You're On Notice, Dawg! Week 11

Scott Cunningham

After a week of collective hand-wringing in Bulldog Nation about how we might suffer a Jacksonville-induced "letdown," the Georgia Bulldogs came out and introduced Ole Miss football to Ole Man football.

As many predicted, it got interesting in the first half, but ultimately, the Dawgs' game yesterday resembled something like this. So, last week's threat was effectively neutralized, and now we move on to the last hurdle standing between the Georgia Bulldogs and the SEC Championship Game: the Auburn Tiglesmen.

Auburn improved to 2-7 on the season with a huge upset win over New Mexico State, and even though it's not exactly "throw out the records" time, this is still a huge rivalry game. Auburn and Georgia share the oldest rivalry in the South, and the Tiglesmen have spoiled more than a few shots at an SEC championship for us over the years (most notably, but certainly not exclusively, in the '80's). Combine all of that with the fact that Kyle hates Auburn about as much as I hate Florida (I hate Florida, in case you hadn't heard), and you've got a game for all the marbles in the SEC East, and one in which the Dawgs must come out prepared and emotionally ready to play for a full 60 minutes.

Therefore, I'm letting the following people know that, for Week 11, You're On Notice, Dawg!

In no particular order:

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1) Michael Adams - Why Michael Adams? Because he's a jerk, has stolen money from and is a disaster for University, and everybody that has ever worked with him hates him. Plus, I have it from a very authoritative source inside the UGA administration that he was whooping it up like a madman in his luxury suite when Notre Dame pulled out that squeaker against Pitt yesterday.

2) Brook Whitmire - Who is this guy, you ask? Well, Mr. Whitmire is the longtime Sanford Stadium play-by-play announcer. And since we just don't have a lot of stuff to complain about this week from the team, I'm going to take an opportunity to pick a bone or two with the stadium announcer. In general, Whitmire does a great job. I have two issues, however:

a) You have got to do something about your nasally delivery, dude. When you say "Betweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (breath) eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen The Hedges!!" during the pregame festivities you sound like you're actually speaking through your nose. Do what singers do and drop your jaw. Widen your vocal cavity and let that nasal "eeeeeeee" that sounds like Urkel is saying it become a lordly, magnificent bellowing "eeeeee." I shouldn't be cringing when you're touting the most famous of features inside our glorious stadium.

b) Why do you only say, "FIRST down, GEOR-gia!" about half the time we get a first down now, when you used to cry it out every time? Our fans aren't stupid... they know they have to be quiet when the team lines up for their next play. Let 'em cheer for a few seconds when we get a first down, and keep 'em pumped up and involved by doing so.

3) Going for the INT, missing it, and giving up a big play - After a dominating defensive performance like this, I kind of feel bad about putting anyone from the defense on notice, but this really, really bugs me. Before the season started, we heard several defenders talking about how Todd Grantham had drilled into them the importance of going for the interception. Every time it was mentioned, however, it was also couched in the warning of, "If you go for the interception, you'd better get it, because otherwise it'll go from being a game-changing play for us to a game-changing play for them."

And far too often this year, we've seen defenders go for the interception, only to miss it and give up a huge pass play that could have been merely a short or medium-gain pass play (or a pass breakup). The most obvious example of this was the first play from scrimmage in Columbia, SC. The most recent was an interception Shawn Williams missed on Saturday en route to providing Ole Miss their first (and, though we didn't know it at the time, only) field goal of the game.

I've got no problems with being aggressive and going for the ball at all times. I love it, in fact. Aggressive defenses always go for the ball, and that aggressiveness pays dividends. If you're going to try to jump the route and get the game-changing INT instead of tackling the receiver, though... you have to make the interception. If you miss it, the other guy gets a huge play, and against a good team like Alabama, it'll kill you.

4) Fan who boo your own team - This is a huge pet peeve of mine, as well. Look, I don't care if it's starting to go sideways on the field... you never boo your own damn team. Period. End of story. Case in point: Georgia was trailing Ole Miss 10-7 late in the 2nd quarter, and the Dawgs were driving down the field and were in field goal range with one timeout left. All of a sudden, we suffer two devastating sacks which take us out of field goal range and put us on about the 45 yard line, and we have to use our last timeout to keep the clock from running out on us.

And when that happened, the obnoxious idiot who sits one section to the left of me (and whom I've excoriated before) started up again, loudly booing Aaron Murray, of all people (as if he could have helped the fact that none of the line blocked worth a crap on those two plays). Others in the stadium joined in with him, as well, and a very clear chorus of boos rained down.

Fortunately, on the very next play, Aaron Murray shut up the boo-birds by tossing a 45-yard touchdown to Tavarres King, giving UGA a barely-deserved 14-10 halftime lead. And, amazingly enough, the jerk in the section to my left wasn't booing then.

DON'T BOO YOUR OWN TEAM. YOU WANT THEM TO WIN, NOT BE HUMILIATED. Boo these next guys, instead...

5) The Referees - I'm just about sick and dang tired of getting a bunch of b.s. penalties when they're not deserved. The personal foul penalty against Shawn Williams in the first quarter is a perfect example of this. Williams had positioned himself to make a play, and the Ole Miss tailback stepped out of bounds about a half a stride before reaching Williams, then put his head down and led with his shoulder pads directly into Williams, who jumped backwards while hitting the runner and fell down... and that's a penalty on us??

I just don't understand how the SEC could have the best football teams in the country and still have some of the worst officials. I will admit that it probably hasn't been as bad this year as in some previous years... but that's not exactly a compliment, given the low bar that previously existed.

All I'm saying is that we'd better not leave the Auburn or the Tech game up to the officials, 'cause they'll screw us if given a chance.

6) Making turnovers at crucial times - I'll admit that they're not exactly turnover machines, but Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley each had a fumble at a very crucial point in the game during that span in the 2nd quarter when there were 4 turnovers in 5 plays. Credit the defense for getting the ball back both times on the very next play, but to quote a tweet by cocknfire from Team Speed Kills, "If you give the ball to Ole Miss two times, you will get it back. If you give it to Alabama two times, you will die."

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You know who never fumbled once in his entire life? This guy. (He never even dropped a pencil during class. It's a widely believed historical fact.)

7) The Offensive Line - If I allow myself the luxury to look ahead 3 games in the schedule to the SEC Championship Game, this is the part of our game that concerns me the most. Ole Miss is a good team, but their defensive line isn't in the same neighborhood as Alabama's. And consistently this year, our offensive line has found themselves over-matched against defenses they should be blowing off the ball and pancake-blocking on at least 60% of their plays.

And it's not just a "John Theus is a freshman" thing, either. Both the right and left sides of our line were victimized repeatedly by Ole Miss, and many times when the Rebears were only rushing the 4 down linemen. If you allow mediocre defenses to pressure the QB when they're not even blitzing... well, that just ain't a good omen for certain games down the road.

8) The Auburn Tiglesmen - Do you remember that time you asked your friend who is an Auburn fan whether he would trade a 3-win season and losing 6 out of 7 games to Georgia if that one win was during a national championship season? Well, such a question isn't so theoretical now, is it?

Hey, we're disciples of The Munson, so isn't physically possible for us not to be a little nervous about this game. But when Kyle and Macondawg make an extra effort to obtain tickets so they can attend this game on the Plains... you know you're gonna feel the Bulldog Bite, Tiglesmen.

Go Dawgs! Auburna Delenda Est!

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