Saturday, January 19, 2013

Countdown to NSD - 18 days

You've got questions, and I take a stab at some answers.

Did Boo Malcome open the door wider for Georgia's running back recruits? Not sure Wednesday's news of Boo Malcome leaving for greener pastures makes Georgia any more attractive to the likes of Alvin Kamara and current commit AJ Turman. But it doesn't hurt. Neither young man seems afraid of competition or crowded backfields. Turman even committed back in November leaving offers from other programs on the table; places like Auburn and Tennessee where he might have gotten a quick look under new head coaches.

As for Kamara, Alabama's backfield presents similar challenges to Georgia's, even with Malcome's departure. It keeps feeling like Bama has the edge here, but since Georgia gets the last visit this one will surely come down to signing day. If nothing gets in the way, I like our chances here at landing two really good running backs.

Can Richt keep Wiggins onboard? Yes. Shaq Wiggins has been committed to Georgia since last summer. Wednesday evening Richt went to the Tyrone GA native's home to spend some quality time with the talented defensive back. That visit followed Wiggins' official visit to South Carolina last weekend. There have been growing suspicions recently that other programs might be playing the number of defensive backs coming to Athens against us with Wiggins. But Thursday night he tweeted that he had been completely put at ease by Coach Richt's phone call and visit. So much so that he was canceling all remaining visits.

(full disclosure: I don't follow recruits on twitter, but it kind of blew up Thursday night with people responding and retweeting. And then Shaq quickly deleted the updates. My take from that is he did it to avoid backlash from fans that actually do follow recruits as well as send negative tweets to 17-18 year olds.)

Can we get some video of early enrollee Johnathon Rumph? Absolutely. I'm excited to have this tall target for Murray too.



Rumph is a very polished receiver that can step right in. He's from Cayce, SC and comes to Athens by way of Holmes Community College. At 6'5" and 215 pounds he'll create some mismatches right out of the gate against Clemson. Very glad to have him!

The John King Band's "Bulldawgs"

The John King Band has been making the rounds lately after competing in the National College Battle of the Bands where they beat out thousands of bands on their way to Los Angeles. Now they've signed with Black River Entertainment out of Nashville and have released this single, a tribute to the Dawgs.

Check it out and see how you like it. It's available on iTunes if you do.

Hey Tennessee Smokey, get back up on the porch!



Friday, January 18, 2013

One of these days, continued...

See, it was all part of a master plan. Bloggin 102 y'all. Elementary really.

Off to the 40Watt tonight then eastbound for the coast tomorrow. My oldest turns a year older Sunday so the wife and I figured a little breeze in our margaritas would ease the pain. That and the kid wants to show her friend around all the outlet malls. All of them.

Reminds me. I need to pack the extra mastercard. Assuming the 40Watt gives it back. That way I can hand it off and hustle back to see the Falcons soar into the Super Bowl. In the mean time, got a few posts in the hopper for you loyal readers. Rest of you bastards I'll see again somewhere outside of Buttholeville.



Grantham watch - day three

The silence is deafening isn't it. Almost makes me want to move forward and start thinking about replacements. Almost.

Word from the great white north is that Grantham and Kirby Smart have emerged as the candidates to be Chip Kelly's defensive coordinator with the Eagles. And evidently Grantham is the favorite, I'm sure because of his NFL experience. The only other candidate mentioned was Dan Quinn, who accepted the Seahawks' defensive coordinator position yesterday. So it would seem that the Eagles will zero in on our guy if they have not already done so.

We know for sure that Grantham was on the road recruiting yesterday, making stops to see top defensive line prospects Montravius Adams and Davin Bellamy. I don't find that unusual when you consider Philadelphia is still in the preliminary stages of this; Kelly's welcome presser was yesterday afternoon. I want to believe Grantham was reassuring these kids. And it would seem that Shaq Wiggins' (long time defensive back commitment for Georgia that has wavered some recently) announcement last night that he was done taking visits after speaking with Coach Richt would be a positive sign that there would not be a coaching search in the twilight of his recruitment. But that might be reading into things too far.

I don't know. Time will tell. It's just awfully quiet.

But I expect to hear some noise sometime this morning. Not only is Georgia in the midst of finalizing their 2013 class, but Philadelphia has the Senior Bowl to prepare for, and that starts next week. I'm sure they want a guy in place by Saturday at the latest.

So if we hear Grantham is in a high school library again today talking to a 17 year old, that's a good sign. But noise could also come from up in Philadelpia if another candidate emerges...or, a preliminary report that Todd Grantham will be the new defensive coordinator for the Eagles.

Regardless, by this time tomorrow it will be business as usual in Athens, or we'll be talking about replacements.

Lasting images from the 2012 season

Feel free to throw yours in the comments....

Upon reflecting the last few weeks on what exactly I will take away from the 2012 college football season, I think I've settled on two images. (Please note: any images of players' girlfriends are exempt from this post due to 1) the creep factor and 2) copyright infringement laws are tricky for the dead fake ones)

The first image will forever be ingrained on my frontal lobe. There is no amount of therapy and no lobotomy large enough to take it off. The look of sheer and utter disappointment as the players watched the last few seconds drain on their title hopes, mere feet from destiny is misery in its rawest form. For that CFB '12...thank you so much. I hate you but I love you.

The second image is an actual one. And by actual I mean you can find it with your own eyes without having to mentally picture crazy Alabama fans hooting and hollering in your ear outside a rural WalMart near Montgomery. I remember seeing this moment as a highlight on a Sunday morning after it happened and rewinding and rewatching it over and over again with the wife. I give thanks for all Marines and servicemen and women everyday. But this Marine can have the corner piece of my birthday cake for the rest of my days.


I love that he's standing up for his team. I love that he's protecting his team's endzone from any ounce of malfeasance and poor sportsmanship. I love that his standard issue enlisted dress blues cap wobbles. And I especially love that he taught that whippersnapper a lesson after which Goodwin backed down like a puppy who has had his snout whacked with a rolled up newspaper. 

Semper Fi young man! Oorah!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another note on Grantham rumors

I went back and added this link to my earlier post that outlines the decision making process Grantham may eventually face. Thinking it through even further it's worth noting that Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman is a bit of a control freak, like any good general manager of course.

But let's compare the two spots. At Georgia Grantham has relative control over his personnel and depth chart. He's made mention numerous times how much he likes having so many players that he can put into the game to fit situations, scheme, and so forth. It's also worth noting that even as recently as the last couple weeks that he's had some differences of opinion with other staff (one of whom has left Athens) over recruiting, playing time, and position development. So it's clear he wants his guys and enjoys controlling that aspect of the defense.

In Philadelphia he might get part of that, but this is a young GM that wants to build his own roster and make his own financial/contractual decisions. Chip Kelley is essentially a non-factor in this. He just wants to run his offense and dress the team in outlandish colors. He'd relinquish all control over the defense to his coordinator. Yet some of that control that Grantham enjoys now would certainly be lost to Roseman. If the Eagles brought in a high priced free agent there would come with it an expectation to play him. That's pretty clear. And that's a vast difference between coaching in college and coaching in the pros. If the egos are big on Saturdays, their ginormous on Sundays.

So more food for thought. If bags of cash are thrown at Todd Grantham...IF that happens, he will be thinking back to his 11 years in the NFL and if it's worth giving up some of the control he's enjoyed in Athens.

Swarbrink summons his inner Fonzie

Just as I was beginning to fathom the most unusual story I believe I've ever heard, it jumped the shark like a boss.

What the hell was Notre Dame's Jack Swarbrick thinking getting in front of cameras and mics for nearly a full hour answering questions about an imaginary dead girlfriend? Every time it started to get that TMZ/Entertainment Tonight feel I had to remind myself - this athletic director of one of the biggest, most historic programs in college football is talking about a fictitious person. He's sticking up for a former player, but it's a player with some serious character flaws at best...an odd mental illness at worst.

Regardless of how much Manti knew and when, is he worth the ridicule and shame of this scandal? Granted he and the team are intertwined pretty tightly. But I still think most programs stay at arm's length on this one. At least I would hope so.

So it's clear Notre Dame is still wrapped inside the Manti Te'o bubble; basking in the glory of a nearly undefeated season that thrust them into the national limelight and discussion. They can't see the forest for the piles of lies that have obstructed their view.

I don't care much for Notre Dame. Especially since they cover up sexual assault scandals better than they do ones with fake girlfriends. But watching that press conference last night was truly sad. One player became bigger than the program. We've seen that happen before, arguably even in Athens. But we've never seen it displayed in such a train wreck kind of way.

Te'o will move on somehow. His talent will carry him onto a roster somewhere. But one day the Fighting Irish will look back on Swarbrick's press conference and wonder...WTF were we thinking?

- - - - - - - - 
Two more things. I've seen and heard some of the media say things like "Deadspin of all places" and "that site" with a large measure of consternation and disdain. Say what you will about the sports/entertainment/gossip-y website, but they did something the rest of the national sports media failed to do - check sources and investigate leads. Hell, ESPN even mentioned the site by name (BOTH on the scroll and audibly in their report) in lieu of their infamous "Sources" catchall. So the least some of the media can do is admit they were duped as much as Te'o is claiming to have been.

Also, I feel bad for the next athlete that has a true emotionally wrenching and heartbreaking story. This scandal has set a precedent. And it will be vetted and checked beyond measure.

Haack, Mitchell on Henley's success

The other day we marveled at what former Georgia Bulldog golfer Russell Henley did last weekend in his PGA debut at the Sony Open. To add to the excitement, fellow Dawgs Harris English and Chris Kirk also had top ten finishes in the Honolulu tournament. If you watched any of what Henley was able to do, especially on the last nine, you had to be thinking that this gives a lot of confidence to the current golfers at UGA and also makes recruiting a little easier for Coach Haack.

Well, walk-on football player and future Grady grad Wright Gazaway gets current golfer TJ Mitchell and Haack's reactions on camera in this story about Henley's first PGA win.

Grantham - money vs exposure

I'll preface this with the fact that I don't know much about the Philadelphia Eagles, or the NFL as a whole for that matter. I don't know what kind of depth chart the new Eagles defensive coordinator would inherit and I don't even know what the team's record was this season.

What I do know is that Grantham and his family are very happy in Athens. Happy enough to turn down what might be a salary twice the size of his $825,000 annually at Georgia? Maybe not that happy, but it's definitely possible. But it won't be a decision solely about money. Sure, if that offer comes Grantham will have to decide first if the money is worth the restart for him and his family. But then he'll also have to decide if this move helps him professionally towards his eventual goal - to be a head coach.

Todd Grantham can definitely achieve that goal as the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia. And after having had the pleasure of speaking to his wife recently I can assure you that the family is very happy in Athens, due in part to the family friendly environment Richt helps to foster. So if that offer comes it's not going to be a decision just about money. The seven figure NFL salary can pay a lot of bills and make life pretty comfortable. But, unless it leads to a head gig, would it be worth it?

I think that's an answer he already has in Athens. My initial feeling is that by sometime tomorrow another candidate will emerge as Kelly's top choice to be defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. And then Grantham can go into living rooms the next two and a half weeks and tell recruits he was just too excited to be in Athens GA to leave.

- - - - - - - - 
UPDATE - Here Weiszer outlines the legal jargon of Grantham's current contract and his obligations to UGA as other teams express their interest. It explains what we can expect should the Eagles come calling...officially.

- - - - - - - -
Also - from reading this story in a Philly paper two thoughts come to mind: 1) Chip Kelly definitely isn't the one doing to hiring for DC, and 2) would Grantham want to work with a GM that evidently wants complete control over personnel, drafts, trades, free agents...??

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Countdown to NSD - 22 days

The biggest fish to land for Richt and staff is definitely Laremy Tunsil. Some of you can get your panties in a wad about a couple other 5-star prima donnas that like a new team every day, but here are the facts:
  1. Laremy Tunsil is the biggest, baddest offensive lineman in the class, and
  2. Historically Richt has sucked left hind teat at getting good o-linemen
Laremy Tunsil, Columbia HS in Lake City, Fla
Did grabbing Theus last season turn the tide in this area? I don't know, but it didn't hurt. However, the o-line recruiting, depth and development has plagued this program for years. A young line really made great strides last season though and grabbing Tunsil would be yet another huge step in a positive direction. He's got the size and talent to compete for playing time right away. At 6'6" and around 300 lbs he really just needs a collegiate training program to grow into the optimal size for a dominant SEC lineman. At some point in the 2013 season you could very well see him starting as the opposite bookend to Theus.

Of course, signing several more guys to compete for o-line spots wouldn't hurt either. Currently the Dawgs have a few other commitments for the offensive line - Josh Cardiello (Buford, early enrollee), Alden Bynum (Valdosta - Valwood, early enrollee) and Brandon Kublanow (Marietta, Walton HS). So this already stands to be a good o-line haul for Richt's staff. Cardiello projects as a guard or center, but likely trains to take over David Andrews' center spot eventually; Bynum has the height for tackle but will need to add some bulk; and Kublanow is going to be a nasty, ill-tempered guard. That's a good start, can it be great finish come February 6th?

Back to Tunsil, he just made his visit to Alabama ($) and is scheduled to get to Athens for his official there this weekend. However, the Georgia coaches aren't waiting; Bobo, Friend and Lily will visit Tunsil today for some extra face time. It has long been rumored that Tunsil is a silent commitment to Georgia. But that's no reason to rest on this kid. The chief competition is Bama and there's a host of others waiting in the wings. It appears that Tunsil is ours to lose. That can't happen.

Here's a good video to give you both some highlights of his play on the field and some insight into the person that Laremy is:



So the kid likes our food and loves to pull downfield and crush smaller defensive backs. Sounds like a perfect match for the Bulldogs.

T Kyle King ousted by Prez Adams

Our ruthless president has claimed another prized victim. The Mayor announced yesterday that his days are numbered at Dawgsports. If it caught me by surprise I'm sure MaconDawg is still speechless.

Of course, reading King's announcement paints an innocent picture of a seasonal change, time for a new horizon. Whatever. Read it again, carefully. I believe there are evil forces at work.

I'll share more as the situation develops, but for now it's safe to say Adams has his kickball jeans on and is ready to take no prisoners.






Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday's Meatloaf - a Pepertual round Tuit

One of these days will be here one of these days, so why not now?

It's one thing to make accommodations for the pile of clothes we left on the floor, the one we continue to step around and over. Not to mention that broken mailbox, the toilet that always needs the handle jiggled and that deck board that needs to be tightened down. But what about real, daily interactions that always get the back burner? The phone calls and visits that get pushed back simply because we ran out of time before we laid our head down?
Wear it wisely, or
hide it carefully.

When I was a kid I remember finding a round, yellow button in my dad's tool box. On it was just four letters - TUIT. I'd seen it a thousands times probably, but one day decided I'd finally ask him what the heck it meant. I guess part of the reason I waited so long to ask was that I had this funny feeling that it might be something dirty or inappropriate.

Turns out it wasn't. Just palpable procrastination. "Oh that," Dad said. "That's for when I need to get around to it." He paused before checking to see if the humor had set in. It hadn't yet, but when it finally did I chuckled and wondered if mom knew he was hiding his round "tuit" somewhere she would never look.

Which proves that while we are the weaker sex, men can win a battle from time to time. But that's a lesson for another day. For today I'm giving each of you a round Tuit. Use it often and by all means use it wisely. And when not in use, hide it somewhere safe.

You're welcome.

Today's Ingredients
- First off, if you comment on the blog you should find that easier to do now. Especially if you use a mobile device. For some reason those weren't always posting, but I think I've got it ironed out now. Just click on Glory Glorys link once it loads. Your patience has been appreciated.
- The Lady Dogs won a defensive battle at Stegeman yesterday over South Carolina.
- But the men's team continues to find new levels of disappointment.
- In that regard, Tyler sees history repeating itself. Ugh. Truth cuts like a knife.
- Also, here's hoopdawg's reaction and roundup from the o-2 conference start. And evidently Daugman couldn't even watch.
- In the wake of the news that the Hokies courted Bobo, McGarity explained to Weiszer what the timeline will be for any assistants' raises.
- The Lady Sportswriter has the latest news on safety recruit Shaq Fluker.
- Great stuff from Emerson on Blair Walsh's turn around this season, all the way to the record books and the NFL Pro Bowl. And also catch this piece where Walsh says he'd be happy to talk to Coach Richt about how a special teams coach may or may not have helped.
- Lastly, happy belated birthday to friend of the blog, David Hale. Sorry we forgot.

Are you like me in that you get daily updates on who has been arrested in your zip code? Our county sheriff sends them to me via email each morning. (Speaking of Sheriff Conway, remind me to tell you about the time he used a dentist on trial for murder to shut a pesky parent up. If you live in Gwinnett, you already have a jump start on next week's meatloaf.) I originally signed up for this notification service to keep track of my sketchy neighbors potential dangers to my home and family. But it also provides occasional entertainment.

The hands of pepertuality.
And that is how I came to know of a young lady named Pepertual. Somewhere and sometime after MTv decided to change from a music video channel to a "reality tv" smorgasbord of loose morals and instant gratification (GET OFF MY LAWN!!) parents also started using their children's names as expressions of free speech and ways of hoarding attention. Sally became Shitheadra and Billy became HaHa Clinton Dix. And of course Earlene Jo Betty Mae became Honey Boo-Boo.

So Pepertual's parents never sniffed the first round of their 3rd grade spelling bee, but they still had a feeling that their darling daughter would gangsta hard 4ever. Perpetually you might say. Or maybe their aspirations were higher than that, believing that she would one day star on a season of "Real Housewives of Badderyless Watches" as the one that steals the completely organic scenes involving reckless driving of an electric vehicle and terroristic acts of endless identity theft. We know unique names on shows of that nature are more likely to spike the ratings, which in turn leads to B movie roles, nail polish endorsement deal$ and their own Wiki page.

Of course, now I realize that with a name that is attached to the likes of Madoff and Ebbers I have little room to cast stones at Ms. Pepertual. If I were a lawyer I'd represent her pro bono...once I got a round tuit of course.

Go have a Monday Reader. Stop perpetually slacking off.

Bernie

Henley surfs to first PGA win

Former Bulldog Russell Henley is now a hot name in golf. Winning your rookie debut in the PGA will do that. Winning it with a -24 under 256 to break the Sony Open record will do that as well. Now Henley will ride his 2012 and early 2013 success to his first Masters. That's a dream come true for most golfers. But especially a guy from Macon.

Back to Honolulu, the Sony Open leaderboard was littered with former Dawgs as Chris Kirk finished tied for 5th and Harris English finished tied for 9th. But it was Henley's day as he wowed viewers, patrons and commentators alike. Every time Tim Clark birdied to pull within striking distance, Henley drained another putt after making another green in regulation. He birdied the last five holes.

Great golf, by a damn good Dawg!