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Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Links (8/31)

Late start to my day, so lots to get to... on with the links...

-- Here's a sure sign things are about to get going: Georgia has the game notes posted for its opener against Oklahoma State.

-- I love this post over at Lucid Idiocy. First off, if you're guaranteed Georgia girls and Sanford Stadium, how much can you really complain about anyway? A version of that philosophy has been my mantra as a Cubs fan for years. But more to the point, Travis points out some key question marks and wonders how many Georgia fans can feel confident about. Here's my answer: Three. Click over to Travis' blog and see if you can guess which ones. Answers at the bottom.

-- While Travis offers some questions to ponder, Dawg Stephen says the best thing to do this time of year is simply believe -- particularly given the number of leaders Georgia has this season.

-- The Hobnail Boot looks at what lies ahead and comes up with a pretty enthusiastic opinion of the Dawgs, too.

-- A couple of blog recommendations for you:

First off, a big tip o' the cap to Jason Butt for tracking down an interview with Verron Haynes for us over the weekend. If you haven't already been reading Jason's Georgia blog -- The Chapel Bell -- you'll definitely want to check it out.

I got an email over the weekend from a reader, Nancy R., whose husband is a huge UGA fan, but she's a bit of a novice when it comes to football. I'm sure this is the situation in a number of households of readers here. Anyway, Nancy is such a devoted wife that she's taken it upon herself to learn all she can about the Bulldogs, and she's even started a blog about it. I highly recommend checking it out, and maybe even forwarding the link to your significant other who might still be a bit perplexed by the difference between a cut block and a chop block.

-- In case you missed it, Jeff Owens' blog is back with a Q&A with Ben Jones. There are other upgrades, too, though, including an application that will allow you to pose questions directly to Jeff that he'll answer on the blog.

-- The Red & Black's roster rundown continues: Up today, Logan Gray through Kwame Geathers.

-- David Ching has a column in the Banner-Herald that essentially sums up exactly what I've been saying every time someone asks me how good the Dawgs will be this year: I'm not sure how many games they'll win, but they'll be a lot less frustrating to watch than they were last season.

-- The Senator doesn't exactly disagree with Ching's findings, but in regards to the Matthew Stafford-Joe Cox debate, there's a bit of clarification made at Get the Picture that is definitely worth the read.

-- T Kyle King has an entertaining way to kill about five minutes for all you history buffs/literary enthusiasts/Bulldog fans.

-- Rather than link to some Oklahoma State material today, I'm just going to send you over to the always great Georgia Sports Blog, which was kind enough to consolodate a bunch of Cowboys links in one place.

-- In case you're wondering what will be in store for the Dawgs weather-wise, here's the 10-day forecast. (h/t Peter S.)

-- The Telegraph's Coley Harvey is doing a game-by-game preview of Georgia Tech's season, and he takes a look at Georgia in yesterday's edition.

-- The Swine Flu has hit Alabama -- (funny, you'd assume it would be Arkansas first) -- and several players have been quarantined.

This continues to be an extremely overlooked story throughout college football. I noted a couple of weeks ago that Georgia quarantined several players over the summer, not necessarily due to swine flu, but illness in general.

I spoke with Charles Bloom at the SEC offices, too, and he said the conference has not adopted any particular policy regarding H1N1 outbreak, but that the schools have shared "best practices" with each other.

That's all well and good, but what happens when/if a team has 20 players sick the day of a game? The SEC -- and the NCAA, too -- would be smart to have a game plan in mind for a situation like this before it happens.

-- ESPN's Chris Low writes that Steve Spurrier is "re-energized" and excited about the season. I'll be interested to see how high that energy is when the Gamecocks are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. Low also has an insightful Q&A with the OBC.

-- The Birmingham News got input from columnists in each SEC city for its preseason preview. The bottom line: Things look better for Florida than anyone else.

-- If you're a "Lord of the Rings" fan or simply want to listen to a guy whose five-foot-nothin', hundred-and-nothin' without a speck of athletic ability speak to a crowd, Sean Astin will be at UGA tonight.

-- This is sad news, I think: After nearly three decades on the air, the end has come for "Reading Rainbow." Luckily, the educational system in this country is plenty strong enough to survive the loss... now, about those teacher furloughs...

-- If you're like me and trying to find an early replacement for the void in your life "Lost" will leave after it ends its run next year, this sounds like it could be a suitable alternative.

-- I had just assumed this had already happened, like, 12 years ago.

-- And finally, I was visiting some friends over the weekend and was introduced to this video from the mid-80s by B-52s frontman Fred Schneider. As the B-52s got their start here in Athens, I feel it is tangentially related to the subject matter of the blog, therefore it is an acceptable link. But more importantly, I think this might be the single more ridiculous, awful, utterly insane piece of '80s crap I've ever seen. In other words, it's completely awesome. Enjoy.

(And regarding Georgia's question marks: I think Joe Cox, Brandon Boykin and the offensive line will be just fine. Cox knows what he's doing and has a good enough arm to get the job done. He's David Greene with less playing experience. Boykin is going to be the break-out star of this year's defense. Mark my words. And the offensive line -- well, with all the hype surrounding them, I can't fathom any of them want to explain to Stacy Searels why they didn' turn out to be as good as everyone thought this season.

Now... the other questions:

I'm not too concerned about the starting safeties. I think Reshad Jones has learned his lessons and has too much riding on his success this season (i.e. an NFL contract) to slack off. Hey, it might not be the "right" motivation, but at least it's motivation. Bryan Evans should be fine, too, but I'd be a little concerned about the depth behind them.

Watching the defensive ends this fall, I actually feel a lot more comfortable with Rod Battle and Demarcus Dobbs than I did a month ago, but until Justin Houston gets back, there's just zero depth behind them. That will be a problem in Stillwater when there's a heat index in the triple digits and no reliable backups to rush the passer.

I think Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas (and yes, Caleb King) have a chance to be a very successful backfield, but I still want to see how they hold up against SEC defenses before we proclaim that problem solved.

And of course, the defensive coaching? I'm curious to see how many lessons were learned from last year. If I have one major criticism of Georgia's staff overall, it's their relentless desite to "stick with what works" even when it doesn't particularly work.

So what do you guys think... what worries you the most right now?)

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