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Dawgs dismantle #8 Vols in front of sold-out crowd

January 24, 2010
Travis Leslie, Trey Thompkins and co. put on a show in Stegeman coliseum tonight as Georgia came out of the gate with their hair on fire and got their first real signature win under coach Mark Fox. A sell-out crowd was present as the Dawgs finally got what had escaped them 3 times in their past 3 games, an SEC win (and their 2nd win over a ranked opponent this season).

And man did they look good doing it. The Dawgs ended up winning by 15, but led by as much as 21 and held the lead the entire game, never letting Tennessee getting closer than ~10 points. UGA shot 56.3% on FG’s, were 3-5 on 3 pointers and outplayed UT on the glass, 35-24.

Before you think “Tennessee just didn’t show up,” consider the following quotes:

I thought we played hard. This wasn’t that we weren’t handling success. We didn’t get beat because we came in here overconfident and didn’t respect the opponent. We got beat by a better team today. It was clear.” – Bruce Pearl

We got smashed, we got beat horribly on the rebounds. …It was just the fact that it felt like they wanted it more.” – Kenny Hall

You know you’re going to lose a game on the road in the SEC. There won’t be a lot of people who win [in Athens]. I’m certain of that.” – Bruce Pearl

I’m beginning to be more certain of that, also. With every game, Mark Fox looks more and more like an outstanding hire. And the fans! The fans showed up! We need that, people. We need you there for home games. On a night like tonight, the crowd factors in to the momentum as much as anything else, and our crowd was rocking the whole night. I heard someone compare it to games back in the Harrick days. Tonight gave you a glimpse of what UGA basketball can be.

Georgia next faces off against Florida at the O’Connell center on Wednesday night.

A dawg gone sell-out

January 23, 2010

Well I went down to stegeman to see the dogs take on the vols, only to find out that my usual routine of buying tickets at the window wouldn’t work, because the game was sold out.
On the positive side, it’s good to see the fans getting out for this game, but I am a bit bummed that I’m now watching this game from a bar downtown. Oh well, I’ll just have to order a pitcher or three. Shucks.

UConn’s Scott Lakatos a candidate for DB coach

January 18, 2010

It has been reported that Connecticut secondary coach Scott Lakatos interviewed with UGA on Saturday. Todd Grantham and Mark Richt are still working to fill out the defensive staff, and Lakatos looks to be one potential assistant they’re looking at.

Quick bio on him if you’re interested –

Basically he’s a legit yankee. He’s spent his coaching career in the Northeast (beginning in 1988), serving as a secondary coach for the majority¬† of the time, but he’s also coached linebackers, special teams and served as a defensive coordinator twice (New Haven and Maine). His stops include Western Connecticut, Boston University, Syracuse, New Haven, Maine, Rutgers and Connecticut. The pass D at UConn since he has been there has been pretty good. From 2003-2008, UConn has ranked 35th, 20th, 4th, 28th, 14th and 7th in pass defense. In 2009, it ranked 85th in pass D, but the Huskies did lose 4 starters on defense to the NFL, and that program isn’t exactly stocked with talent waiting in the wings. Lakatos can be credited with coaching up Darius Butler from a 2-star rated recruit to the 41st overall selection in the 09′ NFL Draft (Patriots).

Maybe he could help bring in some more of that Knowshon Moreno yankee-talent. I just have one condition for his acceptance to our great Southern institution, if it turns out CTG and CMR want to bring him here. He must renounce the New York Yankees, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and…. Pepsi.

UPDATE: It’s official, Lakatos has been hired.

Headlines tomorrow: Refs screw Georgia out of 1st SEC win

January 16, 2010
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That’s what it should read anyway. MSU survives at home against UGA, 72-69, and it would have been different had MSU’s big shot blocker Vernado been called multiple times for mauling our players. Apparently being the 3rd all-time leading shot blocker earns you a free pass.

Seriously steamed over here right now.

Thoughts on personnel changes on D

January 16, 2010

This is going to be a very exciting Spring for Georgia fans, because with the change to a base 3-4 defensive scheme, comes a lot of changes in personnel. One of, if not the most important, components of the 3-4 is the nose tackle. He’s got to be big enough that he won’t get taken out of the play both two interior O-linemen, but athletic enough to cover both of the A-gaps. As coach Grantham noted, he doesn’t have to be over 300 lbs, as they’re doing it in Dallas with a 295 pound NT, but as you can see from watching Alabama’s D play, a big nose tackle certainly helps. So who have we got on the roster that fills the need?

Kwame Geathers is certainly big enough. At 6’6″ and 326 lbs (if he hasn’t dropped weight), he’s the biggest guy on our roster. But remember that he was also poorly conditioned and out of shape when he stepped on campus last Fall. No telling if he’s improved enough to where you want him playing the key defensive position. For my money, I’m thinking DeAngelo Tyson may end up being the guy.

Defensive ends in the 3-4 scheme are usually bigger than they are in a 4-3, because they have to take on more blockers more directly, and are really more defensive tackle than your typical edge-rushing d-end. Demarcus Dobbs and Justin Houston could really thrive at this position, because it suits their big size and physical power-rushing game. We might see some of the smaller D-ends moved to outside linebacker, which is where many smallish defensive ends move to when they go to a 3-4 defense in the NFL. And in looking at the roster, that’s probably going to be a necessity anyway, as our number of players at D-line and linebacker reflect the numbers you’d expect to see on a 4-3 defensive team, not a 3-4.

As you might have guessed already, your linebacker corps is going to look a lot different next season too. You can expect guys like Akeem Dent and Marcus Dowtin to stay at middle linebacker, but they’ll likely be joined by some of the guys that were previously playing on the outside (like Darryl Gamble). The reason being is that in a 3-4, your outside backers can’t just be speed pursuit guys. Because there are only 3 D-linemen in front of them, they’re going to have to fight off blocks, which is why (as I noted before) you see a lot of DE’s moving to OLB in the NFL. And because there are 4 linebackers, they can spread out along the line further, so speed on the outside isn’t as vital as it is in a 4-3 defense where there are only 3 linebackers to cover runs to the outside. Your inside linebackers are going to be either in coverage or running downhill toward the ball. The changes don’t bode well for the smaller linebackers like Chase Vasser, or Nick Williams for that matter. Coach Grantham did mention that they might keep the nickel package though, so that might be Williams’ niche.

The secondary will remain the same, as the positions are no different from 4-3, but the defensive backs can expect to get more opportunities to blitz. One of the virtues of the 3-4 is that having 4 linebackers allows the defense to disguise coverage better and blitz from the corner or safety positions more than you would see in a 4-3.¬† I’m betting Boykin and Rambo will be looking forward to that.

Anyway, just some things to ponder. Personally, I can’t wait for the G-day game. And how many times have we ever gone to the G-day game intrigued by what the DEFENSE would look like?

That Paul Johnson sure is making a splash

January 16, 2010
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The departures at Terrorist Tech (Dwyer, Morgan, Burnett, Thomas) got me looking to see how they were doing recruiting this year.¬† Their whopping 13 commits (only 4 of them rated better than 3 stars by rivals) rank them 43rd in the recruiting rankings. Now, just to put that in perspective, that’s 7th in the ACC, behind even N.C. State and Maryland.

And they just WON the ACC.

Now, I’ll give you that the recruit ranking system is imperfect, to say the least, but I think it’s fair to say that this just proves what we’ve known since Tech hired CPJ. Great football players don’t want to play in an triple-option-flexbone-whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it-service-academy-offense, or get robbed and/or stabbed while going to the library.

Sundiatta Gaines becomes an instant star

January 15, 2010

If you didn’t watch the Utah-Cleveland game last night (ended early this morning), you missed out on something special. Sundiatta Gaines, who was recently given a 10-day contract by the Utah Jazz after tearing it up in the D-league, pretty much single-handedly gave Utah an upset win over Lebron James and the Cavs.

Utah scored 42 points in the 4th quarter, 9 of them coming from Gaines (who didn’t play in the first 3 quarters), whose biggest contribution came at the buzzer with Utah trailing by 2. Literally, at the buzzer… Gaines shoots a 3 pointer while falling backwards, and sends the stadium into a frenzy as time expires and Utah wins. Gaines was so jacked up, he ran over and jumped up on the announcers table and stretched out his arms toward the wild crowd who no doubt will love him dearly after tonight.

You’ve got to see the highlight.

Tom Dienhart reports: Done deal, Grantham to UGA

January 15, 2010

I swear, if Rivals makes a fool of me again, I’m going to mail them a bag of something that smells like carrots and throwup. That, plus crap.

But here it is, just tweeted an hour ago – http://twitter.com/TomDienhart

“Grantham’s deal is signed. it is for 3 years. he will be third highest paid DC in the nation.”

Like with the Kirby Smart situation… I’d advise you wait until we get an announcement from UGA before you pop open the bubbly…. but right now we have reason to believe that Todd Grantham is the new defensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs.

UPDATE: Tim Tucker at the AJC is posting this to his blog as well, so if I’m getting bamboozled again, at least I’m not the only fool. But I did beat Tim to it… hehe.

We should all be Minnesota fans on Sunday

January 14, 2010

Because if Todd Grantham IS our guy, but we’re waiting on the Cowboys’ season to be done… well, I don’t have to tell you all the reasons why having to wait till February to announce it would suck. So, if there is no announcement before the weekend, root like hell for Favre and co. and pray for Tony Romo to have another epic post-season screw-up.

Meanwhile, here’s a little song for those who are stressing out over the whole thing.

Hoop dawgs come up short again, but again show improvement

January 14, 2010

In a rebuilding year like Mark Fox is faced with, you’ll take every moral victory you can get. I’m not big on moral victories, but the Dawgs sure have been more fun to watch as of late than they have been in quite some time.

Georgia fell to #21 Ole Miss last night at Stegeman, 80-76. After leading for pretty much the entire first half, the Dawgs took a 1 point lead into halftime, and after shooting 56% from the floor, you’d have to say they were playing great. Ole Miss came out and played better in the second half though and in the end, the Dawgs made some poor shot selections and just shot a lot of bricks in general (turnovers also remain a problem – Georgia had 13).

Still, what you’ve got to remember is that this is a work in progress, and if you’re looking at it from that angle, you’re liking what you’re seeing. Coach Fox clearly was a great hire, the things he has done with this team are outstanding. We have been severely outmatched from a talent standpoint in our past 3 games (all against top 25 teams), yet we’ve managed an upset, a near upset on the road at Kentucky, and now a 4 point loss at home. If I had told you going into the season that in that 3-game stretch, we’d go 1-3 and nearly pull upsets on the other two, you’d have taken it in a heartbeat.

One thing that stands out to you though, as a fan, is the number of players on these past 3 teams that we’ve faced who are from the state of Georgia. If and when Mark Fox starts keeping more of these guys close to home, he’s going to do great things. Because judging by the way I’ve seen him coach up Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins, I shudder to think what he could do with a kid like Derrick Favors or John Wall.

Georgia’s next game is on the road at Mississippi State, Saturday at 3pm.