Friday, April 22, 2016

Kirby throws McGarity under Luda's bus

It's up for interpretation as to exactly what Coach Smart is referring to here...

Managing the information that gets out for public consumption? Or managing the control that entertainers have over the program when you're four days from an empty GDay promise and they've got you over a barrel?

Regardless, didn't take long for the administration's honeymoon after the Kirby's Home!! presser to end.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Three takeaways from #93KDay

It was a great day. Beautiful weather. And enough red to give Athens a true Fall Saturday feel in April. I love it!

A couple days to digest everything and read up on others' reactions, I wanted to add a couple thoughts.

First, the greatest thing to hear was that the former Lettermen were coming to Athens in droves as well. Mark Richt did amazing things to reach out to former players and the community as a whole. As a former player Smart has a deeper attachment though. Sounds like his colleagues are responding as well as anyone to him being back home.

Next, I think a tight end just caught another pass!!

And last, the bar has been set. As Fletcher Page wrote, it's on the suits to keep up with Kirby's vision.

Friday, April 15, 2016

GDay: Questions. Answers?

Stating the obvious, this spring game has a different feel. A buzz is in the air and I expect a record crowd tomorrow in Athens. Most everyone will try to crowd into Sanford for a glimpse at the rapper that bailed McG out, the pigskin slinger that should be at his prom in the northwest territories, and the coach that Mama called to come home.

Other than those new, shiny things, this will eventually be like any other spring game that provides more questions than actual answers. Unless Lambert takes a shotgun snap on first down and punts it into the Hedges while Ramsey wrestles Hairy in the northeast corner of the endzone, and Eason goes 10/12 for 250+ and a bomb to Godwin to win the game, we're not going to know who the starting quarterback against UNC will be until we hit Atlanta. (Pssstt, it'll be Eason...)

But, that doesn't mean there isn't much to glean from what we see tomorrow. Here's some things I'll be looking forward to observing on the field...
  • Quarterbacks. Specifically how much of Chaney's playbook each one seems to carry into the huddle.
  • Tight Ends. Do we have any on the roster this year?
  • Defensive Ends. Barnett was making moves before a sprained knee slowed his rise in the depth chart. Rochester looked to be a worthy beneficiary until WalMart sold him a BB gun. Considering Rivers is suspended for the first three games, who steps up? 
  • Running Back. Chubb is making inhuman strides, but we won't see him play tomorrow. We know what we have in Michel, so it will be interesting to see how Douglas and the younger ones pick up yards...and blitzes. (Pssstt, Crowder's number is 30.)
  • The coaches. Past GDays have been a relatively laid back affair. I'm expecting more intensity to trickle down from the top tomorrow. You don't urge the fans to fill the stadium for a glorified scrimmage without wanting to give them reason to stand up and get loud.
And most importantly (to me at least), offensive line play. Catalina gets here this summer to add some depth. Is Ben Cleveland game ready? Have last years starters bulked up? Do we at least look like we can develop some quality depth heading into the Fall?

If you're heading into town, have a great day in Athens. It's always nice to see the campus in the spring time, especially when you can also hear the crack of the pads 'tween the hedges!

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

We're gonna need some more dumpsters PAWWWLL!!

Wait, there's talk of SEC realignment? How long have I been hibernating?

That's just Gus being drunj Gus after $5 pitcher night on Toomers, right? 

I'm not ready for our property value to plummet that much. I mean, Muschamp ain't even finished unpacking (again) yet.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Fancy that, the Marching Band playing at halftime. We can argue about the pros and cons I guess. I'm not sure what the excitement was about for someone playing a couple songs at halftime in a stadium. It's not like my daughters would be able to even see that it was actually the Spice Girls (or insert whatever musical act gets your kids' toes a tappin') on stage. I'm fine listening to the Redcoats or whatever Beastie Boys songs ol' McGarity wants to play over the PA.

And that leads me to the truly sad part. Why did Greg allow this to get so out of control? Why mention the possibility if you don't have Chris Stapleton or Sturgill Simpson in your pocket already?

Because now:
  1. you look like an idiot, again.
  2. the fanbase is at least a little less excited about attending.
  3. the University's own band members will work hard to entertain whoever does show up and will just be looked at as second helpings.
And perhaps most importantly, there's at least an appearance that the administration is not as engaged in the idea of going in at all costs. In other words, #93KDay has lost some pizzazz. And that lies at the feet of the dudes in the suits, not the ones with the whistles.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"You'll shoot your eye out kid!"

So news broke of Julian Rochester and Chad Clay getting arrested on felony counts of having a weapon in a school zone and criminal damage to property, and we immediately wonder how Smart's Law Enforcement Jimmy Williamson Appreciation Day went so wrong.

But UGA emailed the press shortly after mentioning that it was a BB gun the two freshmen were toying with that lead to the trouble.

My first thought, did I ever have a BB gun while matriculating in Athens? Too long ago to remember. But connecting the dots in this story I'm sure if I did have one I never used it to shoot at something in between study sessions for Poli Sci 101.

My second thought leads to punishment. Smart said that details are still emerging. But you can expect Tracy Rocker is more than fed up about his defensive linemen getting into trouble. Hell, he may go so far as to make Rochester wear Aunt Clara's bunny suit on the sidelines against North Carolina.

Julian reflects on his Red Ryder
carbine-action, 200 shot, range model air
rifle with the compass in the stock.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

But were all scooters parked legally?

The biggest news from both practice and Coach Smart meeting with the media yesterday was that defensive end Michael Barnett will (likely) only miss the rest of the spring and should be able to recover from his knee injury (an MCL sprain) in time to compete when camp resumes this August.

But a lot was made of yesterday being Law Enforcement Appreciation Day and none other than UGA Police Vice Squad Chairman hisself Jimmy Williamson in attendance at the Dawgs' practice. One of Athens' worst kept secrets is that there was no love lost between Williamson and Richt. And although I believe there was much more resentment residing in the heart of the former's than there was the latter's, I certainly can't recall Richt inviting our city, campus and county's finest inside the arena.

I think the gesture was mostly about showing the players that these guys are to be respected and appreciated for what they do in our community. But I also think it had a little to do with the new sheriff in town. So chalk that up as one more thing Smart is doing differently in and around Butts-Mehre.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Smart Era and some paradigm shifts, part two

I know you haven't seen much of me around here lately. But remember when I asked back in January about the differences we should/could/would expect now that the Richt Era moved south for the Winter? Well, since many national expert shock jocks and writers have recently weighed in and singled UGA and Coach Smart out, maybe it's a good time to add to the list.

Transfers. In the recent past, most of the players that have left the program (of their own doing, not dismissed) were due to playing time and depth chart issues. Sure, there may have been some behavior related issues mixed in and a guy was encouraged to look elsewhere. But overall, there were more cases like Logan Gray, Faton Bauta and Makiri Pugh than otherwise; situations where a player just wasn't seeing the playing time and wanted another opportunity before his eligibility was up.

And before we go too far, I want to say that I agree with the angst over Smart's recent decision in restricting AJ Turman's transfer choices. It has the feel of one spouse exerting control over the other after the divorce is settled.

But, I also agree with Coach Smart exerting said control. It's nonsensical for the media to get in a tither over this and direct their venom at UGA/Smart when programs exercise the same practice every single year. I guess it's just too easy for them to pat Alabama on the back in Januaryfor another Championship after turning a blind eye when Parker McLeod transferred to Western Kentucky.

Is this a complete 180 degree turn for UGA? Yes, absolutely. Maybe that explains some of the media derision. After all, take this quote from Coach Richt after Pugh decided to transfer:
“We are appreciative of Makiri’s contributions during his two years at Georgia,” said Richt. “We understand and support his decision to transfer and wish him great success the remainder of his career.”
To go from that to making a statement to current players that their old coach in Miami is off limits is quite the shift. Still, we had to know this was coming. It's what happens when you make the decision that ten wins ain't enough.

GDay. The PR campaign for #93KDay coupled with a rare spring game that doesn't conflict with Masters Saturday should produce quite a bump in attendance. Of course, the wild card will be the weather. Hopefully it gives us a nice spring day in Athens to reacquaint ourselves with the Gameday experience. Regardless, the build up has been fun to watch, mostly because it's a new regime and there is much curiosity around the program. New faces and new blood add up to excitement!

And I hope Smart continues to push the envelope with the spring game. The more emphasis there is on not competing with Masters weekend and making it as big a crowd as possible will only help provide the players with a competitive mindset.

Media & Public Access. We talked last time about the media being given less access to players and assistant coaches. So far that has played out as expected. What we didn't see coming (at least I didn't) was the legislative support card being played so that the program can, for lack of a better word, "hide" behind Open Records Law when it comes to behind the scenes access to information about the program, such as NCAA compliance issues and coaching contract ins and outs.

Let's be perfectly honest, less access to this level (and to be clear, if Gov. Deal signs the bill it would put Georgia well past other southeastern states) affects the media directly in that it's their job to give the public information. It affects the rest of us indirectly because of that. Right now there are not many fans upset about this development, despite all the print and digital columns asking us to do just that.

Where do I stand? Like I've said before, it's a new dawn. What Kirby wants, let's give it to him. We're not a program satisfied with old school bowl games. We have to win at (almost) all costs. If that means less access for media, the public, and lowly bloggers like be it.

"We're going to the Ramsey!!". Just for fun, we know pool days and high dives are no longer. RIP Natatorium Go-Pros! What do you think takes its place? Will Smart give the 1's a steak dinner while the 2's get a spoon and a can of Spam?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Best of Athens survey

When you have a moment, take a couple minutes to fill out this survey on things to do around Athens. Rent Like a Champion is using the results to better equip out of town guests with everything they need to know about what there is to do, eat, and drink while in the Classic City.

And really, is there a better person to ask than an experienced Dawg fan like yourself? I don't think so.