Saturday, January 9, 2010

How to Translate a Presser

While we wait on the big announcement...let's discuss the press conference, which I'm thinking will be Monday sometime. For the sake of this argument, I'll assume that Kirby Smart has about a 15% chance of being the new DC, Todd Grantham about a 40% and a name from outta nowhere (ie. Searels in '07) about a 45% chance.
There seems to be no question that the name the majority of the fanbase yearns for is one Kirby Smart. He is currently getting sized for a Nat'l Championship ring, is a UGA alum and has tutored under darling Nicky. Moreover, he's perceived as a longshot, property of a Crimson Empire that has a very large moat guarded by the tortured souls of Bear Bryant himself. Smart is the kid in high school who's parents had the pool out back, a rockin' stereo system and went out of town twice a month.

He's the cool kid we would love to be friends with. And his press conference would be a glorious moment in Dawg history. Prodigal son (remember he was frequently lambasted as a player, and left early in his coaching career for greener pastures) returns home to bring aggressiveness, discipline back to Sanford's turf.

Pomp. Circumstance. Confetti. Cue the Battle Hymn.

If Grantham takes a seat next to Coach Richt all that fades away. Don't get me wrong, I truly believe the fanbase overall will be pleased. Grantham is a great coach, he clearly knows what he's doing. His experience is inarguably heftier than Smart, yet in many fans' eyes his resume doesn't sparkle.

If Mystery Defensive Guru takes the chair to CMRs right, well I for one may be even more pleasantly surprised. As has been stated here and elsewhere before, Coach Richt has a knack for hiring extremely well from behind the curtain. And this search has definitely (and thankfully) been done from behind the curtain.

But my feeling is so many people have kept their hopes up for Smart, that any other presser would be met with even the smallest measure of skepticism. When in reality, a coach other than Kirby may be a safer and better bet. A Smart presser would make Mark Richt a hero in many fans' eyes. Yet, it's at least possible that another hire could be better long term.

So which do you want? If you had to choose...the spectacular press conference that brings tears to Dawg fans eyes and poetic words to local and national journalists' typewriters...OR the routine Q & A press conference that could mean more wins?

It's just a question bred from a thought. Please don't read too much into it. And it's meant as no disrespect to Smart. He coached a whale of a game the other night. I think he'd be a great hire because he's already a terrific coach. The question just came to mind that we may be more enamored with a certain name as opposed to having faith in the man who's charge it is to make the decision.

Phone lines are open. Reader, what's your bark...?

Saturday Headers

In between bullets on your honeyDOit list, here's some bullets for your casual perusal:
  • From the Keeping up with the Joneses file, Coach PaJammies fired his DC.
  • And...their overrated WR wants to get paid!!
  • Pete trades in the surf board for stock in Starbucks...??? (I smell sanctions...just sayin')
  • Looks like the Smart to Interview with Texas Tech rumor was just a musty burger. Big surprise. (link fixed)
  • But it does look like Kirby Smart will take over in Southern California...(j/k). Gotta make sure you're awake!
  • Seriously though, would you rather win the press conference in January or the games in the fall? 
  • On the surface something smells about Leavitt's dismissal down in Tampa. But given the recent headlines involving players' civil liberties...maybe USF had no choice.
  • An absolute must read by Andy Staples (h/t PWD).
  • Fabris is in Louisville. Martinez may be heading to Gayturdsville. Now, Jancek is Butch Jones' co-defensive coordinator.
  • Bruce Pearl may now be shooting blanks.
  • Coach Fox's Dawgs head into Lexington today. Tune in. This team is already special.
Thoughts are really with Rennie Curran today. Last official report I read had him and all of his family meeting with Coach Richt today before he made a final decision. With news of a DC hire pending, I wonder if he might stall a little longer...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Friday, From My Igloo to Yours

Great Jeebers it's been cold! I typically pitch a fit anytime I catch the little lady dialing up the thermostats. Lately I've complained considerably less, although she would never see it that way.

But the real hassle has been the morning commute. I leave for work about a half hour before the rooster starts tuning up, just when the mercury reaches its lowest point. Reluctantly I've worn gloves each day, and you know those yankee inventions don't allow for good use of a car's instrumentation panel. My teeth were chattering even as I reached the halfway point Wednesday morning, so I said a dirty word prayer and then noticed that the whole time the A/C had been on.

Really? Are you kidding me?

And don't get me started on the radio dial. Did you know that before 6am in the Atlanta area you can tune into 530 AM and hear El Toro Rojo Grande play some musica' realmente groovy?

It really warms the toes.

Friday Feedbag
  • So Kirby Smart may be interviewing with Texas Tech today...or not. He still won't return my calls. Looking at the diametrically opposed reports, the one stating he would not interview with TTU comes from the horse's mouth. While the other has no source. FWIW.
  • After last night Smart quite obviously is ready for some interest as a HC prospect. But Texas Tech just doesn't seem like a good fit. I look for Coach Tubs to get the nod.
  • And the Great State of Texas is definitely large enough for those head frisbees....I think.
  • Chad Simmons brings BIG news of a BIG visitor coming to Athens ($$).
  • And speaking of visits, Lattimore has re-routed his trips this month.
  • Landers' Lady Dawgs, now 15-0 after an overtime win over Kentucky in Athens.
  • Great video of Yata Gaines getting his due.
  • Snead has had enough of Coach Giggety.
  • Garnet and Black Attack adds some bloggeristic integrity to the story about Moe Brown's gun charge. I agree...more and more, journalists are trying to sell print at the risk of lowering to TMZ standards.
  • Corch Meyer Coach Adazzio...whoever has their new DC.
  • Hale clears up some misconceptions about the Dawgs' DC search.
  • Oh...almost forgot. Bama won a tackle football game last night.
  • So congrats to @BlackeMcCrary for taking yesterday's ThursdaysRTrivial contest. All three contestants predicted a Bama win, but Blake came the closest with his score. Enjoy the pick stained sideline polo!
  • Meanwhile, @Stuff_of_Legend and @alanashley get to punch MustyBurger in the face. Just because.
  • Lastly, with Keith Jackson in the Pasadena house and Texas playing's a shame we couldn't listen to him instead of Musberger...and that kid who kept shouting at him.
So while winter weather moved through the south, grocery essentials flew off the shelves in central and northern Georgia. But over in Alabama, store owners are frantically trying to restock local staples such as pork rinds, Schaeffer's Beer, shotgun shells...People magazine.

Reports from Tuscaloosa are that even some Bama fans who double as actual alumni are too giddy to fasten both suspenders. I don't have any sources for this information...remember Tusckieloosie still operating with dial-up. So if you'd like to volunteer to help these kind folk, please call 1-888-PINK TIDE.

Operators are standing by. In the mean time Reader, have a great weekend. If you're like me, you're honeyDOit!! list is as long as the Declaration of Independence. Better get busy.

Anyone remember what a Phillips Head is?


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coaching Rumor Update, episode VIII

This collection of links is actually designed to go hand in hand with yesterday's lengthy monologue, The DC Triangle. But since that post is pretty long and the time you have before the Boss hovers over you while he eats his morning doughnut is short...let's cut to the chase.

A beat of their own own:

  • BUI says that Low is still beating the Smart drum.
  • Buck Belue dances to it.
  • Of all the posts pertaining to the search for defensive awesomeness, I've enjoyed Mackie's recurring DCRotD posts almost as much as my last visit to Chuck E Cheese. Here's a link to his main page, just keep scrolling...and laughing...and crying. 
  • Garnet and Black Attack wonders if their own Ellis Johnson is in the mix. Chuck Oliver mentioned Johnson the other day on 680 the Fan and it peeked my interest...until the next stop light.
  • I'll blame this on the pizza stupor. Even if Johnson is dissatisfied in Chickumbia, his age would be a hard sell that I just don't see CMR bidding on. 

A couple of names that intrigue me as Bowl season closes shop:

Justin Wilcox
Interest - of Tostitos Bowl fame. The Broncos looked more than stout and played with an impressive balance of aggressiveness and discipline. Wilcox is young and appeared to provide a spark from the sideline. His defense was mostly consistent throughout the season and was integral to getting BSU into the elite, undefeated air up there.
Disinterest - Wilcox is real young and has no known connections to the Southeast. His defense was mostly consistent throughout the season against WAC opponents. BSU will likely begin next season in the top five and they have a wealth of returning talented white boys.
Bonus - Exile has a post related to Wilcox that you can read if you click right here.

Tim DeRuyter
Interest - of the Case Keenum Meltdown fame. The Falcon defense shut down the high-octane Houston offense and thoroughly dismantled the argument of Keenum as a legitimate QB. All told, Air Force gave up just 14 points (to a team that came in averaging over 42) and had 6 (SIX!!!) interceptions.
Disinterest - three words: Mountain West Conference. DeRuyter is an Air Force graduate and has no coaching experience in the these woods.

And the Pro dudes:

Todd Grantham is the hot name right now. The Cowboys d-lineman has been a DC before and like a lot of candidates in this search has worked primarily under a 3-4 scheme.My only real concern with Grantham is his firing in Cleveland. His time as a Brown DC started strong quickly before doing a 180. It appears Grantham lost the trust of his coach and his players.

Then again, that's Cleveland. Rest assured, if Grantham is hired it shows that Coach Richt is happy with him. And that would be more than good enough for me.

Travis Jones is a name near and dear to many message boarders. And it would be hard to find a candidate with a better, more attractive resume. For one, he was a four-year letterman in Athens and has learned the coaching trade under names like Nick Saban and Gregg Williams. Even more impressive are the stars he has worked with: Seymour, Stroud, Chad Lavalais, Marcus Spears, Sedrick Ellis, Jason Taylor.

I really like the idea of Jones coming home. But since he's never been a defensive coordinator, I'd like it even better if he came at the new DC's request.

Bob Sanders is actually available now. Since his name has been linked before, it's safe to say that Sanders isn't Coach Richt's top guy or he would be on the road recruiting and hanging pictures of the family in Butts-Mehre. Like Jones, Sanders has SEC experience having been floriDuh's DC through much of the 90s.  Given that experience and his age (56 I believe), Sanders would also bring a sense of maturity to CMRs youthful staff.

Although Sanders would be a great hire, the only way I see Sanders entering the mix is if Richt gets deep into his DC playbook.

Final Analysis - Once the MNC game is in the books, CMR will be in Smart's ear quick as you can say Bags o Cash. The offer will be steep. It'll have zeroes, several in fact. And when...if...when he says No...we grab Grantham.

The only part that worries me is that some of the fanbase and most of the media will view Grantham as a failing grade for this search, a step down. They'll point to Foster and Chavis' raises as supposed proof that CMR floundered around. When in reality, the process (h/t PWD) of those raise negotiations and Smart saying No...and potentially in turn Grantham saying Yes...could just as likely be a blessing in disguise. For more on that, read last night's post.

Some related readings:

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    The DC Triangle

    Let's approach this defensive coordinator search from three angles: defensive intensity on the field, recruiting quality athletes that can fit/match that intensity and lastly, personality to fit in well with current staff and personnel.

    First of all, I am convinced we can all be sure that our defense is going to be vastly improved next year. Some of you may read that as a cheap shot at Coach Martinez, but I'm thinking broader. The new DC, whoever it is, will bring a new energy to the Dawgs' defense. Just having a new person around the sidelines, Woodruff practice fields and the recruiting trails will help words like enthusiasm, motivation and determination find their way back to Athens.

    Almost immediately after the firings we heard rumblings of competition being open again, players (and coaches) excited about the possibilities. Regardless of how close Jancek, Fabris and Martinez were personally to the others on staff, there was tension...which always strains relationships and affects performance. They tried to address things on the field as a staff and it did not worked. As difficult as the departures were personally, I believe they were welcomed professionally, from the head coach down to the walk-ons.

    So the new DC and his assistants will improve performance. And if we get a man who himself is truly hungry and desirous of devastation, we will experience something special in the seasons to come. The intensity will return to the Dawgs' defense and we will witness violence and discipline once again.

    Hale has a nice perspective in his Wednesday Links related to NFL assistants, specifically Todd Grantham who we looked at Sunday. The Yahoo! News Flash simply suggests that Grantham is now the front-runner for the Georgia DC job.

    Hale's point is that an NFL assistant in addition to Georgia's recent success in placing red and black talent on Sunday fields could play nicely in recruits' living rooms.

     And it's not that Georgia wasn't recruiting good talent on defense, but who was the last Georgia defensive player to get drafted high and really make a big impact in the NFL? It's been a while, and don't think for a second that recruits don't notice. Hiring an NFL guy is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for the Bulldogs on the recruiting trail. Now we have the answers, (Georgia coaches) can say.

    I agree wholeheartedly. How many times can you remember hearing about Charlie Weis' ring in living rooms across the nation in the years after he left Belichick's shadow for Touchdown Jesus'? Grantham, Travis Jones and Bob Sanders may not have the ring (...yet..??), but they can bring a Super-Gulp sized cup of  first-hand knowledge that recruits would drink heartily from.

    I'm not worried about recruiting in the least, to tell you the truth. I'm especially not worried about this year's class. Coach Richt has put his brand on this Georgia football program and he sells it well. If Donnan knocked the lid off of recruiting in the state of Georgia, Coach Richt has been finishing the drill for a decade now. Garner gets his credit for coordinating the madness that luring talent to college campuses is these days and it is surely deserved. But it is the head guy who closes the deal. And he does it more proficiently than I drink beer.

    Paul Westerdawg perhaps put it best a few days ago when he typed:

    I'd lose a recruit or three to get the right guy. But that's just me. I get why people are frustrated. I do. I just think when you take a step back from it...we're talking about a process...not an outcome.

    If we get into the mix for some of these NFL guys (and I truly believe we have), the process could only lengthen. Of the three coaches mentioned above two are looking at potential deep runs in the playoffs. Sanders has been let go once the Bills' interim head coach was dismissed. If the search does extend well into January, we could lose a kid.

    Just don't sweat know, unless Coach Kines approaches the Butts-Mehre dias.

    A Matching Personality
    This is where we are lucky to have one Mark Richt. I'm not gonna shove a load bull$%&! sunshine up your rear about knowing the man personally. I don't. But I have had the opportunity to meet him on several occasions. And while I also won't type to you that I have some mystical sixth sense about people, I do profess to have the ability to read people well.

    Mark Richt is grounded and a very genuinely pleasant person. People want to work for him and they want to work hard. I couldn't have been more eager for a change in defensive leadership this season, but there's no debating that Coach Martinez didn't work hard. CMR will find a guy that not only fits his bill of sale for a defensive mind, but also will relate well with the other staff. The new guy will understand the importance of staff and team cohesiveness as much as he does wrapping up the ball carrier.

    No matter how much we invest financially, emotionally or otherwise into this football program...Coach Richt is all-in, practically 24/7. As mentioned earlier, he's branded it. That's his face and it's his baby. As nice as they think they have it on North Avenue, Coach PaJammies will never match the stability that CMR has brought to Athens. And even if Slurban receives a clean bill of health from Dr. Phil, Gayturdsville is gonna see a steep drop-off from the ledge they've been dancing on.

    So the next time you bend a knee, right there towards the end after you pray for the those starving little pygmies down in New Guinea and those winning numbers, give thanks that our head guy is one Mark Richt.

    He'll get his guy...and the Dawg Nation will rejoice.


    The King/Ealey Connector answered the question Who runs this state? Last night, Coach Mark Fox and his team answered the question Who heats this house?

    The helluva engineers never defrosted their fingertips. More on point, Paul Hewitt came to town with his roster of players and ran into a team of Dawgs. Coach Mark Fox was never less than three steps ahead of his adversary. Very nice win over a surprisingly ranked nerd squad. Great job Dawgs!

    And congrats and many thanks to the Iowa Hawkeyes!! Orange Bowl Champions!!

    Other thoughts from other places:

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Reshad Gets Both Feet Out The Door

    Not real big unexpected news, but Reshad Jones has declared himself eligible for April's NFL Draft. (As a word of caution, this story is brought to you by Joe Schad's Wiretap...)

    I feel like I've done everything I can do at Georgia...I'm physically and mentally ready. I bring passion to the game and also versatility, because I can play both free and strong safety.

    The story goes on to speculate that Rennie Curran will turn pro as well at a dual press conference today. However, other reports out of Athens suggested that Curran was still mulling the decision and that he planned to meet with Coach Richt in the coming days.

    Underclassmen have until January 15th to declare themselves eligible for April's NFL Draft. Those that declare then have until January 18th to withdraw their paperwork. Classes begin in Athens on Thursday.

    Last year it was Jones that got one step out the door before being talked back into Butts-Mehre. Mel Kiper projects Jones as the 5th best junior at safety and Curran as the third best OLB.

    Jones leaves Athens as a solid player that fans always expected more from. He was part of a much celebrated 2006 class that also gave Dawg fans Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. Jones was lambasted profusely after a missed tackle in the 2008 loss to Tech. That one play will likely be what he is first remembered for, but his play in 2009 was solid. Not supreme, but solid.

    Despite his improved play this season over last, it will be his size and speed that will make him especially draftable, likely late first day. NFL scouts will see a phenomenal athlete that has yet to reach his potential.

    As for Curran, well...he ain't gonna get any taller. If he does decide to go, it will be the best decision for him and his family.

    Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?!?!?

    Word is this advertisement will air in select markets before the Thursday night BCS Title game. (Ironically, those markets are Dallas, Boise and Salt Lake)

    Unfortunately, both TCU and Boise State looked liked very dominant teams from the WAC and the MWC. I tend to think the ad won't ring quite as loud as it would had TCU (...or Boise St.) won handily.

    Then again...I'm not in advertising...or Congress.

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    Monday's Meatloaf - And on Sunday, Hate Thy Neighbor

    We've turned the calendar to a new day, month and year. And it's starting to get that feeling that we need to turn the page on the season. And while we can't really knowledgeably discuss who the defensive coordinator will be, we can look at position changes that may alter the depth chart.

    It sounds like Gray is still contemplating a move from QB. If he decided to move, the positions mentioned most are WR and Safety. Gray as a receiver seems more likely to me as I've never seen the kid hit or close on the ball...well, except to wave his hand in the air.

    Samuel to LB seemed like a terrific idea that is now may be in the rear view mirror. Although I realize that the move was never a done deal, I thought it made a lot of sense for a kid with his speed and approves of contact so much. Now Samuel seems content with fighting for carries rather than proving himself worthy of snaps at LB.

    Personally, I'm comfortable with whatever decision Gray makes. I'd be surprised if he starts at QB in September either way, but I can understand him wanting to stay wherever he's comfortable. Samuel I feel differently on. Sure he should play where he feels comfortable. But he's had more of an opportunity to prove himself at RB than Gray at QB.

    So I hope a coach can get in #22's earhole a little.

    Today's Ingredients
    • Lady Dawgs...14 games, 14 wins. Perfect start.
    • Coach Pearl apologized for signing thugs the arrests that have tarnished the squeaky clean soiled and bedraggled image of HillBilly athletics.
    • Before we leave the hardwood, remember that the nerds come to town tomorrow night. Stegeman, 7pm.
    • It would appear that the previously reported 80% chance that Coach Brooks would be hanging up the sideline scowl is being re-calculated. UPDATE - he's gone.
    • Slurban's decision to resign and then take a leave of absence may not be hurting the reptilian recruiting class much, but assistant coaches are reading the writing on the wall. Days after Strong named FU Gaytuh defensive backs coach Vance Bedford his DC, it is rumored that RB coach Kenny Carter may also head north
    • And if that happens, the recruitment for Lithonia GA RB Mack Brown would get interesting. Not to mention Corch Meyer would be left with a very lily white staff.
    • I'm still digesting all of Chad Simmons' info from this weekend's Under Armour game in Tampa where the nation's most talented teenagers took the gridiron. But I liked the news that Christian Green had narrowed his collegiate choices to two ($$).
    • If you take a bite on just one ingredient today, make it this one. Hamp provides the hardest hitting analysis of Lubbock's Leachgate and uses a few good men to discover just who ordered the code red raider.
    • EC Dawg evaluates where the DC search stands.
    • AwwBarn took a laptop thief as their new QB.
    • Hale caught up with Sean Jones...although I hear he used a scooter.
    • Jimmy cracked corn...then Exile decided to give the guy a real job.
    • Lastly, Streit's kicking my ass in his bowl pool, so it's nice of him to give me something to look forward to in 2010 for Georgia football. But I think he wrote them for all to enjoy. So feel free to click over as well.

    Maybe you're like me and occasionally burn a pile of leaves, limbs and brush. I've been engaged in this practice at my current residence for over ten years.

    During that time, builders, realtors and neighbors have come and gone. I've replaced countless Georgia house flags. I've mowed the lawn more than anyone on my street except for Allen, but I suspect he uses methamphetamines so there's no keeping up with him. Our HOA survived it's first socialist regime and as a result we kicked out 98.2% of the renters. We may still have to dodge kids driving motorized golf carts who are about 2.3 years away from being able to see over the steering wheel, but it's a little community Mrs. Bernie and I have made home.

    So in those ten plus years I've raked a number of leaves, pruned a lot of trees. The collection of such I've always burned off, once...maybe twice a year. I get my grubby clothes on, recite the prayer...Gunter glieben glauchen globen...baptize the collection pile with fuel and strike the match! Ten minutes later the leaves are gone and only a tickle of smoke lingers. No complaints, no worries, and no tree limbs.

    Then...she moved in next door. Back in June I wasn't completely sure it was her who called me out, but I just took my warning and circled September 1st on the calendar. You know, to do it legal style. Then it decided to rain about 300 inches since the end of summer and things got busy.

    But yesterday was a great day for a bonfire and there was no trouble...until she rolled into her driveway. Five minutes later Joe Fireman was reluctantly talking to me instead of eating his chili and watching the second half of the Falcons game. I thought it was okay after September 1st? I stammered defensively. Yup...but not on Sundays Joe answered.

    Damn. So one day this week I'm gonna bundle up again in grubby clothes, recite the prayer...Gunter glieben glauchen globen...baptize the collection pile with fuel and strike the match! FFFFWWWWOOOT!!

    Then I'll calmly walk over to her front door and hand her my phone. And smile....big. Until then enjoy the meatloaf Reader. Just don't share any with my neighbor.


    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Coaching Rumor Update, episode VII

    By now I'm sure you realize that as soon as I hit the button that says will break that will blow this post to bits too. But that's okay. It's still fun to speculate.

    Thursday morning it appeared Coach Richt and John Chavis had shared more than a few engaging conversations. By late morning Chavis was no longer taking calls from the 706.

    So my guess now is that CMR has gone back to the drawing board to determine what the primary (and secondary) plans are. Luckily, no one knows what those truly are. But's still fun to speculate.

    Todd Grantham is a name that keeps getting mentioned. I admit I haven't been much of a Chris Low fan, but the guy has been pretty accurate. At least as of late.

    But Grantham seems a reach. I can see where he may have been on radar a couple weeks ago when the world assumed Romo would once again ruin the Cowboys chances at this seasons' playoffs. But as things stand right now, Grantham wouldn't be available to "talk" until January 11th at the earliest. Assuming that talk went well, Grantham would only have a couple days to settle in before he had to hit the road recruiting. The second dead period ends Jan. 15th.

    However, it appears CMR is ok with the search taking as long as it needs. I'm just hoping that these young men will continue to be patient and know that my goal is to make a decision that will really affect them throughout their time at Georgia so I want to make sure that we do the very best job in that regard. 

    Amen Coach. Amen.

    Still, Grantham operates under a 3-4 in Dallas. While we may have the personnel to make that transition, is CMR willing to put his career on the line with that roll of the dice? Grantham's done a great job with the defensive front in big D, but he's not calling the shots. And when he did call the shots in Cleveland, he did pretty well...but was essentially fired because he held a players only meeting when he thought the head coach was getting canned.

    Regardless of the Cleveland denouement, Grantham appears to be a hard-nosed coach with mixed results. If CMR likes the guy, I'll be interested to see how the timing works out.

    Of course, if Kirby says yes on Friday...who gives a crap right?

    Other readings of interest:
    - When Hale's confused, the rest of haven't a chance in hell
    - Despite no DC, the life of RC goes on