One week from tomorrow, there will be football. It won’t be that weak preseason NFL junk, either; no, it will be actual regular-season college football, and SEC football, to boot, as the clash of the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Vanderbilt Commodores on Thursday, August 30, will kick off the campaign with an honest-to-goodness meteor game for fans of the Georgia Bulldogs. In the meantime, though, you need to get up to speed via your Wednesday morning Dawg Bites, with one of my all-time favorite music videos to set the tone:
Over at Team Speed Kills, they’re playing out every SEC game on EA Sports’ NCAA Football ’13, and the video game predicts that Georgia will boast a 5-0 conference record and a No. 1 BCS ranking after beating the Kentucky Wildcats. Of course, EA Sports hates the Bulldogs, so this is all just a massive setup for disappointment . . . or, failing that, an undefeated season, an SEC title, a BCS National Championship Game berth, and the fulfillment of the Mayan prophecy and the end of the world just prior to the Red and Black’s shot at the national crown. Either way, doom is impending.
It hasn’t exactly been an underachieving summer for Georgia swimmers and divers, but to the Bulldog pool laurels of the last couple of months may now be added Laura Ryan’s high-point finish at the AT&T National Diving Championships. The junior transfer from Bloomington to Athens cobbled together her tally by taking sixth on the platform, placing third on the three-meter springboard, and joining a Texas freshman to win the synchronized three-meter event.
Keith Marshall still is getting his practice carries ahead of fellow North Carolinian newcomer Todd Gurley, but Gurley is drawing rave reviews from his teammates, including a comparison to former Alabama Crimson Tide tailback Trent Richardson drawn by Shawn Williams. The memory of Isaiah Crowell remains too fresh in my mind for me to buy into any such hype, but at least Gurley’s response to Williams’s statement sounded the appropriate note:
Yeah I think he probably compared me to that because [I also wear] No. 3 and I have dreads like Trent Richardson. I have a long, long, long way to go to be like Trent Richardson. But I mean, just for a senior, a starting senior, one of the key players on the team to call me that, that’s big. So I just take that and keep working with it.
It’s just one statement to the media, and it won’t mean a thing on the football field, but at least it was the right answer. While we await Labor Day weekend, it is useful to ask when Bulldog Nation last had this level of enthusiasm for two freshman tailbacks in the same season. Thomas Brown and Danny Ware in 2004, perhaps? Maybe even Keith Henderson and Tim Worley in 1985?
Some Georgia fans are worried about the kicking game; I am not among them. Yes, I know Collin Barber and Marshall Morgan are the probable starters at punter and placekicker, respectively, but, after the disastrous end to last year’s bowl game, their dearth of experience could be a blessing in disguise. As Senator Blutarsky usefully reminded us yesterday, coaches should go for it on fourth down more than they do, and should adjust their play-calling accordingly. With two freshmen putting the “foot” in “football,” lingering criticism from the ultra-conservative second-half strategies that cost the ‘Dawgs a season-ending win, and some signs of the re-emergence of Evil Richt, maybe, just maybe, Mark Richt will be more inclined to follow Les Miles’s strategy against Florida from 2007 . . . which, it should be noted, also was Mark Richt’s strategy against Florida from 2011, as well as in an earlier era. This could be a special season; the Bulldogs should go for it.
Are people “SEC’d out”? Kirk Herbstreit thinks so:
Herbie: "I think people are SEC'd out. [pause; turns to Rece] Not you and me."— Tim Hyland (@IntelligentCFB) August 21, 2012
Be that as it may, newly-minted conference partisan Bill Connelly is previewing all 14 SEC teams, one at a time. Be on the lookout for the Bulldogs, but, in the interim, check out Doug Gillett’s look at the expectations for the Red and Black in 2012 . . . particularly Doug’s telling comparison between this autumn and 2003.