last season, and he just completed 69% of his passes against Tennessee. By completing just another couple of passes per game, he can get to 64%.

* – Projections are based on doubling the production so far. Yes, Georgia will likely face much better defenses the rest of the way. Production could also vary based on injuries and improvement. If my projections don’t suit you, fill in your own.

Post A familiar change of pace

Tuesday October 14, 2008

For the second game in a row, Georgia will face a backup quarterback making his first SEC start of the season. Bobby Johnson is switching up the quarterback position this week for Vanderbilt, but Mackenzi Adams has been around the block a few more times than Tennessee’s Nick Stephens.

Adams, a 6-foot-3 redshirt junior, played extensively in Georgia’s 20-17 win in Nashville last season, completing 7 of 10 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 46 yards on 14 carries.

You can see Adams at work in this highlight video of last year’s game. He didn’t start the game, but he was involved in both of Vandy’s second quarter touchdowns. He threw a block on the reverse for the first touchdown, and he threw that infamous touchdown pass that was tipped, juggled, and ruled a touchdown upon review in the back corner of the endzone.

Adams isn’t going to light anyone up for 300 yards, but he’s the kind of pesky, athletic, and tough playmaker who can frustrate a defense with his ability to get out of trouble. Vandy’s turned to him several times this season in relief of the starter, and now the starting job is his. It’s not Adams’ first start; he took over last season also when Chris Nickson was injured and started the final six games of the season. Adams in fact was the quarterback when Vandy went into Columbia and upset South Carolina. His passing numbers were only 8-of-16 for 123 yards, but he did throw for 2 TD, and he led the Commodores with 84 yards on just 13 carries. Adams also threw 3 TD in last season’s narrow loss to Tennessee.

Post Bowden out at Clemson

Monday October 13, 2008

Announcing coaching changes during the season is nothing new around these parts (Ron Zook, Ray Goff), but the high-profile and abrupt moves at Auburn and now Clemson makes one wonder if panic selling has creeped over from Wall Street to the college football world. Sylvester Croom is coming to Knoxville this weekend, you know.

Clemson fans might consider Bowden their Jim Donnan – Bowden was reasonably successful (72-45), went to bowl games, but never got the Tigers to an ACC or even divisional title. But making the change is a two-part process. Who can they get, and can the new guy do any better?

Current Clemson commitments, like five-star safety Craig Loston, are bailing. I can’t help thinking about Signing Day surprise Dwayne Allen who switched to Clemson from Georgia last February. The Dawgs sure could use the help at tight end, and the situation at Clemson can’t be what Allen bargained for. A.J. Harmon has to be feeling pretty good in Athens right now.

Meanwhile, Clemson (former) starting QB Cullen Harper uses the moment to take a parting shot.