Monday, September 26, 2005

UT Looms

[b]The Dawgs:[/b]

A typical Mark Richt win? Some form of that phrase is likely to appear all over the papers & Internet this week I'd imagine. The Dawgs played an inferior opponent, moved up and down the field mostly at will, and managed to make the final score look closer than it was in reality. They did this on the strength of 4 trips into the red zone yielding 6 9 points. Yikes.

There was good. That's the best Lumpkin has run all year. Shockley was solid – got off to a blazing start and then was a touch inconsistent (and doubtless the weather played a role here). MSU actually did a solid job of keeping him bottled up, so he wasn't much of a threat to run. Mohamed Massaquoi is starting to look like a player. I'm starting to feel better about the corps as a whole as well. The defense played well, and got pretty good pressure on Jacobs.

There was bad. Coutu missed 2 field goals. One was from 56 yards, true, but it wasn't really that close. Affected by a gust of wind? It was impossible to say for sure and the announcers didn't really discuss it. Speaking of the announcers – a dreadful job by Curry and what's his name. I woke up screaming last night just thinking about them. More importantly though – I'm slightly worried about Coutu. I'd hoped we were finding a kicker, but the Jury appears to still be out. I'm not sure Thomas Brown was 100%, and it certainly didn't help that MSU did a good job against the run. The interior of our line – primarily the centers – had a tough time with MSU. Given who they're going to have to face in two weeks in Knoxville, this is particularly troubling. Shockley did have a few misfires – it happens. He was also sacked 3 times. We're going to have a rough time of it against UT I think.

Where is Sean Bailey? I saw him in the game (he got thrown to a couple of times to boot). He's had some injuries, yes. But it seems as if his season is derailing. McClendon seems to have more of a rhythm with Shockley,a and since we throw to both Tes now that limits how many balls the Wrs get. I'm not ready to call his season a disappointment, but I'd like to see him become a factor again. GATA Sean.

Some more untimely penalties (though one was made up, to be sure; it didn't matter though because the Dawgs got away with one a few plays later). A turnover inside the 10 is a bad thing. The Red Zone offense was terrible.

Still, it's an SEC road win. Nice to have one under our belts. On to Knoxville.

[b]The Georgia Institute of Technology[/b]:

Hey, I think VaTech just scored again.

But seriously – ouch.

[b]Louisville:[/b]

What the hell just happened? This is a particularly troubling game because that's my fantasy QB. How do you lose that badly to South Florida?

[b]Dirty Birds:[/b]

Well, they needed that one. A nice win, all in all. The Defense played pretty good, Vick had a nice (and injury free) day. They really pounded Buffalo on the ground.

[b]Braves:[/b]

Better. Now stop with the comparing Francouer to Vlad, for the love of god.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Weekend quickie

I'm swamped at work right now, unfortunately. Doesn't look like it's going to clear up in the near future either.

What to make of Mississippi State? I'm just not sure. Their opponents to date have been Murray State, Auburn, and Tulane. They only surrendered 320 yards to Auburn, and 7 of the Plainsmen's points came on a fumble-darter. Auburn is a team still finding itself, so I don't know what to make of that either. Mississippi State only managed 207 yards against what should be a pretty good defense. They gave up 293 against Tulane but only 14 points and held on for the win despite only getting about 220 yards in that one as well. Jerious Norwood is a good running back but I'm not sure this offense is very good. The conditions Saturday's night could be ugly as well – 72% chance of rain.

Mississippi State needs to run to win but I'm expecting Georgia to prevent that. If they don't, well it could be a long fall. Starkville is not an easy place to pay, even when their fans are sans cowbells (Georgia fans traveling to the game should thank g_d for that). But this State team is not cut from the same mold as the tougher teams from the 90s. Dawgs under Richt are allergic to large spreads, so I'm inclined to say take the points.

What I'd like to see is Georgia really take care of business. The team under Richt has tended to have a very methodical approach and performance in games. This has generally been helpful against good/better teams, but not so good against teams of lesser talent. The game was moved to ESPN's prime time slot thanks to the UT-LSU game being moved. So, hopefully Georgia will feel like coming out and playing well, and look good in front of a sizable TV audience doing it.

The Braves – it's too painful for me to talk about.

The Dirty Birds – I'm terrified about this game in Buffalo. The schedule is not easy and I don't want to start 1-2. But we might be doing just that.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Weekends are supposed to be for relaxing

I've had worst weekends, but this one wasn't fun. Georgia flops on a day it nets 543 yards of offense, only allows 211 on defense, and nearly covers a 38 point spread. The Falcons take the first half off and come up just short, not to mention a potentially alarming injury to Vick. The Braves are comatose. My pro fantasy teams are falling off cliffs. My college team has gotten off to a decent scoring start but finds itself in 6th and the top half of the league is looking to run away.

Obviously Vick wasn't 100% for that last drive. No offense to Vick, but I'm not so sure we shouldn't have just sent Schaub out. What killed me though were two plays in the first half. Michael Jenkins let a big play slide through his hands – something that might have sparked the Falcons and possibly turned the tide of the game. Instead, the went down 14-0. And then later in the second, on forth and maybe an inch from their own 26, Mora punted. I realize that's deep in your own territory. But the Falcons hadn't really stopped the Seahawks all day and weren't getting any pressure. I was absolutely certain Seattle would move down the field like a knife through butter and get points. Jerramy Stevens made a great diving grab – reeling in a tougher to catch ball than Jenkins had – to make it 21-0, and those two plays kind of mirrored the day. Seattle was crisp in execution, the Falcons were not.

As for the Dawgs – it was ugly and it was a tad bit disappointing. They only led 20-7 late in the third. The play until that point was often a bit listless. Georgia needed to run a little more often I think – the rushing stats are nice (29 for 280) but 7 carries and 66 yards came on the final drive of the game. The passing attack was on – when Shockley wasn't misfiring - so the balanced play calling isn't really a surprise and I'm not one of those people who played football in high school and thinks you have to hand it off 70% of the time to win.

But it's more than a little weird to see a team like ULM, even when it gets only 211 yards of offense, run 19 more plays and have the ball for 13 more minutes. One issue early in Richt's tenure was how bad the Dawgs were getting beat up in time of possession, even in lopsided winds. Things got a little better towards the ended of 01 when Veron Haynes became the go to guy, and 2002 continued to see some improvements. It's something Richt has corrected in his offensive game plan, so I don't think this is a return to old form; just an anomaly.

Shockley played pretty good but boy he sure missed a couple of open guys, leading to the dawgs squandering a couple of nice drives and only getting 3 points on two field goal attempts. I don't him to be perfect. I do think that to beat the better SEC teams, we are going to have to make some big plays in the air.

Milner's fumble, and the two misfires on those drives, put a damper on what could have been a very high scoring half. Still, Milner played pretty good and I hope the fumble doesn't hurt his confidence. Coutu's miss was quickly forgotten after his booming 58 yard make. Georgia may have found itself a good kicker, so hopefully the miss was just one of those things.

The Dawgs got a look at an offense that is similar to what Urban Meyer runs. How closely it mimicked Meyer's attack I can't say. A couple of times Georgia's ends badly bit on play fakes and opened up big running lanes. Against the Gators that's not going to cut it. Staying at home is going to be critical come the last weekend of October.

Still, they did win 44-7. Nobody is fretting nearly as much about the offense nearly as much if Shockley hits one of those two post routs, and Coutu makes the field goal. On to Mississippi State!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Weekend Thoughts

Dawgs win and probably cover. It's a lot of points. But then I think ULM lost to a 1AA or DII school in their previous game. I'm excited that quite a number of backups should get extended time.

The Dawgs welcomed their 20th verbal commitment of the recruiting season yesterday - LB Darryl Gamble. I see speculation that he'll be playing safety in college. Georgia's class is off to a strong start, though as they say nothing is set in stone until they ink on Signing Day and then graduate from highschool. Rumor has it that Georgia will be getting 6 or so kids from this class in this December (including Corry Moon - who came up just short on the SAT last year). Kids who get in for winter count against the previous year's scholarship total, so all of those non-qualifiers might not be as problematic for Georgia as everyone made them out to be.

Thank Gozer the Philly series is over. I think it was kind of a depressing preview of October, but hopefully I'll be proven wrong. Smoltz via Pedro should be a fun one to watch tonight.

Chipper Jones really is having a terrific season. I think had he not gotten hurt (and played hurt for a few weeks), he'd also probably be hitting over .320 or higher (I have no evidence to back this up; just a hunch). He's on pace for something like 45 doubles, 30 homers in a full season. I wonder if this years BB/K ratio (61/47 - and it got worse during the stretch he played hurt; I think he was pressing) is a sign of what to expect from him healthy in the next few years. A step forward if you will, after two years mostly spent unhappy in the outfield. I think this winter is going to be particularly interesting - and I'm sure Chipper to First is going to be a hot topic of discussion. I like LaRoche but I see logic in the move. And if we're not going to hit LaRoche against lefties, he's never going to get a chance to prove himself. Maybe he's better off going somewhere that he'll get 550 ABs.

In any case Andy Marte had a fine season at AAA, and I don't think he was as overmatched as his stats look in his brief time in with the Braves earlier this season. Whether Chipper will want to go to First is another matter entirely (I suspect he might take this differently from the move to the OF, but we'll see).

I still think Kelly Johnson has a future, but something is going to have to happen with he and Langerhans. One of them needs to play everyday. Langerhans has the defensive edge, which makes me think Johnson's future with the team might not be long. Though it's possible the Braves won't bring back Hollandsworth (letting him leave via free agency or trading him), I don't like the idea of either Johnson or Langerhans as an extra outfielder. They're both young, and have growing to do as players. They can only do that playing. With Francouer seemingly entrenching himself in RF, this will not be a situation to watch this Winter as well.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Win is a Win is a Win

It was ugly, no doubt about it. South Carolina had their chances, but dropped interceptions and critical penalties helped steal away the upset chance. There was some encouraging things to take from the game, I think. Carolina was better than they thought I would be. I wasn't expecting a blowout but I wasn't expecting the game to be that much in doubt either.

1)Blake Mitchell really impressed me. He made some great throws under pressure. He must have been knocked down at least 10 times. The Georgia pass rush was somewhat effective, and the reason it wasn't “really” effective was Mitchell. I cringed as soon as I saw the safety blitz was on during that SC scoring drive in the second half (but I also thought Blue's rush was poor) because Mitchell had done such a good job.

2)The Georgia secondary has some questions. Tra Battle has impressed me, and I thought Jennings played pretty good. Paul Oliver got badly burned on a play that might have been a touchdown had the ball been well thrown (OTOH, Mitchell was on the run, and it's not easy to throw on the run, particularly for a non scrambler) – he had no reason not to follow the receiver there and I'm not sure why he stopped. Blue had some big hits but right now I think he's been ok and no better. The Cocks didn't run that much so he didn't get a chance to play to his strengths.

Carolina had a number of big pass plays, which is worrisome. But it wasn't always for lack of pressure (see above). Overall, I think it was a pretty good effort by the Defense. And there is still time to improve. Ely-Kelso had a good game, and I think if necessary Richt will be able to lean on the defense as in years past. I'd prefer we not have to do that, of course. The tackling on the first touchdown drive was atrocious but good outside of that. I'm not sure what happened; in fact Ellerbe should have made a play to end the drive during the first series on 3rd and 7. But he went high and slid of Turman's back on a screen (I think it was Turman; might have been the Davis kid). Go for the legs, Johnny.

3)The O-line played pretty well. However, I'll be curious to see how they perform against a deeper, more talented, defensive line that doesn't employ the “gaggle of chicks at a frat party” defensive formation. So the O-line hasn't really faced a true test yet. Shockley was pressured some but I think the line did a good job overall keeping Carolina out of his face. Brown was awesome, and Ware pretty good. The running game was excellent for the most part. Outside of one play that the staff stopped calling, and the awful busted play to start the game, the ground-attack pretty much had its way with Carolina. We just needed to recognize that earlier in the game, perhaps.

4)I'll credit the staff for recognizing that the delayed hand off, against-the-grain, play out of the shotgun was not working and they abandoned it after a couple of attempts. It was a pretty effective play for us last year, but it didn't work well against Carolina. They definitely had it scouted, but I think their defensive style doesn't lend itself well to counters/misdirection. They don't over pursue, and running right at them is too effective to need to run a play like that. And I'll credit Bob Davie for making this point, though it pains me to do so.

5)On the other hand, it would have been nice had the staff realized that going right at the Cocks was the best option. DJ Shockley had some nice completions on the first drive but he did not play well. He made some awful throws (sometimes following an awful decision to throw), and what looked like some poor decisions to run at times. A decent throw at the end of the second half nets Georgia 7 points. Also Carolina had the QB sweep bottled up after the first touchdown.
6)It's kind of spooky to think that DJ very nearly had a repeat of Q-balls awful game in 2000. But I think DJ will be fine. Unlike Q-ball, whom I was terrified of for the rest of the season.

7)Lou Holtz' prediction almost came true, but I suspect it would have been similar to someone with little knowledge of the sport who went to Georgia saying “The Dawgs will kill Boise” in week 1 and then being “correct”. He never really offered up much in the way of meaningful co0mmentary as to why Georgia would win that I saw (note that last part, please). His biggest assessment that came across my table: “Georgia has DJ Shockley and nobody else”. Nice call Lou. I suppose you missed Thomas Brown shredding the Carolina defense. And how badly Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses man-handled that O-line. Or Jarvis Jackson being all over the field. Or. . .well, it's not really worth getting into. I like having Granny Holtz around because he's good for entertainment. He's shit for football commentary. Also, he's really old. Old people are creepy, and smell vaguely of cabbage.

8)It will be interesting to see Georgia's ranking in the blogpoll this week. The blogpoll has a chance to correct some of the problems that normal polls have. I suspect there will be more people willing to drop a highly ranked team because they looked bad, even if it means putting another team in a position that seems too high.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Cocks are Coming to the Classic City

And I have absolutely no idea how to feel about the game. The spread seems high - I don't think we've been a good bet in games like this in recent years. There's quite a bit about UGA we still don't know after last weekend. And the same is true of the Cocks, who struggled with a UCF team that is probably better than most people realize (though not necessarily that good).

The lopsided series has had a number of hotly contested games, particularly in recent years. For reasons unknown to me, South Carolina is expert at getting up for the Dawgs. Always has been. SC has viewed Georgia as a stepping stone in the east since the SEC went to the divisional format. Dawgs win; I have doubts about the cover though.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Haikus

As seen on EDSBS, it's the original football haiku page, Notre Dame style. My muse is stirred.

Gameday needs a new host
get Timberlake on the line
not Janet Jackson


Trev you will be missed
you were kind of spazztastic
sometimes lacked coherence


Trev wore heart on sleeve
approached job in earnest, made
tactical blunder


Boise Zambranski'd
you sweet river in Egypt's land
pundits in reverse


September's dawn breaks
whispers of legends untold
man this sport kicks ass


Weiss leads resurgence
how is the new Pope doing
birth control not bad


Steve threw his visor
to sanctify this season
won't help Carolina


Ok, I think it's time for me to step away from the keyboard. . .

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Charles Rogers Theorem

Mike Elkon of Braves & Birds fame has a column up at collegefootballnews.com dated last thursday where he provides a road map for picking overrated teams, and then picks a couple. I'm late but it's a good read and he's been saying this stuff for years. If you comment about it nicely on his blog, he may even post his "picking an NCAA champion" rules - which should be revisted (I'm wondering how the past 3-4 champions looked under them) but were pretty interesting a couple of years back.

I link to this for two reasons - Elkon's a good guy and a good writer and it's a good read if you happen to stumble across this page and have never seen his or CFN. But also because he touches on a point that's very near and dear to me.

There are a number of things people generally don't approach rationally. The tendency to weight the latter parts of the season, as well as bowl results, is a good exmaple of this and something to always be wary of. The "spring-board bowl game" thing is something I have especially become a big fan of in recent years, because it really doesn't make a lick of sense. I do think playing in a bowl game is imporant - you get extra practice and it's often good extra work for young guys before spring (and hey, you get benjamins to do it).

Playing in bowl games is certainly *fun* (unless you get trounced). But past performance is not necessarily a good predictor of future outcomes. The national media often treats bowl wins as important for the coming season: it needs to stop doing it.

Anyway, it may prove that the theorem will need modifying. I suspect there is something to having good coaching - Ferentz would seem to overqualify here - and maybe that can help mitigate certain factors. Auburn last year got good line play, so while the skill positions did get a ton of hype, that amy have just been the media (typically) focusing on all the wrong things.

In All Things, A Balance

It was a good holliday weekend. The Braves went 3-1. The Dawgs proved that technology is the root of all evil. The United States dispatched Mexico to clinch a berth in Germany in 06 (note: I am chagrined to report that I went up to a local bar for the 2nd half the Uga vs Boise contest and was completely unaware that this game was on the big screen behind me the entire time. To be fair, I was completely caught up in the Dawgs but I could have taken in both; hell I'd have seen the goals during the Dawgs' placement of the final nails in the blue coffin).

But with sunshine there must sometimes be rain. I'm reminded why I loath my current place of employment (I mean, outside fo the omnipresent fact that I'm at work here) not once but twice in the first 30 minutes of the short work week's beginning, and my Blog has apparently arrived; special thanks to the spammer who popped that particular cherry. My blog sucks, thankyouverymuch, but it sucks in a special, charming way that only I can accomplish. And this too is about balance.

I tried very much to hex the Carolina Panthers - ranked second in the offseason trendy pick polls - Saturday evening. We shall see if I posessed the focus to pull it off. Lacking the necessary live barnyard animals to complete the ritual, I have my doubts.

Zabranski'd

Boise State's high tech offense never really got off the ground Saturday. Some thoughts on the game:

1)Temperature was ideal (in part due to the time but it was just a good weekend overall).

2)Jared Zabranski was not ideal. Ok, he was awful. Georgia had a nice 24-0 halftime lead thanks in part to his 6 turnovers, but it should have been worse. Boise's rushing stats are somewhat deceptive – Zabranski and 4 carries for 40 yards, all on scrambles. Take those out, and it looks a bit better from a dawgs perspective. In any case, the ground game never really got going until the second half, when many reserves were in. Boise hit two passes of over 25 yards, but that was it for the big plays.

I feel bad for Jared. He's clearly an able guy and had a bad game (occasionally helped by some pressure and the Georgia defensive Scheme).

3)I have to credit Martinez here. Georgia blitzed rarely (when they did it was effective though), and seemed content to sit back and keep the offense in front of them. It worked. There wasn't much of a pass rush, which is something of a concern, but Boise does have a good line (and an AA candidate at Tackle).

4)Miller was definitely much improved. Jarvis had a solid game. Some of the freshman made mistakes at times but all in all it was a pretty impressive performance.

5)Kickoff returns were appalling. Georgia worked harder on these in the off season, but more work is apparently needed. The return coverage was ok. The actual punting was so so (but then Ely-Kelso was trying to drop a few inside the 20 and that's not easy), the returns and coverage solid.

6)Georgia hurt itself in the first half with drops – drives 3 and 4 weren't extended because people dropped catchable balls on 3rd and 2nd down respectively (the former would have been a first down, the latter negating what would have been third and short). Once the route was on, Brandon Southerland dropped what would have been a big play (and maybe a touchdown, but I suspect not), though it didn't matter.

Outside of that the passing offense was pretty good. Shockley missed a few (one somewhat badly it seems – the long ball Gartrell laid out for and “dropped” appeared to pull TJ off his route, but I couldn't tell for sure), but he generally didn't miss by much (a long one to Bailey was slightly overthrown; the post Bailey ran later was under thrown and probably should have been a TD but it wasn't badly under thrown). TJ Gartrell even tripped over the yellow first down marker. I think we saw the makings of a decent receiving corps on Saturday, but time will tell. Shockley, needless to say, looked good.

7)It's hard to score the ground attack outside of Shockley. Boise State definite put lots of people in the box, and Georgia's attack was inconsistent when handing off. Brown had some very nice runs. 5 backs wound up with carries in the blowout. The run game will need to be better in the coming games, but if people sell out against the run this much Georgia should be able to hurt them in the air.

8)Milner's poor first half (though I'm not sure the penalty call was legit) was made up for with some nice catches and the long TD in the second. If he gains consistency it's going to be a fun fall, and the Dawgs could do some interesting things out of the 2 TE set.

9)I don't know what this game means for Boise. Are they still a 10 win team? If so, it will be a more impressive win later. I'm sure the Boise fans are kicking themselves about the turnovers, but from where I was watching Boise was outclassed. They've definitely got talent, and can be a fun team to watch.

10)Will we learn anything this coming Saturday? Possibly. But maybe not – I'm not sure what to make of the Cocks yet.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Blank to Reeves: Nuh-uhh!

Seems Arthor Blank was not the man who got the Price deal through. At least, according to Arthor Blank (who some consider to be an authority on Arthur Blank). I don't know who is right and more importantly: I don't care.

I do have one concern. Mr Blank, the correct response to any commentary from Dan Reeves, critical or otherwise, is "Nathan-freaking-Davis". That's all you have to say dawg. He's pretty much left with "your brain has a shell on it" at this point. And that's checkmate.

Jim Brower, you are banished from the land

Cox knows more than me. The Braves as an organization know more than me. It's why any attempt to critique them in this place is just silly. I could have, for example, complained that Devine's minor league numbers were deceptively good pre-callup (an alarming number of walks *and* hit batsmen was a more telling stat than the ERA) when he was called up, and that it was too risky a move to make. But they know more than me, and even though Devine didn't pan out this time, there is hope for the future (rough outing his first time out back in Richmond though; chin up Joey).

I just don't understane why Brower is pitching in any game of significance right now. I know it was a 4 run lead and that *should* have been enough. And he didn't get any help from McBride or Kolb (gasp). But he has given up far too many baserunners this year - 1.7 WHIP for the season. And he gives up far too many homeruns - 1.7 per 9 innings. He's not having a good year. Please leave him out of any game with an eastern wild card contender (having said that, he'll get some critical outs against the Nats when we next play them, and if he does good for him).

As for Andruw, I don't think it would be a travesty if he got MVP. The award isn't really an MVP award though, it's a quasi "who is having the best year" award as well. So I think Pujols will still get it in the end.

Spurrier Returneth

And it isn't pretty. What started out as a massacre in the making turned into a pretty tense and enjoyable contest in the second half (admittedly: enjoyable if you are rooting against Spurrier). Cackalacki shot itself in the knee a couple of times but held on to win with a couple of goal line stands.

I see some Georgia fans here and there frothing about SC, but we've got much more to worry about (how good is our team really going to be? Nobody really knows). That said, I thought SC was borderline brutal. No running attack. They gave up 340ish yards to UCF - not an awful total but it sure seemed to come in bunches in the second half. I think the cocks could be in for a long season. But one game does not a season, or comeback, make.

And any Carolina fan that isn't peeking 3-4 years down the road is doing themselves a disservice anyway. It's going to take some time for Spurrier to get Carolina anywhere meaningful, I think.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thoughts on the Dawgs and Boise

A few things about Saturday's Boise State vs Georgia match up:

1)“It's not the heat, it's the humidity” is cliché because it's true. There's no getting around that. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying through their teeth. That said, the 5:30pm start time is going to help Boise and Georgia. The heat/humidity combination would have affected the Dawgs too (anyone who claims otherwise is lying through their teeth as well). Would it have affected both teams the same? Well, that's debatable.

If I am reading right, Boise subs fairly liberally. That would help, though it doesn't necessarily equalize things. I don't think Boise's talent pool is as strong or deep as Georgia's, but it's not just about Talent. Weather may play a role, but I don't think it will be a huge one.

2)Boise has more talent than most people realize, and is probably bigger than most people realize if it's true that Dawn Hawkins is a master of understatement. That would seem to align somewhat with what I've been reading when skimming Bronco commentary in various outlets in any case. They have an interesting offense – run & play action. They do a lot with their formations and motion true, but it's pretty fundamental from a strategy standpoint. Grind down the other team on the ground, and when they move the safeties in too close, go for an uppercut.

3)Georgia's OL is supposed to be a strength of the team. For the first time in eons, it's a two-deep that has a good deal of experience. Line play was decent last year, though. The Dawgs allowed 21 sacks (a huge improvement from the 47 in 2003, when it was one and two-year players on the 2-deep for the most part). The team yards-per-carry was only 4.3 last year – hardly otherworldly. Georgia sometimes had trouble in critical short yardage situations, and it experienced serious red zone woes. This is not a line that was dominant last year. Rather, it's play was steady. There is potential to dominate, we'll see how that plays out.

4)If you listen to the AJC, Georgia's red zone woes are apparently due to the fact that Richt calls a screen pass about 55% of the time in the red zone. It's true that red zone play calling has been a problem at times in Richt's tenure, though, and the woes of the previous two years have roots here.

All off season, Richt has said the play book would be very similar to last year's, with some changes. The Staff have made it known that Georgia's talented staple of backs (Thomas Brown, Danny Ware, Kregg Lumpkin) will sometimes be sharing the backfield. Creative use of “they who need a group nickname” could be critical to Georgia's success this year.

But Georgia is going to have to hit big plays in the air too, and Richt knows this. This is especially true since Boise will be happy to keep putting players into the box until there's no more room for anyone to stand. Georgia also likes to make heavy use of the play-action. If some Wrs don't step up, Boise will be able to focus on Leonard Pope and Georgia could be in trouble.

5)Georgia's special teams have been a mixed bag the last two years. Punt coverage and return was borderline spectacular last year – Tyson Browning had some big early punt returns but lost his job to Thomas Flowers thanks to fumble issues. All Flowers did was lead the SEC in return average. Kickoff coverage & return left a lot to be desired. The coverage will be especially important as Boise is dangerous on returns, spearheaded by Quinton Jones. The Dawgs desperately need to get a spark out of the KR game.

6)Given that Boise likes to run, left, right, middle, around, under, beyond, and even occasionally meander off tackle, the play of Georgia's front seven is going to be critical. It hurts that Kedrick Golston will miss the opener. For better, for worse, freshman sensation Jeff Owens is now the #3 DT behind Gerald Anderson and Ray Gant. Keep an eye on the strong side linebacking position. Brandon Miller is the starter with Danny Verdun-Wheeler as the backup (but it's close right now). Miller looked like he struggled to me on defense when he got in last year, but he did wreak some havoc on special teams. He was voted most improved player in the spring and has incredible physical tools. Weekside and Middle will be manned by Jarvis Jackson and Tony Taylor. Both are coming of serious injuries (Jackson off season shoulder surgery, Taylor missed 2004) but are talented. Georgia needs a big day from these guys to help contain the Boise attack.

Reeves: The Price Was Wrong

I've been swamped at work of late and unable to complete a couple of thoughts on this weekends Georgia contest. Maybe I'll get to that this afternoon.

At lunch, I read an article by the AJC that further discussed the Falcons' severing ties with Peerless Price. Apparently, Dan-o really had a lot to get off his chest concerning the move. Were I to read between the lines, I'd suggest Dan-o feels as if his regime was run aground by forces beyond his control. I can understand wanting to divorce yourself from the move though. After all, the Price can best be summed up as a wreck.

That makes me wonder though. Has Reeves made any questionable football decisions in his life? Nathan freaking Davis ring a bell? Dan-o, this is your life:

1997

- 1st pick is a defensive back - Michael Westbrook - from a team - Nebraska - that barely faced any passing offenses. Given what had happened a few short years before with the exact same type of player - Bruce Pickins - you'd think somebody would have said "Uh, Dan, bad idea".
- 2nd pick Nathan Freaking Davis - a "project" at DT. With your second round draft pick. Nathan Freaking Davis.

Note that he also drafted Tony Graziani that year, and Grazzi some how managed to stick with the team for forever, despite lacking any noticeable ability or upside.

1998
- Bob Halen, Jammi German, Omar Brown. Picked in rounds 2-4. None of them was worth a damn. The German pick was especially appaling because the Dirty Birds needed receving help, and German never did anything in college to suggest he would pan out. Reeves touted it as help for the WR corps. I think I threw something when it was announced.

1999
- Falcs trade their 2000 1st round pick to get a second round pick to take a Dan Reeves favorite: TE Reggie Kelley. Tagliabue cut Mel Kiper's air time on this one for fear that the Birds would get mocked so much people would refuse to watch them on TV.
- This draft yielded Kerney in the first and C Todd McLure in the 6th. Every other pick was wasted.
- Needing receiver help, the Falcons draft 2 guys under 6-feet tall, and without noteworthy speed, in the 4th and 7th rounds.

2000
- No first round pick this year because it was so badly shat on, that it had to be thrown out due to smell.
- The only pick from this draft to make an impact was Derrick Vaughn, who had a good year (or two?) on kick returns. Mark Simoneau did start some. I never liked Travis Claridge.

Dan, I want you to know that I was not behind any of these picks, and I want the world to know that I want you to know this. I don't know - maybe I'm feeling snarky because the cats are away right now.