Friday, March 4, 2011

Trivial Update - Herschel IS Bo!

#ThursdaysRTrivial ep 69 is coming up after this PSA: Wear your Tweet Bio Hazard suit this week. I think Sheen spilled tiger blood all over the twittah.

#ThursdaysRTrivial episode 69 "Happy Birthday Goalline Stalker" Welcome to the Twitter Twivia Show that flattens Bates like a pancake. REPLY back your answer for a chance at a fabulous prize. In his autobiography "Breaking Free", Walker goes into great detail about his childhood experiences growing up in Wrightsville GA. What was his family nickname?

Before the world knew Bo Jackson, Herschel was being referred to as "Bo" around his home growing up. Years later, even on the field Jackson couldn't emerge from Herschel's enormous shadow.

h/t Garbin

Bo is a simple name, and last night's episode was also short and to the point. Ally had the right answer and for her knowledge gets some sugar that fell from the sky. Winning on the plains is always a sweet endeavour. 

Bo may know Diddley, but the ball seemed a little heavier to him than it did to the Goalline Stalker. That's just my casual observation. Tune in next week you trivialists when Coach Perno makes a guest appearance.*

* guest appearances on #ThursdaysRTrivial are always subject to availability and cannot assure future employment beyond said date and time.

Ogletree Movin' on UP!

Alec Ogletree is moving closer to the line of scrimmage. And the way it came about makes you wonder if this wasn't negotiated prior to Coach Olivadotti's move to Athens...(j/k)
Ogletree’s size (6-foot-3, 224-pounds) brought forth questions regarding where he would play as a heralded incoming freshman out of Newnan High School. Although he remained at safety last season, many speculated the move to linebacker was inevitable.
That move has now been made.
Newly hired linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti requested Ogletree be moved into his unit shortly after his arrival last week. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham granted that wish.
This move was inevitable. I like the idea of putting defensive playmakers closer to the ball. And it will pay off in spades as long as our secondary makes great strides this Spring and Summer.

Fine Line between a Douchebag and a Straight Up Playah

Is it wrong that I may be crossing the line? Stephen Garcia used to be just a dumbass with a set of car keys. Now I'm wondering if he might be the one who taught Charlie Sheen just what "winning" is all about.

Multiple sources tell FITS that Garcia – who is known to party like a rock star – was involved in a massive, all-night bender in his hotel room the night before the bowl game. In fact, Garcia’s alleged party became so raucous that the S.C. Highway Patrol – which provided security for the team during its stay in Atlanta – was called to investigate.
Upon entering Garcia’s hotel room, they are said to have discovered the quarterback in a highly-intoxicated state in the company of five different young women – two of whom were completely naked.

Afterall, who can blame the guy when his head coach wrote the book on being an a-hole. No, I don't blame Garcia for much anymore. I say to him, drink all the tiger blood you can get your hands on.

As for Connor Shaw, you got some catching up to do boy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My God...a Forty-Nine Year Old

Call me a bad blogger, but I just can't write a better post to celebrate the man that is Herschel Walker. So what follows is a repost of last year's celebration. You can also check out these videos if you really want to do some pushups!


On March 3, 1962 Christine Walker gave birth to Herschel. So on this day 48 years ago, a legend was indeed born. Have a seat Reader and let's take just a moment to recognize and celebrate.

I'm not going to pretend to tell you anything you don't already know. Every Georgia fan has their own favorite Herschel highlight, their favorite moment and their favorite anecdote. That's what happens when you roll into town in your trans am and rack up 5,259 yards in just 994 carries and 33 games. You become larger than life, a bigger football player than the storied hedges can contain.

No, this post is not to regurgitate a bunch of highlights, memories. We can do that the other 364 days of the year. Today is for celebrating the man that Herschel is. It's his birthday. He's a 48 year old man in the body of a man half his age. To prepare for this post I attempted 10 push ups yesterday. I got to 6 and realized I would never get the opportunity to run over Bill Bates anyway.

A teammate once said Herschel marches to a different drummer....and the drummer is him. His athleticism was too immense for a football huddle and as unequaled as he was on the gridiron, he was an even bigger freak on the track. Guys his size weren't supposed to run that damn fast. And when college competition proved too feeble, yet the NFL failed to answer his call....he became the poster child for a new league.

But Athens has always been near and dear to Herschel's heart. He still makes appearances and challenges other enemy coaches to fist fights. He's been as important to the University of Georgia since he left Athens as he was when he was carrying the football for our beloved Georgia Bulldogs.

Cuz that's what legends do. To celebrate today I'm simply going to share a couple things you may not have come across in your own Herschel worship. I would love it if you would share your favorites as well.

First is Herschel's book, Breaking Free. No matter your feelings about Dissociative Identity Disorder, it's diagnosis or it's treatment, you'll come away from this book with a greater understanding of the man who wore #34. Take this portion, where he relates showing up his first day at UGA:

By this time, I was getting a bit more antsy. Somebody else had to be pulling up any minute. I walked over to the cafeteria to peek through the window to see if maybe there was another parking lot and other guys on the team were already inside laughing at me. All I saw was row after row of tables with chairs sitting on their tops, legs poking up like petals on a flower. I looked to my left and saw a piece of paper was taped to the door a few feet down from where I stood. I walked over and read it. It was the same letter as the one that had been sent to me. I looked closely and saw that the meeting was scheduled for five o'clock. What I had failed to notice, as is probably obvious to you, was that it was scheduled for five o'clock in the afternoon.
Herschel's book is chock full of stories that not only paint a clearer picture of the tremendous athlete we've grown up adoring, but also lets us into his psyche (as much as he is able to) to gain a better understanding of what has made him socially awkward, an enigma. We all have pieces of our own puzzle that we struggle to fit into our own picture. Through his book, Herschel shows you that his pieces were ridiculously shaped and ill-equipped for helping him live a normal life.

Chances may be greater that you've read this incredible article from the Sports Illustrated vault by John Underwood. I know I've linked to it before and have seen it linked and mentioned on other blogs. It chronicles Herschel's life as an athlete up to spring practice before his junior season. The Athens community was not alone in their wonder of Herschel's achievements, just as they were not alone in their wonderment as to whether or not college football's greatest player was entering his final season as an amateur. Dooley's Junkyard Dawgs were at their apex, having just won their second consecutive SEC crown and the football world, most notably the NFL and NCAA braintrusts were waiting with bated breath to see what this kid from Wrightsville GA would choose to do.

Would Herschel stay a senior season at UGA, leave early for a league like the CFL that welcomed his athleticism...or take the NFL to court for the opportunity to play on Sundays.
Underwood includes great quotes from the likes of:
  • Mike Cavan - all boils down to how much of a legend he wants to be.
  • Vince Dooley - ...all rules are imperfect. They don't apply to some people. The NFL rule is a great rule for the vast majority.
  • and Herschel himself - (It) made no sense to grow up in one country and play football in another.
Lastly, I'd like to also direct you to Dawgcast's special show The Legend of Herschel Walker. In this podcast Derek reads from Joe Posnanski's now infamous Herschel. I enjoyed reading Mr. Posnanski's piece. It's truly a treasure. However, I also like to hear it read and with each word Derek captures the enthusiasm and excitement with which Dawg fans embraced the legend during his meteoric rise to fame in the early 80s.

For in the end, Herschel Walker truly was and is a legend. And today, we celebrate the day he became human...for lack of a better word.

Happy Birthday Herschel! Keep Kicking Ass.

Campus Crimes and a Flawed System

Somewhat of a follow up to Tuesday’s post about crime, college athletics and the differences in media coverage. This Sports Illustrated article by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian is about as conclusive a read on the subject of crime and college football that you will find. On the surface you’ll find the ranking of the top ranked criminal teams/bottom dwellers in the nation.

But looking deeper into Benedict and Keteyian’s work, we find national programs with little regard to the safety of the other students on campus, at best. At the forefront is last season’s leader for rosters with criminals, Pittsburgh. To fully frame this, you'll recall that Dave Wannstedt’s team was a preseason favorite to win the Big East and was ranked in the top 20 back in August. They finished 8-5 and went to the BBVA Compass Bowl to play Kentucky.

Wannstedt had 4 players arrested for violent crimes in a little over two months to start the 2010 season. And just yesterday another (now former) player was arrested for being drunk and belligerent. Fernando Diaz was tasered multiple times after being warned by a fellow teammate, that Coach Wannstedt was not there any more and new coach Todd Graham would make an example of him.

Hasn't been a good year to be a Panther from Pittsburgh. But on a larger scale, here's some of the findings of the CBS/SI study:

• Seven percent of the players in the preseason Top 25 -- 204 in all (1 of every 14) -- had been charged with or cited for a crime, including dozens of players with multiple arrests.
• Of the 277 incidents uncovered, nearly 40 percent involved serious offenses, including 56 violent crimes such as assault and battery (25 cases), domestic violence (6), aggravated assault (4), robbery (4) and sex offenses (3). In addition there were 41 charges for property crimes, including burglary and theft and larceny.
• There were more than 105 drug and alcohol offenses, including DUI, drug possession and intent to distribute cocaine.
• Race was not a major factor. In the overall sample, 48 percent of the players were black and 44.5 percent were white. Sixty percent of the players with a criminal history were black and 38 percent were white.
• In cases in which the outcome was known, players were guilty or paid some penalty in nearly 60 percent of the 277 total incidents.

While the sport as a whole tries to cover the Cam Newton loopholes from this past season, now's a good time for individual programs to evaluate how they decide which athletes are worthy of their scholarships and what plans/procedures are in place to protect the collegiate well as the student-athletes' classmates and neighboring citizens as a whole. As Groo pointed out, how does a program like Georgia Tech not have a more definitive system in place to handle DUIs in today's society?

It seems simple, check your kids' backgrounds early in the recruiting process (in the study referenced above, only two teams of the 25 regularly do this) and install procedures to punish offenders fairly and swiftly. But privacy laws and juvenile records are potential hurdles for programs wanting to reform. Or is it just a way of prolonging inaction? For all of the castigation UGA receives publicly for stolen helmets and alley emergence, our beloved institution as a whole has a well defined and strict system in place in regards to punishment for infractions. At the very least it's time for other college presidents and athletic officials to follow suit.

It's always better to work from the proactive side of things, as opposed to getting tasered.

- - - - - - - - - - - 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Looking Back at 1995

As always I thoroughly enjoyed this post by Garbin, which takes us all the way back to Goff's last season and one that was as injury riddled as any I can ever remember. Hard not to agree with one of his commenters that 1995 was Goff's best season coaching. Unsurprisingly, it was also Hines Ward's most impressive as a player.

When "news" broke the other night that Ward would be a contestant on the next season of that dancing show Mrs. Bernie likes so much, I joked that Coach Goff approved. Because in that one season Ward did just about everything but drive the bus to Clemson (and it is rumored he may have even done that).

But back to Garbin's post, it sets up pretty well for this upcoming season. I certainly don't hope to see any more injuries of any significance or large number, but like Goff sixteen years ago, Richt is shouldered with the responsibility of improving the team's record. And the expectation is that it should come regardless of who's on crutches.

Luckily the schedule sets up a little better for Coach Richt than it did for Goff, who helped his team limp to an impressive 6-6 record despite half of them being hobbled. I remember being at that 1995 Peach Bowl with my future Wahoo in-laws and thinking we had finally broken free of our bad luck when Jason Ferguson scooped up a Virginia fumble and scored a tying TD with about a minute left. The GA Dome was practically swaying as we all roared for the ensuing kickoff. I'll never forget the audible shift in cheers as we watched them run the kickoff back for the winning TD.

It was a kick in the gut, but it was a fitting end to that season. Not one that the Dawgs deserved though. Let's hope we can keep 2011 off of the crutches.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Boise State has respect Dawgs want

Not much for these way too early polls? Me either, but Hinton has a nice preview of the Dawgs' first opponent in the upcoming season, Meme Watch: Boise State, perpetual sleeper, is still waiting to pounce

That move will be possible, like last year's rise to No. 3 in both the Coach's and Associated Press polls, because of another schedule that shrewdly provides another shot at a name-brand heavy in a primetime, nationally televised showcase (last year it was Virginia Tech on Labor Day; this year, BSU opens againstGeorgia in the annual Chick-Fil-A Classic in Atlanta), followed by another round with fellow giant killer TCUin October. It doesn't hurt that the Horned Frogs are certain to hold on to some significant poll respect themselves despite rolling out of the greenest lineups in the country in the fall, or that the rest of the Mountain West voted to move the only Boise State-TCU matchup as conference rivals from Fort Worth to the blue turf in Boise, where the Broncos haven't lost a regular season game in 10 years. They also keep their most consistently respectable rivals from the WAC, future Mountain West defectors Fresno State and Nevada, which should keep the non-conference strength of schedule from bottoming out in the BCS' computer polls.
But just as important as any of the details of Boise's case in 2011, specifically, is the simple fact that voters are accustomed to thinking about Boise State among the top outfits in the country, and showed last year that they're increasingly willing to elevate the Broncos into the higher reaches as long as they keep winning. All indications are that that respect will extend into this fall, and that Boise has the lineup and schedule to exploit it again. Whether it extends beyond this fall, after Moore graduates, TCU moves to the Big East and the Mountain West evolves into the Nouveau WAC, we don't know. At this point, though, anyone arguing the Broncos don't have the juice to make a national championship run is either suspiciously confident that another undefeated season is off the table, or just hasn't been paying attention.
Whether you agree with the hype surrounding the Broncos or not, and whether you agree that they are a top ten team this season or thing is certain - Peterson's squad is right where we want the Dawgs to be nationally.

And while we're on the subject...183 days.

Go Dawgs!

Honest question...

A GA Tech baseball player is arrested in early February for a DUI in Buckhead and the story gets published last night at 8:32pm. 

Now, I'm not going to get into all of the AJC bias towards the trade school and the fact that this story would've been front page February 4th if the kid played for Perno. I hope by now we all understand that to engage in such discourse would be redundant and regurgitory.*

My question is simply: is this a non story because Skole plays baseball...or because he plays on North Avenue? Of course the easy answer is both. But I'm not sure that's the truth.

* regurgitory - meaning we been there, we done that

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday's Meatloaf - Poncho's Par for the Course

One of the last things my father in law said to me was something I'll carry with me forever. Cancer had ravaged his body and it happened to be the last time we ever played golf together. He was only able to manage 9 holes towards the end and even that was nearly too much for his energy and pain threshold. But he was always ready to play.

Walking off of number 9 one day in July of 2006 I had just missed a makeable birdie putt, then tapped in for par. I was disappointed and I guess it showed. "Every day of playing golf is a good day," he said with a raspy voice that made his voice barely audible. Then he corrected himself, "Every day is a great one."

Normally I would've had to have him write out this thought on his board he carried around to aid with his communication. But this time I knew exactly what he had said. It was one of many lessons I've learned on a golf course. And this one I took quickly to heart. A few months later my daughters' Grandpa and my wife's father was gone. 

Poncho (most who knew him called him by his nickname) also left behind my wife's step mother Brenda. And this past Saturday she remarried, to a man who also had suffered a terrible tragedy to cancer at about the same time. They met while serving at their golf course's annual Highlands-Massey Classic, an event that has helped raise over $1,000,000 towards research to combat today's awful cancer statistics.

As I watched these two families join together in celebrating a joyous ending to what had seemed an insurmountable tragedy, I once again recalled my father in law's words. Saturday wasn't a good day, it was a great one. Two daughters, four grandchildren and two spouses, once devastated by a terrible disease, now celebrating a new beginning.

Congrats, Brenda and Frank!

Today's Ingredients
  • If you find yourself with some extra coin, especially if you're in the Richmond area, check out the VCU Massey Cancer Center and give generously. They are true life changers and are making a difference each and every day.
  • Good news over the weekend on Washaun Ealey rejoining the team in full. I numbered myself among the many who didn't see this happening. So now I'm honestly and pleasantly surprised.
  • the Senator is also pleasantly surprised so far with this off season's headlines.
  • Streit sees Ealey's reinstatement as a big deal and runs down the reasons why.
  • Everyone, meet Coach Olivadotti. "You play if you run to the ball and hit something." Sounds fair enough to me.
  • ecdawg has an interesting read surrounding some comments AJ Green has made about conditioning while at the combine.
  • hoopdawg outlines the success that was Saturday's chicken roasting.
  • And Daugman is pretty excited about Kentavious Caldwell's future in Athens.
  • With Selection Sunday just a mere 14 days away, Kyle updates the tourney hardwood.
  • Once again there's a special promo for hoops fans wanting to go this Wednesday night to see the Dawgs take on LSU in the last home game of the season. "HOOPS" gets you an $8 ticket.
  • The softball team continues to dominate, this time a pretty damn good opponent too. Meanwhile, Perno's squad continues to struggle with consistency in the early part of the season.
  • Landers' Lady Dawgs will be the 4 seed in the SEC Tournament after losing the regular season finale yesterday.
  • The Lady Sportswriter thinks ESPNs latest move towards greater accountability is too little too late.
There are many things I was put on this Earth to do. It just so happens that dancing is not even remotely close to being one of them. Yet, I enjoy spending time on the dance floor with the wife, and especially with my little girls. So there was a point in the reception Saturday when I sought the little beauties out.

They were dressed perfectly of course, and were flying high after getting to walk down the aisle carrying roses on their new (and much older) cousins' arms. They've served on larger wedding parties before of course. But now they resembled young ladies more, not just the little angels you hope don't steal the show by dumping the flower petals on the preacher's feet, or lifting their dress too far to scratch their butts while at the altar.

No they gracefully made it through Saturday's ceremony...and then gracefully turned down my repeated offers for a dance. Running around the reception area with the cousins was too much for both of my left feet to compete with I guess. 

That's okay, there'll be another great day sometime soon I'm sure. And they probably won't have to stand on my feet anymore when it gets here. Here's your fork Reader. Have a great Monday!