Friday, May 13, 2011

In the case of King v Ealey

First off, let me apologize for the problems with the posts yesterday and today. Actually, not sure why I’m apologizing since I can’t really control the gerbils that power the inner workings of Blogger. Hopefully they’ve got things back on track for good.

Secondly, if you’re convinced that King is already academically ineligible you’re going to find the rest of this post a waste of your time. Because I think it’s just the opposite. If I’m wrong I’ll gladly pay my blogging fine and endure whatever ridicule thrown my way. As long as those of you who have jumped the gun on this agree to admit you were wrong, publicly…privately...whatever. As PWD pointed out the other day on Twitter, there’s a precedent for things like this being wrong. We live in a world where the value is mistakenly placed on being first…not necessarily being right.

Today I wanted to draw a definite distinction between these two running backs. They share similarities in their position on the field and the fact that they’ve become familiar with the doghouse. But while I’m happy that UGA and Ealey have parted ways, I’m equally pleased that Caleb King will be around next season.

King is a well rounded back that I just have to believe is ready to put the past behind him. The past includes injuries, standing in Knowshon’s shadow, trouble with the law and certainly other poor choices. I think he’s equally ready to embrace the role of Crowell’s backfield “supervisor”, take the ball from Murray and do Damn Good Dawg things with it.

I think it’s short-sighted to lump King in with Ealey, as many have seemingly done. By most accounts, Ealey was bad for the locker room. King has had moments where he’s hurt his team, that’s more than fair. But I think he can make the team better on the field and off. Ealey had moments like the game in Lexington last year where he made the team better on the field. But ultimately he’s all about two letters, M and E. He wants to be a premier back but is working off a 16 year old ego-centric mindset. I hope his 21 year old body grows out of that real soon. Just wasn’t going to happen in Athens.

On the other hand, I think King’s already transforming himself. I think he’s prepping for his swan song. Join me in hoping it’s a tune we can bark to.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Buford's Lee to announce Monday

Dawg fans have been wondering two things regarding the recruitment of Buford's Dillon Lee: 

  1. What took so long for Georgia to offer one of the state's top prospects who also happens to have a brother on the roster?
  2. And will Georgia's tardiness affect Lee's decision?
Well, we'll know Monday what Lee's plans are.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from Buford High School confirmed to the AJC that he will announce on Monday whether he will join his brother with the Bulldogs — or commit to one of his three other finalists of Alabama, Florida State and USC.
Here’s Lee on Wednesday night with quick hits on his final four:
  • Florida State: “I really like the campus and whole environment there in Tallahassee.”
  • Alabama: “I really like what they do on defense. I like their defensive coaches and the defensive system they have.”
  • Southern Cal: “That has been my favorite team growing up … my whole life.”
  • UGA: “That’s my in-state school. My brother plays there. My whole family is Georgia fans, and I’ve been going to games there my whole life. I know a lot about them, and I’ve been trying to get to know the new linebackers coach since he was hired.”
Lee has accumulated nearly 20 offers; ironically, UGA was most recent, despite the family ties. Georgia linebackers coach, Kirk Olivadotti, called Lee with an offer from the Bulldogs on May 2. Georgia hired the former NFL assistant on Feb. 18.
Hard to go against Bama here. But I still like our chances too...despite being late to the party.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Running Back Depth

Ealey's departure sent a mere ripple along the depth chart. Washaun was as behind on the clipboard as he was in attitude. The lack of a running attack is something that has been addressed in the off season. But there's much work left to do. 

Yesterday the rumor mill chugged along heartily as people speculated as to the future of Caleb King. But from comments Coach Richt made last night, it's pretty clear at this point that King is still very much a part of the RB equation.

Put the cart down and slow your gallop folks. Grades are all in Monday. I have a really good feeling everything's gonna be okay.

In the mean time, here's a few points I'm pondering.
  • Caleb had a good Spring, as far as that goes. The GDay game aside, I think this is something we can measure pretty realistically based on Coach Richt's public comments recently, especially regarding Ealey. If King had entered Spring drills with anything less than a smile on his face I'm fairly certain we would've heard about it.
  • That's not to say CK's past isn't fully behind him. The reason he missed the bowl game may seem like a minor detail in some eyes, but setting things right academically would be a huge stiff arm. If we don't hear anything negative in the next several days about his grades, that would be a great thing. 
  • Let me re-emphasize would be a GREAT thing. As much as some fans want King to hit the highway, I'll continue to contend that having him in the backfield this Fall is extremely important from both a consistency standpoint and a protection standpoint.
  • Malcome was a breath of fresh air this Spring. I still wonder how much he can create on his own. And I wonder that because of our offensive line's struggles and inconsistency last season. But he's shown he has good vision and can grind out some yards that's for sure.
  • Thomas is not an every down back. Last season made that clear, abundantly clear. However, used effectively he can be a change of pace back when put into space with good blocking. He should never be put in any danger of getting lost in Ben Jones' armpit...or worse, well...nevermind.
  • Crowell. The red carpet has been rolled out. Everyone's eager to see what he does with it. The faster he absorbs things (playbook, blocking assignments, pass routes...) the more versatility McClendon and Bobo have in their backfield.
Right now I like the group we have. We have some experience that is eager to make the most of his last opportunity. We have some size and a lot of speed. More than anything we have a group that can help an offensive line out some as it grows into what we need it to be.

We'll see where things are closer to September 3rd.

    NCAA flexing little used and underdeveloped muscle

    Mark Emmert has watched THE!! Ohio State University football program turn into a bastion of ethical ineptitude. He's also practiced his sashaying while AwwBarn wrote the checks for their national championship.

    But today's a new day!
    Mark Emmert wants to start hitting NCAA rule-breakers hard.
    The governing body's president said Tuesday he wants schools that violate the rules to pay a stiff penalty -- one that's punitive enough to make coaches and others think twice about cheating.
    "We need to make sure our penalty structure and enforcement process imposes a thoughtful level of concern, and that the cost of violating the rules costs more than not violating them," Emmert said.
    Talk is cheap Mr. Emmert. Wake us up when you finally decide to use your broadened resources for enforcement

    Except you Central Florida. Y'all should probably stay awake. A good lamb never slumbers during its sacrifice.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    On Washaun

    When the news broke, like anyone else I naturally assumed that he had gotten into some kind of legal trouble again. But this sounds more like a parting of ways thing. A divorce that seems to have been a long time coming. Most people seem to think Ealey ends up in Statesboro. Hard to tell if that is just because that has been the rumor for the last 6 months or if there is something factual behind it now. But Georgia Southern is very close to his home and he could play right away there. 

    We'll see. 

    That's the short of it. The long of it is that Washaun evidently has decided that he doesn't want to be a part of the new attitude in Athens. Richt has purged some bad attitudes since the end of last season, he's had some that graduated and the rest have decided to fall in line. In late February it seemed as though Ealey had decided to be a part of that last group. Now it seems as if that isn't the case.

    My hope is that he is simply eager for a new venue and a fresh start. That would be the silver lining. If he didn't want to become the player he can be in Athens, I sincerely hope he does so elsewhere. He's got too much talent to waste his good years bucking against structure and rules.

    The fact of the matter is that EVERY tailback that comes to Athens has a TREMENDOUS amount of pressure on their shoulders before they even arrive. It's been that way since the fall of '83. Some have thrived under that pressure like Hearst. Others have faltered like Jasper Sanks. Ealey faltered, but he didn't blaze out like Sanks did. A new area code might do him a world of good.

    And I think it will do the Dawgs good as well.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Monday's Meatloaf - Hydrocondoning it

    Been a busy weekend as I've had to drop back into zone coverage on the homefront. Mrs. Bernie is now tonsil-impaired and the recovery time is full of crushed ice and heavy narcotics. 

    In other words, she's on doctor ordered vacay, bless her heart. Meanwhile I've become reacquainted with where the linen closet is, how to manage two kids by myself that like to pretend to hate each other and how to stuff their little faces with leftovers so that you can hear the coverage of the 18th hole of the Wells Fargo Championship on the tv.

    I'm actually missing the wife's voice. Sure it was nice the first day or so not having her yell at me to turn the volume down on the TV. But now when I hear the ting-a-ling!! upstairs...wait a moment...and then hear the TING-AAAA-LING!!!!...well, that means I have to pause whatever's on, get off the sofa, climb the stairs, walk over to her bedside and lean down real close.

    All so I can hear her whisper, "Turn the tv down!" Only wives can still use exclamation points with their whispers.

    "Ok Honey." Then once I believe I am out of her narcotic ear range I whisper back, "Can I reheat you some leftovers yet?"

    Today's Ingredients
    • Lots of great UGA Athletics news, mostly from yesterday afternoon.
    • Let's start with the Diamond Dawgs, who overcame a seemingly impossible deficit to avoid an Auburn sweep in Opelika. Thanks in part to a Kyle Farmer grandslam and a 9 run 9th inning, the Dawgs won 14-11.
    • Next, Russell Henley may have had a harder time selecting a Mother's Day card than winning the Stadion Classic in Athens.
    • And the softball team showed some muscle in beating MSU yesterday.
    • Hedges to Hardwood has a hoops update that includes the latest on Kevin Ware.
    • Exile bids farewell to Seve Ballesteros, who passed away over the weekend.
    • So Stephen Garcia graduated from South Crackalacky. I didn't even know they offered double majors in Wasting of Talent and Abject Debauchery.
    • the Senator brings to light a developing story I saw on an ESPN Outside the Lines feature yesterday. It's pretty awkward in the world of Nebraska athletics these days. I wonder how many collegiate athletic programs are paying attention. 
    • There's a quote in this piece about the HillBilly's passing game that begs the question: What will the receivers catch the football with this Fall?
    • You fellow Gwinnettians should've been pulling for Mucho Macho Man in the Derby Saturday. The hometown horse did us proud.
    • Lastly, the quiet you hear out of Ohio is from Buckeye fans realizing that they may be setting the new standard on college football programs out of control.
    • UPDATE: Univ. of Alabama NYC is having a silent auction tomorrow to raise money for the tornado victims. The items are naturally Crimson Tide based, but also included is a Tracy Wolfson sideline experience that can be used at any CBS game during the season. You don't have to be present to win. (h/t Kerri)
    No word yet on if Uncle Verne's knee is part of the experience.

    At the risk of hurting Rashard Mendenhall's feelings, can we now turn the Navy Seals on the NBA? After getting the kids to bed last night and fluffing the wife's pillow a little, I went downstairs and (quietly...very cognizant of the volume...) turned on the tv to get the golf highlights. It was a great finish up in Charlotte and I wanted to see it again and hear some soundbytes.

    Instead I was treated to one of the sickest displays I've ever seen in sports. Move over Kent Hrbek, the LA Lakers are pulling your fat, tired ass off the bag.

    I'm on record as not a fan of pro sports, mostly across the board. The NBA is at the top of that list. I don't enjoy the lack of rules, the lack of education in the majority of its workforce and the "Me Mentality" on display is a bad example for our kids and our society as a whole. So I'm a little upset with myself that I would be so surprised that the Lakers, who are supposed to be the gold standard of champions in the league would resort to bullying and flat out assault at the end of their season.

    If you call yourself an NBA fan today, please watch the league closely. Those thugs should be spending time in jail to start next season. However if they're on the hardwood instead, use your voice and your remote to take a stand. There's no room for that in sports. And a league office that condones that type of behavior in any way doesn't deserve its own fans' time and money.

    And don't be surprised if Seal Team 6 makes a run at their compound. I bet that Bynum beeatch would even use his lady as a human shield. Coward punk. As for you Reader...better late than never. Here's your fork, dig in.