Greetings from T-Bone Pickens Stadium. A few (very) early thoughts...
-- Couldn't be more pleased with how easy it was to get here. Also, the press-box soda selection is top notch. Diet Dr. Pepper... a nice touch.
-- Front page headline in the Okie State student newspaper (which is called the O'Collegian, by the way... makes me want a Guinness) says the former OSU tight end who left the program has been accused of rape. And now he plans to go to Tennessee. That makes two for Kiffin already, right? Seems like a bad PR move if you ask me.
-- There is a fair number of folks tailgating already, but it's almost creepy how quiet it all is. No music. No smack talk. No drunken fans babbling incoherently. It's just odd.
-- Telemundo has a rep in the press box. Muy beuno.
-- I'm supposed to be sitting next to someone from ESPN.com, but not sure who yet. If it turns out it's Ivan Maisel, I'll be sure to let him know how you all felt about the "talent level has slipped" comment.
-- Got the question last night but didn't get a chance to respond: It's Big 12 officials doing the game.
-- Still working through a number of the other comments from the past 24 hours, so I apologize if I haven't gotten back to you yet.
(Update 12:11 p.m. CT)
-- Many thanks for the complimentary comments, folks. This was my favorite though:
"Thats a very nice to read. Because i get many information through it. Thank you so much to post me such a nice article."
I can only hope many information will come from this blog post as well.
-- I've gotten a bunch of emails already from some poor folks in North Carolina who will be stuck watching Baylor-Wake Forest this afternoon instead of the Georgia game. So much for the great SEC coverage the new ESPN deal would create, eh? Just as an FYI... you can get the game on ESPN360.com. Not sure how much help that is, but figured it's worth passing along.
(UPDATE 12:17 p.m. CT)
-- Greg Paulus 7-of-12, 64 yards and a TD so far.... guarded optimism. Very guarded.
-- Teams haven't come out for warm-ups yet (that'll be another hour or so) but I'll get an update on Cox after that.
(UPDATE 12:41 p.m. CT)
-- The team is out on the field warming up, and Joe Cox is with them.
-- Greg Paulus.... um, forget everything I've said the past three months.
(UPDATE 1:19 p.m. CT)
-- Just spent about 20 minutes on the field. Couple of things to note...
I chatted with Kris Durham for a few minutes. He said Cox is feeling good, but a little tired. Said they don't think he had the flu, but rather a sinus infection that had been going around.
The OSU student sections are already pretty full. The ones in the front row all have these paddles that they're smacking incessantly against the padding that surrounds the wall, which is awfully loud.
The other thing you can't help but notice is how small the sidelines are here. Even with just a handful of folks milling about, you could tell how tight it was. With 100 players, coaches and trainers out there, it's going to be brutal. And the front row of fans are literally right behind the bench.
-- I ate way to much of the chicken in the press box before I realized it was severely undercooked. If there are no blog updates for a while, you'll know why.
(UPDATE 1:34 p.m. CT)
-- Just checked out the press box bathroom for the first time (no... not because of the chicken... yet) and it's amazing. Extremely poorly lit, marble countertops, and free Axe body spray. It's just like any bar in New Jersey.
-- Saw Uga hanging out in the entranceway to the field. He's looking pretty apathetic at the moment. Hope he doesn't have the flu.
-- Seriously, might Syracuse not suck this year? OK, I'm getting ahead of myself.
-- Note from a reader in Charlotte: You can get a weekend pass for ESPN Gameplan for $24 and watch the game in North Carolina.
(UPDATE 1:45 p.m. CT)
-- Team is out on the field in full uniforms now. Cox is throwing some 10-yard lobs from the goalline. Haven't seen him bend over to puke yet, so that's a good sign.
-- Greg Paulus is the No. 4 trending topic on Twitter right now. Why do I feel like I took off from Atlanta yesterday and landed in an alternate reality today? Someone get Stephen Hawking on the phone.
-- Just in case any of you had missed the news earlier this week: There won't be a pregame handshake today. That's too bad because I bet Joe was really looking forward to it. (Cough in hand, "Hey, good luck today," sneeze, wipe, "Good to meet you, have fun out there," cough, cough, "Oh, hi, Zac. I'm a big fan.")
(UPDATED 2:16 p.m. CT)
-- Georgia's wrapping up pregame warmups. Joe's been out there the whole time.
-- The press box is nicely placed directly above a large section of UGA fans. It's pretty much all red and black up the last two sections of the sideline stands on both sides, but it's definitely nowhere near the crowd there was in Arizona last season.
-- I'm loving the press box announcer. Lots of energy. I'm excited. He's like the Gus Johnson of press box announcers.
-- Here's one reason it would be great to be an Okie State fan: Giant orange foam cowboy hats. These folks know how to accessorize.
-- Answering a few comments...
From Jason: If you live in an area of the country where ABC is NOT carrying the game, you can get it on espn360.com for free.
DH: That's how I'm watching the Syracuse game. It's actually pretty good.
From Stephen Hawking: I've already told you that you are not in an alternative reality, you're just in Oklahoma. There's a slight but distinct difference. Now please stop calling me.
DH: You can understand my confusion.
From Anonymous: Dear David, I love the blog. I love your articles. DAWG gone, it I love you & there's not a daggum thing you can do about it! Dr Lou is in the house
DH: Why is there spittle all over my computer screen now?
-- Also, someone asked (and now I can't find the email) about Reuben Faloughi. He's not listed on Georgia's travel roster, so I'm assuming it's safe to say he didn't travel with the team.
(UPDATE 2:27 p.m. CT)
-- Couple pregame predictions...
Carlton Thomas won't look great today, but he'll break at least one long one.
Logan Gray will come in for the Wildcat in the first half, it won't work, and Bobo won't go back to it.
Gray will make a big play with his arm in this game though.
Brandon Boykin has at least one interception.
So does Darryl Gamble.
Blair Walsh handles kickoffs and is perfect on FGs.
-- Ohio State, Iowa, Minnesota... the Big Ten did not have an impressive day.
-- Commemorative shirt a lot of the OSU fans are wearing: "The Good, The Bad & the UGA-LY." So you've had all offseason to come up with a shirt slogan, and that's the best you could do?
-- Best press box quote so far: "Is there any Big 12 team that doesn't bring livestock onto the field before the game?"
-- The Okie State cowboy logo has Jay Leno chin. Just thought I'd share that.
-- OK, we're about to get things going. As per SEC rules, I can only update 3 times per quarter, so check back about every 5 minutes of game time.
(UPDATE: First quarter, 9:42)
-- Brandon Boykin is deep for the kickoff. Meanwhile, Syracuse is now tied. The Paulus magic only lasts one half.
-- Second play of the game and Orson Charles is in.
-- Cox hits AJ on third-and-4 for a 28 yard gain.
-- Branden Smith in on offense takes a sweep for a short gain. For all the talk that Smith wasn't working on offense, I had a feeling he might still see some action.
-- Samuel picks up 19 on a sweep play. This is looking about how I had expected... Okie State D is not good. Now... will Georgia's D be any better?
-- Logan Gray in the game for Cox on 2nd-and-4. He runs in the Wildcat for a short gain. First half of one of my predictions has already come true. Third-and-2.
-- First series and Georgia has already gone to the deep parts of the playbook twice with Gray and Smith. Very interesting.
-- Make that three times... another run for Branden Smith. This time on a direct snap.
-- Touchdown Cox to Michael Moore between two defenders. The route by Moore was perfect. No signs of sickness for Cox. Impressive drive... very impressive. PAT good by Walsh. Georgia 7, Oklahoma State 0, 9:42 remaining in first quarter. (10 plays, 80 yards, 5:18)
(UPDATE: First quarter, 4:56)
-- And our first T-Bone Pickens sighting. Got to love that TEE-Bone. (Hey, look at George. He's really giving it to old T-Bone.)
-- And yes, I plan on using the line "Hey, look at Georgia. They're really giving it to old T. Boone."
-- Walsh is handling kickoffs. Man, I'm smrt.
-- A directional kick? Whoa. Never would have seen that coming. Flag against Okie State backs them up to the 7 to start their first drive.
-- Robinson on a designed run and Georgia's D had no clue it was coming. Just a brutal look. Picks up 14 on third-and-7.
-- Costly penalties, shoddy defense... the comparisons between OSU '09 and UGA '08 grow by the day. Nice defensive stand by the Dawgs. The interior line has been dominant thus far, and Boykin had great coverage on the one long passing play.
-- Third penalty of the game on Oklahoma State is an offsides to set up a 2nd-and-2 for Georgia at the 24. Samuel picks up the first on a toss sweep on the next play.
(UPDATE: End of first quarter)
-- Okie State's D gets a stop, but boy did it look like Perrish Cox got to Green a bit early on a second-down pass that would have kept the drive alive. First look at Drew Butler gets a fantastic bounce and Georgia downs the ball at the OSU 2. Credit Butler with a 68-yarder. That'll help his average.
-- Atkins, Tyson and Owens all in the game. Not exactly the J-K-G that Owens has touted, but it's an interesting look. Essentially using Atkins as a rush end.
-- Zac Robinson has thrown just two passes so far. Georgia's done a good job of handling the run up the middle but the perimeter D has been a little spotty.
-- OK, I'm flummoxed. Here's the line, left to right: Atkins, Weston, Wheeling, C. Washington.
-- Robinson hits Bryant wide open and Bryan Evans immediately shows why he moved to safety, laying Bryant out and dislodging the ball for an incomplete pass. Evans was a little shaken up on it, but he looks fine jogging off the field.
-- Vance Cuff comes free off the edge to hit Robinson on third down. Give Willie some credit... this has been a very inventive defense so far.
-- Interesting that Carlton Thomas hasn't been on the field yet.
-- Holding flag on Georgia negates a nice gain by Michael Moore. Penalty No. 1 of the season with 12 seconds to play in the first quarter.
(UPDATE, 2nd Quarter, 8:07)
-- Branden Smith with a 3-yard reception. They really played it coy how much they planned to use him.
-- First example of the downside of the Stafford-to-Cox transition. Lavine breaks up a pass that didn't have much zip on it that could have probably been a long gain on third-and-12.
-- Dez Bryant was in position to return the ensuing punt all the way but got tripped up just enough on the turf that he went down on his own. Coverage is going to have to be better than that.
-- Robinson over the middle to Youman for a big gain. There was just no one home in the middle of the field.
-- Curran and Marcus Washington both got pressure on Robinson on third down to force the punt. Georgia's D has looked solid, but Okie State has definitely shot itself in the foot with penalties, too. Is this what it was like for other teams to play Georgia last season?
-- Thurman Thomas is here... exciting stuff. If only noted Buffalo Bills fan Jay Adams was still working with us, this might have been a very special moment for him. But at least he got to watch Syracuse blow the game to Minnesota today.
-- Ref just chucked a pass-interference flag about 30 yards. I think he has a better arm than Cox.
-- Three straight passing plays -- this last one to Carlton Thomas for a short gain to set up a third-and-10.
-- Another pass to Thomas, who scoots down the middle for a 17-yard gain and a first down. Thomas is going to be a real weapon in the passing game, but it's curious that he hasn't run once yet.
-- Samuel tripped up at the line of scrimmage on a third-and-1 play at midfield halted what could have been a nice drive. Still, he's run the ball well for the most part.
(UPDATED, 2nd quarter, 3:59)
-- Robinson just tosses a ball up for grabs, but Reshad Jones tipped it to the ground.
-- Bryan Evans is in the game again, but Boykin is not. Cuff has been in at corner. Not sure what's going on with Boykin.
-- Cuff just missed pulling down an interception... that's two that have gotten away on this series.
-- And two more flags on this drive for Oklahoma State.
-- Man, fans must be so tired of Willie Martinez having to carry this team. Fire Bobo! Start Logan Gray!
-- Carlton Thomas with a nice punt return, but a hold will bring it back. That guy is dangerous with the ball in his hands though. Georgia will begin the drive at the 8 with 5:16 to play in the half.
-- Orson Charles with his first catch -- a 25-yard gain. Big play even if it only flips field position.
-- Branden Smith's third run of the game doesn't go far. Might be time to scrap that one for a little while. (BTW, some big plays by the freshmen there... I thought SEC coaches thought the talent level had dipped?)
-- Georgia timeout.... good time to update.
(UPDATED, End of Second Quarter)
-- Chapas just got absolutely leveled on a pass over the middle. A flag came in, but the refs thought better of it, which was clearly the right call.
-- Samuel trips at the line of scrimmage again. This turf seems to be playing a little havoc with both teams.
-- Drew Butler's luck ran out a bit on that one -- 45 yard punt with Bryant bringing it back 12 yards to the 32. Big series for the D. Boykin is back on the field.
-- Dez Bryant hauls in his first catch of the game for a 19-yard gain. Robinson had all day to make that throw. Okie State has been running some hurry-up, too, and goes right back to action with a 3-yard pass to Hunter. Georgia timeout.
-- If you put money on the under in this game, you're looking awfully smart right now. Then again, when you have a defensive powerhouse like Oklahoma State, why wouldn't you take the under?
-- 46-yard TD pass Robinson to Bryant, who had gotten behind Bryan Evans for the score. It was a pretty pass and a perfect illustration of how dangerous Bryant is. He went the whole first half without a catch, but changed the complexion of the game in the past three plays. Oklahoma State 7, Georgia 7. (68 yards, 3 plays, 40 seconds)
-- Georgia has 2:24 to play with here. The Dawgs really need to make something happen -- even if it's just a FG -- to swing the momentum before the half. The offense hasn't looked bad, but it has looked just a bit, off. That needs to get remedied on this drive.
-- Jermiah Price had his hands on an easy pick-six but dropped it. Cox breathes big sigh of releif.
-- Just noticed Vince Vance is in for Chris Davis at left guard.
-- Carlton Thomas coughs up the football in a bad, bad place. The momentum of this game has really turned. A Georgia flag adds to the misery. Okie State sets up at the 6-yard line. Will be interesting to see how the D responds. They didn't handle this well last year.
-- Three straight stops by the D -- a great sign for them. Gundy's gonna think about it on fourth-and-1. I think you have to kick. OSU has all the momentum and gets the ball first in the second half. Why give Georgia a chance to go into the locker room on a high note? Take the points.
-- Gundy decides to go for it, but a holding penalty makes it a moot point. OSU has KILLED itself with flags today. The field goal is good though, to give the Pokes the lead. OSU 10, Georgia 7. (4 plays, -5 yards, 2:00)
-- That's a bad way to end the half, but boy did the defense look good there. Last year, Okie State would have walked in on the first play. That's it for this half.
Some first-half stats of note:
-- Robinson was just 5-of-12 for 99 yards in the half, but he was 3-of-3, including a 46-yard TD pass on Oklahoma State's second-to-last drive of the half.
-- Dawgs have done a nice job of containing Kendall Hunter, who is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry.
-- Rennie Curran has six tackles, Gamble has five.
-- Drew Butler has probably been Georgia's first-half MVP. He's averaged 54.2 yards per punt, including a long of 68.
-- There are no snacks in the press box. I could really go for some pretzels.
-- Joe Cox's line: 8-of-15 for 84 yards. He started 5-of-8 but has connected on just 3 of his last 7 attempts. I don't know if we're seeing the real Joe Cox or not, since we never saw much of him before, but he needs to play better in the second half.
-- Richard Samuel has been as advertised: 11 carries for 47 yards. Not dominating, but good, and probably would have been better if not for two trip-ups at the line of scrimmage that looked to be a product of the turf here at T-Bone Stadium.
-- Outside of Samuel, Georgia's running attack has been abysmal. Thomas's fumble was obviously killer, but Branden Smith's 11 yards on three carries is the only non-Samuel production they've had. Hate to say it, but the Dawgs are probably really wishing Caleb King had made the trip.
-- T.O.P. = Georgia 15:27, OSU 14:33. When you factor in the turnover, Georgia's O has done a good enough job of keeping the Cowboys' offense off the field. But that turnover...
-- Oklahoma State has racked up a whopping 10 flags for 61 yards in the first half alone.
-- First downs are even at 7, OSU edges Georgia on the ground 77-53, and through the air, 99-84.
-- So far I'd say the defense and special teams have been outstanding, but the offense has not held up its end of things. And Georgia can't count on another 10 flags against Okie State in the second half.
-- Attendance is 53,012 -- stadium record, but not anywhere near the 60,000 capacity.
-- Arthur Lynch, Orson Charles, Montez Robinson, Mike Gilliard and Branden Smith have all played. No signs of Wooten or Brown yet.
-- In case you're wondering, Georgia is 16-15 when trailing at the half under Richt.
(UPDATE: Third quarter, 6:49)
-- Perrish Cox takes the opening kickoff and returns it 74 yards. That kind of took the wind out of the sails after my joke that "Cox and Johnson were deep" on the kickoff.
-- Russell Okung limps off the field -- okay, maybe a slight jog -- for Okie State. His loss would be huge.
-- OK, Okung is back on the field for fourth-and-1 from the 4. And Okie State is going for it.
-- It came down to a measurement, and Okie State picked up the first down by about an inch-and-a-half. That's disheartening for the D.
-- Robinson keeps it for a TD. Oklahoma State 17, Georgia 7. (24 yards, 8 plays, 3:34).
-- Branden Smith to return the kick for the first time in the game. He fields it 7 yards deep and takes it out -- not a smart move. Georgia will start its drive at the 8.
-- Cox completes his first half since the 5:05 mark in the second quarter to pick up a first down.
-- Cox heavily underthrows Green, who has to tip the ball away from Perrish Cox. Matthew Stafford, he is not.
-- Boy, Richard Samuel has been really impressive. The kid has some moves and he is much faster than people give him credit for. This is what the Dawgs needed after getting just 2 rush yards on 6 carries in the 2nd quarter.
-- Thomas gets a second chance to carry the ball and simply goes nowhere. Worse though, Trinton Sturdivant is down. This does not look like good news. He's been helped off the field and can't put any weight on the left leg. Vince Vance in to replace him and the pressure was immediate from that side.
-- Blair Walsh boots a 53-yarder to salvage points on the drive. That was absolutely huge after the Sturdivant injury had to really demoralize the offense. Oklahoma State 17, Georgia 10. (56 yards, 13 plays, 4:47)
(UPDATED End of third quarter)
-- That 53-yarder was Walsh's career long.
-- Dewberry had tripped on the turf and was out of position, letting Robinson scramble for 9 on first down. Okie State is moving the ball with ease now.
-- According to Holly Rowe, at least 5 UGA players have had IVs in the first half. I thought the conditioning was supposed to be better this season?
-- Another killer flag for Okie State sets up a third-and-24. Georgia needs the D to make a big play.
-- Rennie has an INT go through his hands. That's the third one the Dawgs have missed this game, but it does mean the offense gets the ball back with a chance to tie it. Logan Gray in to receive the punt.
-- Official word is that Sturdivant won't return today. Georgia just has to hope he returns this year.
-- Cox goes to Charles on third-and-5 and throws a touch behind the tight end, who can't haul it in. That was a killer drive for Georgia. The offense needed to do something there.
-- Drew Butler strikes again! This time with a 75-yarder that puts Okie State at its own 6 to start the fourth quarter.
(UPDATED: Fourth quarter, 10:21)
-- Another nice series by the defense, forcing Oklahoma State to punt. I don't think anyone expected the D to play this well, but will it matter?
-- Another flag on Okie State. That's 12 for the game.
-- Prince returns the punt all the way to the 1, but this one's coming back. Block in the back on Boykin. That was a play that could have turned the game around and didn't even look like it was crucial to the run. Instead Georgia sets up at the 24 with 11:20 to play.
-- Green takes a quick outlet pass and runs for 9. That's just the fifth catch by a WR today for Georgia, all by Green and Moore.
-- Shane Jarka hits Cox, who fumbles. Oklahoma State recovers at the Georgia 32. That's a back-breaker.
(UPDATED, forth quarter, 6:06 remaining)
-- Justin Blackmon missed a catch but a (very) questionable personal foul call set up a first down at the 18 for Okie State. I guess hitting someone in the shoulder pads is considered unnecessary in the Big 12.
-- Robinson to Dez Bryant for a 12-yard TD. That might be the icing for Oklahoma State. Cowboys 24, Georgia 10. (32 yards, 4 plays, 2:27)
-- You simply can't overcome turnovers. The D has had a great game, but Okie State has had three short drives for scores. The only drive over 32 yards involved the one big play to Bryant. The offense has done the D no favors today.
-- Branden Smith takes it out from 6 yards deep in the end zone again, but this time he gets back to the 20.
-- I think it would be pretty easy right now to say that Georgia really misses Knowshon and Stafford, and there's no doubt that's true. But I honestly wonder how much of a difference they might have made? Cox hasn't been awful, but he just hasn't had a receiving threat to compliment A.J. Samuel has run the ball really well. But two turnovers and a lack of any production from the WRs outside of Green have made it tough going.
-- Tavarres King comes up with a catch, a 4-yard gain to set up second-and-11.
-- Cox had Aron White dead on down the middle of the field, and White couldn't haul it in. That was killer.
-- Cox throws to Moore a bit high, but catchable. Instead it sails through Moore's hands. Again, I say, no one has done Joe Cox any favors today.
That'll do it for the live blog for today. I'll have notes posted after the game with all the rest of the details.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Greetings from T-Bone Pickens Stadium. A few (very) early thoughts...