It’s game week in Bulldog Nation, everyone! We’re getting ready to get back into the swing of things here at Dawg Sports, beginning with this morning’s edition of Dawg Bites, which opens with an attempt to get you fired up about the Georgia Bulldogs’ date with the Buffalo Bulls this Saturday. No, seriously; grab that initial cup of coffee and let me get you up to speed:
Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack was suspended for Saturday’s game following an altercation with a teammate, and that fact that has caused most Bulls fans to temper their expectations, but at least one UB fan sees an upset in the making:
Georgia has lots of holes. 4 New OL, New RB, New TE, 2 New WR, and 4 starters on the Defense are suspended. The highly over rated bulldogs do have a solid defensive line. However, UB has 4 returning starters on the OL that will give the Bulldogs over confident and arrogant startng DL all they can handle. On the offensive side of the ball Georgia is going to live and die by their star QB. UB gets to the QB, even without Mack multiple times and UGA turns the ball over 3 times and a blocked punt. UB scores 17 points on turnovers and the Offense puts up 30 points and upsets the highest ranked SEC East school 30 to 23. UB gives up 2 TD and 3FG. Georgia’s freshman kicker is 3 for 6 on the day and Georgia loses the game onmissed FG. Let the Georgia fan meltdown begin. UB 30 UGA 23.
Wait a tick; did we schedule a rematch with the Boise St. Broncos without my knowledge? We aren’t playing the Buffalo Bills, are we? Just checking. To be fair, this is just one guy in a thread full of realists, and I admire his pluck, even if I quarrel with the rest of his argument. I’m not sure upon what basis he contends our defensive linemen, uniquely among Red and Black players, are too big for their silver britches, but I’m reasonably confident that, e.g., John Theus will not be among the weak links on Georgia’s reconstituted offensive line. Also, if any Bulls fans think the Bulldogs plan “to live and die” with Aaron Murray in this game, they need to get ready to meet every running back on the Georgia depth chart, as well as (after the first or second drive of the third quarter) Christian LeMay.
Moving from this Saturday’s de facto final preseason scrimmage to the Classic City Canines’ conference opener against the Missouri Tigers one week later, it appears that Mizzou is reorienting its typical Big 12 tempo to adjust to life in the SEC, which will allow the Tigers to substitute more liberally on defense. Strategically, this may prove sound in the long run, but Missouri opens its league slate against the Athenians, whose no-huddle offense allowed them to run more plays than any other Southeastern Conference club last autumn. I question whether it will make much of a difference for the Tigers---if a team is accustomed to playing defense with minimal substitution, Mike Bobo in hurry-up mode is not apt to flummox them---but it is interesting to hear that Mizzou is switching its approach to adapt to its new league, rather than the changes coming in the opposite direction.
To the extent that the Red and Black need to rework what they’re doing to get ready for a road game in what recently was Big 12 country---a place the ‘Dawgs did not fare well on visits to Stillwater in 2009 and Boulder in 2010---how far short of excellence do they fall? Statistically, not far, according to the charts compiled over at Team Speed Kills, though with this caveat:
Aside from the big two, only Georgia and South Carolina had defenses better than average on the season. This should come as no surprise. Three of the top five offenses in both points and yards per game belonged to Alabama, Arkansas, and LSU, and Georgia (LSU) and South Carolina (Arkansas) played only one of them apiece. The other two teams in those top five rankings were UGA and Carolina themselves, so that's another one off of the list you can scratch off. Avoiding three of the top five offenses in the league will help your numbers, especially in Georgia's case where it had an extra game so to speak (against a Mississippi school no less) to keep the averages down.
While those points are valid, I believe they are overstated. It’s not the Bulldogs’ fault they didn’t play themselves, and, aside from outlying outings against the Auburn Tigers and the Vanderbilt Commodores, the Red and Black tended to be much more dominant defensively than the scoreboard suggested. Moreover, in Georgia’s two losses to SEC opposition, the point tallies put up against the Classic City Canines included numerous defensive and special teams scores by the opposition. Obviously, those points count, too, as they should, but they aren’t the fault of the defense.
I’m hesitant even to mention the NFL on the morning after Cam Newton and Tim Tebow played a rare professional football meteor game, but, as a recent commenter here graciously brought to our attention, Ben Jones is making a name for himself with the Houston Texans, both on special teams and at center. Naturally, we wish Jones well at the next level, and we are proud to see one of our own represent the Red and Black in the NFL.
Finally, for some bizarre reason, it seems that, every time I draw Dawg Bites duty around here, country singer Randy Travis gets himself into trouble. Well, here we are again. Come on, Randy. Get it together, dude.