The Dawg Post Mailbag

ATHENS - Another edition of Fletcher Page's news, notes and somewhat relavant rambling.

The Mailbag does not represent the views and opinions of Dawg Post (despite being named The Dawg Post Mailbag). The words and thoughts expressed here are those of Fletcher Page. This space is ambidextrous – it's not always right. Those not in pursuit of a free flowing dialogue or occasional joke or three should discontinue use of this product.

I had a lot of things to say about conference expansion, but this guy pretty much sums it up – and a lot better than I could. Good read, and he's spot on.

All this coming and going is unnecessary, sad and, apparently, inevitable. I'm sure most of you can't wait for your first trip to College Station, Texas or Columbia, Mo. Maybe by the time this all over with, the most loyal of you will be trekking to Morgantown, WV every other year. (Shudder).

And for what? We still don't have a playoff. Proponents of players getting paid will still complain. And Nick Saban and Houston Nutt will still find a way to oversign. Well, that is if Nutt still has a job.

It is what it is... Or, it is what it isn't anymore.

With all that said… Ladies and gentlemen, you already know what it is… Let's get it poppin'.

gadawgs98021 asks: Watched the Herschel Walker storied the other night and it got me to thinking. Do you see us using any sweep patterns with IC. He made some of his best runs with sweep patterns off tackles. With IC speed I think that could help us with line issues. Your thoughts?

Yeah, I expect Isaiah Crowell's touches and play variety to increase and grow as the season moves along. He's going to run between the tackles, sweeps and even direct snaps as he continues to pick the offense up… All of the above.

14dawgs47 asks: After a few injuries and games, who do you see leading the team in tackles and receptions at years end.

Tackles – I think Christian Robinson will recover and still lead the team. Heck, he's still the leader now and he missed a game. He was on pace for 132 tackles for the regular season before he went down. I bet he tops 100 despite the time missed.

Receptions – I think Tavarres King remains the safe bet here, but safe bets don't usually make money. Take Malcolm Mitchell while he's still considered an over performing stock and under priced. You don't have long to scoop this up.

Do you think Hudson will continue to get playing time. Thats not a knock on Aaron just think he looks good.

He does look good – he's exceeded all expectations I ever had for the kid. I still look back at that 2010 class of in-state quarterbacks and can't believe all that went on. There Burns getting spurned and Nance pulling Rogers to Tennessee. After all that, Mason seemed an afterthought. It just didn't look like there was a legitimate SEC guy in the group, but Mason has come in and developed nicely.

He is smart, cerebral. And he prefers to run a spread out passing attack. However, I don't see how the coaching staff could work in a few series for him in meaningful action. He and Murray aren't that much different. It's not a Shockley-Greene dynamic.

While I'm not ruling anything out, I would hope the coaching staff doesn't just stick Hutson in there just to do it. These things can't be forced, nor should they be.

OU ran the ball out of the shotgun with a three back set, I guess a fb on each side with a tail in the rear, is that a new are a old formation. Seems it fit our new look, (extra protection and blockers)

I'm not sure about this – but Bruce Figgins provides his share of options for this offense. He's quietly becoming a solid option on check downs for Murray. He can move around and flex if needed, so I guess you could see something like this in the future.

sandersvilledawg asks: Why did the band get moved from their traditional spot next to the student section in the north east end zone to the west end zone?

I'm not sure of the actual reason. I was going to stretch and say to split the livelihood up between the student section and the end zone. But that doesn't really make sense, does it?

I'll punt right now in hopes of gaining better field position – so to speak – on this subject next week. I'll ask around.

gunter2011 asks: Does Brice Ramsey stay committed or does committing early bite us in the butt?

Committing early is never a bad thing. In the end, a player will do what he needs/wants to do, but committing early is always a great thing, no matter the eventual outcome.

Brice likes Bobo and Richt – that's no secret. While Florida is giving him something to think about, I think the kid likes Georgia for more than just it's coaching staff. I expect him to sign with the Bulldogs, regardless of what happens (unless a new coach comes in and installs a running variant of the spread).

Will you and Dean be in Oxford?

Oh yes. Can't wait for the drive out to Tupelo Friday afternoon with Dean and Wes. I plan on passing out before 316—ah, who am I kidding? I never sleep on road trips.

Prediction for Saturday?

I think Georgia covers. Ole Miss isn't good. They Rebels aren't even bad – they're terrible.

Thanks again man!

You got it.

dangerranger6969 asks: Why is Georgia talent level of the football and basketball teams inferior to Alabama and Florida? Is it Location, coaches, or bad evelution of the players by the coaches. Both Florida and Alabama are three deep with talent that could start for any school in the nation. Is Mark Richt and Mark Fox afraid to have to many superstars?

I don't think they're afraid to have many superstars…That's like saying I'm afraid of having too many story angles.

Florida and Alabama have been two of the most successful football programs in the past five or six years. They've been well run and capitalized on opportunities. Mixing tradition, the SEC and current success is a deadly combo.

I think Georgia's biggest weakness under Richt has been consistent recruiting – and I'm not talking about getting talent. I'm talking about getting enough of it. A.J. Green was always going to come to Georgia. So was Alec Ogletree. Georgia sells itself in many occasions. But that can't be what you solely rely on.

Up until 2011, I think Georgia's coaching staff was something close to lazy in terms of evaluation and winning over players in drag out recruiting battles. The 2010 class was a wakeup call, no doubt. In the aftermath, the coaches got after it. The fact that Malcolm Mitchell isn't at Alabama, Jay Rome at Clemson and Isaiah Crowell at Auburn shows they worked. Ray Drew, Damian Swann, Amarlo Herrera, Corey Moore, David Andrews – those guys were Georgia guys from the start. It's not hard to reel a kid with that kind of love for a school in. But the others took some work… Real, consistent work.

After that, you've got to hit on some players that you can develop, players that can thrive in your system with a little seasoning. You've got to identify something – talent, potential, smarts, special teams fearlessness, anything useful. And you've got to have more hits than misses.

That's what it takes every single year. Anything less leaves the door open for depth issues, missing links and ultimately mediocrity.

aspendawg asks: With the new rules on recruiting limits and only being able to sign 25... what happens if you have more spots to give than 25? Can you then oversign to fill up your roster? I ask because we have obviously undersigned every year here recently, and with all those departing / injured / and the SR's it seems we could have more than 25 ships open for the 12 season.

The No. 25 is a hard cap, as I understand the rule. Sort of. I'm not up on all the ins and outs, but early enrollees still count toward the previous year's class. And you can still grayshirt players and count them toward the schloarhship limit of 85 later in time.

The rule is pretty lame if you ask me. If you only have 20 openings, what's stopping a coach from signing 25? Nothing. Oversigning will still happen.

By my count, Georgia has 17 seniors. And eight walk-ons received scholarships, including three seniors. So, 17 + 5 = 22.

I think the likelihood of losing three players to the NFL draft or attrition is great. Counting the three open spots to begin with, I think Georgia should have no issues with having to "crunch" numbers and "wait and see" with some players.

If the staff wants a player, an offer should be made. The No. 25 must be hit.

dawg4everWOOF asks: What game do you think Marlon Brown will be back for? I'm waiting on his breakout game.

It's doesn't look like it's going to be this weekend. A high ankle sprain is the honey badger of the wild. Ankle sprain don't care. Ankle sprain do whatever it want. Oh look, ankle sprain swell up after two days of positive progress. Can't run, can't cut, can't nothing. Ankle sprain don't care!

If you had to chose from 2 players at Georgia to be your bodyguards who would they be?

Last season, Justin Houston and Marcus Dowtin were both first ballot bodyguard Hall of Famers. Look, feel, fear and death – they had the field covered.

This season, you could debate the pros and cons of a couple of fellas. In the end, I think I'd take Cornelius Washington and Orson Charles. I believe this duo is an upgrade in terms of looks and appearance. But I highly doubt the shear terror factor that Houston/Dowtin combined provided would ever be surpassed.

UGA4President asks: How is Russ handling all of the pressure this year knowing everyone is looking to the future? Surely he hears the whispers and knows his time is running out.

Russ is a lot like Joe Cox. Reliable, happy go lucky and a darn good quote. But he's just not the one. Russ could pass for 24 touchdowns if he really wanted to. But you still wouldn't give him credit.

nayah asks: Does Crowell completely healthy? I know he took a pretty good shot in the ribs against USCe and it seemed like his shoulder was bothering him this past Saturday. Here's to hoping Marshall is on the way...

Isaiah says he's good to go this weekend and is feeling healthy. I specifically asked him: "Would you like to carry the ball 20 to 25 times this weekend?"

His response: "Yessir"

So there's that.

BlueCat92 asks: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.........Sounds like a broken record huh?

No doubt.

We absolutely out played Carolina in every phase of the game but one. Yep, it was turnovers. What can and will be done to solve this problem? I know it's not a simple answer but, you cannot give up I think it was 28 points on turnovers and be successful.

You're right. Turnovers cost Georgia that game. What can be done? I guess the team can practice ball security. But it's not like the players weren't doing that before. Every practice features a 10 minutes segment on securing the football.

The only thing I can say is: If you learn from your mistakes, you will not repeat them. I bet you Bacarri Rambo doesn't fumble on an interception return again. Luckily for him, his mistake came in a 59-0 win (By the way, Rambo is well on his way to busting out of Shawshank. The fumble was a minor setback – a month in the hole for playing an opera record over the loudspeakers, if you will).

On another note. If carolina is the best in the east this year we are gonna be ok. Unfortunately I think the Gators are once again going to be the team to beat.

With South Carolina's tendency to wet the bed at least five times a season, I could see the Florida-Georgia game turning into a big one. The Gamecocks can't play this many close games and keep winning all season. Can they?

I'm still picking them to win the East. But I wouldn't bet my retirement on it. Or anything for that matter.

SuwaneeDawg03 asks: Fletch, I have to keep my streak alive! Get my questions into the Sack!

You made the cut, my man.

1. Will Shawn Williams remain at ILB this week and until Robinson and/or Ogletree return?

About 48 hours ago, I would have said absolutely. But Grantham and Richt are sneaky. They've been practicing Williams at both spots this week. No lie, beat writers are short-circuiting and drinking more coffee over this! My goodness, what happens if Williams is at safety this week!!!!!! Sanders Commings moves to cornerback!!!!! Branden Smith only plays in nickel situations!!!!!! Who plays Mike? Who plays Moe? Wait…WHAT DOES MIKE AND MOE EVEN MEAN!?!?!?!?!?!?! AAAHHHHHHRGGRGRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Williams may play linebacker. If he does, Commings plays safety. If he plays safety, Commings plays corner. Gilliard starts at the Mike and either Herrera or Sulek will play Moe. And even if Williams plays safety, there are times when he'll creep into the box. He even has a couple of formations where he has gap responsibility from safety.

2. What is the latest you have heard on SEC expansion? My hillbilly outlaws, er, um, my in-laws say that the bearded ones from Morgantown will join and be the 14th team. They would be the worst academic school in the SEC (yes lower than the Mississippi schools and Arkansas). What do you think will shake down?

Looks like it's Missouri. For now. I'm with you – I don't like the thought of West Virginia coming into the league. Truthfully, I don't like Texas A&M and Mizzou – but... Like I said, it is what it is. Or, it is what it isn't.

3. Will KCP have an immediate impact for the Dawgs and lead them in scoring this season? Is he THAT good?

Yes. And Yes. And YES. He's that good… And in terms of scoring there isn't really anybody else on that team that is. I'll take KCP to lead the team in scoring, with Dustin Ware finishing second and Gerald Robinson third.

Thanks in advance Fletch!

Always… Always.

albdawg asks: Anybody seen Boo? What is plaguing this guy? Someone help Mr. Crowell!

He can't stay healthy enough to make a good, consistent run at practice time. That's about all there is to about it.

UGA53MAIN asks: How much PT do you think Kent Turene would have got this year? More or less than Herrera?

Hmmm… Good question. I think Turene was a player Grantham thought was underrated by recruiting services. He was pretty high on the kid. Still, I think Amarlo is going to be a good one – I'll say he would have played the most if both had come in together. But this is a good question to pose considering the state of the unit right now.

This is a far fetched scenario but I would like your opinion on this. IF the Big East was to dissolve would Gary Patterson be more likely to leave TCU? i know he wanted to get in to an AQ conference. Thanks bud.

Yeah, there's way too much left to play out here for me to answer. I would imagine Patterson wants to coach in a high profile conference. But he seems pretty tied to TCU. The Big East wasn't exactly all that great to begin with, so I could see TCU bouncing around and landing somewhere else – with Patterson still at the helm.

trooperdawg980 asks: Fletch with your infinite inside knowledge who do you see sitting out this week do to injury?

Tyson will play. Samuel will play. Gates will probably play. I have no clue about Burnette. And I'm doubtful Marlon goes.

Has Marlon Brown even seen the practice field this week?

Not really…

Does S. Williams start at safety this week and if so does that mean Herrara start at L/B?


I feel like Curly. Actually, more like Shemp. I'm not sure where Williams will start. But I know that he will. And that I like Shawn. He's a pretty cool customer.

O.K. one more on a totally different subject. What do you think of the NFL saying it is going to fine and discipline players for feigning injuries? Man, talk about a pandora's box. You know thing is alot of these NFL rulings eventually trickle down to the college level.

The NFL front office is so hypocritical and frustratingly stupid at times. All the talk these days is about protecting players (offensive players). How can you determine when a player is actually hurt? Teams will start cheating better. The go-to fake injury from now on needs to be a cramp. How can you tell if it's real or not? You can't.

Here's what the rule change needs to be: If a player requires medical attention where game stoppage occurs, that player must sit out the rest of the series. I think that's fair on both sides.

While we're on the subject, can somebody define for me what a defenseless receiver is? And don't give me that crap about ‘a player not looking while the ball is in air.' I'm all for stopping helmet to helmet contact, but some of the new rules are ridiculous.

What is a defense supposed to do these days? You can't hit a quarterback below the waist. You can't hit a quarterback above the numbers. You can't hit a quarterback more than 0.25 seconds after the ball is released. You can't touch a receiver more than five yards off the ball. You can't rough anybody up. You can't intimidate players coming over the middle. It's free reign for offenses – they just have to not screw it up. If you've got a good line and a good quarterback, it's like a 7 on 7 camp out there.

Against a guy like Rodgers or Brady or Brees, all defenses can do these days is hope to force a turnover or hold on for a field goal. That's about it. If Cam Newton can throw for more than 400 yards in consecutive weeks, something is up.

How did Richard Samuel do at practice this week?

He did fine. He was his usual self. He practiced each day, so that's positive.

With that, I'm hitting the back door and getting out of here.

Turn out the lights boys, the party's over… We outta here baby… Thank y'all for coming.

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