Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Come si dice...Go Dawgs?!?"

If you're not already, start following Christian Robinson's blog as he treks through a study abroad program in Italy. He's there with Artie Lynch and Ty Frix from the football team. The pictures are good, the chronicles are even better. Maybe not as hysterical at Watts' Go Greyhound adventures back in March. But well worth the read, for sure.

And Weiszer reminds us that those UGA student-athletes aren't the only ones traveling to Italy this summer. The basketball team will travel there together in a couple months. By the time August gets here the Italian calcio teams might just be wearing silver shorts.

Square in Cortona
via "Square in Cortona"

No trees were harmed in this ejection...

h/t Sandman and Groo

Harvey Updyke, beleaguered softball fan.
Harvey Updyke, the man alleged to have poisoned Auburn's Toomer's Oaks, was ejected from today's SEC softball tournament game between Alabama and Georgia, UA confirmed this afternoon.

"Mr. Harvey Updyke was asked by University of Alabama officials to leave today's softball game and he complied. Several months ago, the University issued a formal directive to Mr. Updyke stating that he is not to come to the University of Alabama campus. Mr. Updyke has no affiliation with the University of Alabama and does not represent the institution in any way. The University of Alabama will have no further statement on this matter."

Multiple UAPD officers at the game declined to comment.

Brian Rice, who works with the Tennessee softball team, snapped multiple photos of Updyke being led away from the Rhoads Stadium property. In a message to the Tuscaloosa Bureau, Rice said Updyke had been sitting in a lawn chair in the grassy area behind the home run fence.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rivalries, perspective and the gray area

I've been thinking a lot this week about Blutarsky's post on rivalries - Who are Georgia's rivals? If you recall, we explored the concept of a rivalry as it pertains to the WLOCP pretty extensively last summer. The reasoning was simple: the Dawgs had lost their edge in Jacksonville and one component of the definition of the word rivalry is competition. Mentally Richt's teams (and Donnan, and Goff) weren't going down there ready to compete. And yes, I use the past tense there with bold confidence that, at the very least, future results will follow the new and improved attitude.

Cocktails and jorts aside, I like the Senator's ingredients for what makes up a rivalry: History, Scheduling, the Stakes, Geography and Miscellaneous factors. From that my vote for Florida, Auburn and Tech was born. Sure, that removes Tennessee and South Carolina from the list; two teams that we play against each year for the right to represent the SEC East. But that's where I sit in the discussion. Don't try and get me up. I'm comfortable here.
We OWN this rivalry

What made me a little restless about it is, quite simply...Tech. Ultimately the Tennessee game is more important (higher stakes), but Clean Old Fashioned Hate is a very old tome (historically epic), full of dust and filled with great tales of men kicking engiNerds' asses back and forth along the 60 some odd miles that separate the two schools (geographical promixity). That ultimately factors more heavily for me than divisional proximity. At least in this debate.

Any discussion of rivalry is going to involve one's own personal perspective. For instance, I discount South Carolina simply based on the fact that I weigh history heavily. I'm quite sure someone with a Georgia flag hanging from their front porch in Columbia would argue that point with me. To them, the contest between Georgia and South Carolina could be the most important game of the season. Every season. And while I would empathize with their position (geographically and philosophically), I would fall short of conceding the point. That's my perspective. They have theirs. 

And there are thousands of other perspectives in the Bulldog Nation. It may make for muddy waters or just lively discourse, depending on how you look at it. But everyone goes into a season wanting certain by-products from the win column. In the end though, the most important game is always the next one - which is hopefully the mindsight in the lockerroom and the practice field.

But if that were the only determinant in the discussion I would somehow manage to dismiss geography, high stakes, history and just about everything that factored in miscellaneously and develop an intense hatred for the Buffalo Bulls (the McGarity postulate).

Q-Hicks has moxy

I really like Quayvon Hicks' bravado...
There could be opportunity for the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Hicks to make an impact at a fullback position where Zander Ogletree is joined by walk-ons Merritt Hall and Dustin Royston. Tailback Richard Samuel also got work at the position this spring and could be a factor.
Ogletree is a 5-foot-10, 224-pound junior.
“Zander Ogletree I think is a great man, but in SEC ball, you’ve got to have the size and I think that’s what he’s missing right now,” Hicks said. “I think I can come in and become great teammates with him and we can do this thing together.”
...hope he also walks the walk.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

GATArchives: last home game of the 1980 season

So last week we looked at the Railroad Track Crowd's last game before Sanford was expanded. Today let's focus on what happened 'tween the hedges in that edition of Clean Old Fashioned Hate.

It wasn't much of a game until the second half - Georgia led 17-0 at the half. And it's not that the second half was tight, it's just that Tech started scoring often enough to keep the game interesting. And after Belue scored on a 1 yard run early in the 4th quarter to give the Dawgs a 31-14 lead there was surely a feeling that the game was about to be on ice.

Picture credit: Steve Deal of the AJC. Sorry for the poor scanning job. It was
too wide for my scanner. Not a whole lot of explanation given for it. But it's
designed to show how one simple screen pass to Walker could go for a big
gain. The byline states: "Georgia quarterback Buck Belue passes to Herschel 
Walker, who breaks a couple of tackles and gains 31 yards to Tech's 41 to set 
up Rex Robinson's 57-yard field goal."
However, there were two problems with that scenario: Tech went on a methodical drive to pull back to within two scores (31-20 after a failed 2-point conversion), and Hershel Walker was still 42 yards shy of Tony Dorsett's freshman rushing record. UGA Sports Information Director Claude Felton called down to the sideline to get word to the coaches of how close the record was. However, once Tech scored to narrow the margin some the point was moot.

So, on Georgia's first play from scrimmage Walker took the ball on a "22 Draw" and scampered 65 yards to seal the victory. He'd racked up over 200 yards and helped Georgia earn a perfect 11-0 regular season. He'd also bested Dorsett's freshman mark by 30 yards. I think OG Tim Morrison summed up the post-game sentiments best:
"In my opinion he's the best running back in the history of football. I don't care what anyone says. That's the way I feel and that's the way a lot of people on this team feel."
There were more quotes in the article (11/30/1980 by the AJC's Dan Barreiro) about Herschel's quiet, humble manner. There were comparisons to other marquee backs of the era such as Charles White of USC. It was all to profess their love for #34, and their support for him as a Heisman candidate.

Unfortunately, as we all know, it was all for naught. In fact, the ballots had been sealed the Friday before. Voting was done. Herschel would end up third behind two seniors, Pitt's defensive lineman Hugh Green and South Carolina's George Rogers.

So in summary: despite not winning an award that was rightfully his. perhaps the only person to outwork the Track People that day was The Goalline Stalker, Hershel Walker.

McGarity's Gameday, sponsored by cupcakes

Evidently Bill King reads Groo's blog. Can't say that I blame him. But between the two reads I come away with two thoughts:
  1. I can't wait to plan the tailgates around the tv schedule this Fall
  2. I will frequently get frustrated with the kickoff times and post-tailgate competition this season
King raises some ideas for making the gameday fare more palatable amidst early starts and less competitive opponents. But even if one day the new Michael Adams' tailgating restrictions were eased a bit (whether they were paid for or not) and the cupcakes came with a later start time, the new era is still going to take some getting used to. As both Groo and King point out, we're locked into McGarity's scheduling philosophy now. I don't like it, but I'll somehow come to accept it.

I'd rather see the big games. More bang for my buck as far as I'm concerned. I loved the trip to Tempe. And even though our AD has less control over it, I'd even rather be going to Tuscaloosa this Fall than out west to the other Columbia.

Even so, this philosophy worked at Florida. And even though future schedules will have at least a little more bite than 2012, it can work in Athens too. We'll all spend more on sunscreen and kick ourselves if we forget our sunglasses coming into Sanford. But at least we'll save on the electric bill too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shawn Williams: hard-nosed, with high goals

He's going to likely be the lone voice of experience in the secondary early on this coming season. But Shawn Williams is taking the challenge ($$) much in the same way he plays his safety position, head on.

His coach thinks he has the tools to be an All-American.
“He’s a physical player, sure,” Lakatos said. “I think that’s part of his deal. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. That’s what you want. You want physical, hard-nosed guys that are athletes. That’s what he gives you. He can do some things in deep zone. He can do some things in man coverage. When it comes down to it he can stick his face in there and knock some people backwards. You’ve got to have that. You like to have that in your secondary.” 
Williams once struck me as a player that would always have trouble living up to his vocal chords. But last season he did a lot to shed that image, in my opinion. He played where he was needed and really became a versatile player. Here are his 2011 stats:

78 tackles (48 solo)
5 tackles for loss
4 interceptions
1 forced fumble
5 pass break-ups
2 QB hurries
1 blocked kick

Because of all that, I wasn't too surprised when he considered leaving for the NFL back in January. Also because of all that, I'm glad he stayed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It took Aaron Murray 3.5 years... do something it took me 5 to do - get a seat on the 50 yard line in Sanford.

Gantt and Felton to receive awards

During a slow Monday there was some welcome news to a few UGA figures that work mostly behind the scenes. Among them was Bryant Gantt, whom many will recognize as a former player, current program coordinator, as well as also a key figure in helping to bring a peaceful ending to the Jamie Hood cop killer saga last year.
The Western Circuit Bar Association today will honor the University of Georgia Athletic Department’s program coordinator for helping bring the hunt for an accused cop-killer last year to a peaceful end.
Jamie Hood shot and killed Senior Police Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian and wounded SPO Tony Howard on March 22, 2011, and three days later Bryant Gantt helped negotiate Hood’s surrender from a house where authorities say the suspect held eight people hostage.
“It’s always an honor when someone is recognizing you for doing something, whatever it is, because you feel like you must be going something right,” Gantt said.
The local bar association each year presents the Liberty Bell Award to a person who embodies respect for law and the courts and engenders a sense of civic responsibility, among other positive attributes.
Gantt, a former UGA football player and lifelong Athenian, is respected by police and civilians alike. He’s worked for a local bail bondsman and as an investigator for a defense attorney, and people who run afoul of the law know that he’s a man of his word.
Gantt was familiar with Hood and had been friends with Howard for years, so the day of the shooting he posted an offer on Facebook to help bring in Hood peacefully.
Also being recognized once again for their work as liaison between the sports department and the public is UGA's Sports Information Department. Claude Felton is widely recognized as one of the best SID's in the business.
Georgia's sports information department, led by Claude Felton, has once again been recognized by the Football Writers Association of America. The FWAA announced its Super 11, the top sports info departments this past season, and included Georgia, Auburn and Georgia Tech.
The others are Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Southern California, Syracuse, Utah State and Western Kentucky.
The sports information department is charged with providing stats and notes, securing interviews, and basically acting as the liaison between the football team and the public. They play a very key role in shaping the news.
This is the third consecutive year Felton and his team has been recognized and named to the Super 11. Also...I'm assuming Tech was named solely for their stellar efforts of keeping the AJCs news hounds at bay despite arrests and NCAA violations going on behind the scenes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday's Meatloaf - plucking at the right pitch

How is it that being a parent can be so exhilarating and at the same time scare the hell out of you? Went to a wedding last night that really has me contemplating sending my girls to a boarding school...on an island...with no all. And it's surrounded by sharks that are genetically designed to be attracted to AXE cologne and Justin Beaver haircuts.

The wedding capped off a whirlwind weekend that kept us on the go. Especially Saturday morning when the 8 year old had a soccer game at 9am, followed by the awards and end of season party and then a guitar recital at 11am. We had barely stopped patting her on the back for being selected as an All-Star fĂștbol player before it was time to throw the cleats in the trunk and change into something that matched her pink electric. 

Sitting between her parents, you could feel the tension rise. She'd never played in front of anyone but her family before and now she was about to go onstage in front of 60 or so strangers. A tear came next, but she quietly whispered to Mrs. Bernie that she was going to "face her fears" and do a good job.

By the time she finished strumming, I was having trouble finding a time I've been more proud of her. I've said it many times, but I learn from my kids tenfold what they could possibly learn from me. Ode to Joy was her piece. It was followed soon thereafter by hugs, high fives and fist bumps. The joy was indeed pitch perfect.

Today's Ingredients

Remember back to GDay when Russ was laying on that bed instead of chilling out in his air-conditioned house? That had been rattling around in my head for a few weeks and I finally decided to investigate some more. Our chocolate lab Munson loves to dig up a cool spot in Mrs. Bernie's flower beds, and with temps stretching into the 90's I was anxious to help the pup find a better solution.
ChillSpot - COOLER than the other side of a pillow
We bring him inside to cool off, but the wood floor and the rug just adjust themselves to his temperature which makes him more miserable. I would send him up to the bathrooms and the tile floors, but as we discussed last week...with three females in the house, those rooms spend a good amount of time "ocupado".

So I did some investigating and found out it was something called a ChillSpot that had Russ so comfortable back in April. And if it's good enough for Russ it's good enough for our Munson. So I reached out to the ChillSpot guys and they told me all about how they won the Seilers over to get the GDay sideline approval. Turns out that bag of ice some of the Ugas have enjoyed isn't so good for their skin. This unique dog bed stays a nice cool 55 degrees or so and simulates a tile floor that dogs love. They've even put ChillSpots in the Atlanta Zoo for the Panda habitats. It's simple to use and can move with Munson inside or out.

Now if I could just find a way to Mrs. Bernie proof the thermostat. Speaking of hot, the meatloaf is finally ready. Here's some utensils Reader. Go stick a fork in it.



Ma's back there somewhere. We never really know what she's doing. I'm sure the meatloaf will be out shortly. In the meantime, in case you missed the link last's Chaz once again in his glamorous robe.