The Dawg Post Mail Bag

ATHENS - Another edition of Fletcher Page's thoughts, hopes and somewhat relevant rambling.

I'm glad the Todd Grantham choke-move talk has died down. I can't believe some in the media wanted Grantham fined or suspended. I already knew some journalists didn't have the sense to get out of the rain. But I at least thought they knew to take their wet clothes off once they finally did take shelter. Fined or suspended? Really? C'mon. Yeah it was petty, but the move came with a tie ballgame in overtime amid a heated rivalry game. Some of these journalists need to climb down out of the Ivory Tower and get with the real world. You know, a world with passion and emotion.

Also, I like the fact Grantham doesn't really care what you think. His mind is in-between those lines. He's not looking over his shoulder to make sure you approve. If the kid misses that kick, there would be poster framed with Grantham's image frozen in time forever. Instead, it's just the 18th sad song in a lonely, frustrating playlist.

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

huntindawg asks: How are the player's attitude this week? The quotes from Richt make it seem like they still have their head high and I must say this Dawg team has a lot of fight and they do not give up.

Well, the attitude I see every week is the attitude I expect every week. The players are usually always the same, and they usually say the right things. Sure, when you get a one-on-one they'll tell you how much this Florida loss, well for the lack of a better way to put it, sucked. And it sucked pretty bad. But, I think the chance to beat Auburn and Georgia Tech is in their mind. They seem focused on finishing this season strong, making a bowl and salvaging some dignity. I think there is honor in that. Wait, those were Richt's words, not mine. But still, I agree, there is an honor in finishing.

How can we get a MMA set up between Grantham or Herschel(preferred) vs. henry?

Well, those matchups don't really offer Henry a chance. I think that's what you want though, isn't it? I'd rather see Chas Henry and Caleb Sturgis versus Drew Butler and Blair Walsh in a tag-team match. I assume Washaun Ealey and Brandon Spikes would be the main event on the card. We could have Steve Addazio face off against his own playbook. I'll take the playbook. And Tim Tebow would be favored in the handicap match against the entire '09 Georgia defense.

gcsdawg asks: Why is Kwame Geathers not getting more PT? I look for him on every defensive series and rarely spot him out on the field. Is he not progressing the way the coaches want? The few times I have seen him in the game it looks like he manhandles people. Whats up?

I think he is progressing, but he may not have the stamina to play as many snaps as a guy like Abry Jones can. This is just speculation, but Kwame is a big dude. Hell, he's lost 40 pounds since he got here last August and he's still probably the biggest dude on the team. It's hard to carry that around.

Remember, too, that Kwame doesn't really fit into (get it) the plan in passing situations. He's manly going to be out there on first downs and short yardage situations. When the defense goes into the sub package, they're going to use a more agile line out there, hence Jones and DeAngelo Tyson and all the others on the line when that occurs.

stephenm1 asks: Would Lou Holtz and Gilbert Gottfried make a good tv broadcast team for SEC football?

I could do without either of those fools. But adding to this nightmare, let's put Fran Drescher as the sideline reporter. Talk about waking up and thinking you're in hell. Not even Brad Pitt back in the studio could turn this ship around.

BlackDeathD asks: With all the complaining about this program, let's focus on what can be done and stop worrying about how bad things are right now. What can be done? What needs to happen for CMR to turn this ship around and win it all? What steps must be taken?

It's all in the details, my man. I assume with a name like BlackDeathD, you're a guy. If not, that's cool, too. And when I say details, I mean the little details. You guys have heard me rail on strength and conditioning for a quite some time. I don't doubt there is hard work being put in every day. Don't get my opinion twisted. They're working hard. But, I know for a fact what the players eat isn't monitored like it should be. It wasn't long ago that I, as a student, was in line for hot wings and french fries behind players. That's a little detail.

Is it just me, or are there way too many shoulder injuries with this program? Hmmm…could it be a certain belief in heavy lifting with bench pressing? Could be, could not be. I know at Alabama they won't let Trent Richardson put more than 375 pounds on the bar, because in the words of Crimson Tide strength and condition coach Scott Cochran, "I'll lose my job if you put more weight on there." And remember, he's the one who said Georgia was wearing black back in 2008 because they, ‘were going to a f****** funeral.' He was so right there, too. Just a tweak in the philosophy, another little detail.

Do I really have to keep going? Bumbling around with Carver's Devin Burns…little detail. Players driving on suspended licenses…little detail. Scheduling tough non-conference games….little detail. Not practicing with enough physicality in fall camp…OK, that turned into a big detail.

Anyway, all these little details add up, and what eventually happens is a three-point loss to Florida. Or five losses in back-to-back seasons. I think Richt and the staff do many, many things right. I could rattle off a few: develop quarterbacks, beat Tech, Richt made the move, changing his defensive staff…I could keep going.

But it's all in the details. You can tell your lady friend you love her. You can pay her bills. You can pick up the check at dinner every time. That's good. But you better kiss her goodnight. You better remember her birthday. You have to visit the in-laws every now and then. The little details push love and football teams over the top.

Is it wrong that I'm really proud of that last paragraph? I thought so, too. Let's move on.

dunkaroos8 asks: Why was Granatham the ONLY person giving the choke sign? Call me crazy but I think the entire team should have been right there with him doing the same thing. I know my drunk ass was giving the choke sign through the tv. I respect Grantham even more now but I still think the d needs ALOT of work.

If Marcus Dowtin had joined in, the Mayan 2012 apocalypse prophecy could have been set into motion early. Any time I see somebody mean mug, I think of Dowtin. If my little sister doesn't get her way and she puffs up and gets mad, I tell her not to give me that Dowtin face.

And yes, the defense still needs work. The second year is always the jump-off. Remember, Van Gorder lost five games his first year as coordinator. Alabama struggled mightily in '07. Blah, blah, blah. This is optimistic, but the second year usually sees the jump you want, dunk. So keep hoping, next season you may have your wish granted.

icedog asks: What are the reasons for the fanbase to be optimistic about the state of the program next year w/ CMR at the helm?

Aaron Murray…and, well, yeah, Aaron Murray.

If Isaiah Crowell goes to Alabama, and A.J. Green and Justin Houston go pro, I may have to avoid the board for a couple of weeks. Or maybe a year. Or maybe I'll go back to school.

BigCalvesMan asks: I saw a Male Georgia Fan dancing on his truck at the tailgate? Is this as poor behavior as the Travis Tritt sporting mullet gator I saw in cut offs w/o a shirt and a belly as big as meatloafs?

I'm not sure. But I'm glad you brought Travis Tritt's name into the Mail Bag.

I heard Tritt's hit, "Where Corn Don't Grow," the other day. And I thought: Man, Tritt may be the most underrated country stud from that 90s tidal wave of male artists. My musical tastes are extremely varied. For example, Kanye West, John Lennon and Don Henley are in my top five artists of all time. So is Tupac. You can try to guess the fifth. Knowing that, you can see I like all kinds of sounds.

But that early 90s country crush is fun to talk about. Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, George Straight and Randy Travis were probably the top of the heap, in my opinion. There is an argument for Clint Black and Vince Gill. They were good, but not really what I'm looking for here. And get out of this solo debate, Brooks and Dunn. I'm keeping this to early to mid 90s, so Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw have yet to enter the conversation.

But Travis Tritt has to be right there. I mean, commercially Brooks is king. In terms of longevity, Straight wins. Best mustache, easily Jackson. Probably the best pure country voice goes to Randy Travis.

But if you just limit those artists to their best four songs, Tritt is right there. But they don't know about some Verne Gosdin. Get on that level.

By the way, here's my favorite songs from each, because I know you were wondering:

Garth Brooks: Learning to Live Again, George Straight: I Can Still Make Cheyenne, Alan Jackson: Chasin' That Neon Rainbow, Randy Travis: On the Other Hand, Travis Tritt: I'm Gonna Be Somebody

I know it's not hip to dig country music, but these songs are great. Now, please somebody ask me a question somewhat related to rap or rock so I can hit that up next week. Please and thank you. Goodnight, Tupelo. You've been great. (Lights fade).

MagicMan31 asks: Assume the role of Coach Mark Richt (you have complete control of the program outside of McGarity): What steps do you take in the here in now to get this program to where it needs to be? What about before bowl season? Spring Training? The off-season? And, finally, next Fall Camp?

Well Magic, I think we both know my first move. I'd try to go hire the Strength and Conditioning guys at Mississippi State. Break the piggybank, if necessary. Then I pay Cam Newton $200,000 to transfer in for a year. Kidding.

I keep Mike Bobo. In fact, I make no changes with the coaching staff. But at this point (and I will finish this paragraph speaking as if I'm Richt) we all know what will happen if we lose five games again. We'll all be gone. Except for Rodney Garner. Dude is the cockroach of this program. He'll never die. He'll always be around.

I keep spring pretty much status quo. Full contact, and do what we do. I let Grantham do his thing. I turn the practice field into a warzone. I post a depth chart every day, revised after each practice. I let the team fight a little. I let them know, if you don't perform, if you loaf, if you show you haven't studied, you'll lose that spot. And maybe I even pump in some Lil' Wayne during practices, just to get it started.

Once fall rolls around, I scale that back a little bit. After all, you can't do that all the time. I take the first couple weeks to get after it, and then I initiate planning for the season.

Alright, I'm back to using my voice. This will be like Richt's last stand. If he goes down, he'll go down fighting. He's not going to make any wholesale changes in the way he does things, but he should ramp it up. But still, I think just a slight tweak in S&C could be the goodnight kiss this program needs.

Why in the world was last week the first time we saw the TE screen to Orson Charles? Not only was it a successful play, but he also set up his blocker beautifully like a RB would showing he has rare after catch ability for a TE. Here is a vote to call that number some more.

I agree.

Southerngent10 asks: I know Love is playing a little and Owens mostly on special teams but why aren't they spelling Cuff more? Are they that far behind?

Well, I think Boykin, Smith and Commings is the triumvirate currently on the rise. We should see more and more of this trio in the last few games this season, with Cuff sprinkled in.

Owens is still just a frosh. And Love is getting some time out there. They're just not ready yet. They don't have the time put in that the others do. They're plenty talented though, they just need more seasoning.

With the East out of possibility now will we see more of Ogletree? G Smith? Kwame? et al?

Not anymore than we would have if the team was currently undefeated. They'll play if they've earned the right to play, but coach Richt does not believe in playing young players just for the sake of getting ready for next season. He still wants to beat Auburn and Georgia Tech and go to a bowl. If those players can help now, they'll play. But they won't get run just because they're next.

I know you have said TK will be the logical, or most likely, guy to step into Aj's spot but who steps into Durhams?

Obviously Michael Bennett will, right? White guys only get compared to other white guys, especially at wide receiver. And every white basketball player who can shoot always gets tabbed as the next Larry Bird. It's ludicrous. Or, Ludacris.

I guess if we're staying realistic, Marlon Brown should be the next Durham. He better be something next year.

At what point in the season do assistants start looking around at other jobs? Are any of ours looking for either promotions or greener pastures?

I'm sure some are looking for greener pastures. Don't we all? I'm looking at Sports Illustrated every day. If this team beats Tech, I don't think anybody should be looking for another job. But if a loss to Tech actually happens, all bets are off.

Can you explain women?

I'll be ready to answer this question in 15 minutes tops. I swear I'll be ready by then.

Thanks if you answer one, I think Dean owes you 2 steaks if you answer them all.

Don't hold your breath. I'll be lucky to get a bottle of Dale's sauce from Dean, much less a steak.

SuwaneeDawg03 asks: Why do we ALWAYS seem to start games off terribly? It seems that we should know if we will win the game in the first 5 minutes of play.

This has been a common complaint. Josh Kendall said on the roundtable weeks ago that he was tired of Georgia "Finishing the Drill." He wanted Georgia to "Start the Drill." That includes dropping games early in the year, only to rally. That includes spotting West Virginia 100 points in the 2005 Sugar Bowl before turning into the 1998 Denver Broncos. That includes handing Florida a 21-7 lead halftime last week. Damn, it's time to "Start the Drill."

By the way, Dean says he's the one who coined the "Start the Drill" campaign. I'll let you be the judge.

I believe Grantham is doing great things and will be an asset for the Dawgs, however, I don't understand why we didn't do a better job of stopping Brantley and Burton. We knew Burton was going to run or pitch when he was in, but he ran for over 100 yards. Explain please.

That's the baffling aspect. but, think for a moment about A.J. Green's touchdown catch in the fourth quarter though. You knew Murray was throwing to A.J. I knew Murray was throwing to A.J. Florida did too, because they had three guys on him. I bet my uncle Jerry knew A.J. was getting the ball, and he hates football. I don't have an uncle Jerry, but you get the point.

Sometimes you know what's coming and you still can't stop it. Remember, Florida had guys blocking and running. They executed. That's football. It could be scary if Georgia can't get this figured out in two weeks for…..

A second part to the above question, how do we defend Auburn and Cam?

I was just about to bring this up. Thanks for the easy transition. Maybe the NCAA may offer the best defense. Ha.

Really though, I'd just man up on the outside and get ready for a war on the interior. I think you can't let that manchild beat you with his legs because you didn't have enough guys in the box. That's like somebody telling you they're going to punch in the nose, and you just stand there and take that. I'm not about that noise. So I say, man up on receivers and make Cam beat you with his arm. If he beats you that way, at least you did something. He's still going to get his, but I'd punish him. I'd put eight guys up in there and say, ‘Snap the ball.' This is where the Marcus Dowtin face could pay off. I'd let Dowtin shank him, so to speak. But that's just me.

But that Auburn offense is tough. Georgia will have to be disciplined, that's for sure. But I wouldn't want to get beat by the run. Make BMW sell you a flatbed truck. Does that make sense? Because BMW could make a flatbed truck. But they don't want to. God, I hope you all get that comparison. I barely do.

But the offense can't turn the ball over. You can't give Cam a short field. You can't give anybody a short field. But Cam would kill with the kind of momentum the Bulldogs gave Florida.

Who starts for Trey Thompkins since he is out for who knows how long?

Easy, Conner Nolte. Well, he did Thursday night in the exhibition. Seriously, Fox has some options here, Nolte being one of them. I like two different lineups. Let me know your thoughts here.

Option 1: Gerald Robinson, Dustin Ware, Travis Leslie, Chris Barnes, Jeremy Price.

Option 2: Gerald Robinson, Travis Leslie, Marcus Thornton, Chris Barnes, Jeremy Price.

The answer to your question, "Who starts for Thompkins?" is obviously Chris Barnes. He takes Trey's spot at the four. The options I laid out should be the same when Trey comes back, subbing him in for Barnes in both scenarios. Unless Price slides to the sixth man role because of his offense. I like Jeremy coming off the bench for just that reason, so if Trey or Travis have to come off the floor, Price comes on and gives them a viable scoring option. So, yeah, there are options, which is what you want/need.

hpdog asks: Are Wooten and Brown ever going to develop into big-time playmakers, or they both probably busts IYO ? We just don't seem to be getting much out of them.

You're right, Georgia isn't getting much from either of them. But once A.J. is gone, who the hell is Murray going to throw the ball to? Somebody has to catch passes. I think TK will lead the receivers in catches next year. But damn, those other two have 14 catches combined this year. They should see a minimum of a 200 percent increase in production next year. At a minimum. If not, then I'll sling the bust tag all over it. But with A.J. still around, he's going to get the bulk of the looks, even with triple and quadruple coverage. Most of the time that's great. Sometimes it's not.

Patches33 asks: what are the chances we actually end up with a "dream team" (top five) recruiting class after this down season? continued with the above question... do we hold onto better offensive or defensive players this year? Do the struggles of the defense hurt us bad or have they shown enough to help us?

I haven't heard any talk of current commits changing their mind because of the losing. I don't think it hurts. I've said it before, but most recruits think they're the next big thing anyway. They usually think they'll be the reason things change.

If Georgia gets Crowell, Bray, Mitchell, Swain, Rome, etc. then yeah, that should push the class back toward the top. The Bulldogs are sitting well for most of those guys.

I'm hoping the "Dream Team" vision stays alive. I've got a great idea for an article if it happens. That's what we in this business call a teaser. Get antsy.

PIGGSKIN asks: It seems obvious that we can get some pressure with our front 7. Why is it that we are not playing more bump and run on the corners, to prevent the qb from having a place to go with the ball when the heat is coming down? Are we just more confident in their tackling ability than their coverage ability? Is that more of a Grantham call or Lakatos?

I think it's a Grantham call. It's his defense, his vision, his idea. This is a good thought though. To be honest, I haven't ever gone back and watched what Lakatos' corners did at UConn.

All-in-all, I haven't been able to get my head around the secondary. There have been times they've looked great. Or at least good. OK, they were decent. Sanders Commings has had a good season, all non-picked-up-fumbles-against-Florida aside. Brandon Boykin has been solid. Third down has killed people's opinion of the unit though. Where's Tim Jennings when you need him?

If Boykin comes back, I'll feel pretty good about this secondary for next season.

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

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