Saturday, October 31, 2009


As Richt even alluded to in a press conference not too long ago, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. As much as I'm sure there will be some coach bashing after UGA embarrassed themselves against FU (again) giving up 41 points (again), that wasn't the problem. It was discipline, plain and simple.
The refs are not going to be helping UGA for a long time, and FU gets away with a lot. I though for sure Penn Wagers would be officiating this game, but when I saw him calling something in the Auburn/Ole Miss game, I thought we might actually have a chance. Richt got in their ear a little bit, but it wasn't enough. What's maybe not so crazy is that Florida had the perfect gameplan: sit back, do their thing, and watch us implode. They played well, particularly on special teams, but they didn't have to beat us. They did, but we helped take care of that ourselves.
I hope the seniors enjoyed the black helmets and black pants. We're going to catch hell and ridicule for it as a desparation move. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. It was fun, but considering the weather that we were about to be facing, you have to think it was the wrong thing to do. Black absorbs heat, right?
A final word about the coaches. There's going to be a lot of talk about how bad the coaching was. Florida came out running a different offense, heavy on misdirection that was eating us up for their first two drives, but noticeably, Marinez made the proper adjustment and we started holding them. Bobo and company had the run offense going, inexplicably against the best defense in the country. The playcalling was 90% effective, subject to execution. The special teams play was there. Good kickoffs, decent coverage, even success in the directional kick.
This game was yet another in the many implosions we've seen this season. Penalty after penalty, and many of them couldn't have come at worse times. Joe Cox is a gunslinger, but like the dude in Top Gun said: "Son, your ego's writing checks your body just can't cash." I have not doubt about his heart as a DGD. But for every brilliant flash, we've seen at least as much that is inexplicable. 3 interceptions, and he has yet to have a game where he doesn't throw a pick. The attempted throw aways that go to a defender for an easy pick. The pressure that he never sees and gets plowed. The wide open receiver that he doesn't throw to, opting instead for the guy in quadruple coverage. As good as some of the blocking was, you can point out just as many blown assignments that have just about gotten Cox killed.
This loss won't be about bad scheme or playcalling. This was about bad decisions and lack of discipline. I don't know who to pin that one on, and frankly I don't care. The bottom line for me is that since 1991, we've beaten UF 3 times. Got that? 3. Despite 2 coaching changes since I graduated from high school, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. I'm tired of coming up with commentary or suggestions. I just know that whatever we're doing now isn't working, and it would be insanity to think that a different result would come from doing the same thing over. And over.

Don't send the lifeboat. I'm going down with the ship, wallowing and basking in the masochism and perpetual self-inflicted misery that appears to be mandatory to be a Georgia football fan. If only the black and gold nerds could beat the white and gold nerds tonight in the game down the street (GT vs Vandy).

Halloween-UGA vs FU

Nothing to say other than I'm dressing as an eternal optimist. That's right, I'm a UGA fan that thinks we can win today!

GO DAWGS!!!!!!! HBTD, GATA!!!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Filet mignon with sauce Bernaise

Filet mignon, one of the most coveted pieces of meat, is awesomely tender, but low on flavor. That's probably why you see it served with sauce just about everywhere you go. Almost uniformly, the sauce is based on some fat emulsion because fat provides an irreplacable combination of flavor and mouthfeel.

Filet mignon with sauce Bernaise

Bernaise sauce is an augmentation of Hollandaise sauce adding shallot, herbs like chervil and tarragon, white wine, and white wine vinegar. Hollandaise sauce, in its purest form, is an emulsion of butter and egg yolks. It's like mayonnaise made with butter instead of oil. The technique to make it is different because to get butter in liquid form, it takes heat, and heat scrambles eggs.

For the filet, dry well, lightly oil and season as you wish with dry ingredients. Salt and pepper are really all you need, but you can put other stuff on there.
Sear in a heavy-bottom pan over high heat, open your windows or turn on your hood ventilation system. My preference is rare to medium rare.
Take the filet out, set it aside and let it rest on a wire rack about 5-10 minutes, save the juice if there is any. This should be made to order, and will take about 10 minutes total, depending on whether you already have them seasoned and your pan is ready to go. The reason to rest meat on a rack (particularly with a temperature sensitive meat like filet) is to prevent steam from being trapped on one side (the down side on the plate) and either overcooking or cooking unevenly.

For the sauce, get your Hollandaise setup with a simmering sauce pan of water, ice bath in the sink, and a non-reactive mixing bowl, preferably steel or something that will cool quickly.
Mince 1 tbsp of shallot, put in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of white wine (dry preferable over sweet) and white wine vinegar. Reduce by at least 1/2. That's your augmentation, although I didn't have the herbs. Since I was serving with salad (and I didn't have chervil), I left it out.
Strain and add that to your melted butter (about 1.5 to 2 sticks, yeah, no joke) and keep it warm.
Take 3 egg yolks, a little salt, a little pepper, 1 tbsp of lemon juice +/- 1/2 tbsp of water and whisk in your steel bowl. Dice up a couple of tbsp of cold butter and add to the egg yolks. Put this over your simmering water and start whisking. If it gets too hot, take it off heat. If you don't use the double boiler techique, you could really get it too hot, and that's where the ice bath comes in handy to cool it quickly. Curiously, the melting butter can look a little like scrambled eggs, but don't be dissuaded- press on! When you're done with this part, you should have a nice sticky yellow goo at the bottom of your pan.

To this you'll emulsify the melted butter/shallot-wine-wine vinegar reduction, slowly at first (drop by drop) until you get it started, then faster towards the end until you get the consistency you want. The only thing I can say about the consistency is that you want smooth and creamy like a salad dressing as opposed to thick like mayo. Check the Julia Childs instructions on classic Hollandaise for full instructions including bail out tips if you screw it up.

A little time consuming, but the ingredients are pretty cheap. Done that way, it's worth about 20-30 bucks per plate at the restaurant if you can even find it.
Below I've served it with sweet potato gnocchi and a basic green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

From Drop Box

Ridin' on empty: roux part deux

Just as a follow up to MAB's post, I wanted to put up some pictures of a roux that we made for a recent gumbo. If you'll recall the Seinfeld episode when Kramer and the guy from the car lot drove the demo until it ran out of gas, it's like that. Go until you can't stand it, then go a little more. "I've never felt so alive!"

For roux ingredients, you have some choices. It's going to be about equal parts by weight of flour and fat (butter, oil, or animal fat), and the amount will vary on how much you're going to make. A rough estimate is about 1-2 oz of fat to each quart of final product. I used either a 5.5 qt or 8qt enameled cast iron dutch oven and it's pretty full. For that, I used a whole stick of unsalted butter, and I added flour to it until it had the consistency of something between heavy cream and pudding. Clarified butter might be better, but requires an extra step. I heated it up until it was barely bubbling, stirring the whole while for about 20-30 minutes, maybe longer.

White Roux
From Drop Box

Blond Roux

From Drop Box

Brown Roux
From Drop Box

Brick Roux/Dark Brown Roux

From Drop Box

It goes really slowly, then it goes really quick, as depicted above. That's why you have to hover because there's a fine line between perfect vs burnt and ruined. Rurnt. Also remember that it will continue to cook when you add the veggies.
The color should be more like chocolate sauce before you throw the trinity veggies in (onion, celery, green pepper). Throw the veggies in and give them a few minutes to soften, then add the stock. From there, add the meat in reverse order of cooking time. Whatever you can find in the bayou or the ditch out back will do. While you're at it, throw some alligator meat in. I don't think I've seen any recipes without Andouille sausage.

Final notes
  1. The roux provides taste, color, and thickening. Using a reduction method would require several gallons of stock and a lot of time, but could be done. Add okra if you can, because okra does the same with regard to thickening. Finally, file' powder is added just prior to serving which has an interesting aromatic flavor, but also is a thickening agent. In the end, the consistency is up to you, but the thicker the better. Think stew, not soup.
  2. Oil-based roux is a little easier to work with because butter burns so easily. You can also work with it at higher temperature than you can the butter based roux.
  3. The darker the roux, the less the thickening, the more the flavor. If you want to go really dark, you'll need more roux to get the same thickening.
  4. Black flecks=burned=throw it out, start over. Those burned pieces will make it taste awful. The flavor of the dark roux will be something like toasted chocolate coffee. With butter!
  5. The gumbo "base" is made when you soften your veggies and add stock and aromatics. From there it's a matter of adding the meat. You can stop at this stage, simmer for an hour or two, depending on how meticulous you were with your stock.
  6. The next time I make it, I'm going to sautee the uncooked meats and add them with the cooking liquor/pan sauce towards the end. Again, the better the stock is to start with, the less you have to rely on the added meats to provide an extra layer of flavor.
  7. Adding beer is fine, but it's probably a cheat to make the gumbo look darker. Think Abita Turbo Dog or Guinness, not Miller Lite.
  8. Does the technique of making a roux then adding a flavorful stock sound familiar? It should because it's the basis of bechamel/veloute'. Gumbo is a veloute' (roux + stock) based on a dark roux with Cajun/Creole veggies and meats, served over rice. Cajun style is dark, Creole is a little lighter, don't forget the tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dinner party with the Newmans

Danny and Meredith dropped in last Saturday for a dinner party/wine tasting at our house. I made 4 simple dishes, all of which were quite good. The 3 appetizer types will definitely be featured time and again at future JW-led events.

1. Salmon cornets ala the French Laundry, super easy, damn good. Cheated on the cornets and bought these crunchy little pastry cups from the Fresh Market. I actually preferred these to the overly buttery cornets that Keller makes.

2. Ceci bruschetta, the amuse buche that Batali serves at Babbo... Since there was only 4 people, I actually used the $250 basalmic Jennifer bought me for Christmas last year...decadent.

3. Zucchini crudo salad...details on Ruhlman's blog. This is wonderful, please try it!

The main dish was a pan-seared grass fed petit filet topped with a bacon/mushroom/red wine demi with pan-roasted white asparagus.

Had a bit much to drink, so the main dish could have probably been prepared better. I made ala minute after course 3 and after 6 glasses of the vino.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Tore My Rotator Cuff Making Roux

I tore my rotator cuff making roux
The whisks were more than a few
It cooked for an hour
I required a shower
To clean my sausage for the stew.

I’ve attempted, successfully I might add, to make a gumbo on only three occasions. The first two were magnificent. The third (last week), was acceptable, but not up to my expectations. The first two were for tailgating at Georgia games, and included some interesting ingredients. The last was during the family mountain trip on the night assigned to Laura and me for dinner. I got no complaints from the adults, but I was completely disappointed with the final product.

The History
Round 1, I made a stock with chicken, whole crawfish, and shrimp shells, along with the customary root vegetables (onion, leeks, carrots), peppercorns, bay leaves, and thyme. It was a 4-hour stock, and was delicious. For the gumbo, I included chicken, andouille sausage, and some quail that my good buddy Danny Newman shot. Quite good.

Round 2 involved making a brown chicken stock (chicken browned in the oven and then simmered on the range with leeks, carrots, onions, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns) and a seafood stock (shrimp shells and crab leg shells). The gumbo included chicken, andouille sausage, crawfish tails (meat only), and alligator sausage. Again, this was good.

Round 3 involved the same brown chicken stock above, no seafood stock was used. The gumbo included chicken and andouille, both of which were browned in the oven. Here’s where I made the mistake. In round one and two, the chicken was brown, but the sausage was not. I was using an unfamiliar stove, and left the sausage to brown while I had a glass of wine and walked to the nearby raging river (this was in the TN mountains) to relax. We came back early to check the sausage only to realize it was overcooked. I knew better than to leave it, but needed to relax for a while. Lesson Learned: Never leave your sausage unattended (I know – “that’s what she said!”).

Now, about that roux. I make roux scared. Not that I scare the roux. It scares me, cause I’ve read too many gumbo recipes that say “if ya see black specks while makin’ yer roux, throw that mess out – iss dun burnt up.” Since I like the dark variety, it takes quite a while on low(er) heat. I could crank it up and get it done in about 25 minutes. On low(er) it takes close to an hour. Hence the rotator cuff incident. When “they” say stir constantly, “they” ain’t kiddin’. You never put your whisk down. Or your roux paddle. Yeah, I never heard of one either. There's a crawfish paddle and a gumbo paddle too. BS if you ask me, but here's a link if you are interested -
My roux has a wonderful nutty aroma and flavor, and has the color of the bottom of the Guinness foam layer, just before it hits the liquid layer. It has lost most of its thickening power at this point, but it adds a wonderful flavor to the gumbo. Without it, Round 3 would have been hassenpfeffer without the rabbit.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Surf and surf: tuna and scallops with an asian twist

Check PBS, Eric Ripert (famed chef of Le Bernardin in NYC) has a new show out entitled "Avec Eric." The first episode I saw is mostly gushing over a local garden and it restaurant in California where s**t like that can happen. I'd wager to guess that it's not that feasible in Missouri, Tennessee, or Georgia for that matter.
The good part of the show is that at the end, he demonstrates his cooking technique for various cuts of seafood, and let me just say that there are few in this country that can rival the technique. If you watched Top Chef last season (and if you didn't you should have if you are interested in cooking) the contestants went to his restaurant in NYC, tasted his dishes, and the challenge was to reproduce them as best they could. We do that all the time, but this was on an incredibly different level.
Digression: Ripert demonstrated a slightly Asian style of cooking salmon that looked awesome. He demonstrated that making a marinade was not about making emulsion, it's a broken sauce with fat on top (oil).
His recipe called for salmon marinated in soy sauce, ginger, and olive oil, seared on the "flat top" (his stove top searing station) over peas and pea shoots with a sauce based on the marinade. Salmon didn't look as good as the tuna today, and we were in the mood for some scallops, so what the heck.

"Avec Eric" surf and surf (tuna and scallops)

Tuna: fresh 3/4 pound steak
Scallops: 1 pound of U6 (about 6 total)
3 bunches of baby bok choy

Marinade for tuna
brunoise of ginger, about 1/2 cup
1/2 and 1/2 soy sauce and EVOO to just cover fish in a tight dish
**lay off the salt, the soy sauce probably has all you'll need

**(see problem below) Marinade for scallops
Yuzu and olive oil, same ratio and coverage as before
salt, pepper to taste

To cook with:
Sautee pan for both. This will be a future post: what pan should I cook ____ with? These fish are best when they stay cold until cooked, and they need a heavy pan that holds high heat and won't cool off when fresh cold fish is applied. Oil or fat well (use EVOO or butter or a mixture of both, up to you!), and bring to at least medium high heat.

**Problem!!! The marinade for the scallops was the wrong thing to do. Why? Well, it made the scallops "wet" and the wet surface=no browning. It doesn't matter because they cooked properly thanks to raging high heat, but they didn't brown the way I had intended. In retrospect it would have been better to dry them well, season with pepper only, and then sear the heck out of 'em. They were still tasty, but could have been better. Lesson learned.

The tuna was first, I seared it like crazy on the cast iron griddle on my stove top. It worked great, but splattered EVERYWHERE and I probably will never use it again for that. 2-3 minutes per side, give about 2-3 mm of doneness on each side (just look at the thing), and take it off rare. This you can do, of course, because you got a respectable piece of fish. If they're putting artificial color in your fish to make it look hot pink, don't buy it.

Scallops second, again over as high of a heat as you can stand. The temperature for both fish is rare to medium rare. Again, both fish should be good enough to eat raw if it came down to it, so any sear you put on it is just to create Maillard reaction.

Set the meat aside to rest, it's done most of it's job.
Reserve marinade (or make some anew) from the tuna, strain out the ginger if you haven't already. This is going to be your sauce.

Take the bunches of baby bok choy, cut the leaves off, preserving as much of the stem as you like, and put in a hot skillet with some of the scallop marinade, wilting until bright green. Takie it off heat, and plate immediately.

To finish, it's bok choy, tuna on top, scallops on the side, and then provide a layer of sauce on the bottom to finish.

**Note about bok choy: it's like a lettuce with a charred poblano pepper flavor. I couldn't swear that I could have placed the flavor until today, but it's a nice twist, should go well with anything Asian you're trying to do.

From Drop Box

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick recipe: caprese consommee

The summer's officially over when there's frost on my car. More's the pity, but it doesn't mean that I can't still pine away for it. This is a soup recipe that requires a little technique and some cool flavor combinations put together in a way that I hadn't previously thought of or eaten anywhere.

Caprese consommee

2-3 quarts of chicken stock, skimmed and defatted. I made this chicken stock with some left over chicken parts (carcass) from a couple of whole birds that I smoked and pulled the meat from. It was basically just a big stock pot with the chicken parts and mire poix, bay leaves, and bouquet garni. I let it simmer for about 4 hours, skimming the crud off of it all the while, and chilled in the fridge to solidify the fat which I was able to strain off before the clarification process.

Clarification (making the consommee)
I think there's been a previous post in here before about the process, but it basically takes egg whites which you temper and add back to the stock. Bring to a boil, whisking the whole time to keep from just simply poaching the egg whites, and it miraculously will clear the solid components. The alternative is to add some mire poix ingredients to help give the solids something to cling so that it will form a "raft." That's not necessary, but it makes it a little easier.
To this I added a bunch of basil leaves from the garden, the last of the season to infuse it with that flavor as the base of what we were doing. That's really it, the rest is garnish.

I found some water packed mozzerrella at the grocery store and rinsed them so they would give off too much cloudy fluid. If you're going to all the trouble of making consommee, don't let anything make it cloudy. To this I added just enough balsamic vinegar to give it color, some diced fresh tomato and small chiffonade of basil just to reinforce it.

From Drop Box

Backing off the ledge. A little. UGA over Vandy!

In the coldest October game that I can remember going to, UGA came to my backyard and once again bullied the class nerd. Vandy had called for a "Blackout" but stuff like that only happens when the stadium is at capacity (it wasn't), most of the fans are pulling for the home team (they weren't), your fan base is all on the same page (not even close).

Notable points about Saturday that we noticed from our seats:

  1. Vandy-UGA is typically Vandy's homecoming. But there are a whole bunch of UGA fans in Nashville, and the stadium was full of red. If you haven't been to this game, it's a lot of fun!
  2. Mike Bobo was calling plays from the sideline. First time I've ever seen that from him. A change needed to be made, and it was a step in the right direction.
  3. Joe Cox is really up and down. I imagine he's really thankful that a guy named A.J. Green is on his team, because if not, UGA's 2-5 at best this year, and Logan Gray is our quarterback.
  4. Speaking of Logan Gray, the one punt I saw him back for he didn't fair catch, instead trying to return it for -2 yards. Huh?
  5. Boykin is incredible as a kick returner and is improving in pass coverage.
  6. UGA's defense played with a lot of fire, laying big hit after big hit. The TV coverage didn't really show it that well.
  7. Any enthusiasm about the running game should be cautious at best. About half of our yards came after the game was out of reach.
  8. Munzenmaier did his best Herschel impression, plowing a defender inside the 10 to go rumbling into the endzone for a touchdown.
  9. One reason Drew Butler has the longest punting average in the country has got to be because of where he's kicking from. We still go three and out way too often, and he's usually kicking from his side of the 50. I don't how to look that up.
  10. The kickoff coverage was vastly improved. Although, it was Vandy, not LSU or Florida.
  11. Vandy either doesn't allow us to bring our full band, or we just don't. They also don't dress up in their typical Redcoat uniforms. Weird.

One last note: we went out and hit Broadway Saturday night and I saw one of the most unbelievable things I've ever seen from a live band. The majority of the patronage was UGA fans, out carousing and having fun. The band started asking for money to play requests. When no one made any requests, they said they were going to play Rocky Top unless someone paid them not to. They played it, we screamed and cursed and left. Unbelievable. I guess that's what I get for living in Tennessee.

Staring in to the abyss

The UT loss was one of the lowest points of the Richt era, without much question. JW and I have talked about it on many occasions, and I agree that at some level, it was an important loss in terms of recruiting and losing grip on the East. When UGA began their successful run with Richt, we all knew that a major hurdle was getting over the UT bug and putting ourselves in position to beat Florida. Whether we did it or not frankly would be the difference between getting into the SEC championship game which you must do in order to have a shot at the whole enchilada or not, assuming that you can hold everyone else off.
Losing ground to UT is part of the standard deviation, but it's a dangerous time for Georgia. Tennessee has done all it can to buy their way back into contention with their coaching staff, and is going to expect a near immediate return on the investment. Kiffin himself swore to his players and said they would never lose to Georgia as long as he was the coach.
The coaching staff has heard just about everything this past week, so there's really not much else to say except that we're worried and we want to know what's going to be done to fix the problems that this team invents for itself week after week.

My question is this: do the coaches know what's wrong?

In a previous post I included a quote from an LSU player who basically said what we've known all along: we're easily predictable. Everyone has the formula for how to beat us. Take this quote from Crompton in the Banner-Herald:

"We got the right plays because we knew what they were going to do," Crompton said.

I can't help but think that everyone involved in this game prepares for the other team and looks at film, tendencies, patterns, anything that you can to come up with a game plan. But what do you do when that game plan fails? There's got to be a plan B, and personally, I don't feel like we've been able to implement that. I'm not one of these that is begging Van Gorder to come back, but I will say that everyone knew they had better get their points against us in the first half, because his second half adjustment was going to clamp them down. "He ALWAYS makes an adjustment," is a quote I often heard from UGA fans with regard to BVG.

Stubbornness. Failure to admit that the current strategy isn't working and changing it. Is that our problem?

Monday, October 5, 2009


Like any close game that your team loses, all you can think about is "what if?" The unsportsmanlike penalty didn't help, but could hardly be blamed as the sole reason for UGA losing an all-out war on Saturday night. Sometimes the other team just makes a play, and LSU definitely did. The frustrating thing is that we've seen flashes of brilliance from this team that exceeded our expectations, and we dared to dream a little bit. But we as fans have only done that because we had faith in the leadership surrounding the team as well as the players, that they would somehow find a way to compete. And to see them make the same mistakes over and over again is eternally frustrating.
Rex Robinson had one of the most insightful posts I've ever read about this. If you're interested, check it out here at Roughing the Kicker. There's a level of stubbornness that I think we're seeing from this coaching staff that needs an intervention. Is Damon Evans going to be able to do that?

The main problems that appear to be facing this team are:

  1. Kickoff/punt returns and coverage, to be fair mostly kickoffs. Is this is a coaching problem? If so, who's responsible for that?
  2. Running game. Richt thinks it's his players more than it is the line, and how can anyone argue? Knowshon got a lot more production out of what was considered an inferior line, despite Sturdivant's injury. Maybe we overrated our line because Knowshon was just that elusive.
  3. Player productivity. We've got some "superstars" out there that look absolutely lost. One thing we'll probably never know as fans is how the coaches can increase productivity with anything other than tyranny. Recruiting shouldn't be a major issue because we've consistently had highly rated classes. Is this coaching? Is it personnel? We may never know, but I think it's safe to assume that coaching plays a significant role because these players develop quite a bit during college. But we all recall great teams of the early 2000's that couldn't catch a pass if their life depended on it. Do we just always play tight because we're pressing? Is the fanbase, press, coaching staff creating that type of environment that the players can't just get out there and play? Even Richt said in his press conference that this particular team seems to need a spark before they can get going.
  4. We're getting outschemed. This is wholly on the shoulders of the coaches. Joe Cox was off, and that didn't help. But John Chavis has been around for years, and he knew exactly what we were going to do. We broke a few big plays off in the 4th quarter, and AJ is AJ. When we're wrong on our scheme, we can't adjust. Bobo seems like he gets into a little bit of panic when stuff isn't working and starts throwing anything out there that he can. It's like there's not an alternative plan, or any anticipation that the defense may have figured out that we run play action out of the I. Guess what, PA pass doesn't work unless you can run, and we can't. I'd love to hear what the coaches said about this, but the first half, it looked we were doing the same thing over and over, and it wasn't working, but we couldn't adjust. 1 first down, but the biggest problems were coming on 1st down which got us into a 3rd and long almost every time. And just to take the suspense away, to all of UGA's opposing teams, if you see #1 on offense, it's a reverse. Why? Because that's all Bobo's called with him on the field, as best I can tell. We can also recall defensively that when Van Gorder was the DC, most teams got their points in the first half, and the defense always got tougher as the game went on because he adjusted well. I haven't seen much of that, but again, this game is not on the defense.

Again, these are the differences that are keeping us out of the top ten, which we could have been close to with one more win. I guess there's nothing left to do now but to take it out on UT and Vandy, let's hope we can...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pulpwood strikes again

If you've never seen any of these, they're pretty funny. It's the UGA/LSU preview courtesy of your favorite monk-e, Pulpwood Smith. Caution: profanity.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

LSU: how they see us. Also, a perspective on turnovers.

I thought this quote was pretty interesting:

"It's the same type of offense," said LSU linebacker Harry Coleman, who was a strong safety last year. "They show their hand. 'This is what we got, so stop it.' They haven't changed, pretty much. I-backfield, play-action pass. That's what they do."
Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Do you agree with that or not? It basically implies that the Dawgs don't really scheme, and we never customize our look based on our opponent. It also seems to illustrate the mentality of "We've got better players than you do, so there's no way you can't stop us." Which is what won games at FSU in the heyday, but it doesn't work anymore. Anywhere. The rest is about matchup and being as unpredictable as possible.

The article later goes on to describe how LSU's top defensive back typically only plays one side of the field, not a particular player. I don't think that's what the NFL does, is it? When you have Champ Bailey, wouldn't you put him on their best receiver as long as you're in man coverage?

As a side note, I feel like I can't be critical of what happens anymore, because there's so much more to the story than we ever hear about. Whether it's Martinez making us pull our hair out so we all look like him, Bobo and the random number generator, or Richt saying "Aw, shucks..." it's hard to be too hard on these guys because we really don't know what goes on play by play, or for that matter, day by day unless you're a beat writer and you know all of these guys personally. You only see the result of thought process, but you rarely if ever get the thought process itself.

The final thing I'll say is this. Harp all you want about the turnover ratio. Absolutely, it's an unsustainable model for continued victory. BUT...we've all seen games where an upset was about to occur, and the underdog made a mindless turnover (Michigan State vs Notre Dame this season, Vandy vs UGA 2 years ago) that cost the game. Turnovers are like finding lost money in the street. You don't want to just throw dollar bills out the window, that's crazy. And you may find one now and again. But, if your quality of life centers around found money, that ain't no way to live either. LSU is currently 5th in the country in turnover margin with a +7. UGA is 115th at -9. Out of 120. All I'm saying is that we're fortunate to have the record we have considering how we've tried to lose EVERY game we've played, and almost have. Turnovers then become a surrogate measurement of luck, then.

  1. It's best to be lucky AND good.
  2. On any given day, it's better to be lucky than good.
  3. Over the course of a season, luck may run out so it may be better to be good than lucky.
  4. Bad and unlucky usually mean "Wait 'til next year!" which should be the official motto of the University of South Carolina.
I hope we're at worst #3. Saturday will be telling.