The Dawg Post Mail Bag

ATHENS - Another installment of Fletcher Page's news, notes and various rambling. You ask the questions...Page provides the "insight."

Yeah I picked Georgia to win this weekend. Call it a homer pick. Call it a naïve pick. Call it what you will. But I think Aaron Murray was sent to Athens for this moment. A Florida born and bred football prodigy spurns the home state powerhouse for the current step-brother in a most-what dormant rivalry. Call me crazy, but I'm a fan of epic storylines, and Murray leading Georgia to a three-of-four stretch over the Gators would be the most epic. That stretch must start this weekend for my prophecy to come to fruition. But I can't control that. I can only control the Mail Bag, as unruly as it is.

With that said, let's get it poppin'.

theburnem emails: What will UGA need to do next year with the Wr position lacking A.J. green? We have pleanty of talent at the spot however I fear that not having someone of AJs caliber that force defenses to double cover will allow them to cheat us by stacking the box, and which could have our running game lacking. My personal thought is that some of the freshman speed we have coming in will need to be utlized right away in creative ways.

I'm tempted to say block. They'll be blocking quite often. But, this is a question I think about quite often from time-to-time. There doesn't appear to be a headlining receiver on this team returning for next season. But, Kris Durham went from complimentary to headline status in A.J.'s absence early this year.

That's the only thing I can provide here: Somebody must step up. Of the current crop, I say Tavarres King will be that guy. I think he, Rantavious Wooten and Marlon Brown should make a good threesome out there next year. But that's on paper. Football isn't played on paper, not past fourth grade lunch anyway. Yeah I played paper football. Get over it.

King has been a good deep threat and has made plays on screens, too. But is he ready to do the things A.J. can do? Definitely not. But who the hell is?

Hey, the running game has not been the same since Knowshon left. Florida's offense looks like filthy smut without Tim Tebow. Georgia Tech's passing attack has been lacking since Reggie Ball left. OK, I was kidding about the last one. But, these things happen. It's hard to replace the Greens and Morenos and Tebows.

But I think Georgia has the right safety net built in. Aaron Murray will deal with any targets he's got. I believe in Aaron's ability to make others look better. There are different types of receivers coming back, in terms of variety of playmaking ability and skill set. There is a wealth of tight end talent (that may or may not be used) and there will be a good stable of running back (with or without Isaiah Crowell. But that would help, too). And the line should be fine.

But you guys better enjoy and relish A.J. for the time being. I can still remember Matt Stafford and Moreno out there. Those were the days. Right now with A.J., these are the days that will turn into "those" days when it comes to receivers. It's just the way college football is.

hpdog asks: What is the status on our non-playing O Linemen ? Specifically, what's going on with Dallas Lee, Kolton Houston, Brent Benedict, and Austin Long ? Are they practicing ? I think Burnette is hurt ? I know we are red-shirting Long and Benedict, but are they healthy and practicing ? How do they look ? Thanks

Well, I've seen Kolten Houston work out. That was back in May, but I think he has the chance to be pretty good. I'm not as high on Dallas Lee, but Mark Richt and Mike Bobo have mentioned his name a couple times this season as having a much improved effort and production in practice. I'm still not sure if Lee will produce, but he has come a long way.

Austin Long has been practicing. The plan all along was to take another full year and get stronger and completely back where he needs to be. I think he can be a good one.

Chris Burnette has struggled with injuries all year. He suffered a concussion and a knee injury, so he's had a tough go of it. If he was 100 percent, I think he would have been the primary backup at center. But playing behind Ben Jones would be like backing up Brett Favre (outside of Ben's first-half Colorado suspension). I doubt Ben knows Jen Sterger though.

Brent Benedict has been running and conditioning with the team. But I'm pretty sure he hasn't come close to full contact yet.

As for exactly how they look? I'm not much good use here. I don't get to see much of practice, but what I do see, there isn't much to read into when it comes to the line. I may beat the bushes for info on this subject next week, but finding out about injuries and players not playing isn't easy.

And why didn't you ask about Ben Harden? I'm ashamed.

thedogfather asks: Will Stegeman be ready by next Thursday (the exhibition game)?

It will be ready to play in by next Thursday. But there will be some minor details to finish up on the inside of the building. The contractor is set to be out by late November. From what I've seen, the Coliseum looks great. I was kind of against the renovation, because I thought a new building was the best thing to do long-term. That's probably still the case. I used the analogy that renovating the Stege was like taking a shower and then putting on the same pair of worn underwear afterwards. But I may have been a little harsh in dealing with the situation.

At least now I can't call the place the, "Stegosaurus," which by the way, was one of my least favorite dinosaurs growing up.

If not, where do you think we should play? Clarke Central? Augusta?

If it had to be played elsewhere, I say play it outdoors in Sanford. That would never happen, but I think that would take the cake. Clearly the game would be played at Prince Avenue High School.

TNLogDog asks: Will WE wear an eye shield on his face mask this year?

Possibly, but Florida's defenders would have to cover their ears, too. I've heard Washaun was using foul language last year. Gasp!

albdawg asks: Why has UF received a BYE week like 15 of last 18 years before the game formerly known as "Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"? Gator grad been making SEC schedules?

I'm with you alb, the scheduling for this game is slightly ridiculous. Either both teams should play the week before, or both teams should get a bye. It's that simple. I understand this is not exactly possible each year because the conference is bigger than any one rivalry game, but it shouldn't be that hard.

You throw in Penn Wagers with a Florida bye week and you can forget winning any bets you made on the Bulldogs. Actually, I bet Wagers makes the schedule. That's what I'm going with.

willbeezy asks: Do you think Rambo's injury to his head last year has made him a step slower reacting to the ball or is he just trying to find his way?

I think you're on to something, Beezy. I say that because Richt has mentioned Rambo's injury and the possible ramifications numerous times this year. And you know, I could see Rambo getting gun shy after a hit like that. I bet for a few tense moments that night he may have wondered if he was going to be able to walk again.

Rambo has taken a ton of heat this season. But I'm calling nonsense on some of the hate aimed toward him. Here's why:

"Sometimes being too aggressive at safety will get you in trouble. You know what I mean? At linebacker I'll be able to play like I want to play. Coaches say go to the ball and there is room for error, too. Even if I do mess up you really can't see it because there is somebody behind me to help me."

That's a quote from Nick Wllliams, who just moved from safety to linebacker. So, any time there is a mistake made, by a corner or linebacker or anywhere, the safety is the catch net. So every time you've seen Rambo giving chase on deep passes, that doesn't mean he was the one who slipped up. Now, there have been times when he did mess up (La-Laf, Tenn). But I'm just saying, just because No. 18 is the man on the television screen giving chase, don't always blame him. And at other positions, like Williams said, there is room for error. At Rambo's, there is none. Linebacker's mistakes turn into first downs. Safeties' mistakes turn into touchdowns. Keeping this going, lawyer's mistakes end up in jail. Doctor's mistakes end up six feet under. My mistakes end up in Dean Legge's inbox. Email away, haters.

nat8dog asks: What is CTG going/trying to do to fix our horrible 3rd down percentage? Also I still love our defense.

He wants a more effective pass rush on third down, and he wants his secondary to make the plays they should. I know the conversions are frustrating, but there were several times last Saturday where a ball was just out-of-reach of a Georgia defender. There were at least three times a completed pass could have been intercepted. I need some help. I need a special guest to come in this Mail Bag and give the business. Ladies and gentlemen, Brandon Boykin. Help us out Brandon, what was the problem?

"They weren't doing anything that we didn't study for. We just didn't make the plays when we were supposed to. A lot of times we were manned up and just didn't make the plays, point-on-point. That's what happened. Like I said, we gave up big plays but we have to put it behind us."

Thanks Brandon.

Think about what Bam says here…"they weren't doing anything that we didn't study for." That's not coach-speak, that' Grantham and Lakatos putting the secondary where they need to be. Currently, the corners and safeties have been just a tick off. But we're only eight games into this new deal. They know where they need to be. Now they just have to get there. Is this an optimistic view? Of course. But I think it's a realistic one, too.

SuwaneeDawg03 says: We are here to fulfill your craving (for Mail Bag questions)

Thanks so much. This effort would not be possible without your help. Your questions is the music I sample to make my beats.

1. I have asked this before and I hate that I have to ask again, WHY is Cuff still playing so much? Grantham made a good decision to get Hamilton out when he was getting burned play after play so now it is time for Cuff. I hope Smith returning will improve our DB play.

Well, Shawn Williams insertion into the starting lineup proves that Grantham doesn't cater to current starters and all that blah, blah, blah. But Vance Cuff is a player they've trusted out there. He hasn't played particularly well, but the secondary in the general hasn't. I think Sanders Commings is another example of a player being rewarded for production in practices and with opportunities in games.

But if they pull Vance Cuff now, who is going to take those reps? Jordan Love? Branden Smith coming back into the lineup after a concussion? Maybe those two can ease in, but I don't think the Florida game is the best time to conduct that experiment.

By the way, great job on the Post game thoughts Fletch.

Thanks…rumor around upper management in the Dawg Post newsroom is I may be in the running for more "Thoughts" action in the future. I think they want to see more complements on the message board with my name in the subject line before they commit to anything long-term. Just saying….

Moultriedog asks: What do you think O. Charles would look like at RB? I think he might be a stud in short yardage.

I'm not so sure about Orson at running back. He is an athletic freak though. I'd take Brandon Boykin at tailback in this fantasyland, as was suggested in the Mail Bag a couple of weeks ago. But as far as short-yardage plays go, I'll stick with Shaun Chapas.

UGAGirl9 asks: Have you considered growing a beard to challenge the players to keep winning the turnover ratio?

Georgia could win the turnover battle the next three years that Murray is at the helm and my beard still wouldn't be legitimate. I can only do so much. Sadly, growing a beard is not one of my specialties.

dunkaroos8 asks: Should we see more plating time for Alec Ogletree? I had bad connection on my labtop watching the kentcuky game but I remember seeing alot of him in there. Personally, I think he should play every down against Auburn and just let him spy on Cam Netwon all night. I think if Alec plays alot this Saturday it will be very hard for the gators to establish the run.

I think we are already seeing more playing time for Alec. He's gone from not playing at all, to getting one series, to playing multiple series. And he even has an offensive package where he can come in and block and knock heads off.

I agree, ‘Tree is a killer. But I think he is a year away from being a seriel killer. Yes, I just compared his abilities to mass murder. But successful seriel killers are smart. They are calculated. They plan. They are meticulous. The good ones stick around and make kills for years. The bad ones jump on the first chance they see, get burned, and end up in jail. What I'm saying is, ‘Tree is still raw. There is more to this than just killing. There are finer details that must be honed, or a killer will be exposed by the forensics. ‘Tree is learning and he still has a tendency to act on his aggression and get burned. That's in practice, by the way.

But it won't be long before he could be on the Mt. Rushmore of seriel killers, right next to Greg Blue, Thomas Davis and the Zodiac Killer.

OK, in hindsight maybe the allusion to ‘Tree as a seriel killer was slightly in the wrong. But I typed it, so I'm leaving it. And for everybody's sake, I made no reference to any lines from Silence of the Lambs. But know that I considered it. Strongly.

tdperk asks: Why has CMR and CMB not came up with a package of plays to get Ealey and King on the field at the same time? Are they really so stuck on a pro style offense that they can't diversify the offense in the slightest?

Good thought. But when you put two running backs out there at once that means somebody else has to come off the field. Should that be a tight end? Or Shaun Chapas? I could see them in place of a wideout. Look, these things are toyed around with all the time by the coaches. The offseason is rigorous, but there is a lot of downtime. And I'm sure Bobo or Richt or McClendon have thought about these possibilities together because that's what coaches do. They've probably even done something like this in practice before. But the answer is simple. If you don't see the formation in a game, it's because the coaches are not confident it will work. In these packages, there has to be an element of trickery or surprise or elite execution. Not seeing it on Saturday means these requirements have not been met.

huntindawg asks: Are we still doing the ones vs ones(hard hitting)on Tuesday or whatever day?

I don't think so. If they are, it's only for about 25 or 30 minutes.

Patches33 asks: How do you see the carries being split between the RBs? All have done well at times.

This running back situation has been all over the map. Suspended licenses and injuries have taken its toll. Now Washaun's knee is the current unknown thrown into this melting pot of "what-the-hell?". I can't answer this question. I have no earthly idea. Just when one seems to get the momentum, something rears it's ugly head to snap the flow. Patches, let's both take a guess. Here's mine:

If Georgia has 65 plays Saturday…and Aaron Murray throws 22 times…and Carlton Thomas and the fullbacks combine for five carries…then we have 28 carries to split up. I say Ealey gets 16, King gets 12. But I feel about as confident as Dean making picks on the roundtable here.

How solid are the commitments? Maybe a better question would be who, if anyone, should UGA worry about losing?

Honestly, I have not heard a single grumble about a de-commitment. That's all I have to say about that.

With basketball around the corner who are some sleepers we should keep an eye on? We know about the big names give us someone not as well known. thanks a lot.

I may stick with the Forrest Gump line here, too. The first time I'd ever heard of John Florveus was when I saw him standing on the sideline at the Vandy game with Mark Fox. I read his nametag and was immediately humbled. I'm stretched thin as it is anyway, but I like to think I know a little something about who Georgia is pursuing. But I'd never heard of this skinny giant before. And then two days later I was scrambling to get his college coaches number to call about John's commitment. So…I'm sure there are some names that will crop up soon. But I don't know what to tell you here. If Georgia can pull Dai-Jon Parker or Devin Langford, they won't have room for any sleepers on the wing. There is a chance another post player will come out of nowhere though.

trooperdawg980 asks: Is Jarvis Jones practicing full contact at this point and do you forsee him being the stud that everyone envisioned when he is finally able to hit the field next year? Knowing that he's there makes me rest a little easier with the fact we're losing Dent.

Jarvis is still in a green non-contact jersey at practice. And he's been going with the outside linebackers all season, but that may be just for depth concerns. But then again, that doesn't make too much sense on the side of Jarvis' improvement for next season.

Listen, I've subscribed to the Jarvis Jones Effect. It's a phenomenon sweeping through not just the football program, but the athletic program, too.

We all know about his influence on the recruitment of Carver stud-hoss Isaiah Crowell. Obviously, Jones went to Carver, so that took about 1 percent of the Jarvis Jones Effect's capabilities. But I also noticed Jones talking and laughing and carrying on with Mark Fox and John Florveus before the Vanderbilt game.

Now just what in the hell is going on here? I know exactly what it is. It's the Jarvis Jones Effect. He's a personable dude. He is always smiling and seems fun to be around. I am a firm believer in the JJE. I want to have t-shirts made with Jarvis' face on them and the phrase "Bling, Bling, JJE."

As far as on-the-field, which seems less important knowing his social and recruiting influence, I think Jarvis can be really good. Whether that means at outside or inside linebacker, I think Jones will contribute next season.

jca239 asks: As fans, most feel UGA has a mental block when playing UF (just cannot beat those guys). What about the players this year? After being so far down and to come back like they have, are they believers (not just by their words, but by their guts)?

That's tough to say. Business has been pretty much the same around Butts-Mehre this week. I think that's a good sign. I wish I could answer this question for you right after pre-game warmups. Last season, I knew Georgia was beat about 50 minutes before the game. You could just see it in the Bulldogs eyes…and maybe to an even greater degree, you could see it in Florida's eyes. Or just Tebow's.

But Grantham doesn't appear rattled by this. Neither does Aaron Murray. Those two are 0-0 against the Gators, so the past doesn't apply to them as much. We'll see.

gcsdawg asks: If UGA is fortunate to be up 41 to 10 on UF does Richt take his foot off the gas like he has the previous three games or does he continue to beat the turds to death?

After the past two games in this series one would hope Richt would throttle up in that kind of scenario. But that kind of behavior isn't really his MO. But then again, neither was a team-wide, on-the-field celebration either before 2007.

If you want the Richt-er Scale to run the score up, here's what you have to hope for: That Florida can't stop the run. If Georgia gets up, obviously, they'll run the ball. So if the score is to be run up, it will probably literally have to be run up.

Do you feel like easing up on teams once we score 40 or have a two touch down lead has an impact on being able to score in crucial situations i.e Arkansas, Colorado

I don't believe in easing up…but I do believe in playing smart. I guess one could argue Richt and Mike Bobo let up in the playcalling against Kentucky. But once you get up 28-3, the goal should be to limit time and possessions. And to also convert the remaining possessions you have. That's what Georgia did. The Bulldogs ran the football and ran it successfully. Now, the defense struggled a bit. So I don't think the gas pedal wasn't pushed. I don't see the two relating to each other. But that's just me.

jtanner7 asks: Do you think Boise State and TCU are truly overrated. From now on, should they have a good team from the SEC or Big 12 on their schedule?

I don't think they're overrated. I also don't think they belong in the national title game if there are undefeated teams from major conferences still out there. Speaking about Boise, it has done everything it can. They've beaten the only out-of-conference teams dumb enough to schedule them. The Broncos have made a mockery of the conference schedule for years. Boise's location makes it impossible to get into a major conference. There is no money to be made up there. There is no enticing television market. In a perfect world, they'd morph into the Pac-10 or 12 or whatever that conference is becoming and we'd really find out what would happen with a real conference slate. But there is no money in Idaho for the Pac-whatever. So Boise is stuck. The Broncos are like that unshakably hot, but unpopular girl at prom. Sure they can get a ride home with a few attractive suitors, but they'll never get the star quarterback because he'd have too much to lose in the long run.

TCU is probably overrated. But I only say that because Boise beat them down last year in the Fiesta Bowl and they haven't won as long as the Broncos. So that makes them the moderately hot, yet unpopular girl at prom with late bloomer potential written all over her.

Who would you start this weekend, or give more carries to at running back? Ealey, or King; And Why?

I'm going to go with Carlton Thomas or Fred Munzenmaier. Kidding. If Ealey is even 90 percent, I'd say start him. I think he's earned it through his play, and also through the way he has carried himself. If you think about it, Washaun has been through quite a bit this season, all of it pretty much brought on by his own self. But he's managed to get out of his own way. He's stayed upbeat and positive through it all. I think the kid is resilient.

Now Caleb is going to be fresh. Where the line of fresh and having rust meets, I don't know. I still think Caleb is the better back, but if he can't ever stay on the field, he'll never prove me right.

I still don't understand why Bobo hasn't used the tight ends as much as last year. Pretty sure Charles' stats were for over 200 or 300 yards and 3/4 TD's. He doesn't even have one this year right? Is it because we truly have that many weapons on offence this year and Murray actually throws to more than just 2 wide recievers (Ex. J Cox)!?

I had pegged these tight ends to do some great things this season. Most of us did. I thought Murray would need them. The truth is, when the running game is flowing and A.J. is out there, there just doesn't seem to be enough balls to go around for the tight ends to make an impact. It's not like Bobo is saying, "Don't throw it to the tight ends." Remember, the tight ends run routes on most of the passing downs, too. It's just that Aaron is finding A.J. and the receivers. I still think there is a huge game out there floating around for a tight end to reach up and grab. I still think there is a chance.

Do you think Meyer was able to fix his team's offensive woes during the bye week? Will Georgia's Defense be able to stop their spread offense? I think so, but as we all know we do have a tendency to make some teams look really good at times!

I don't think the Urbster will have fixed all his woes. There is just too much going wrong and not enough going right for that to happen. Now, there is a good chance Georgia will see something unexpected, in terms of a different formation or personnel. Does that mean the woes have been fixed? No. That's just masking the problem for a short-term dividend. Remember in 2005 when Florida scored two quick touchdowns. What happened after those scores? Nothing. Georgia adjusted the Gators' offense right out the door. But it was too late. If you're a Georgia fan, and clearly you are, you have to hope Grantham can make those adjustments before Florida can capitalize. What do you think about this Todd?

"I mean, you know, we're going to go in with our game plan, and I'm sure that there will be some tweaks that they'll do. But at the same time, you're going to have a concept, a philosophy, and here's what we're going to do. We'll just have to be ready to utilize our concepts and play fast and if we need to make adjustments we'll do it on the sideline."

That's right, Todd was just in the Mail Bag. And apparently in the Mail Bag we're on a first name basis. Two drink minimum. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

mcoxdawg asks: Fletcher..SO I've been a Dawg fan ever since my dad sat me on his knee at age 7 and we watched Herschel bust move after move. Problem is..this caused me to grow up "jaded" when it comes to UGA Football as it was under Vince Dooley. Now looking at today's Dawgs I have to ask myself(and you as well..) Can UGA really be considered one of the top football schools in the FBS? Yes we have flirted with success, but have just as much toiled and struggled. So my real question is.."Will we ever reach that stage where UGA is spoken in the same breath as Fla., USC(real), and let's say Oklahoma?" Because from where I sit,...well....I still "sit"

This is a great question. And a loaded question. For that, I'll go ahead and give you "Question of the Week" status. Your 1980 Herschel Walker jersey is in the mail. It's autographed by the Goal Line Stalker, with the message, "I'm glad you remember, because I don't. Thanks, Herschel."

Anyway…I think Georgia was close to what you are describing in the first half of Richt's tenure. Those years were magical and golden. There is no way around it. So yes, I think Georgia really can be considered on of the top schools in the FBS because for about seven years they were.

But schools have down years. Florida did in 2007. Michigan has dipped. Notre Dame has dipped. Auburn dipped. Southern Cal is dipping. Tennessee is beyond dipping. But what do those schools have in common? They have national titles to fall back on. That's the only difference. They got theirs. Richt missed his chance because of losses to Florida in both 2002 and 2005. And again in 2007 with a loss to South Carolina. That's hard to swallow.

But think about where the program was after 2008. Fans were pissed after a 10-3 finish. I'd say that means the program was in a damn good spot. Since then, things have been shaky. But if Richt rights the ship, and has three seasons with 10 wins, Georgia will be right back in the Top 10 annually, and right back in the national discussion. What HAS to happen for your wish to come true is a national title. There is no way around that fact. That's what is keeping the Bulldogs from entering the top tier. They can only be one tier below elite until they win a national title. That will remain the ceiling for this program until Georgia breaks through.

And at LAST CALL…moose1517 emails: Fletcher, what level of intoxication is socially acceptable at the Cocktail Party?

Moose, you seem to have a tendency for asking alcohol-related questions. I like that about you.

I think there are only a few chances a year to take all the limitations off the intoxication meter.

1. Any time a close friend gets married. And I mean, any day within six months leading up to the wedding is acceptable, but especially those last two or three weeks. 2. Any camping trip. 3. Any NASCAR race (except those held at California, Chicago and both road courses). 4. If your favorite college or professional sports team wins a championship (everyone sober in Atlanta just sighed and looked aimlessly at the fridge). 5. Any time something is coming back (fall football, spring baseball, etc). 6. Any time you meet up with an old friend or drinking buddy in downtown Athens. Or your basement. Or a random restaurant in your current locations. Or anywhere. 7. Any time your wife/girl friend is out-of-town.

I made that list up in a hurry. There are plenty more. But when it comes to this weekend in Jacksonville, the training wheels or inhibitions should come off. But it needs to be about fun with your circle. I don't need you so drunk that you look and feel awkward and force your friends into damage control mode on your behalf.

I say pack the bread and milk on early in the a.m., and throttle up. I mean, hammer down, find that tasty wave and ride it out.

And Moose, since I'll be working Saturday, how about pouring one out for your boy? I'd appreciate it.

>>>> Turn the lights off boys, the party's over. Thank ya'll for coming.

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