Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brannan Southerland - Pancakes, Dives and Electrifying Catches

Well..maybe it's not electrifying. But it counted for 6 just the same.

Amid the news of the early entries to the NFL draft, he's kind of been forgotten. But Brannan Southerland is arguably Georgia's best prospect for the next level. After missing much of his senior season, Southerland has some ground to make up in NFL scouts' minds. But look for him to have a long and very successful career knocking blitzing linebackers to the professional turf.

Here's a highlight reel for 36 from the SI Vault....(audio disabled)

Hungry for some breakfast? 
These pancakes have more bite than sting.

And lastly, here's his Know your Dawgs interview. Harry Bissett's....good choice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tunnel Vision vs. the Bigger Picture

Has anyone checked on KiffyBaby in a while? He's been awfully quiet....

But Damon's not. Slap that punk again Evans! And somebody ring Kitten's doorbell and tell his mommy to let him come out and play... We need a warm body for kill the man with the ball.

(Cold transition in Kwame Geathers should end his collegiate decision holdout today. The lineman is kin to Robert Geathers (of UGA bloodline) and Clifton Geathers (chicken bloodline). But he's evidently eliminated the visor from his list of buddies. UPDATE - KWAME'S A DAWG

Hmm...CMR, a resume doctor or a toddler trapped in the body of a pre-teen...

(Colder transition..) The older I get the easier I find it to avoid tunnel vision. Like a fool, in younger days I would fall into the traps of main stream media. ESPN...the Piped Piper, and me...a rat in aimless tune.

Now I can find the bigger picture much easier. You know, the story that is not as sexy and alluring as A-Rod Comes Clean. Yet, is actually more important. Parents Clean Kid's Closet, Rid Shelves of Juiced Jerseys.

Recruiting season just ended, or commenced...depending on your frame of reference. There's a LARGE number of people that hang on the edge of their keyboard awaiting word from a high school gymnasium. Only to get totally bent out of shape when a 17 year old chooses another school.

Suddenly, the next Herschel Walker becomes a bum, potential non-qualifier, likely bench warmer...or something more damning.

I don't think I've ever been that limited in scope (ok...maybe once...), but to use the home theater section of BestBuy as an analogy...I admit I have found myself stuck in the 19-22" section. Endlessly watching sports stories go by in monochromatic small screen bliss.

Reality these days comes in giant screen HDTV truth; 52" 1080p LCD glory. Take these examples:
  • If a Dawg recruit decides to go elsewhere I have two conclusions: 1) best of luck to ya! and 2) we only wanted true Dawgs anyway.
  • A-Roid is an even bigger hemorrhoid. He was a piece of trash before the presser, but one that could sit a spell in the trashcan; now he's just a bigger, smellier piece of refuse wrapped in rotting nanner peels and shrimp shells - that needs to go out immediately.
  • I'm more concerned with the kids I interact with and my own two younguns. They'll be raised with the character to resist cousins donning needles with ill intent and to produce earnest apologies. Not fret over getting caught.
  • Bobby Knight. Sexy name in college basketball. And great coach...once upon a time.
  • When Lil' Kiff slams CMRs recruitin' practices and makes veiled references at Georgia's character...I just laugh. In as little as a year from now, CMR will be in Butts-Mehre doin' his thang. Kiffykins will be living in Oldman Kiffin's basement and on his third attempt at a GED. 
Punk! Slap him again Evans! Don't feel so nice now that
the fog has lifted, huh? 

Lane.  I swear, if God comes down and hands you a baby...Name it Lane. She'd be a pretty girl.

If anyone has Mike Hamilton's number, give that lame duck a call. Tell him we're ready for ol' KiffyBaby to come out and take the podium again. The SEC blogosphere is depending on him dadgummit! But in related news, Mike Slive has enjoyed his Excedrin free week. He may even get to enjoy his happy hour tonight without a call from Cheryl

And don't forget that the Diamond Dawgs baseball season starts today. If you can't make it to Foley, you can keep up with all the action against Youngstown State FREE! First pitch of the season today @ 5pm on Gxtra.

So to put a great big red bow on this edition, don't sweat the lil' stuff. An economic stimulus is comin'. Do your taxes, obey the speed limit and we'll sing Glory, Glory together soon. But for now, in the immortal words of Frasier Crane (via some bloddy bloke named Jack Hues) - "Everybody have fun tonight...(all together now..) Everybody Wang Chung tonight!"


Decision Day for Kwame Geathers

(image Rivals)

The Dawgs could add to their heralded '09 recruiting class today when Kwame Geathers announces his decision. Geathers visited ol' rocky tops last weekend. Garner's other competition comes from Central Florida.

Will CRGs ties to the Geathers family lure the lineman to Athens? Did Lil' Kiff fog it up for him too much last weekend for the Carvers Bay senior to resist HillBillyLand? Or will the resume pull the coup?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stars Can Blur One's Vision

Brett Jensen at has a write-up on TE Aron White's perspective as to why the focus is better this off-season around the mats that are drilled upon. As the team goes through off-season workouts, Knowshon and Staff are thousands of miles away and the rising red-shirt sophomore is one who believes the picture is clearer now.

As I read this, I don't let it affect my memories of last year's star players: 1, 2, 7, 24, name a few. Jensen makes a point to say that isn't White's intention either.

Still, the pictures his words paint are quite telling of where the focus was beginning to center on this time last year. And an even clearer picture of where it is early in 2009.

And speaking of Brett, he also has a scoop on the basketball head coach search (subscription required.)

And given the let-down experienced last night after beating the jorts off of those gators last weekend, round ball fans could use a scoop...of good news or maybe mint chocolate chip from Hodgson's. 

Or both.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somewhere Between Len Bias and A-Fraud


If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that word this month, I'd buy myself and my reader lunch today.

I have little interest in professional sports. I stand on pro hockey ice long enough to get that really cold burning feeling between the months of January and April. I tune into the NFL on Sunday afternoons when my wife allows it. I watch the Masters, US and British Open golf championships. I tune into Wimbledon. 

That's pretty much the extent of my curiosity in paid athletes. So why do I care about how many shots of andro Mark McGwire took? Why does it interest me that Bonds may have used the cream?

Len Bias became the face of the nation's cocaine problem back in the mid-80s when he collapsed after a night of partying. The tragedy was just 48 hours after Bias became the fresh face of the Boston Celtics franchise, the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. 
Alex Rodriguez has recently become the new face of MLBs steroid and performance enhancing drug epidemic. Suddenly Pete Rose's transgressions don't seem so heinous.... (photo:

I work with kids daily that look up to these guys and others just as athletically gifted. How many of us would have been heartbroken as kids had we learned that situps and pushups weren't the cause for Herschel's physique? How many others would have chosen a similar shortcut?

I see kids daily that wear the jerseys of NBA stars who regularly and casually use substances the league doesn't even test for - bad message that could result in fatal consequences for teens who don't get an opposing viewpoint from an adult in the home. 

Another reason I'm concerned about this subject is because I spend a lot of time actively participating in and following UGA Athletics. So it got me curious about NCAA rules and regs. How are performance enhancing drugs policed? Are Teabags' musckles real? Is it possible Mount Cody could've substituted a stack of biscuits for stacked 'roids?

I didn't get far in my research before I found two sites that especially caught my wandering eye. First I thumbed through the NCAA's publication on their drug testing program. It was informative, but I think I pretty much knew that drinking a six-pack of PBR before competing in riflery was frowned upon. 

The AJC article published last May by Alan Judd however told me more about UGA's stance on drug use, whether they're 'roids or the street variety. Suffice it to say that the UGA Athletic office handles offenders with a firmer hand than Tech's. I'm all for an offender getting counseling, but I prefer my alma mater's athletic office to take a more direct approach in punishment as well. 

If I send my kid to run track and field at UGA and she gets caught with chemicals in her system, as her father I'll handle the counseling side of things (thank you very much) as that is more of a personal, family decision. Her coach should be the one to remove her from competition.

But the reality may be that getting caught is a rare occurrence. The NCAA randomly tests during post-season play. It is generally up to schools to police on their own. That leaves a lot of variance.

In the aftermath of the Len Bias death, the University of Maryland completely overhauled it's drug testing program and student-athlete support framework. That was a reaction to the loss of a native son. Too late to save Bais' life, but hopefully in time to prevent other tragedies.

We cheer the players that wear the red and black each Saturday in the fall and beyond that in other sports. If you're like me you even stick your nose up when leagues like MLB create a bed of substance use that they must lie in. (photo:

It's in times like these that wins on the competitive field take a backseat to the safety of the student-athletes that perform for our pleasure. It is in times like these that I am proud to have great leaders in the halls and offices of our athletic department. Andy Landers, Suzanne Yoculan, Mark Richt, Manny Diaz....the list goes on. It even includes Dennis Felton.

I watched on NSD as CMR talked about the type of young man they look for when they recruit players. This is a man who has taken a lot of undue criticism for the decisions some of his players have made. He talked about character, discipline, leadership. When pressed about times in the 40, he and Martinez all but scoffed.

Forty times are unscientific, as susceptible to faulty stop watch usage as they are to being run downhill.

But I bet you these coaches can tell well before the ink is dry if the kid has character and/or potential for leadership roles on their respective team. Certainly they know before they leave the kid's high school or living room whether or not they can help mold the young athlete into a good young man or woman.

The word leadership has been batted around casually and formally related to the football team as of late. Many fans have chimed in. Others have openly wondered why is leadership important? Why not just sign the kids who can play the best, run the fastest and then worry about molding them into leaders later?

It ain't that easy. There are many styles to leadership, each born within the person and developed through time and experiences. Pollack lead through his actions on the practice field and his non-stop motor 'tween the hedges. Greene had the command and attention in the huddle to bring out the best in the other ten Georgia jerseys on the field. 

Those are just a couple of examples. Do a 180 and you'll find a couple more. Like Quincy Carter or Mike Mercer. Great players that may not have had the structure or self-discipline to maximize their potential while in Athens.

So while we are quick to embrace the leadership we see on the field, we should be just as quick to lock onto the leadership that happens off of it.

I once listened in as a very wise man spoke to a gathering of teenagers closing in on graduation. He told the story of three teens who lost their lives from sniffing a foreign substance..."huffing" I believe it is called. He mused that the conversation likely went something like this:
  • Teen 1 - "Let's sniff this." 
  • Teen 2 - "It'll be cool."
  • Teen 3 - The last to speak had the opportunity to turn the entire evening around, instead chose to say, "Ok." Their bodies were discovered in a car early the next morning, well after their last breath had been taken.
What would have happened had that third teen been truthful and explained how dumb it sounded? What if he had laughed and said "no thanks!" as he got out of the car they were parked in?

At least one life would have been saved. Maybe as many as three.

P.B. Fitzwater once defined character as "the sum and total of a person's choices."

Caught in a situation like the one above, the student-athlete that possesses character may just be the person to turn a hazardous situation around by saying "no thanks." They may just decide to get out of the car. 

The time we spend barking for our players is a mere fraction of the time they spend on UGAs campus. Take a moment to feel proud that our coaches take the time to try and find players who are not just the right fit physically, but also personally.

And when the student-athlete walks across the stage to take that piece of paper...bark even louder. 


Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidential Meatloaf

Happy President's Day! It is a little known fact that Teddy Roosevelt once coined the phrase, "Sit softly and use a big fork." On a day when you can save some time by not having to visit the mailbox or the bank, why not eat some meatloaf.

  • HUGE win for the Dawgs' B-ball program. If the fighting amongst the players and the Friday speech from CMR didn't do the trick, then Woodbury's 32 certainly did. And if they were going to win their first SEC game of the season against ONE team...why not one that wears jorts.
  • For a good video of the excitement at Stegeman, check out Catfish and Cornbread.
  • Whoever took Gramps' happy pills, please return them. It's one thing to openly use your own column to pimp out a legendary coach that is NOT a good fit for Georgia's basketball program. It's quite another to call out Damon Evans. Take a nap Bisher. Then go back to writing about what a legend Bobby Dodd and how much better persimmon woods were in the day.
  • If Bisher would read his own newspaper once in a while after he finishes the crossword and eats his applesauce, he might recall that his beloved Tech used the SAME search firm to find their current football coach.
  • Quinton McDawg has a look at what turned out to be a great VD weekend for Georgia Sports.
  • In all the hooplah over Joe Cox's ascension to #1 on the depth chart and the two young pups entering school early to get a jump on the playbook, Logan Gray has become the forgotten weapon. For a look at #6, Brett Jensen has the hook up.
  • Recruiting update: Hybrid TE Orson Charles still set to visit USC this weekend and will announce his decision sometime before the ides of march. Kwame Geathers could announce his choice between UGA, UT and Central Florida sometime this week.
  • Just wonderin'...if professional drivers can't drive in the rain...why exactly are the idiots who are amateurs behind the wheel allowed to?
  • Baseball season starts Friday when Youngstown State visits Foley Field for a three game series. The Diamond Dawgs are hoping to avoid the typical odd season let down after last year's deep run in Omaha.
  • And lastly, men smitten with latin sensation Salma Hayek can now officially take her off the available list. As if competing with a French billionaire wasn't hard enough, the wine swillin' baguette puts a ring on her finger on Valentine's Paris...
Speaking of VD Day, to celebrate my wife and I watched a movie called Blood Diamond. Sounded like a nice romantic comedy to me. Was everything but romantic or it was AWESOME! Leo Cap has really rebounded after that crapfest that was Titantic

Good for him. Enjoy the leftovers and your Presidents Day reader. Just don't over tax your fork.