We all have our roles here at Dawg Sports. Kyle provides insightful analysis with a brevity that Leo Tolstoy would admire. Podunkdawg reminds us of the virtues of civility when necessary. NCT assures that we leave no participle dangling. Vineyarddawg and RedCrake, well, they sit around watching soccer, but that's cool because they're teaching Kyle and I about the beautiful game. That's why Kyle has become such a huge Aston Villa supporter by the way. Just ask him. Chuckdawg serves as cultural ambassador to the Midwest, and canine kingmaker, God bless him.
Me, I'm the guy who helps you find a reason to drink for a noonish kickoff against a MAC team coached by Lou Tepper. And it's time for me to go to work, after the jump.
You'll recall that last week the good folks from the Capital One Bowl asked me a series of questions about the Bulldogs' upcoming season. One query in particular really needed asking, frankly. That was the one about what the Georgia defense needs to improve on in 2012.
I replied, channeling the man from Hope, "It's the depth, stupid." Well, I didn't call the Cap One folks stupid, mainly because they're not, but also because it would have been incredibly impolite after they invited me to their site. Podunkdawg would have had to admonish me for that one.
But I digress. For the Bulldog defense, depth is definitely the key. I would put Todd Grantham's starting 11 up against any other starting defense in the country. It's the next 11 off the bench where things start to get a little fuzzy. Kind of like my memory of the second half of the 2011 SEC Championship Game. I vaguely recall the Dawgs' defense holding strong against LSU in the first half. By halftime, Pitbull as my witness, I was having a real good time. Then things went south, and (begins twitching, curls into fetal position) it all went dark. Then I woke up and it was Christmas Eve.
I don't expect any similar collapse on Saturday. But now is the time to begin building the reliable depth that prevents that sort of thing. We need guys like Ramik Wilson, T.J. Stripling, Devin Bowman, and Damien Swann to continue their progress. We need freshmen like Jonathan Taylor, Sheldon Dawson, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Jordan Jenkins, and James Deloach to show they can be trusted to see the field. We need veteran guys like Mike Thornton and Garrison Smith to stay healthy and engaged even of they're not starting. Because that can change at a moment's notice.
In other words, we have a lot of very talented, highly sought after football players who now need to prove things out on the field. I could have named this initial Cocktail Thursday entry after any of these guys. But perhaps no player exemplifies the Bullpup who must grow up quite like sophomore Ray Drew. The big man from Thomas County contributed at linebacker in 2011, but has now moved fulltime to defensive end after bulking up considerably in the offseason. I'm pretty amped to see him live up to his mountainous potential, and I hope this weekend is the first game of the rest of Ray Drew's career.
And when Drew and the rest of the Bulldog defense hit the field, I'll be toasting the event with a Mountain Drew. It's made by mixing 2 ounces of Jim Beam with 1 and 1/2 ounces of amaretto and a splash of lemon juice (because, and I can't say this enough, scurvy is real and you don't want it). It's potent, but has a depth of flavor that you're sure to appreciate. I'll see you tomorrow for the Friday Tailgate. Until then ...