Our Braves are getting slammed a little right now. Critics are all over the strikeout thing. And after getting shutout, again in Phoenix, the critics are also ripping the Braves for those 6 shutout losses. Bunch of bums, right? Oh, please.
When Kincade checks the standings later this month (Memorial Day), he's going to see his Phillies floundering around the .500 mark & the Braves up front, battling the Nationals. Anyway, this start to the season for the Braves has been anything but easy.
No MLB team has played more road games. At the conclusion of the recent road trip, the Braves will have played 26 road games. Two of the trips have been of the 10-day variety. This team is road weary. The Upton's have forgotten where their new pads are. Seriously.
So, if you're down on the Braves. Relax. This marathon is just getting started. The first month and a half have been challenging, with so much time spent on the road. It can be exhausting out there on the road.
Bet we'll see this team get it going offensively heading into the summer. Jason Heyward will be back in this homestand and that'll be the first time all season the top guys will be all together in the batting order. McCann is back busting the ball. Heyward gets to restart his season. I envision a boost in production.
Hope to see you out at the ballpark. Stop by and see the Braves Pre-Game Show live. Hope to be talking about this team going on another hot streak.
Kiper, Jr. gave the Falcons & Thomas Dimitroff a draft grade of B. Can't say I disagree.
Moving up to grab a top CB ---before the run on cover guys went down--- was smart. Desmond Trufant looks like he's worth a late 3rd round pick. Talented and confident. Go ahead and plug the rookie CB in as a starter. Dimitroff watched the 2nd CB come off the board at 12 and decided it was a good time to pull the trigger on a deal to move up. Stay put at #30 and 5 CB's may be off the board.
In today's NFL, the base defense has 3 corners on the field. And that is played more than half the time. Quality teams have got to have 3-4 solid options at CB. Or they can't cover. So, the "Dimitroff Double-Down" was needed.
2nd round pick Robert Alford is a CB with ball skills, but doesn't appear to be as polished as Trufant. Need to get him coached up quick. He also looks like a great option as the Falcons return man. That would be a big boost. The Falcons return game has been disappointing.
4th round selection DE Malliciah Goodman (Clemson) will compete with Massaquoi & Matthews. Dude was strong against the run in college and only flashed his pass-rush skills a few times. Hope for a hit here.
Tight-end Levin Toilolo beat out Zach Ertz & Coby Fleener at Stanford a few years ago. But then, he suffered a knee injury. This target is 6'7" in cleats, with good hands. Good red zone weapon. fact of the matter is this: Falcons were desperate for another TE. Got to have 2, right?
Simply don't know much about Stansly Maponga (TCU DE) or Kemal Ishmael (Safety UCF). Need a pronunciation guide though.
Zeke Motta (Notre Dame safety) is a smart, tough guy. Impacts special teams cover units. Dimitroff passed on Rambo (Georgia) and Lester (Alabama) to take him.
By the way, the Falcons were one of 3 teams who did not draft a player out of the SEC. Find that strange. The SEC had 63 players selected (most ever). Almost 25% of the players drafted came from the SEC.
NFL Draft is one week and counting...and we all wonder what the Falcons draft plan will be? But you can bet Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is looking to move on his targets! Dimitroff has made a move in every draft, here in Atlanta.
Peter King's reporting that Dimitroff is looking to move up from #30, in the 1st round. D. Orlando Ledbetter has pointed out the potential trade partners: Jaguars (2), Lions (5) and Rams (16 & 22). Those spots have former Falcons executives in place.
So, who is the Falcons target? Alabama CB Dee Milliner? He's being described as the missing piece on the Falcons defense. Got to move into the Top 5 to get this guy. That's pricey. But check the Julio Jones deal. It was worth it.
If corner is the target in the 1st round, it makes sense to move ahead of both New England and Denver (both need to add a quality CB). So, doing a deal with Les Snead & the Rams could be the move. The Rams have two 1st round picks (16 & 22). If the Falcons get one of those spots, then they can maybe take the other top-rated CB prospects Marcus Trufant or Xavier Rhodes.
But maybe the target is talented TE Tyler Eifert. Or OLB Jarvis Jones? Or maybe one of those beast offensive guards (Warmack or Cooper)?
Stay tuned. Sure love the way Dimitroff aggressively pursues his targets in the draft. None of this staying put and taking the best guy available.
Also, just released is the news that Deion Sanders will announce the Falcons 2nd round pick... is that a clue that the Falcons will take CB/PR Tyrann Mathieu? Prime Time is all in with Tyrann. The guess here: Don't look for that.
No time to waste on defense. Todd Grantham needs to find out who is ready to play, so he can start planning on how to defend a dangerous Clemson offense in the opener. That process started to play out this spring.
Up front, there is a new coach and there will be 2 new starters. Garrison Smith is the only returning starter, but Ray Drew and Sterling Bailey came on strong this spring, at D-End. Drew was at times unblockable. Mike Thornton is in the mix inside, at the nose.
At linebacker, Amarlo Herrera and Jordan Jenkins return. They both played a lot of good football last season. Now they need to be leaders on this young defense. Jenkins is expected to replace Jarvis Jones and be a playmaker. The new faces coming on strong are ILB Ramik Wilson and OLB James DeLoach. Wilson moves inside this season. DeLoach is a run stuffer.
The secondary will have 3 new starters, only corner Damian Swann returns. Sheldon Dawson made some plays at CB this spring and heads to summer camp as a favorite to win that job. Devin Bowman is after some playing time too. Or maybe one of these freshmen CB's will step up.
At safety, the 'Dogs lost two quality players, in Rambo & Willliams. Two young players are busy impressing this spring: Josh Harvery-Clemons & Tray Matthews. J-H-C is a hybrid SS/OLB and he could be in for a busy season. Matthews is a early enrollee freshman, who is locking down the top job at free safety.
Worried about a freshman free safety? Tray is advanced. Way ahead of most freshmen, with his understanding of concepts. He's shown off some open field tackling ability this spring.
Over on offense, Coach Bobo's group is deep with experience. The O-Line is back. "Gurshall" returns. Aaron Murray runs the show for the 4th season. There is a lot to feel good about on this side of the ball.
Chris Conley has had a good spring at WR and looks to be the 2nd weapon (Malcolm Mitchell is go-to guy). Freshman J.J. Green has shown off his playmaking ability. TE Jay Rome has had a good spring too.
Clemson stares Georgia in the face this summer. Huge opener. Awesome offense...Grantham's got to get this defense ready to go.
When McCann gets back a couple weeks into the season, this Braves line-up will be deep with quality. Think about it for a moment...Chris Johnson & Juan Francisco will be hitting 8th. So, 2-7 is going to be a tough road for opposing pitchers.
Andrelton Simmons is up top and looks ready to have a breakout season. Seriously. This dude is on the fast track to scoring 100 runs. Heyward hits 2nd and we're talking 30-30, right? Can't wait to see Jason Heyward run the bases. It's special. And the ball jumps off his bat. We are strong up top.
The middle of the line-up looks dangerous. Upton-Freeman-Upton, at 3-4-5. Justin's swing is in a good place. Freeman is primed for a 100 RBI season, in the clean-up spot. B.J. looks like a 40 double dude. Let it rip.
McCann and Uggla follow those guys. Brian's swing looks good this spring. Watched him drill some balls opposite field in BP, when last year he couldn't extend without pain. "Mac" is playing for a contract, so he's got an edge to him. Dan is determined to bounce back too.
The Braves are going to score some more runs. It should be fun this season. More athletic. Faster. More pop. Let's play ball.
And I hope you're not freaking out over the starting pitching! Medlen and Minor will be strong. Teheran is a new man. Hudson and Maholm will be dependable. By the way, the Braves rotation had the NL's best ERA this spring, entering Minor's start today.
See you at the ballpark next week. Get there early, for those BP homeruns!
It's almost time to get the show on the road. The Braves are winding down spring training and about to head north for Atlanta. They appear to be ready to roll.
Not many roster decisions to make. Who is the back-up shortstop (until Janish is ready)? Ramiro Pena is a nice option. Who is the 5th outfielder? Schafer looks like the guy (he's out of options). Who grabs the final spot in the bullpen? Varvaro or Gearrin. The back-up catcher is probably Evan Gattis, right? Dude is a rock star and has earned a spot on that 25-man roster, until McCann is ready.
Can't wait to see what kind of damage this new line-up can do. More speed. More athletic. More right-handed pop. And when Brian McCann gets back in there, it's going to be a deep line-up. Uggla is probably hitting 7th. Francisco & Johnson are probably hitting 8th. This should be fun. Bet Simmons and Heyward both score 100 runs.
Sounds like Tim Hudson will get the opening day assignment. It'll be the 3rd time for Hudson, with the Braves. Yes, it's an honor on most teams. One of the special days of any baseball season. Medlen deserves the honor too. Little surprised that he won't get the ball. But it's not a big deal, as far as how the season goes. Glad to have both these right-handers in the rotation.
Julio Teheran looks ready to win a lot of games, as the 5th starter in this rotation. Dude looks like a different guy this year. All grown up. That new 2-seam fastball is now a weapon against left-handers. Breaking balls look solid. Change up is good. Really impressed with Teheran. He looks like a weapon.
After spending two weeks with the Braves at spring training, I'm encouraged. Upton's look like a good fit. Lot of the guys are swinging the bat. Pitching looks solid. Let's get behind this team!
Thanks for helping make the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame induction so special. The 680 The Fan team stepped up big, which I appreciated very much. Not sure how the suits got some of those pictures that made it up on 680thefan.com, but that was cool.
The event was fun. Kincade did a nice job at the induction ceremony, although he did keep me to that 5:00 limit on the speech. Barely had time to talk about the big impact Coach Nick Hyder & Herschel Walker had in my career. Seriously. Coach Hyder was the first coach to embrace me.
Proud to have Coach Mike Cavan and Coach Butch Brooks sitting at our table! Cavan was the big brother I never had and he passed along some great advice to me back at Georgia. Brooks was everything I thought a coach could be in high school. Tough. Big heart. Competitive. Cared.
Coach Dooley hosted a UGA table and it was great to see Barbara there, along with Coach Greer and Coach Whittemore. I thanked Vince for being straight with me. I could trust him. He was tough on us. I respect that. Steve and Charlie were special too. Both were coaches that cared.
Had some former teammates there. Butler & Buckler showed up. That's special. Got to mention Lindsay and Lastinger.
I just know this: I believed that I could help my team win. I trusted that in high school and college that I would get a good fastball to hit. And that the ball needed to go LIndsay Scott's way in big situations. I treasured the competition and loved to win.
It's an honor to now be in there with Cobb, Aaron and Tarkenton. Just wish my Father could have lived to see it.
The Buck & Kincade Show trip down to Orlando was fun! It's always one of my favorite business trips of the year. The Braves provided us with some awesome access.
The work day started at 7:30 a.m., as players arrived at the facility. It was time to work the clubhouse for some interviews. Not exactly the best time of the day for that. But it's business, right?
"B.J., I know it's 7:30, but can you come do a sit down interview?"
But we did have some success. Heyward took time to be with us. Jason is such an impressive guy. He's poised for a great season. One of those 30-30 years. The ball is just jumping off his bat. And he takes such great pride in his defense. Told us he's proud of that Gold Glove Award. The Braves have a lot of guys that have pop. Dudes that can square the ball up and drive it. But Jason Heyward's BP is the most impressive. Look for him to have a big season.
Justin Upton's HR against the Marlins went 500 feet! Or so it seemed. Strong, balanced stance and just drives the ball. Saw him hit one over the centerfield wall at Disney in BP. Seems pretty cool too. Like his chances of having a big season too!
B.J. Upton has some quick hands at the plate. Open stance and hands held high. And he is quick on the inside fastball. Watched him rip some topspin down the left field line. Impressed that he can take the outside pitch comfortably opposite field too. Seems to be a quiet guy.
Can't wait to go back in March for another week. I'll get to call two Braves games with Mark Lemke. That'll be awesome.
Back from New Orleans and Super Bowl 47. Good to be back home, but it was another fun experience. Kincade & I have done the "Radio Row" thing over 10 times now. It's always fun. Just love being in the mix.
It's a Who's Who of sports broadcasting. Some of the NFL's top stars---past & present--- are being trotted out. Over 100 stations are wheeling and dealing, trying to get these guys on for a few minutes. It's an intense scene. And you can feel the buzz, when Beyonce' walks into the room.
Our producer Jonathan Chadwick was cutting deals left and right. Adding names. Cutting names from our list. And J-Chad did great. Our road show man, Adam Gillespie also delivered behind the scenes. Those two guys got it done. And we're talking 8-10 hour work days, for 3 days.
This is big-time radio. And it's fun. Sure hope you enjoyed the interviews. It was awesome of the Falcons to get Coach Smith, Thomas Dimitroff and Mr. Blank on B&K, while we were down there. Cris Carter was a little brash, but it made for some good radio. Mrs. Manning's visit was enjoyable and out of the ordinary. Doug Williams, Warren Moon and Kurt Warner joined us...nice trio of QB's there, uh? Still trying to wrap my arms around Swamp People and Troy Landry. they brought real gators in to intimidate. Bobby Hebert was entertaining. Love that dude.
Sure wish the Falcons could have delivered and joined us in New Orleans.Maybe next year. And thanks to the suits at 680 The Fan for sending us back to the Super Bowl. It was fun.
Thank you Frank Wren! So refreshing to see the Braves go out and add a big bat, with a big trade. There was a hole in the line-up, with a corner OF spot. Not anymore. Pencil in Justin Upton at the #3 spot.
Fredi has hinted at what the top of the line-up will look like: 1- Simmons, 2-Heyward, and 3-Justin Upton. What do you think? Worried about Simmons? Think it's too much to put on his plate?
Andrelton will be in his first full big league season, but he's won a batting title in the minors hitting lead-off. And he rarely looked overmatched last season, as a rookie. Turn him loose. Can't wait to see more. Jason Heyward bounced back in a big way last season. He's never going to be a old-school #2 hitter, but no worries. Get him up top and let him do his thing. That sets the table for Justin at #3.
Freeman, BJ Upton, McCann and Uggla swing the bat 4-7. That gives Fredi a LH-RH-LH-RH thing working. Freddie looks like a 90-100 RBI man. Expect Brian to bounce back with a solid season, now that he's healthy again. Dan is a man on a mission, because of struggles last season.
Francisco & Johnson will probably hit 8th. Both have some pop.
The line-up looks strong now. Solid top to bottom. Worried about too many strikeouts? That's understandable. But don't freak out. Looks like this line-up has the ability to score.
The Falcons loss to the 49ers was extremely disappointing. Our team was a play away. One. So, this one hurts. Probably will haunt us for years. Just one play from the Super Bowl.
Tip your cap to the 49ers. It takes a championship team to rally back from that deficit.
Couple of 2nd half turnovers helped seal our fate. Roddy took responsibility for the interception (fell down on route) and Matt fumbled, when he took a quick look up at the defense, after the snap. Still had a shot to win it though.
Thought for sure Matt had Douglas for a TD, when the 49er DB fell down. The turf monster must have grabbed Douglas too. Matt played the final 3 plays with a seperated shoulder. Tough competitor.
That 3rd down play---Matt rolled right, trying to hit a slot flat route---got tipped at the LOS. Matt felt pain, on the throw.
On 4th down, with the season and a shot at the Super Bowl riding, Dirk Koetter went trip's right. Tony flexed out wide left and got doubled. Roddy was the primary, on the short crossing route. Julio ran a fade. Good call. Matt's throw was just a little behind Roddy, on his back shoulder. Bowman jammed Roddy and made a play on the ball.
One play short.
Tony Gonzalez was close to a Super Bowl, in his final season. Just short. And it was easy to see the pain and passion on his face, back in the Falcons locker room afterwards.
Chokers? That's a cheap shot. Can't fault the effort. Falcons went toe-to-toe with the Niners and had them on the ropes. Left it all on the field.
Atlanta will host the NFL Championship Game for the very first time, on Sunday. How special is that? You know how special it is, right? We've been playing pro football in this city since 1966.
Exhale, Atlanta. We're one win away from the Super Bowl!
Matt Bryant drilled that 49 yard FG, with Atlanta holding its breath, to send the Seahawks home losers. Clutch kick, obviously. A memorable kick! One for the history books. Thank you, Matt Bryant.
Can't believe it came down to that, but what a finish. Matt Ryan had to hit two big throws, in order to get Matt Bryant into FG range. Douglas and Tony G. came up big. And the O-LINE stepped up in that situation too. Matt Ryan had time in the pocket, with the season riding. In fact, Matt Ryan didn't get sacked once.
After the great escape, Matt Ryan was thrilled with the protection. Got hit a few times, but never sacked. And they took a lot of shots downfield. The O-Line was a difference-maker. Simple as that.
Falcons ran the ball effectively and stuffed the beast Marshawn Lynch. Two other reasons why we are a win away from another Super Bowl.
This is awesome! Go Falcons! Now go get it!
The Niners are coming to town. Got to get ready. Need to get ready.This is special.
Coach Paul Johnson filled that DC opening quick. Ted Roof is coming back home! Spent last season at Penn State. Helped Auburn win the national title. Coach Roof was also on O'Leary's staff at GT. This is a real good hire. Great fit.
Charles Kelly did a nice job...but bolted for FSU. Getting Roof to come back home is a quality move by Coach Johnson.
The Jackets return 8 starters on defense. So, Coach Roof has some experienced guys coming back. I wish him well. Class act. Good coach. Again, great fit for Georgia Tech!
Mark Richt and Todd Gratham filled the D-Line spot with Chris Wilson. He cut his teeth on Bob Stoops staff at Oklahoma. Spent the last 2 seasons at Mississippi State. One insider told me that he's "very polished." Can recruit and teach.
Coach Wilson will need to hit the ground sprinting. He needs to impact this recruiting class. D-Line jobs are open. There is playing time to sell. And there are some quality DL prospects to recruit. The next 3-4 weeks will be important. Can he go get Toby Johnson and Davin Bellamy? No time to waste.
Look for Grantham to develop the young talent on defense quickly. Bet on it. He's got to find some players on the D-Line & in the secondary. Spring football should be interesting. Stay tuned.
So, here we go. Falcons are back in the playoffs. Can they finally win one? And beat the Seahawks? Should be fun on Sunday.
Sounds like the Falcons will get a boost on defense. Robinson and Moore are ready to go, in the secondary. And Abraham is good to go up front. Got to like that. Need these guys leading the way.
Priority #1 with Nolan's defense will be slowing down RB Marshawn Lynch. Dude is a beast. Can't allow him to run wild. And it would be nice to force Russell Wilson into some mistakes. Couple of forced turnovers would be large.
Can the Falcons offense score on the Seahawks defense? I believe so. Need to run it at DE Bruce Irvin. Look for the back-shoulder fade to be a good play. Matt Ryan gets bump coverage on Roddy & Julio out wide, which sets that throw up. Sherman and Browner are solid, but the technique leaves me wondering...it's a soft bump. They simply turn and run with the WR. No attempt to jam the receiver.
This is going to be fun. Time to Rise Up! And get a playoff victory!
The Georgia Bulldogs got the new year underway with a big bang. The 'Dogs got it rolling on offense and laid a 45 spot on Nebraska. Once Aaron Murray got going, Bobo's balanced offense looked impressive. Gurley was tough to handle. Marshall made some plays. That RB combination is something special.
Tavarres King made the big play. Cornhuskers had just slapped Murray with a "Pick 6" to take a 14-9 lead. Murray's start included 2 interceptions. The Nebraska crowd was going nuts. And that's when TK made the big play. Murray deep ball was a little underthrown, but King was textbook. He slowed in full gallop. That kept the DB off him. Extended his arms at the last second and snagged it. Shook off the weak attempt at a tackle and sprinted to the end zone. Murray settled in, after that.
Aaron was MVP impressive, despite the slow start. And that tells NFL scouts something about him. He's mentally tough. And he can make all the throws.
If he bolts for the NFL, the 'Dogs appear to be in good shape on offense. Everyone returns, except Tavarres King and Murray. Hutson Mason takes over at QB and is polished in the passing game. King will be missed, but the Georgia WR position group is deep. Conley is big-time. Scott-Wesley is a playmaker. Bennett's back. And Malcolm Mitchell will be the go-to WR.
In 2013, the 'Dogs offense needs to lead the way. Grantham's got some work to do on defense. rebuild the D-Line. Put together a secondary. that may take some extra time.
My best guess says that Murray moves on. The timing appears right. His competition (Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson and Geno Smith) is beatable. Not much left to accomplish at Georgia. Probably ready for a new challenge. We'll know next week, he says.
Right now, Coach Richt needs to jump on this D-Line coaching search. Need an impressive coach to introduce to these top DL recruits in a few days. Giff Smith looks like a good fit. The Bills just cut him loose. This is an important hire.
The Falcons hit the Giants with a big left hook, early in the fight. The G-Men never recovered. We wiped the Georgia Dome floor with those guys. Seriously. It wasn't much of a fight.
The statement was this: These Falcons will be ready come playoff time.
Samuel's playmaking ability is just huge in these big games. He's jumping routes and making plays. Need William Moore back in there making plays too. When the Falcons defense forces a few turnovers, we look like a team that can beat anyone.
Matt Ryan made some big throws against the Giants. He delivered. And the O-Line was the biggest surprise to me. The front 5 played big. Baker can it done. Konz held up. They kept a clean pocket for Matt.
So, bring on any of these so-called contenders. The Falcons look like they can play with the big boys.
The Falcons loss to the Panthers was tough to take. Crushed on the road, against a 3-9 team. Not exactly the message the Falcons want to be sending out this time of the year. Need to be cranking up your best football, in December and January.
Not exactly sure how to fix it either. Issues are up front, on the line of scrimmage. The O-Line got whipped in Charlotte. And the D-Line got pushed around too. That's a bad combination.
Has center Todd McClure hit the wall? Can Konz elevate his play in this rookie season? And don't look now, but Baker and Clabo get Pierre-Paul, Umenyiora and Tuck this week. These same guys destroyed the Falcons protection of Matt Ryan in the playoffs last season. Will it be different this time? Matt needs a clean pocket to operate in.
Also, with our base offensive set now a 3-WR formation...it limits the run game. Plus, without quality run blocking TE's, those short yardage situations might not be going away either. These are legitimate concerns.
Against Carolina, it appeared that Jerry, Peters and Biermann pulled a no-show. Babineaux and Abraham need some help! Not sure these issues are going away right now. Got to get those 3 dudes going. Quickly.
And of course, getting Samuel and Moore back in the secondary making some big plays would be huge! Need those forced turnovers come playoff time.
Big game versus the Giants. Got to Rise Up !
Tip your cap to Alabama, if you're a Georgia man. The 'Dogs had them on the ropes a couple of times and just couldn't finish them off. The Tide earned that SEC title, in one of the great SEC games of all-time.
Obviously, the inability to slow down the Alabama run game, with Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. The Alabama O-Line put on a run-blocking clinic in the 2nd half. Saban admitted they couldn't protect in the passing game. So, they had to turn to the run game. Grantham's D-Line was unable to hold up, with just 3 legit DL available.
Thought Murray and the offense might pull it out in the final seconds, but Alabama LB C.J. Mosley stepped up with a big play, on the final play. He tipped it and Conley caught it...and the final seconds ticked away.
The controversy is whether or not Murray should have spiked the ball to stop the clock at :15. They elected to call a play and not allow Alabama to get organized. That's one way to play it. But the spike would have given Georgia 2 shots at the end zone. No guarantee of scoring, but at least you get 2 plays, right?
Awesome effort though. That was a heavyweight brawl, on the big stage.
Got to serve up breakfast to The Rude Awakening now. Lost the bet with Cofar. I'll deliver on Friday, wearing Bama gear. Ouch.
Beat Alabama and Georgia gets Notre Dame in the BCS National Title Game. Big challenge, uh? But what an incredible opportunity. This is every player's dream scenario. It's all right there in front of them.
The Bulldogs should embrace it. Bring on the two College Football Giants! No reason to be scared. Not the way Georgia is playing right now. Of course, very few analysts will be picking Georgia, in either match-up. But who cares about that.
The Alabama showdown will be intriguing. Rambo says the 'Dogs are more talented across the board. Not sure about that, but Georgia has enough talent to match-up and play tough. Roll the dice and see what happens.
The Georgia offense has outstanding balance and that gives even the best defenses trouble. Makes it tough to focus on one thing. 'Dogs can run it with Gurley & Marshall. And Murray can sling it to King and Mitchell. Plus, Aaron can read coverage and get out of poor plays.
The biggest challenge on this side of the ball is this: Can the Bulldogs O-Line block them? Keep a clean pocket for Murray? Open some cracks for Todd Gurley? This is the biggest key to the game.
Grantham's defense will cause some problems too. The Alabama O-Line looks like the best in CF, but they will have their hands full with this Georgia front 7. Can't wait to see Fluker and John Jenkins mix it up. Shawn Williams will be in that "Box" playing the run too. Ogletree is a beast. Stopping Lacey and Yeldon is a challenge, but slowing them down is all that's really needed.
McCarron lost a weapon in Kenny Bell, so Amari Cooper will have to deliver big. The Georgia secondary is playing tough. Rambo and Commings are solid. Jarvis Jones will be on the attack.
Expect to see a "Slobber-knocker." This is going to be good.
Georgia Tech will embrace this opportunity to knock their hated rivals out of the BCS national title mix, before Alabama gets the chance. Don't you just know it?
Question is this: Do the Jackets have a big upset in them?
Richt's team has put it together. The offense is balanced and dangerous. Murray gets them in good plays and is making all the throws. Gurley & Marshall are flying around in the run game. And the big key: the Georgia O-Line has elevated its performance level. Can the GT defense slow this group down?
Here is the problem for the GT defense: Load up against the run...and Murray carves you up. Play a deep zone...and "Gur-shall" does major damage. And it does not appear that the GT D-Line is capable of dominating up front, which makes it tough to shut down an offense.
Flip it over and the GT offense has to shine. Do some major damage. Light up this Grantham defense. Put 40-plus on the board. Is that possible?
Looks to me that GT QB Vad Lee is capable of having a big day. He's dangerous. A playmaker. The Jackets have turned him loose lately and Vad has lifted this unit. He can make a guy like Ogletree miss. Rambo too! But young QB's can turn it over...that would mean defeat.
First quarter of this game will be big. The Jackets will come out fired up and ready to deliver some big blows. If that happens, this will be a 4-quarter battle. Georgia needs to take their best shot and keep bringing it! That would wear GT down emotionally.
Does GT have an upset in them? Nothing would make them happier, than to ruin it for Georgia. The 'Dogs better bring it!
And there goes the undefeated season. Of course, it had to be the Saints ruining this for us. They own us. Sure is frustrating, uh? It just seems like the Saints have our number.
Why have the Saints delivered a 7-2 record against Coach Smith and Matt Ryan? Because we get their best shot. Specifically...Drew Brees is spectacular reading coverage and the ball is out so quick. Plus, the Saints D-Line seems to get the best of our O-Line too.
This loss hurts even more, because they are down and we were rolling. Still can't whip them. So many oppportunities to win too.
All those plays inside the Saints five yard line. Earlier in the 4th quarter, the offense got down there and had to settle for a FG, after Julio couldn't make that catch in the back of the end zone. That was a clear sign the Falcons were about to come up short again.
Then, Matt Ryan got the offense back down there again late. Douglas got to the 1-yard line, on 1st down. On 2nd down, Turner got stuffed. On 3rd down, Tony Gonzalez got the ball his way and Jenkins broke it up. On 4th down, Matt couldn't step into his throw to Roddy, which allowed Greer to break it up.
And as time ran out, Roddy misjudged a deep throw, which would have gone for six. So many chances.
Falcons won't have to wait long to get anohter shot. The Saints come to town in a couple weeks. Will the trend continue? Saints have now won 4 in a row and 11 of 13 against the Falcons. getting tired of this...imagine how the players feel.
LSU gave the Tide all they wanted, right? So, why couldn't the 'Dogs?
Despite this notion that Aaron Murray is unable to perform against the top teams, he's better than Zach Mettenberger right now. Advantage UGA at quarterback.
Even with Marlon Brown down for the season (Michael Bennett too), Georgia has more weapons than LSU. Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell are a dangerous combo at WR. Wooten can make plays in the slot. So, the 3-WR set looks strong to me. Those LSU WR made some plays against Bama, but the 'Dogs are better here too.
Todd Gurley is just a beast at RB. He is also playing his best football right now. LSU RB Jeremy Hill went for 100-plus on the Tide defense. Gurley is better than Hill. Keith Marshall is also capable of providing a boost, with a big run or reception. LSU is deeper, but Gurley gives UGA a big back, who can tote it 20 times.
Could Grantham's defense slow down this Alabama offense? I'd say that the Bulldog defense I've seen the last 2 games is capable of pulling that off. Limit Bama to 20 points? Possible. Force a few turnovers? Possible.
Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree are playmakers. Impact dudes. Branden Smith is ballin' at corner. Rambo has come on strong. Big John Jenkins would be a problem.
Two area's of concern for Georgia against Alabama: 1- Could the 'Dogs O-Line block them? 2- Would special teams play hold up? Obviously, two huge factors.
Could the 'Dogs beat Bama? They would have a shot, if they Hunker Down.
Now that was impressive! Thought all along that the Gators Offense was the weakness, because they aren't built to throw it yet. But that was a total beatdown. Grantham's defense dominated.
Jarvis Jones delivered one of the great performances in Georgia football history. Seriously. Defensively, that performance has ranks up there with Bill Stanfill's against Spurrier the QB, in 1966. Jake Scott delivered a memorable performance against Kentucky in 1968. David Pollack's South Carolina performance saved the day, in 2002. Knox Culpepper had 26 tackles against Georgia Tech, in 1983. Freddie Gilbert had 5 sacks in that same game. Scott Woerner delivered that day against Clemson, in 1980.
But that performance by Jarvis might outrank all those.
The stat line, again: 13 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Amazing.
Jarvis also did it with such class and dignity. He's a pro. Totally mature. And ready for the NFL. He leads. He's humble. And he's a 3-down linebacker, who makes plays. Big plays.
Jones was the difference between winning and losing in Jacksonville. For the second year in a row. Total domination. Impact player. Future 1st round pick. Georgia's lucky to have him.
On paper, this one doesn't look encouraging. The #2 Gators are playing at a high level. The #10 'Dogs are struggling in a lot of places. Doesn't appear to be a good time to meet up in J-ville, if you're a Georgia man.
But hey, it wouldn't be the first time the Gators showed up flying high and went home a loser! So, I'm packing up the golf clubs and making the trip down.
Georgia's best shot looks to be hitting on some big plays in the passing game and playing out front. The Gators aren't exactly built to play catch-up. They run it. They don't look good throwing it. So, somehow the 'Dogs need to grab the lead. Maybe Gurley will bust a long one. And Murray can hit Malcolm Mitchell or Tavarres King deep. Make Florida play from behind.
Grantham's defense seriously needs to hunker down this Saturday. Sell out to stop the run. Load up the box. Got to stop the run. Make Driskel throw it successfully to beat you. And if the 'Dogs can play out front, then Jarvis Jones can turn up the heat, by rushing the passer.
And yes, Jarvis Jones will be ready to go Saturday.
Right now, the Gators are the team to beat. Georgia looked sloppy in Lexington, with the exception of Aaron Murray and the passing game. It'll take more than that to beat this Florida team.
Muschamp's Gators stand in the way of Georgia getting a little respect back. That KO loss in Columbia has the CF Nation doubting the Bulldogs. And this just in: The Gators are playing a tough brand of football.
That's right. Muschamp has these guys playing physical. Tough.
Let's face it, the Kentucky Wildcats are playing terrible, but this will be a good opportunity for the 'Dogs to try and polish things up. Sort of a practice game. Beat up the 'Cats and get ready for a battle in Jacksonville.
The Gators O-Line is opeing up some running lanes. Talk about playing physical. Gillislee is running downhill, because the OL is knocking people off the LOS. And Jeff Driskel is impressive. He's making plays AND protecting the football.
On defense, Florida is playing 18 in a rotation. The D-Line is rough, tough and deep. Elam is a playmaker at strong safety. got a couple LB's that can play ball (Bostic). Purifoy, Roberson and Watkins are playing tight man coverage on the outside.
This is going to be a big challenge for Georgia in J-ville. What will be the changes for Georgia, after that 35-7 loss to South Carolina?
Sounds like the O-Line will stay the same. Gates and Theus are getting coached up. Probably the right move here. Got to get Malcolm Mitchell more touches on offense. He's a playmaker. Need to see the ball in his hands.
On defense, they've got to quit allowing the big play. Simple as that.