Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekend Roundup: UGA Edition

I am attempting to write this as I watch a Pussycat Dolls concert on Palladia. So if this post is all over the place, now you know why. Which while we’re on the topic…I’m glad the lead singer reconsidered about her solo career. In a time where technology can help anyone sound like the next Mariah Carey, thereby-arguably- closing the gap between divas and Idol castoffs alike significantly, it’s refreshing to see a woman make an excellent business decision with technology on her side. HD. Wow. And you think the close-ups after Lebron drives for his many game-winning buckets looks impressive? You are sadly mistaken my friend.

Watch as the stars align……....well, maybe someday.

UGA gets some much needed star power in the win vs. the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. The Dogs just lined up and absolutely destroyed Tech’s run defense. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King looked much like everyone in Bulldog nation expected- not to mention every national high school recruiting service- them to in their unit’s trouncing of Tech’s D. We have known all year by watching Ealey, the quick freshman who has huge shoes to fill in replacing Knowshon Moreno. It certainly does not help that his style of play is similar to Knowshon’s, so as we watch the games we hang on to our seat in hopes of a wicked jump maneuver, or that blazing acceleration after a cutback. Is it fair? No, but that will recede with time as he gains experience to complement his outstanding early promise. But what we have missed out on is that single play from King- a five-star prospect- that gives us as spectators not only a foundation for what his talents are, but a look at just how high his ceiling might be. Well, I, like everyone else, found that play Saturday night as we watched King sprint 75 yards for the score on a called inside run. Now the center on the play had a great block, and the left outside linebacker over-pursued the play, but after that, King was gone. That run alone sheds light as to why he was one of the most sought after running backs in the country as a senior. Up to this point, we have mainly seen King run between the tackles and constantly stutter step to find gaps in the defense. Only on extremely rare occasions have we witnessed King really trust his speed and just run without over-reading the defense. One major problem that I’ve had throughout this lackluster season for the Dogs is their refusal to tinker with the offensive play calling. Maybe that is why so many are calling for Bobo’s job to be taken over by someone who knows how to utilize the teams numerous swift assets. I can only relate this team’s offensive strategy- queue clich├ęd analogy- to a shiny red sports car. Over the years, Georgia has run the offense like the sports car with an automatic transmission (Running standard plays while having outstanding individual players shine through the average play calling.) Yes, this type of play calling is proven to work- it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it! And not failing to mention how fast that car will go! It is completely reasonable to jettison any foreign idea that combats against this model. In doing this, Georgia, has rebuilt its program back to be a national contender on a yearly basis again. Nevertheless, this team- and ones that will include “All-Everything” and “You better be as good as advertised” Aaron Murray, in whatever capacity he proves to be, is a completely different situation than Richt has ever had in his tenure at UGA. Now, this assumes Murray wins the job next year and is not ousted from his starting role-due to poor play, injuries, etc.- during his years at UGA. Richt’s record of accomplishment in this category is drenched with loyalty once a QB wins, or earns the job (Joe Cox.) He will stick with you longer than most would-or should (Martinez). But back to the car talk. Going all-in with Aaron Murray- which is what the coaches have done this year with Cox, otherwise the Dogs would not have stomached such rancid quarterback play- is not necessarily a bad thing. That is, given in the right system. Georgia has all the right pieces to run like a sports car with a manual transmission should run. FASTER THAN AN AUTOMATIC, BABY! (A crop of players that are outstanding and promising in a few aspects of their game, but not so much solid all-around positional prospects) My case will be made with 3 players that were grossly underdeveloped this year alone.

Rashad Jones,Safety at 6-2, 215, is as bruising a hitter as you’ll come across. So, explain to me why he is not near the line, using his best talents (nose for the ball, delivers punishing hits often,) and getting the most of his time before he surely leaves for the NFL- since they draft mainly on potential and he’s got it. Defensive coaches kill for players who have great instincts and can make “football plays,” so why is it so hard to get what you can out of him. It’s not like the defense has been shutting folks down, it’s certainly worth a try. Now, to be fair, he is not only a great hitter, he is a great all-around player who I think could be pushed more to help Curran, who was unaware he was not only playing football in college but would also provide clinic tape on how to pursue the football every game. Still, Jones is still a square peg being pushed in a round hole.

Caleb King, RB, while mainly needing confidence more than anything, has really come on towards the end of the year. The eye-opening run we saw against Tech is just a sliver of what has, and will be, expected out of King during his remaining years at UGA. I believe he is not used enough. He has game breaking speed, that is, when he’s healthy. I understand all that, but the only way to get a guy confidence is to get him reps. Put the guy at slot receiver and let him get to the outside! If he gets hurt, he gets hurt. And don’t give me that too much too early crap- Yankee fans say the same about Phil Hughes. These same fans cannot come to grips with him being a great middle reliever on a great team, not a solid starter. Give the kid some reps and he will gain confidence in his speed and you are then talking about having multiple game breakers on this team. Wait, did you say multiple game breakers?

Branden Smith, CB/Returner, I understand he plays defense. I understand he fumbles. I also understand he is young, but I don’t think you really understand how fast he is. All I’m asking for is for him to be involved on an offensive play that is not a reverse. Note to offensive coordinators that wear red and black: Reverses were a trick play 20 yrs ago. Let it go. Get creative.

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