Cocktail Thursday: Alabama Edition.

Once again we find that it's Thursday, the 'Dawgs have a big SEC game, and you're thirsty. OK, you're not thirsty right now, but you will be. And when you are, you'll need to refresh appropriately. That's why we're here (along, apparently, with posting eye candy for female sportsbloggers).

I really went back and forth on this Thursday's concoction. My first instinct was to go with something defensively themed. A "Headhunter" perhaps. But then I realized, I'm not at all worried about our defense. Despite what some may be saying, this group is currently ranked 3rd in the SEC in scoring defense. They're giving up a paltry 14 points a game. They've given up a grand total of 3 points in the third quarter all year, and 10 second half points if you count the garbage time TD by Western Carolina last week. This is a sea change from last year, when it appeared that we came storming out of the locker room determined to give games away in a manner that would have made Mark Wohlers and John L. Smith proud.

I know, Coach Jancek is switching linebackers in and out of the starting lineup like Bill Bellichick changes the batteries in his camcorder. But that's because for the first time in the Mark Richt era we actually have 5 game-ready linebackers to play, as opposed to 3 guys held together with duct tape and bailing wire and a bunch of freshmen. Would it be better to have 3 established starters and 2-3 established backups? Sure. Do we miss Tony Taylor? Absolutely. But let's not let the fact that we aren't holding a royal flush obscure the fact that we are holding two pair here. Dannell Ellerbe is leading the team in tackles and looking more and more like the ballhawk we had all hoped he would be. Marcus Washington looks a little better every week. Akeem Dent played a solid game in his first start. Also worth noting is that Rodney Garner has been doing something very similar with defensive tackles since he arrived in the Classic City, and nobody really complains about that.

Speaking of defensive tackles, Jeff Owens hasn't put up overwhelming numbers. But that's largely because he's seeing fewer snaps thanks to Geno Atkins and Corvey Irvin. The little bitty light bulb in Kade Weston's extremely large head appears to have finally come on. Rod Battle has become a consistent player against the run and a solid passrusher. Marcus Howard may be a liability against the run, but not to the extent some (myself included) had feared. The secondary is still a question mark, and that's frustrating. Coming into the season I thought they would be the strength of the defense, and that hasn't really panned out. While D.J. Hall and Matt Caddell may expose them this weekend, I'm not overly worried about the secondary, especially if we continue to get a solid pass rush up front. Repeat after me: The. Defense. Is. Fine. Willie. Martinez. Is. Your. Friend.

No Bulldog Nation, if you're just itching to find something to worry about, I suggest you look to the offense. A recurrence of Matt Stafford's 43.2% completion percentage against South Carolina and a healthy dose of the dropsies are far more likely to doom the 'Dawgs this weekend than anything the Blitzless Wonder could possibly concoct on D. If, on the other hand, Stafford can complete 65% of his passes, not throw picks into the disguised coverages Alabama will throw at him, and connect on 3-5 long balls, it will be a long night for the assembled masses clad in houndstooth and toothlessnesss*.

So, if you want to really help your Georgia Bulldogs ruin the Nick Saban Annointment Tour '07, you should enjoy a "Signal Caller":

2 oz. coconut rum

2 oz. light rum

2 oz. Amaretto

2 oz. Creme de Banana

8 oz. pineapple juice

splash of lime juice

Mix the alcoholic ingredients over ice, pour in the pineapple juice, stir and serve. Until next time . . .

Go 'Dawgs!

* Obligatory, ironic, SEC reference to rural poverty, poor hygeine and general redneckedness of opposing fanbase. Verily, Alabama fans are not really missing more teeth than the general population. Auburn fans are though. Seriously, when Auburn fans laugh it sounds like the fall breeze whistling harmlessly through a chokeberry thicket like so many errant Brandon Cox passes. Alabama fans do however cheat on their income taxes, double dip at the guacamole bowl, and will put aluminum foil in your microwave without a second thought. Heathens.

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