Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recovery through music: Your badge is right here

Well I've told you how a life goes up and down,
don't you notice how the wheel goes round?
And you better pick yourself up from off the ground,
before they bring the curtain down.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Coaches teach execution, right?

This is just ridiculous:
Those kind of miscues—along with the high snap on the punt and giving up a fake field goal—again bring up the issue of whether Georgia should have a special teams coordinator. 
“Whether you have a special teams coordinator or not, you’ve got to field the punt, you’ve got to snap the ball, you’ve got to catch the snap,” Richt said. “What does that have to do with whether you’ve got a special teams coordinator or not? It’s just things we’ve got to be able to execute, the basic fundamentals of it. Those guys are very capable and I do have faith that we can get the job done. We’ve got the ability, we’ve just got to be consistent in that way.”
Why have a quarterback coach? I mean, it's just a matter of Aaron Murray executing, and he's very capable. Why have a wide receivers coach? What, is he going to to teach them to have four hands?

For that matter, why have a head coach? Do we need a coaching staff at all? Just think what the athletic association's reserve fund would look like if you cut all those salaries.

You don't think we need one? Fine. But don't act like it doesn't make sense to ask.



A hard rain did a-gonna fall

Consider the preseason question answered.

Yes.

Friday, August 23, 2013

PreSeason Ponder: Is a hard rain a-gonna fall?

I say, "maybe," but I've been known to be an optimist about these things.



Friday, March 22, 2013

perfect speed, my Jarvis

I suspect many of you, as a child, read a book called Jonathan Livingston Seagull, about a bird who wanted to learn everything he could about perfect flight and speed.

There's a line in that book that stuck with me: "Perfect speed, my son, is being there."

And that's what popped into my head when I read that Jarvis Jones ran a 4.9 40 at pro day.

I never thought Jarvis was fast, because I have eyes. But he is always at the ball, and I can't explain it, nor do I care to.

He doesn't have a start speed. There's no top speed. He is like water flowing well before the snap, through the path of least resistance to the ball. He is simply there.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Manti Te'o: Failed journalism, failed priorities

I am, of course, not qualified to talk to you about what did and didn't happen to Manti Te'o. Certainly I'm incredulous. Surely there's some amount of stupid and some amount of lying involved on his part, and probably Notre Dame's, and the question is simply how much of each.

But, then, we haven't heard directly yet from Te'o in the wake of this. As a newspaper reporter I've gone into plenty of interviews thinking "guilty ... almost certainly guilty" and left thinking "not so fast, that person made good points."

So it is important to reserve judgment, something we all need a reminder of from time to time. And this, is a big one. It is exceedingly important in life to keep an open mind.

Clearly, repeated journalistic failings have been exposed at the highest levels of sports reporting. Pete Thamel, for goodness sakes, has written for The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, and he screwed up in a way that will attach itself to the rest of his career.

That makes me angry. The lack of mea culpas out there so far from these reporters intensify the feeling.

But I must keep an open mind until hearing from them, as well. And, as a reporter for 15 years, I see clearly how this happens, even to very good reporters.

The truth is there's a rarely problematic hole in the typical journalistic process. If I interview a guy on the street about the news of the day, I don't ask for his driver's license when he spells his name for me. If I call a policy expert that I've never met and leave a message, I don't question whether it's really him or her when I get a call back.

So why wouldn't you believe a guy, who seems like a fine kid, when he says he has a girlfriend? He's Manti freaking Te'o, Notre Dame All American, made legend through some combination of effort and media myth. Those guys have girlfriends if they want them.

But here's the thing: If you care about this young woman, this supposed actual person who was in a car wreck, then got leukemia, then lay dying - if you care about her for any reason other than she was dating Manti Te'o, you reach out for her family. You call a friend.

You ask them for details - something you should double-source anyway, given the nature of memory in traumatic situations. Even if Manti Te'o tells you the family doesn't want to talk, you try. And you say, "your daughter/sister/friend is going to be a major part of a national news story. We publish Wednesday."

But she wasn't the story, even though her role in it was perhaps its most compelling element. Te'o was the story because he could tackle, and he played for Notre Dame. She was just his girlfriend.

Think, for a moment, about the priorities evident in that.

Then think about how they might apply to this situation. Or this one.

Postscript: Major kudos to Timothy Burke, Jack Dickey and Deadspin on this story. Yeah, there was some anonymous sourcing in it I'm not real comfortable with, but they did what they felt was right to present things as they found them, and with an effort (which I expect will fail) to protect the privacy of whoever's picture was used as Lennay Kekua's.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

You want to impress me? Beat Florida.

Until then, I feel like this: How did we ever win six?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I come neither to bury Richt, nor defend him

Only to ask a hypothetical question:

If David Greene throws that pass just a little lower versus Florida in 2002 (or Terrence Edwards times things just a little better and catches it), and the Dawgs play for the National Title that year instead of Ohio State or Miami ...

and ...

Matthew Stafford hits that wheel route versus South Carolina in 2007, and a Dawgs team firing on all cylinders gets to the SEC Title game against LSU, despite a ridiculous loss to Tennessee (and maybe plays Ohio State, again, for a National Title) ...

how does that change our conversations today, and in the recent past, concerning Coach Richt and the state of our program?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

To the players whose homes were egged

"Judas!"
"I don't believe you. You're a liar. Play fucking loud."

It must be distinctly depressing to come home after getting your butt kicked and find your house egged and rolled, presumably by angry Dawg fans expressing their disappointment with you for sucking.

I'm not sure who all's houses got hit, but Christian Robinson said his did, and if memory serves me, Aaron Murray is one of his roommates. I hope some of your teammates came by to help clean up, or better yet, all of your teammates and a bunch of fans as well.

Because we are, most assuredly, all in this together. But only if we will be.

There are a few responses to something like this. We need focus on only one.


Start about the 50 second mark.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pathetic, or something like it

With apologies to Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard and pretty much every Dawg fan who had to watch that game.



Initially my one and only thought about this game was "pathetic." But somewhere between the sorriness of the third quarter and the inevitability of the fourth, I began to grasp a sense of nuance about a game that surely marks one of the true low points, from a single-game point of view, of the Richt era.

Tonight was 2008 Alabama bad, without the second half attempted comeback. The better team - the better team by a wide margin - won. But we played poorly.

Our offensive line looked like we should have expected at the start of the season. Our defense is inexplicably mediocre. Aaron Murray is getting harder to defend against the people who say he can't win the big games. I'm not one to bash play calling, but running out of the shotgun against one of the nation's most athletic fronts, on the goal line and elsewhere, strikes me as stupid.

So all around a fairly sorry game, not so much in effort (although the fourth quarter made me question that as well), but in execution.

Long season still to go. Still a good chance South Carolina takes a couple of losses in SEC play. We have a week off. Then Kentucky. Then we damn well better beat Florida, or you can start hoping about 2013.

What we had here tonight was a two-Merle-Haggard song loss. Wake up, Bulldogs. In hindsight, you were bound to lose tonight against a good South Carolina team that came out loaded for bear and ready to go. But you also played like shit. I'd prefer you learn, one of these days, to play like champions.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Malcolm Mitchell's place

During last night's game, when I wasn't just generally losing my mind over the widespread ridiculousness on display, I found myself wondering where Malcolm Mitchell's proper place is in our lineup.

After we pushed the ball to him early on offense, he disappeared, other than to make another bad punt return decision. Meanwhile our receiving corps doesn't seem to need his help. Tavarres King and Michael Bennett are making plays, and we've got Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten as the next options at wideout.

Not too shabby.

Now, obviously Mitchell is talented enough to crack right back into that lineup and play a prominent roll. I hate it for whoever that costs time, but that's football, and we're running enough four and even five wide sets to get everyone snaps.

But ask yourself: Do you feel more comfortable about Rantavious Wooten / Marlon Brown as the third receiver on the field, or about Branden Smith as one of your starting corners?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I'm sure there are things to worry about, but I don't see them

I'm trying hard not to judge too much on a Vanderbilt game, or any of our other early season games for that matter. But, damn, that looked like a complete team last night.

The offense looked like it was entering juggernaut territory. The defense showed more than enough nasty to beat Vanderbilt. We get our last few starters back, and I expect we'll be solid favorites for every game between now and the SEC Title game.

I don't know that I've ever seen a stronger early season performance from The Dawgs, with the possible exception of 2003, when we opened so strong against Clemson and South Carolina, only to fall short against LSU.

I'd still like to feel great about the offensive line. Freshmen kickers aren't ideal. I anticipate development along the defensive line to further compliment Jarvis Jones.

But we seem to have a playmaker, or playmakers, at every level of the defense. We have a strong and balanced offense and an experience quarterback. I believe, for the first time in a long time, my expectations for the Bulldogs were too low, and I'm very impressed with what we've seen so far.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bulldogs: Help bring GameDay to Montana

A request from Hoppy Hopkins, our man in Great Falls, Montana, which you now know to be a hotbed of UGA support:
There is a Facebook page pushing ESPN's College GameDay to come to Missoula, MT for the annual Cat/Griz game in November. College Game Day has never been to Montana. The Cats (Montana State) are currently #2 in the FCS poll and the Griz have a storied tradition as well. The nickname of this game is "The Brawl of the Wild" and it dates back over 100 years. Would you guys mind plugging the FB page on your blogs? I would just love to see GameDay come to Montana, and I know a big push from the Dawgnation would certainly boost the numbers for this cause.
Hoppy is correct, College GameDay has never been to Montana. Let's keep this newly confirmed Georgia-Montana connection going. Go like that Facebook page and help bring Gameday to Montana Nov. 17.

There are no obvious GameDay-type games on the schedule that date, with the potential exceptions of Oklahoma/West Virginia and Oregon/Stanford, so this can absolutely happen, depending how the season plays out. Let's get behind Montana on this, because Bulldog Nation loves Montana, and Montana loves the Bulldogs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Montana Project

I suspect most of you have already seen The Senator's post today on the results of The Montana Project.



I hope folks enjoy the video, and my thanks go out to Hoppy Hopkins and his team for a great job. I hope folks realize how time consuming it can be to edit a video like that, not to mention the time spent shooting.

When we conceived this idea there were a lot of folks asking to contribute financially. But primarily because of Hoppy and another Dawg in Montana (K. Shockley, who provided the helmet and covered shipping costs) there weren't really expenses worth spreading around.

But because I know the Bulldog Nation is a generous one, and because I believe ridiculous gestures should be paired with meaningful ones, I propose a way for Dawg fans to contribute to this effort, which is really  just about confirming and increasing UGA's reputation. Please join me in making a donation to a Montana-based charity.

Hoppy has suggested the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation, which works with the local schools in Great Falls, where he lives and where the video was shot. If you like, send them a check and write "From Montana's friends at the University of Georgia" in the "for" line. Their mailing address is:
Dave Crum, Community Connections Manager
c/o Foundation Donation
Great Falls Public Schools
1100 4th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59404
Hoppy says it's a worthy cause, helping students and teachers alike.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The season ends, or it gets interesting

Hyperbole?  Sure, a little. You can lose to Missourri and tell yourself it was all the suspensions, then  still win the SEC East. But you won't believe that in your heart, and it certainly won't get you through Atlanta with a win.

Given our expectations  this year, this game is as all or nothing as a conference opener gets, and we need a big game from the offense today. We need to buy time, and can't afford to trade losses for it.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gurley highlights, o-line a very big concern

Given that I had convinced myself in the last few weeks of the preseason, for about the 10th year straight, that the Dawgs really could win the SEC this year, I was disappointed in what I saw Saturday. Because that's not how Alabama handles its business week one.

It'd be nice if the administration would work to avoid noon games when it's 175 degrees, though. And Buffalo was not as bad as I was led to expect. There were good parts to that team, if not impressive ones.

Speaking of impressive: Todd Gurley is a beastman. Check this interview / highlights package in which Gurley, unprompted, references Herschel Walker, and it comes off as awesome.
 

It's a race between Gurley and Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon for freshman of the year, and I say that with no disrespect to Keith Marshall, who looks like he can get it done, too.

I'll leave specifics alone beyond that, except to hope Aaron Murray has discovered his long range touch for good this season, to be happy Rantavious Wooten is making plays, to note strong games from Tavarres King and Michael Bennett, and to hope the suspensions and injuries resolve themselves quickly.

Because that defense didn't look championship caliber to me, I don't care how many guys were out. And that offensive line performance ain't gonna cut it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dear Coach Richt: Don't shave your goatee

There is one, and only one, set of circumstances under which I'd advise someone to wear a goatee. And that set of circumstances is "Your evil twin is needed."

Coach Richt, your evil twin is needed. Do not shave your goatee.













See the difference? Get it done.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The clock just will not stop: Thinking of Munson

Thinking about Munson on a Sunday afternoon.

My favorite Munson call.

The man recorded a eulogy for himself.

Double Caprices point to pimptitude

I apologize for the soft focus here from my camera phone, but those are identical 1990ish Chevrolet Caprice Classics parked together at a house near my neighborhood. And I thought: You just know at least one badass lives there.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Richard Samuel as the punisher

We got offensive line problems, and Isaiah Crowell's departure, more than anything else this summer, just reminds me of them. And as much as I'm looking forward to seeing our freshman get in the mix, for me, hope's name is Richard Samuel. Says Mike Bobo:
“I know after the spring game he was running the ball and had some success running and he was like, ‘Don’t forget about me at tailback.’ He was punishing people and getting yards tough at the end of the game. He has a role for that.
I'm looking forward to more of this in 2012: