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Hail To Thee!

Inspector G, Captain, and Jedi Drew welcome you to our blog: Hail to Thee. We are just a couple of long-time friends who are rabid fans of, first and foremost, University of Georgia Football. Next come the Atlanta Bravos and Atlanta Falcons, then sports in general follows. Partying, talking football, funny videos, yelling senselessly, chanting, and watching football/baseball are our pastimes.

For every single Georgia home game, you can find us tailgating at East Campus Village in the parking lot northeast of the Ramsey Center. We’ve got a deep hold on a quaint and shady spot that we know incites jealousy from passersby. We’d love for you to join us for a game, so print yourself some directions and listen for the jams spinning out from DJ Seoul0. Check out our Facebook page for more frequent updates and information.

Why I’m NOT Worried…

So we’ve already gone over why I am worried about the upcoming season, but let your troubled hearts be soothed. Behold!  A list to be optimistic about.

 

1) Todd Gurley and the Offensive Line

 

While we all know what Gurley is capable of, by all accounts his offseason was full of hard work, nutrition and conditioning.  And I didn’t even see him in Bourbon Street one single time (although it was an extremely small sample size).  No defense has been able to really stop him yet (some much better than the Clemson unit we will face on Saturday) despite injury.  So with, by my own analysis, a much improved O-Line, look out.  This could really be another special year for the offensive…IF they all stay healthy.

 

2) The defensive front 7.

 

I know I made a lot of hoopla about Ray Drew being on the scout team, but based on the official depth chart, he is now second team.  That’s fine.  He will get plenty of rotation and may even thrive more so than last year in Pruitt’s system and Rocker’s guidance.  Other than that, we only have the best or second best (depending on who you talk to) line-backing core in the Nation.  Zo (Lorenzo Carter) will play, but Clemson’s (or anyone else’s for that matter) can’t block both Jenkins and Floyd.  And speaking of Jenkins, here is another case of an offseason spent improving mind, body and soul.  He’s in the best shape since he has been here and has been an absolute wrecking ball in practice this summer.

 

3) Marshall Morgan

 

Arguably the best kicker in the SEC, the Junior won us a couple last year and the importance of a clutch kicker (which he seems to have become) is never really appreciate until you do not have one.  I am glad we HAVE him and feel more comfortable seeing him booting the long ones this year.  Now, about kickcing those kickoffs into the end zone….

 

4) Defensive Coaching Staff

 

Pruitt is an obvious one here, but the staff he has assembled (especially Rocker and Ekeler) are not only great coaches in their own right, but are focused on teaching the position to the guys CORRECTLY.  I agree, schematically wise Pruitt is no Grantham, but how good is a scheme if the players you send out to execute it have no idea what is going on?  Pruitt may impress us down the road with his scheme, but as long as we line up and play fundamental defense in the secondary more than half of the time, our defense should at least have more forced turnovers and an improved 3rd down conversion percentage.  In my opinion though, Rocker was the pickup of the year.

 

5)  Cancer departures

 

We’ve all heard it before…and even though the majority of the defensive departures (Wiggins, Harvey-Clemons, Trigga Tray) were great Athletes, they obviously appreciated themselves more than the program itself.  These guys apparently led their own separate lives on a path that had themselves first and the team last….and that’s fine.  Good luck to them.  I like who we have now and I think they (as in the secondary) will pay dividends this season.

 

6) Regression to the mean

 

Ok stats freaks, get with the program.  With as many injuries we had last year and the bad luck (let’s face it, we had our share) the tables should turn for us in those regards.  Not that we won’t have injuries (which we’ve already seen them end the career of Merrit Hall), but not as many season-ending calamities.  And it is OUR turn for some good luck.  Bama, Auburn, LSU…all have had their good-luck moments, but we haven’t.  Hopefully it is time that changes.

 

7) Hutson Mason

 

I think he is going to be a good QB for us with a lot of upside.  There is no pressure for him other than to perform and his offseason work with some of the best in the QB business (including Bobo) is very encouraging. He’s ready to suit it up and get it done.

 

What are your reasons to be optimistic?

 

4 days.

 

-Inspector G

2014 Time Capsule

I’ve done this every year and I try to go back see how well I did the previous year and then make 5 more predictions for the upcoming season.

2013:

1) Alabama will NOT repeat as National Champs.

Correct!

2) Johnny Manziel will NOT repeat as the Heisman winner.

Correct!

3) Speaking of The Heisman, UGA will have a member of its offense present in New York this December and his name will be Aaron Murray.

Incorrect.  Had we been a better team and Murray would’ve thrown a few more touchdowns, this would’ve been correct.
4) UGA will beat Sakerlina this year.

Correct!

 

5) USC (Trojans) will not make a bowl game.

Incorrect.
6) Georgia Tech will begin the addition by subtraction initiative to replace Johnson.

I’m going to give myself a ‘Correct!’ here even though he is not fired yet, he certainly is on the hot seat and his players are nearly mutinous.
7) This year will either be the start of 2 paths for the NCAA: (1) They become more strict, more consistent in both rule creation and enforcement, and begin to earn the trust of the institutions it supposedly serves  - OR –  (2) They continue on the “Snow ball Fast lane Down-Hill To The Hell Express Pass Exit Ramp” of incredulous favoritism, a rules and enforcement division that should more aptly be called ‘The Keystone Cops’ and whose  massive leadership deficiencies dwarfs every other organization of its type save our own Federal Government and the Conferences decide to begin the processes of secession from the NCAA.

Correct!

 

So for 2014, here they are:

1) UGA’s Defense will be much improved from last season and will fall into the upper 3rd of SEC defensive rankings

Now that Pruitt has them knowing where and how to line up, being more consistent in the Secondary is almost a guarantee.  With sack monsters like Floyd, Jenkins and new comer Lorenzo Carter, sacks, pressures and turn overs will occur more frequently.

 

2) Auburn does not repeat the ‘Rabbit’s Foot’ from 2013

This is kind of a no-brainer but their schedule is BRUTAL and I’m not even sure they’re going to beat Kansas State in the opener.  I put their win ceiling at 8.

 

3) No matter what happens, Bama will find themselves in the 4 team playoff, even if they do not play in the SEC Championship

We’ve all known for a while, but with the media darlings that they are coupled with rankings and computer models now out of the equation, it would take a 4 loss Bama team to miss the playoffs (and no, I’m not kidding) and I just don’t see 4 losses on their schedule.

 

4) Paul Johnson out at Tech by the end of the year.

Thus ends the reign of the Genius and the chances that UGA has complete dominance over them as we have seen the past decade.

 

5) You will see a boat-load more targeting calls this year

Not to fret, at least they can overturn the ejection AND the yardage this year.

 

6) Oklahoma will be in the MNC

I feel that Oklahoma is in the driver’s seat not only in the Big 12, but in the playoff hunt as well.  This is a pretty good team in a terrible conference that with a Texas still of a little rut (although I think Strong will quickly have them out of it) makes it that much easier to manage.   However, if anyone likes annual face-plants more than Mark Richt, it would be Bob Stoops.

 

7) 2 SEC teams will be in the playoffs

How, you say?  Well a one or 2 loss UGA would’ve been chosen in 2007 and in 2012 based on the ‘metrics’ the committee is supposedly using for selection.  So, whomever wins the SEC Championship (as long as they are a one loss or better) and then perhaps another highly ranked SEC team that may not have made it to the Championship (say a 3 loss Bama or a 2 loss UGA) when other key teams lose late in the season (which typically happens) – or – a 2012 situation where a 2 plays a 3 and the 3 narrowly loses.

Count it.

 

-Inspector G

 

 

Why I’m Worried

It has been said that a pessimist is Larry Munson on a good day…. Well, call me Larry’s grumpy Uncle, because at this point in the pre-season UGA has not settled on a secondary rotation.

That’s pretty big news and is one that, for a second season in a row, is causing me the most worry.

If I had to list what I’m most worried about, it would look like this (In order of importance):

1.) We are installing the Clemson game plan and we have not settled on a secondary rotation.
- We apparently have ‘ a lot’ of talent and they look like they will know where to line up (at least), but besides Damian Swann there is not true starter that Pruitt is super excited about. Now this possibly could be that we have so many that have turned the corner, but that’s Happy Talk.

2.) Is the ‘Special’ out of Special Teams?
When I hear the word ‘special’ (unless I’m at a restaurant) I take it meaning that something is inferior. And inferior and incompetent has been the MO for UGA’s Special Teams for the last 3 years. Will it change? I hope so. It cost us 2 games last year. Maybe it can win us 2 this season.

3.) Ray Drew is on the Scout Team
Obviously something happened here. No one wants to talk about it and no one is saying anything other than the, “Well, everything is fine. He’s working hard and improving.” talk, but that’s a load of junk. Either Drew came in and was a little too big for his britches and him and Pruitt and/or Rocker got into it – or – he came into camp out of shape and has not been doing what he was supposed to (which given Drew’s nature seems
the most unlikely) – or – he is one of the kids who supported Grantham and likes Grantham, but did not have an option to transfer with him. This is just the most recent case in a line of mistakes that this program has made with 4 and 5 star kids SEE: Marlon Brown, Richard Samuel. This to me is the second biggest story line of the off-season. How does a starter with 6 sacks (second on the team) and 43 tackles get relegated to the Scout Team? I for one am pissed about this move and feel like this will be another good and obviously talented kid that the coaching staff (and his 4…count them 4 position coaches in 4 years) has royally screwed.

4.) Which game will be Richt’s annual face-plant?
Will it be South Carolina like 2 years ago? Will it be against an underwhelming Mizzou? What about Florida? It happens every year and if somehow we can avoid it this year, we could be in great shape in November. But the key word there: ‘avoid’ and Richt has avoided his annual face-plant like narcissists avoid Facebook.

More to come later.

-Inspector G

Keyes To The Game: Purple Tiger Edition

‘Keyes’ To The Game: The Purple Tiger Edition

What’s not to love about Alan “Tha Spin Doctor” Keyes?  Answer: Not a thang, baby!

Down to business…

The Purple Tigers and the Dawgs, a top ten match-up and the premier billing for the opening weekend of the 2013 College Football Season.  Way-oooo!

Let’s get it broke down, broke up, broketed and see where we are….

 

Here is my breakdown comparing Apples to Apples (Or Units to Units, if you will):

 

Offense

UGA

Clemson

X

OL

X

Running Back

X

Wide Receivers

NA

Fullbacks

NA

X

Tight Ends

Quarterback

Advantage

Push

Coaching

Push

Defense

UGA

Clemson

X

Front 4 (or 3)

X

ILB

X

OLB

X

Corners

Push

Safeties

Push

X

Coaching

 

 

As you can see, UGA (when compared directly to Clemson) Has the advantage in almost every category.  I do not see Clemson having any advantage if you look at the two teams on paper other than QB.  And I know a lot of you are like, “What in the hell are you thinking?” and my response to that is that Murray has yet to come into a huge game, take over, and rest in the 4th Quarter while we have a 3 score lead.  I’m not saying that Taj has actually done that, but Taj is a better runner.

 

 

Now I’ll break down the Offense to Defense Comparison:

UGA Offense vs. Clemson’s Defense:

OL vs Front 4
Georgia’s offensive line is more experienced, bigger, stronger, and more cohesive than last year.  Clemson’s front 4 are supposedly improved, but I doubt that they are anything better than a mediocre SEC front 4.  Not that Clemson has a bad line, but no world-beaters there.  UGA’s OL should be able to take over the game, if not, it could be a long night for Murray and co.

Advantage UGA.

 

Receivers vs Secondary
This most likely is the largest disparity in the game.  Clemson’s secondary is pretty awful.  UGA’s receiving core is one of the deepest and best in the nation.  Getting open should not come hard to ANY of the UGA receivers nor will be cashing in on the talent gap.  Sammy Watkins, take note of Maclome Mitchell.

Advantage: UGA

Running Backs vs ILB and OLB
Hell, I could say UGA’s running backs vs the entire defense.  We all know the drill here.  I see us passing to get ahead and then the backs to stay ahead with some timely long runs and a couple of TD’s to seal it late.

Advantage: UGA (huge advantage)

 

Tight Ends vs LB’s
Lynch and Rome.  Enough said.  SEC linebackers could not cover them last year.  Why would this be any different?

Advantage: UGA

 

Fullbacks vs LB’s
Quayvon Hicks, please introduce yourself.  I doubt Clemson will send you a Thank You note.

Advantage: UGA

 

Quarterback vs. Secondary/Defense
Murray should be able (if the line holds up) to carve up this defense.  I do not see any reason (other than an OL meltdown or poor play calling) why we can’t score a good amount and take complete control of the offensive game.  If we don’t , some heads should roll on the OL.  Murray should have a really nice game unless he goes out too amped (like he has in the past) and super freak himself into a pick bonanza.  Turnovers on the offensive side of the ball for UGA could almost be guaranteed to spell disaster in this game.

Advantage: UGA

 

Coaches
Bobo vs. Brent Venables.   Brent is a good Coach, don’t get me wrong, but the talent he is working with could barely field Ole Miss’s unit (maybe it couldn’t).  Even if  Bobo doesn’t have his best night, UGA still should put up some points.  Clemson’s defense is tailor made for Bobo’s balanced attack.

Advantage: UGA

 

Clemson Offense vs. UGA Defense

OL vs Front 4
Clemson’s OL is pretty good they say.  They may be for an ACC powerhouse, but compared to what Tennessee and Alabama has had in the past 2 years, they are awful.  UGA’s front 4 (or 3) are really good, even if they haven’t played a ton of snaps.  Garrison Smith is solid (maybe even a little underrated) and I expect him to control the edges.  I also can see Mike Thornton and Ray Drew each making good contributions and getting a ton of penetration, even a sack or 2.

Advantage UGA.

 

Receivers vs Secondary
This will be one of the biggest stories of the game.  How will UGA’s secondary match-up with Clemson’s receivers.  Truth is, no one knows.  On one hand, UGA’s corners and safeties are IMMENSELY talented.  But besides Swann, IMMENSELY inexperienced.  The game will tell all about UGA’s freshman and the preparation they went through.  Until I see any sort of consistency with covering them, I am not giving them the vote of confidence.  Even if the secondary plays basically lights out, I still see a few blown coverage big yardage plays.

Advantage: Clemson

Running Backs vs ILB and OLB
Clemson’s RB’s are (for the most part) unproven and without a true identity now that both Spiller and Ellington are gone.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t talented.  However, Herrara is experienced and Jenkins and Floyd are apparently freaks of nature.  With the DL getting penetration, I see them flying around to the ball.  However, the second biggest story of the night is if they can contain Boyd.  If they can, this should be a huge win for the Dawgs.  If not, it could spell disaster.

Advantage: Push (only because of Boyd’s running ability)

 

Tight Ends vs LB’s
Clemson’s tight ends are a work in progress.  That doesn’t mean UGA can sleep on them, though.  I just don’t see them anywhere close to UGA’s level of TE play and that is what the defense is currently used to.

Advantage: UGA

 

Fullbacks vs LB’s
N/A (either that or I don’t know much about Clemson’s FB enough to even call this one)

 

Quarterback vs. Secondary/Defense
Taj Boyd is big, fast and tougher than a Waffle House steak.  He is not a super accurate passer, yet has great arm strength.  He is one of those “carry the team on my back” and “we’re never completely out of the ball game while he’s in” type of players.  I’m not sure how rattled Boyd can become regardless of how many sacks he takes (SEE Chic-fi-la Bowl against LSU last year) and he definitely is the difference maker for Clemson.  Let me put it this way: Without Taj Boyd, this game  wouldn’t even be close.  UGA would win by 30 points.  Again, there is no way of knowing how UGA’s secondary and defense holds up against Boyd.  They definitely have the talent, but the inexperience factor is looming large a big plays for Boyd and co are damn near inevitable.  However, according to all reports, this defense is built for takeaways.  Grantham finally has an entire team he hand picked and recruited for what he wants and he says he likes what he sees.

Advantage: Clemson

 

Coaches
Grantham vs. Chad Morris.   Chad Morris is the highest paid assistant coach in the country.  His offenses are as dynamic as they are efficient.  He runs the fast paced spread; something UGA has definitely had experience with.  Grantham will definitely get all he can stand yelling at all of his new players out of position; in fact I see Grantham inventing a few new obscenities.  This is a tough call.

Advantage: Push

 

CLEMSON WINS IF:
UGA has a massive OL cranial rectum inversion.  I concede that Clemson will score a lot of points, but if the OL for UGA cannot protect Murray or consistently open holes for Gurley and Marshall, UGA will find themselves in a hole they probably can’t come back from.  Clemson’s offense will have to be turnover free and make sure to take advantage of the youth of the defense.

UGA WINS IF:
They step on the gas early through the air and find themselves a 1.5-2 touchdown lead.  If that happens, then crank up the stable and play ball control.  Taj Boyd cannot score if Clemson’s offense is not on the field.  And if Gurley and Marshall pound the rock to a few more scores, Clemson will be in catch-up mode and will find themselves with the clock tick-tocking away.

Go Dawgs!

-Inspector G

Conditioning Problem?

Not that I am looking ahead (and I hope that the team isn’t either), but was it just me or did everyone else notice how winded completely exhausted Clowney seemed to be ALL game long?  It was oddly fascinating and what’s more is the Pollack was saying how he was in the best shape of his career?  He is nowhere near game shape and I do not think he’ll get there in a week.  Let’s hope.

Also, it looks like Nkemdiche is being handled pretty solidly right now by Vandy’s OL.  Just an observation.

It’s nice to see some reality hit instead of pundits sunshine pumping these cats all day and night.

-Inspector G

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