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Thursday Morning ‘Dawg Bites

The University of Georgia Bulldogs will face the Louisiana State University Tigers Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm ET on CBS TV. You may already be aware of this event. You may also be aware that we don’t face LSU on a normal basis. And we won’t face them again for a while (excepting possible SEC Championship Games - of which I hope there are many). So while including a tangentially-related music selection this week, but departing from my modus operandi 1980’s selections (‘cuz I’m old, and RedCrake is not), I decided to pull from relatively recent archives for a personal favorite. We’ve faced LSU a few times recently, but not in the last couple of years. Kinda like an ex, they’re somebody that we used to know:

Now onto the news and notes of the Georgia Bulldogs:

In case you didn’t now, Bulldogs travel. A case might be made that we’re traveling better than in years past thanks to recent success. Another case might be made that the State of Georgia has an increasing GDP compared to surrounding states. Just because it seems unlikely doesn’t mean it didn’t happen (thank you Vincent Vega). I will say it is interesting dynamics and economic forces at work.

Did you think Demetris Robertson has disappeared from the UGA offense? No, I didn’t either (full disclosure: as a casual fan, watching on TV live, yes, yes I did). Well head ball coach Kirby Smart says no, no he hasn’t. Apparently timing is important.

I hate to keep linking to the same site, but darn it all, there be some good nuggets in there, aaarrrgghh. So, here’s talk with a Tiger beat writer (I really wanted to type “Tiger Beat”). Not bad insight into the team, the temp, and the totality.

The bad news is that the d-line is down a few players. The good news is the emergence of young players. Something smells fishy about Hawkins Muckle (OpEd only).

I’ve seen practice reports, and then I’ve seen practice reports. I haven’t dug deeper, but again hats off to the good people at the Red & Black for making something of nothing.

Speaking of something from nothing, the Macon Telegraph published a story about the betting line. Click only if you’re dying for content.

Warning!!! Gary Danielson content!!! But it’s short, doesn’t hurt, and is a slightly different take on the UGA QB situation.

That’s all for now. I’ve stayed off the Twitter as I’ve organized support for my parents in middle Georgia while making sure my ownself in eastern NC can withstand whatever Hurricane Michael has in store. I hope you’re reading this, which means you’re safe and have power. Help those who can’t help themselves, and as always...


3 Things That Worry Me About LSU

The Georgia Bulldogs have a top 15 tilt against the SEC West, in Death Valley, broadcast by CBS to a national audience, with Gary Danielson bringing up every painful memory ever. What, me worry?

Here is what I’m NOT worried about come Saturday nights kick off:

1) Our defense is deeper than theirs. And we’re like: Dang right, it’s better than theirs. The Bayou Bengals list 22 players with 2 or more tackles, and 9 with at least 3 a game (solo + assisted). 18 of those players are in double digits. The Bulldogs sport 33 players with 2 or more and 46 total players who’ve registered a takedown, yet only 14 with double digit tackles. It is obvious we substitute more, and have more players with meaningful performance on defense.

Does LSU have some studs? Absolutely. Devin White is going to get paid by an NFL team pretty darn soon and is a wrecking ball. Fellow linebackers Divinity and Phillips are also good enough to play anywhere. They have 5 defensive backs that already have at least 10 tackles on the season. But they are top heavy. Plus, they’ve had to play a lot more, at least against stouter competition. And with temps forecast to still be 80 degrees and higher Saturday afternoon, our depth and fresh legs will make a difference.

2) We batted down the first pass of the game by Vandy. And on the third play. A tackle for loss, a serious QB hurry, all in the first 10 minutes. Then another near sack just as the 1Q ended. Georgia opponents are only getting 5.15 yards per pass attempt against us, good for #4 in the nation. And that includes a couple of teams who were determined to throw underneath and to throw quickly. LSU is 95th in the nation as a passing offense, and this includes against the Ole Miss swiss cheese defense and two cupcakes (conversely, also includes UF, UM, and AU). I think our pass defense, while not sack-heavy, will limit LSU from marching up and down the field.

3) Penalties. Will Coach Kirby Smart have the ‘Dawgs performing at a peak and non-infractional level? Peak-yes. Infractions though? We’re going to have them. We are around #70-80 in the nation in penalties and penalty yardage per game. To be honest, I’m surprised we’re ranked that good. And LSU has never been known as a finesse team, one that runs like a tightly wound machine.

We’re young, we’re aggressive, players are looking for playing time and let instinct overcome discipline. We’re more like… “ooo! A squirrel!!” The lack of composure shows when the senior leadership leaves a void. A void that isn’t easily filled. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be good, and that our talent won’t rise to the occasion. Bend don’t break is a real thing - the penalties help the bend, and we hope it won’t lead to a break. We might not be as composed as last year, but I don’t think this will hurt us in the game’s outcome.

Your Georgia Bulldogs are the #2 team in the nation, undefeated, bowl-eligible, and in the national consciousness for a second consecutive playoff berth, with all our goals still in play. Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch on AM radio, so here’s what I am worried about this Saturday in Baton Rouge with backing vocals by Gary Danielson:

1) Joe Burrow is better than you think he is. Did I just tell you above that I wasn’t worried about LSU’s passing offense? Of course I did. Is Joe Burrow being heralded as this season’s Jarrett Stidham… a transfer project that will throw his team into offensive juggernaut status? Of course he isn’t. But he also isn’t throwing many picks (just two, and both last week against Florida), he’s getting sacked about 2 times a game on average, and he was still absolutely in position to keep LSU undefeated last week.

If only those Tiger receivers could catch the ball. As a Georgia fan, I’m used to seeing receivers drop key passes in key situations. But you can’t fault Burrow for watching valuable completions in the waning seconds drop harmlessly to the ground. If LSU had good hands last week, I honestly think they are #4 in the nation this week and the hype for this game would be out of control. I see potential, and it scares me.

2) The Bayou Faithful. Head Coach Ed Orgeron has built it, and they will come. At least Orgeron hasn’t completely torn it down yet, and these guys were coming anyway, so they’ll be there as usual. However you want to say it, the Tiger fans didn’t like sitting at home last week while their beloved LSU football team suffered not only a loss in the Swamp, but also enduring a pre-game honoring of Tim Tebow. They will not go lightly into this late afternoon.

And let’s face it, the loudest crowds we’ve faced in the last 10 ½ months have been our own. Jordan-Hare was the last time we took the brunt of an opposing fanbase, and that did not end well. I bet the LSU crowd knows this, and again, are antsy after sitting on their hands last week. They know they can be a difference maker and I bet they’ll be out to prove it.

3) Running into the sun, but we’re running behind. Our run defense, to all who’ve observed, has steadily been giving up ground more than we’re used to. What was supposed to be a perceived strength is falling behind our perceived weakness (a young secondary). Taking the pitiful Tennessee Volunteers out of the equation (heh), the rush yards per game given up in the last 3 contests has been, in order, 4.15 ypg, 4.64 ypg, and 4.75 ypg (courtesy of the Corneliuses).

Tiger featured running back Nick Brossette is getting a healthy 95 yards on the ground per contest, and usually snags around 10 a game through the air. As a team, LSU runs for about a buck ninety – not exactly Georgia Tech but still enough to eat clock and keep the ball. And for whatever you don’t like about quarterback Joe Burrow, he somehow sneaks in about 30 yards rushing. That can be in the form of critical conversions, or into the end zone, or when he seeks the spines of Georgia defensive backs. So the running game in general, and one that thrives on momentum, scares the voodoo out of me.

What worries you about Saturday’s contest against the Mike-less Tigers? Leave them in the comments below. And as always…


P.S. Name the two popular song references in the post and you win a year’s subscription to Dawg Sports FREE!!! (While quantities last and subject to availability. Offer not valid in Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.)

Late Evening Open Comment Thread

We successfully defended homecoming at the University of Georgia, defeating conference and division foe Vanderbilt. Was it pretty? Sure, only if played through a DVR.

And while the day may seem complete to you, it doesn’t mean that it’s over. Saturday is for football. Per usual, our own RedCrake did yeoman’s work crafting the best TV schedule in the biz. Utah plays at Stanford at 10:30 pm on ESPN, and Nevada hosts Fresno State on ESPNU. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast another Pac12 matchup, as the Cal Golden Bears tilt with the Fightin’ Sumlins of Arizona.

Notre Dame might still be playing at Lane Stadium over on ABC, and the Washington Huskies might be continuing to ruin Chip Kelly’s narrative on Fox. And if you still have your eyes intact, you can risk them by turning it over to ESPN2 for Auburn intercepting Nick Fitzgerald a couple more times. All of these games started right around Georgia’s kickoff, so all bets are off.

It’s Saturday night in October, and your Georgia Bulldogs are victorious. Feel free to check out all the comment threads, but we’ll keep this open for the various other football games -anything is fair game.

I know what our resident House Mother podunkdawg would say, and it ends with “y’all play pretty”, so let’s keep her happy and celebrate with each other for another glorious football Saturday. And as always...


Thursday Morning ‘Dawg Bites Is Just Along For The Ride

I don’t recognize this player. Any help?

If you’re old like me, you’ve seen plenty of sea change while rooting for the University of Georgia. As a result, you just can’t help but worry a little bit each time the Bulldogs snap on their game day helmets. The funny thing is, as age continues its inevitable march, you find it doesn’t consume you the way it did in the passion of youthful times. You find happiness where once there was mostly dread. You, you fool, are now just joining the Joy Ride:

This was once nominated for Best Incorporation of a Meaningless Whistle, but lost out to the J. Geils Band. Now onto news of the Georgia Bulldog variety:

You know what I’m not crazy about? Nicknames for defensive units. Except for Junkyard Dawgs. Or Gritz Blitz. But hey... if it helps the boys in Red and Black, I’ll get behind it. And Coach Kirby Smart is now behind his boys who are on the back end of the defense.

The general consensus is that the UGA secondary was very talented, but very young and relatively inexperienced. They’ve played well so far, and turns out they only need a bit more confidence.

We all have our favorites on the defensive side of the ball. ESPN seems to have decided on D’Andre Walker. He’s definitely the tops in stats and seems to be the most consistent presence in the subjectively present pass rush.

The Bulldogs have never trailed this season, but that doesn’t mean the team is satisfied with how they start games.

Wheel routes? Yes please. However, if practice is only open for 7 minutes to the media, and that is what the team is practicing during the viewing period, surely that’s not really what’s on Jim Chaneys’ mind, is it?

I knew it. You knew it. Georgia opponents knew it. The Steel City knew it. The AFC knew it. Now everybody knows about Hines Ward. In case you didn’t know, of course.

How is the opposing fanbase viewing this weekend’s SEC tilt? Yikes.

On a barely related note: Tailgating is usually a fun occasion. Unless you pull for James Franklin’s teams.

That’s all the news for now. We’ll be back later with all the standards and your favorites leading up to Game Day. And as always...


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