Saturday, February 25, 2012

Isner gave notice, now just kicking ass

John Isner did both himself and the ATP a favor years ago when he decided to forgo a pro career and enroll at the University of Georgia. He knew he needed time to mature and development his game

"If I turned pro four years earlier, I would have taken a lot of beatings. My confidence would have dipped, and I wouldn't have had much fun playing tennis. That might have led to burnout, which might have led to me not playing tennis anymore. (Waiting) was definitely the right decision to me."

The men on the pro circuits had four years to play around. Now the Georgia grad is not just making everyone take notice. He's become a force to be reckoned with. Once upon a time he was just the really tall guy with a huge serve. No one wanted to play him and try to lob over his 6'9" frame, much less attempt to break his serve. Even the top ranked players were susceptible to his power, as evidenced by him taking the first set from Federer in his first US Open.

But the John Isner we're seeing today is an even more complete player. His touch work around the court improved dramatically from his first year to his second year on the circuit. He's no longer the lanky kid wearing the Georgia cap in post match interviews. He's much more than the guy that's in the record books with Mahut for the longest match in history. No Isner stands ready to break into the top ten of the world's greatest players. This is especially evident after his impressive four set victory over Federer a couple weeks ago.

Although not young in tennis terms, Isner, currently ranked a career-high No. 13 in the world, has the most upside among the top ranking Americans. Roddick’s career faces a downward trajectory and the 30-year-old Fish has struggled on the Grand Slam stage. Isner’s recent four-set victory over Federer at the 2012 Davis Cup rubber between the United States and Switzerland was further proof of his emergence as a contender for tennis’ big prizes – the Grand Slams.

As young Americans continue to turn pro at a young age, (19-year-old Ryan Harrison, the latest promising U.S. prospect, went pro when he was 15), Isner remains a rare breed. His modest junior career coupled with four years of collegiate tennis experience would make him an unlikely Grand Slam champion. But if his improvements in the past few years are any indication, Isner is perhaps America’s best hope to win a major championship in the near future.

He is currently the top seed at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, TN and will play compatriot Donald Young in the second round.

Isner would likely already be in the top ten were it not for a slow start to 2011. But it's that early lull last season that has this fan confident that we've yet to see the best from Big John. The kid that cut his teeth in front of raucous NCAA crowds is poised for a nice mid-career run at tennis glory. John Isner's just another Damn Good Dawg doing great things.

But now the world is his stage.

Friday, February 24, 2012

New DB commit...probably a Dawg

A few reports say Georgia is close to getting ($$) an official commitment from Steven Nelson of College of the Sequoias. I say official because it appears there are still some transcripts to pore over. But Nelson himself says he's committed. So it sounds like a deal where as long as the courses work out, both sides want to do business.

The specifics:

  • Nelson is a product of Northside HS in Warner Robins GA
  • He's a 3 for 2 guy, three years to play two
  • But....he is mulling the decision to possibly redshirt in '12 so he'd have three seasons in Athens
  • He's 6'1" and 190 and a speedster with a 4.4/40
  • Looks like a Jan 2013 enrollee, so he'd be here for spring ball
  • From his film he looks like an athletic, physical corner that has experience playing close to the line of scrimmage (pretty decent INT and return at the 2:50)
Mario Alford is going to be in Athens this weekend. He's also waiting on an official offer so he can eagerly accept.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not to beat a dead horse...

...but YES!  This is a good idea. Mitchell could be the Yin to Champ's Yang.

Welcome Sherman Armstrong, new addition to S&C staff

UPDATE: Whoa there partner. Gentry updates original post after receiving a clarification text from Armstrong. Position still begins 3/1, but details are still being hammered out. I hope that they do. I like this guy.

- - - - - - - - - - - - 

The Dawgs have hired a new speed coach. He's replacing Thomas Brown, but says his role is two-fold.
"I believe I'm to replace him, but my role is two-fold," Armstrong said. "My primary role is to help our athletes get faster, loosen their hips up and pretty much improve the team's overall speed at every positionThat's the No. 1 goal. And then to also assist Coach T and the staff in helping our athletes develop strength."
 Here's a look at Armstrong's credentials.

Dawgs drop one on the bayou

Woeful first few minutes comes back to bite the Hoop Dawgs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coach Fox's report card

I've really been thinking about this post by Corbindawg and this subsequent post by Mr. Sanchez. I've even gone back and read my glowing, kool-aid drenched post from two years ago when Mark Fox was just tuning up. In hindsight it was premature and inaccurate.

Or was it?

Like the bloggers who've touched on the subject before me I just don't know if Fox can turn the ship in the direction we want it to course. To qualify that, I know he can coach at this level. He can coach well enough to be a major player in this league. That much I know. 

But As Mr. Sanchez said, you aren't going to win Talladega in a Honda. And the UGA men's hoops program is surrounded by really fast, well built engines just looking for a showcase. Too often the Tony Parkers find that showcase in other climes and destinations. Which unfairly or not, leaves us uninspired by the recruits we do get.

So yes, the issue is can Fox recruit. So far if we were to grade him out I would give him a solid B for coaching and a borderline C- in recruiting. Those two are hands that must complement each other well. Really well. Good recruits can bring the coaching grade up. Way up.

I agree that Fox needs more time. The product on the floor isn't producing the wins at a rate that anyone would like, but it's a much better product to watch than his predecessor's slow, overly methodical snorefest. The class coming in next year won't turn a lot of heads now. But if they can develop around Caldwell-Pope...and if Thompkins and/or Leslie could start averaging more minutes...granted a longshot...

But maybe it's one Coach Fox can make.

Another lesson from Kyle Maynard

I've been following Kyle Maynard for several years. If you take away all (and I mean ALL) of his achievements he's still an amazing person. Born without limbs he continues to overcome obstacles each greater than the one before it.

I'd heard somewhere the UGA and Gwinnett County celebrity was moving on from Mixed Martial Arts to higher goals. Reading of his ascent to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, nearly 20,000 feet higher than where you and I go about our daily routines, I was both amazed and not at all surprised. 

Great read. Inspirational to say the least.

Practicing in October at Stone Mountain (via AJC)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Legendary status

The only honor larger than having an award named after you would be earning it.
Two of Georgia’s greatest football players will be honored with special awards named after them, according to an announcement by coach Mark Richt. Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich and Maxwell Award winner Charley Trippi will be honored with annual awards beginning in 2012. The Sinkwich Award will be awarded to Georgia’s toughest player, while the Trippi Award will be presented to the team’s most versatile player.
“Frank Sinkwich had to be tough by playing seven games with a broken jaw in 1941,” Richt said. “I have always heard that Charley Trippi was the most exciting player of his time. It must have been a special experience to see these two great Georgia players compete on the field. It’s appropriate to have two awards honoring Sinkwich and Trippi, both of whom were great players, graduates of the University, and always willing to give back to their alma mater.”

On the air with Coach Fox

Fox talks about the upcoming games against LSU and Florida and shooting difficulties, among other topics.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday's Meatloaf - Cherry Trees and Veto Power

Four score and seven years ago I must confess that I did chop down that cherry tree. Beyond that I am not a crook.

Shoulda veto'd this casual attire 
Can you imagine being Prez Adams' secretary on a day like today? I mean that guy's ego must be hard to contain any day of the week, but on Presidents' Day I bet that little rosy cheeked carpet bagger goes off the chain. I heard his last chief advisor quit on Presidents' Day in 2009 when Adams insisted he be referred to as Captain Veto. Then the next year he lost the replacement when he insisted the lackey place a call to President Obama so they could "talk shop".

Jimmy Carter has blocked Adams' phone number and George W is one "impromptu visit at the ranch" away from having the guy waterboarded until he admits he can't stand grits. Recently we even reached out to Coach Dooley for an assessment of this strange behavior for our chief UGA administrator.
Bernie: Coach, what do you think about Preh...
Coach Dooley: I wish that %#$! *&%$ing #$%1! would just @*^%ing $!&@# #%$@! @*&%$ go to (H E double hockey sticks). 
Well. That just about says it all. Unless we can get Prez Adams to go see "Our American Cousin" at the Ford Theater this April, we'll just have to somehow endure his presidential sized self admiration.

Today's Ingredients
  • hoopdawg breaks down yesterday's loss to Vandy. I think John Jenkins just hit another three pointer. 
  • Here's Ching's analysis as well.
  • Great weekend for Perno's Diamond Dawgs, including a terrific performance yesterday by the young right-hander Taylor Hicks.
  • Blutarsky finds some NFL data to prepare us for the new NCAA kickoff rules.
  • sUGArfalling finds a couple reasons not to worry about the Commings suspension, particularly as it relates to the SEC opener against Mizzou.
  • Cool feature ($$) on long snapper Ty Frix by Fletcher Page.
  • Mr. Sanchez finds a great way to pass the time in between innings. Of course I'm a sucker for some DbT.
  • ecdawg found an interesting take on the state of the gayturd program than Muschomp has adopted. Meyer's mire, good swampy read there.
  • I doubt it escaped your keen eye, but the big news out of Chickumbia is that "sometimes crap happens. You just have to deal with it."
  • Things have quieted down some since the Aggies pitched their little hissy fit over seating arrangements in the big boy league. Welcome to the show boys. Now sit down and shut up.
  • Lastly, I'd like to congratulate Dawg Day on his nuptials this weekend. If you are in love with a Dawgette, I'd suggest you follow his lead on how he went about popping the question.

Did not tell you to put the balm on.
There's been some recent concern over Darren the Intern's run in with the law as he investigated the Peach Pass lanes. He was nabbed for "creating a dangerous commuting environment" and "distracting law abiding motorists" while installing web cams along the barren waste of a lane. Governor Deal (perhaps drunk on the taste of his own presidential-like power) quickly stepped in and went all DOT on Darren's ass. BDB's official statement was that the kid was acting on his own accord...

...but we couldn't just leave Darren out there alone to dodge passing cars and the excessively long arm of the law. Frankly I found the whole episode outrageous, egregious and preposterous. Which meant there was only one man to call, Jackie Chiles.

Mr. Chiles possesses the résumé and has the experience a case like this needs. He's taken on Java World and their faulty tops for their caffè lattes and gone head to head with king tobacco. Surely a few miles of unused pavement is no match for his pressed suits and extensive vocabulary.

In short, I expect Darren back by next week at the latest. And with any luck he'll catch Prez Adams on camera drinking a "pop" while listening to Justin Beaver. Douche.

If you have the day off, don't waste the trip to the mailbox and remember - "America is too great for small dreams." Ronald ReaganEnjoy the meatloaf Reader. It's not gluten-free but it is hanging chad-free.


Dawgs lose to the dandies

More in the meatloaf later, but....

Great first half. But the second blew thick chunks.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lady Bulldogs swim to 3rd straight SEC title

It wasn't even close really. Wendy Trott and Megan Romano led the way as the Swim Dawgs racked up an impressive 781 points over the four day event. Tennessee was second with 629.5. The title is Coach Bauerle's ninth in a very competitive conference.

Here's some highlights followed by a link to the official story that also has video footage from Knoxville.

Special Beer of the Week - Sweetwater's 15th

So yesterday was kinda a big deal. Even though I did a BotW post a couple days ago, yesterday's momentous occasion calls for a special edition. Fifteen years of great beer is nothing to sneeze at. Happy Anniversary Sweetwater!

I couldn't make it down for their official celebration yesterday, so instead I grabbed their 15th anniversary ale and made sure my favorite glass was clean and ready for the pour. 15 Years of Heady Beer is delicious. Just what you'd expect from a brewery that has grown steadily and continually done things right for a decade and a half. It pours a nice rich copper and has a beautiful frothy head. Just as I expected the flavors are intense and well balanced. The bitterness is subtle, delicious and fades nicely into a creamy, fruity finish.

This beer is intense. It's 10% ABV but you never really taste the alcohol much which is key for me.* Once it warms up a little there's more of the creamy maltiness than there was before. This is a great beer. Grab one soon. If you're around Atlanta it shouldn't be too hard. It comes in a bomber and I think it was about 8 bucks. Worth every penny.

Afterall, fifteen years of great brewing is behind this one. Congrats to everyone at Sweetwater who has made it what it is today. Cheers!

15th Years of Heady Beers brewing and bottling
from SweetWater Brewery on Vimeo.

Tune in later this week when I review yet another beer in preparation for an ultimate beer drinkers' experience - Brewvival!

*Don't want to get too preachy. And I love the awareness that Dogfish Head has brought to craft brewing. But as much as they put into their beer, every one I have is both high in alcohol and tastes it. Believe me, I don't mind drinking a beer that has a high ABV. And Dogfish puts a lot of effort into creating certain flavors. But I like a beer that masks the alcohol and doesn't burn your tongue without giving it something to work for first. So if you love Dogfish Head, great. But there's a lot more out there that's better, and less pretentious...and easier on the wallet.