Saturday, April 20, 2013

James Franklin, a giant among Buttchuggers

Totally missed this news earlier in the week. Not sure how given the magnitude of it. I guess Lil Dools didn't get enough write in votes. (h/t AHD)
Franklin, 41, becomes the first Vanderbilt coach to receive the Tennessean of the Year Award.
Franklin led the Commodores to a 9-4 season capped by a 38-24 victory over N.C. State in the Music City Bowl in Nashville.
The Commodores matched a school record for single-season victories that dates to 1915. The team also ended with a seven-game win streak, which ranks as the longest active streak in the SEC.
Personally, I would've given the award to this guy though. For his courage in turning his back on rogue funnel.

Friday, April 19, 2013

More from Macon

Other than roster questions, some other topics of note from last night's "UGA Day" in the heart of Georgia.
  • As expected, Michael Bennett should be at 100% this summer. Any doubts about his recovery from ACL surgery were dismissed when he was seen running routes late in spring practices.
  • Richt noted that new guy Jonathon Rumph played better at GDay with a #1 jersey than he did all spring with his usual #18. No rugers were found during this exercise of superstitition.
  • Not that we needed another barometer for Tray Matthews' spring to measure his impact, but Richt is already worried about the kid's play under the new rules for "targeting". Ugh.
  • Kolton Houston's eligibility is not a dead issue and according to the head coach "remains up in the air."
  • Coaches recruiting on twitter brings up an interesting observation: seeing grown men (and women too I guess) following teenagers as fans of recruiting makes me more than a little uneasy. But I like that Richt and his staff are doing just that.
The Alumni Redcoat Pep Band was there last night. Among some red an black tunes, they also played "Sweet Caroline". Always a class act those guys, and gals.

In terms of the roster, questions can be motivating

"UGA Day" was in Macon last night and Richt held court with plenty of food for thought heading into a dead period for both sports. Most notably he feels that heading into fall practice there will be plenty of guys competing for starting spots, playing time and to make the travel squad.
“I kind of like that we’re going into this offseason with a lot of guys believing that they’ve got a chance to start, or play or make the travel squad,” he said. “I think it’s probably more than any time I can remember....Because of that, that usually motivates guys in the offseason,” Richt said before speaking to the contingent of Georgia fans. “If a guy’s sitting there going, ‘no matter what I do, I’m second team; no matter what I do, I’m not (going to) travel.’ I think that can be a little discouraging at times when they kind of look at the big picture...Look at the big picture now, I think there are so many guys that are like, ‘you know, I got a chance, I really got a chance to start, I really got a chance to play a lot, I got a chance to contribute and compete.’ ”
Looking back, I would hazard a guess that this is uncharted waters for Richt. At least most years that I can remember, especially on defense where for many years we had a philosophy that upperclassmen had earned their playing time just by being in town longer. Raise your hand if you can already hear the pads popping this August?

Yes, questions as yet unanswered can be a good thing in April.

Spurrier and the Georgia schedule, the sequel

Sequels are never as good as the original, but I can't help but wonder what the Ol' Ball Coach has to say about this:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Owning hecklers - the talking glove trick

This is evidently a couple years old, but I thought this was funny, as well as the perfect way to put hecklers in their place if you're an outfielder being subjected to their whimsical drunkenness. Even when said hecklers don't realize they're getting pwn3d!

Conley hitting his stride

His 2011 numbers - 16 catches for 288 yards, two touchdowns. His 2012 numbers - 20 catches for 342 yards, six touchdowns. His numbers this spring for three scrimmages - 11 catches for 228 yards and three touchdowns.

Yes, Chris Conley has picked up ($) just where he left off in the Capital One Bowl where he torched Nebraska's vaunted pass defense for scores of 49 and 87 yards. And that's especially good to see after the way the SECCG ended with him holding the ball so close to sending Georgia to Miami. I recall Conley taking that moment especially hard. But ever since he seems to be using it as fuel for future Glory.

While his previous two seasons have practically mirrored each other in that he bides his time on the bench before reminding Dawg fans of exactly what he can do late in the season, Conley now seems ready to strum a new tune*. And true to his soft spoken style, he's letting his hands and feet do most of the talking. He's a good blend of size, speed and athleticism. He can run routes and make catches on the outside or in the middle on the field. And now that he's entering his junior season, he knows every position the coaches might put him in.
Now that he has learned all three receiver positions, Conley should be on the field a lot more this fall. He was the Bulldogs’ most consistent receiver this spring and figures to form a dynamic trio of receivers alongside Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett. If Conley produces in the first half of the season as he expects, he should easily surpass his receiving totals from his first two seasons in college. 
At 6-foot-3, Conley is one of Georgia’s bigger receivers and that could create some mismatches against smaller cornerbacks. He has also flashed reliable hands and better speed than one might expect -- remember his blistering pace en route to the end zone on the win-clinching 87-yard touchdown catch against Nebraska? -- so he has all the tools necessary to make a bigger impact as a veteran. 
To this point, Conley might best be remembered for catching a deflected Aaron Murray pass and falling down inbounds at the 4-yard line just before time expired in the heart-wrenching loss to Alabama in last season’s SEC championship game. But the junior still has time to ensure that the play against Alabama won’t be his lasting legacy as a Bulldog. Already a good teammate and model citizen, Conley is poised to also become one of Georgia’s top pass-catching weapons over the next two seasons.
I've enjoyed watching this guy ever since he proved to us all that he can make great catches in the clutch as a freshman in Jacksonville. Now it's time to enjoy a full season of his talents. That Clemson secondary better not blink!

*For a great read on Conley's musical abilities...Loran, whatchagot?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

They teach this state!

Tech's holding a remedial class for their non-football fans (h/t Tyler). At least the ones that are currently enrolled. No word yet on if Reggie Ball can get an exemption.

On one hand, kudos to them for making their students from distant countries and populaces with inferior sports and interests more welcome inside their little stadium. It's hard to understand that a touchdown is worth six points if the team wearing your colors never scores.

"Oh wait!! Why is that other team forcing our players to the ground and 
sullying up our uniforms so grotesquely?"

On the other hand, UGA manages this entire process by just having the actual team play like they know what they're doing. The amount of guesswork involved at a game in Sanford Stadium is reduced significantly when the media dude can compile actual highlights to show fans, including any international students in attendance, what football looks like and the reasons for which we cheer - tackles...big catches when the ball is literally thrown into the air...forcing the other quarterback to the ground hurriedly...endzone "entrances"....opponent throws out of bounds on 4th down...yet another endzone entrance!

"F yeh! Tree just Attila the Hun'd that little napoleonic player!!"

And how sweet is it that at UGA our coaches hold clinics for the female fans of Georgia football so that they can go out and school their husbands in the nuances of recognizing a zone blitz, create babies that will one day grasp Bobby Dodd sod between their teeth and generally just look damn sexy wearing eye black.

Hang in there engiNerds. And for God's sake, make sure Michael Carvell gets his media credential.

Running back depth - few snaps short of a trifecta

In the spring, rosters at each position are evaluated based on three things: talent, experience and depth. From there you hear statements about who is back, who is healthy and which freshman is coming in August to provide more talent or more depth.

Georgia definitely has talent at tailback. Todd Gurley returns for a sophomore season after rushing for over 1300 yards at 6.23 yards a carry. And fellow sophomore Keith Marshall leads host of others for the rest of the carries after tallying 759 yards himself last year. J.J. Green enrolled early this January, A.J. Turman and Brendan Douglas are expected this summer. Those three along with Brandon Harton provide the depth.

So, as Ching points out in this post-spring roster review, we're young. Very young. The decision for Malcome to leave was most certainly an easy one, as Coach Richt cleverly pointed out. But it means that beyond Gurley and Marshall's 339 career carries (albeit a remarkable number for two freshmen to share) we have little experience behind them. A key this spring, summer and into the fall will be to keep those two healthy.

Because should one of them go down, we're left with:
  • Harton - 5'6" and 175lbs; has 61 career carries mostly due to Crowell's lapses in judgment
  • Green - about Harton's size and a hybrid type talent between receiver and running back, but made a name for himself in high school and this spring in Athens as a tough runner
  • Turman - 6 feet and about 200lbs, tough and durable between the tackles much like we saw last season with Gurley however may not be able to take the edge on the perimeter
  • Douglas - has Turman's size plus a little more and has been noted as a bruising back, willing to take a hit and give one back; good blocking skills and good vision to find seams and running lanes in the defense; will eventually have good size to add to his durability
I'm glad Green got on campus early. It was good for the coaches to get a chance to see just what he can add to the offense in terms of his speed and play-making ability. The ones to watch this summer will be Turman and Douglas. As great as it is to have two very talented sophomores back after a dynamic and fun to watch freshman season, we will need a back up ready to come in and get some yards when needed and ready to throw a key block on third down.
Brendan Douglas from Augusta could hit the 

ground running in Athens. (via)

Personally, I like Douglas in that role. Even though it's way too early to think about and even though he was largely recruited as a future fullback, I believe he can come in and be an early player as a third option on the depth chart. Remember that Georgia offered him as a tailback, mostly do to his efforts at Aquinas High School and his performance at Richt's camp (as well as a sudden need in the area for the 2013 class after missing on some other targets). He has family ties to Georgia Southern but was a (fullback) commit to Tech before Georgia came calling. He'll come in hungry and eager to prove himself.

Regardless of which freshman plays this season, we're deep in talent at running back. That's a notable improvement over the past few years at this position. However, we're a year away from having all three characteristics you want at the roster spot. Here's hoping the young kids get plenty of experience this season after the two sensational sophomores have helped put the game out of reach.

Humpday Hilarity - a woman, two men, and one key

Careful what you wish for gentlemen.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Clemson defense is leading the way

Take this quote:
“They’re way ahead, especially up front,” Swinney said. “When you have a chance to be pretty good up front, then you have a chance to be pretty good on defense. I know what’s perception, and I know what’s reality. I’m comfortable where we are defensively. We’re going to be good on that side of the ball.”
That's Dabo talking about his defense. This is the same defense that just got blistered for 60 points in front of 30,000 fans Saturday. Also, incidentally, their starting quarterback did not play in the game and his heir apparent went down with an ACL tear in the first half.

But it's not just the spring scrimmage that has everyone in Tiger Town abuzz about the defensive prospects.
“They are at our caliber. At first it was just the offense. Now the defense is up there. How they played LSU, that’s how they come every day in practice,” Watkins said. “There were a couple of practices where you came out and thought, ‘Man, they really beat us pretty bad.’ We never had that last year.”
That's Sammy Watkins...talking about the Tiger defense. The Clemson Tiger defense.

Look, I get the excitement that is evidently not waning up on Lake Hartwell after beating LSU in the CFA Bowl. That was one of the better teams defenses in the SEC last year and Chad Morris' offense ran and threw all over them for over 400 yards, yet still had to come from behind to win on a last second field goal. All in all a vast improvement over the previous year's bowl game.

But as Clemson heads into year two under defensive coordinator Brent Venables perhaps this quote from safety Travis Blanks best sums up where the defense stacks up at the end of the spring.
“We can be a lot better,” Blanks said. “We’re a year longer into the system (under Venables). We have a good senior group and a good front seven. If we clean it up in the secondary, we have a chance to be great.”
Clemson is a tough place to play. The last time Georgia was there the offense took the air (and the ice) out of the stadium while the defense locked things down. There's no doubt that the 2013 Georgia offense can light up Death Valley's scoreboard. But they better hit the ground running and do their best to keep Tahj Boyd in the same place he was last Saturday - on the bench - as much as possible.

Clowney falls, yet still scores

Saturday marked the date for both the Clemson and South Carolina spring games and I was in South Carolina for the weekend, so my Sunday reading had a decidedly palmetto slant. I pulled a couple lines to share with you. First I'd like to look at something I pulled from the Gamecock write up.
MAN among boys
Late in the game, Clowney snuck off the bench to catch a pass from freshman quarterback Connor Mitch.
Clowney caught the pass, but immediately fell down on the five-yard line. He got up, ran into the endzone and was awarded a touchdown by the officials. He then threw the ball into the stands.
Let's start from  the beginning shall we.

  • How does Jadeveon Clowney "sneak" anywhere in Columbia SC? After that play in the Outback Bowl the guy is a household name across the nation. The only place that should be a surprise to see him is in a classroom...ahem!...anyway...
  • Ok, so Steve Spurrier is using his top commodity, a defensive player that will go #1 in next year's draft and one day kill an NFL tackle just by breathing on him, on a trick the spring game! We all knew the Ol' Ball Coach was brazen, but this goes beyond what I would've expected. Even from him.
  • Wait, South Carolina has another quarterback named "Connor"?
  • Of course Clowney caught the pass. Probably with just his left pinky finger too.
  • The article repeatedly reminds readers that this spring game was tailored for the offense and existed solely to entertain the fans, so of course basic rules of tackle football go out the window. Like falling to the ground due to gravity and stuff. Because that's right in Spurrier's wheelhouse.
  • Evidently Clowney would like some time at quarterback. I applaud this. Heartily.
The basic summary of the Gamecock spring game was that it was entertaining. There were 35,000 fans there and the Black team won 44-30. Also of note, sophomore Mike Davis appears to be the front runner to replace Lattimore as their key back. But according to Spurrier the halftime show was the highlight.

I guess Clowney played the tuba or something,

Uncle Verne and his swagger walk into a bar....

The entire interview by Deitsch is good. Lundquist even gives proper credit to Spencer Hall and EDSBS for coining the moniker Uncle Verne. So yes, the interview shows a light-hearted and downright cogent CBS giant among announcers.

But this...this is just "stone cold Verne".
You met your wife Nancy in 1980 and you were married in 1982. How did you two meet?
We met in a bar -- and I hasten to add it was an upscale bar in Dallas. It was a place called Arthur's. I walked in after I did the 10 o'clock news (at WFAA-TV in Dallas) and I just didn't want to go home. Nancy and her date were at the bar and her date recognized me from local television and invited me over to have a drink. He introduced me to his date and her name was Nancy Miller. It was their first date, a blind date. So we sat and chatted and her date, Raymond Willie, said to me, "Listen, I know you are single. I'm going to fix you up with a friend of mind and we can all go to dinner." He looked at Nancy and asked her, "What are you doing Thursday night?" She said, "Nothing." He said, "Good, you'll be my date and we'll fix Verne up with this schoolteacher friend of mine and we'll go to dinner." Meanwhile, I'm looking at Nancy thinking she is the prettiest thing I have ever seen in my life. So, Raymond finally left to take care of his business and I asked Nancy, "So, how involved are you with Raymond? She said, "Oh, this is our first date and it's a blind date." So I said, "Well forget what he is talking about on Thursday night. What are you doing on Saturday night?" She said, "I think I am doing whatever you are doing."
Baller move. And didn't need one single Tim Tebow reference.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday's Meatloaf - Can I get a damn ruling? PLEASE!!

Sometimes things just don't measure up. Regardless of any inherent complexity or simplicity of use or time-honored functionality, you eventually arrive at the conclusion that something is still amiss.

I went to sleep Friday night with my golf world in working order. I woke up Saturday morning and it was upside down. Granted, I don't understand the rule book, but as a casual golfer I just need to know that hitting the ball into the lake three times affords me a free hole to just butcher at will. "I DON'T NEED A DROP AREA! I KNOW I CAN HIT IT ACROSS THIS THING. GIVE ME ANOTHER BALL."
You can't double eagle with a 4-wood without
ignoring the rule book Gene.

More importantly, this knowledge affords me peace of mind that once a year when I tune into The Masters. I can rest assured that everything is taken care of and all of the rulings are crystal clear to those in charge. All that is left is to sit back and enjoy a figurative level playing field for all of the golfers on the literal unlevel playing field.

But Tiger's beautifully struck yet unlucky shot on 15 Friday changed everything. More directly, the officials' inability to handle the situation changed everything. And even more directly, when even my own dad was puzzled by what happened my golf world turned completely upside down. My dad was born on a golf course and is my walking rule book for whenever I hit a ball into the lake for the third time.

If he can't sort out the details and explain them to me in weekend hackers' terminology,'s all been a sham. We've been bamboozled! The whole mess is a complete farce.

On one hand I'm revoking every penalty stroke I've ever taken. On the other, I know I'm not a scratch golfer. As any body of water that I have ever tried to hit a dimpled ball over can surely attest.

Today's Ingredients
- I mean, check out the exchange in this piece between Luke Glover, an official and Bernhard Langer. 
“Bernhard asked, ‘What if this whole area was covered with leaves, does that mean it would be unplayable?’” Glover recalled, “and at that point (the official) said it was OK to go ahead and play it.” Wow.
- There's something very Divinci Codesque about today's Curious Index. At least in terms of how Run Home Jack brings the news of Dave Didion's new job.
- As we talked about earlier, today marks an important period for Georgia recruiting. Kimberly updates us on a top tight end.
- Is there anything more underhanded and pollen-filled than spring shenanigans? Blutarsky found some Clempson players undercover at the GDay game. Unknowingly, I returned the favor this past weekend.
- Good news on the diamond, Tyler says the Dawgs are not eliminated from the SEC Tournament. The bad news is that we may not be able to say that much longer.
- Women's tennis....SEC champs! And the men, having sewn up the regular season title last week, head to Oxford for the tourney as the #1 seed.
- Greg discovered some NFL draft prospects acting like they're an 1980's rock band or something.
- Lastly, things are really getting weird at Florida coaching meetings. you have to give Joker the edge here, but this is quality Instagrammmming by Pease.

With something as archaic as The Renowned and Royal Rules of Golf being reduced to just a collection of odd suggestions - When addressing your ball, wink twice with your right eye if you intend to play a fade and three times with your left if you intend to Bubba that ball to death- I decided to dig a little deeper into the Official and Outlandish Blogging Handbook: a guide to make your internetting smartter. What I discovered was both exotic and expertly simple. Turns out, I've broken every commandment with which this weblogging world was founded upon.

  1. Don't ever write about Auburn doing ANYthing wrong. Because when they're wrong, they're also right. It's senseless to point out ANYthing even remotely contradictory to this point.
    Aniston is always looking to drive up Google
    page ranks. God bless her body of work.
  2. ANYtime you type the word "solidarity" it must be underlined. ANY. Time.
  3. Adding pictures of scantily clad women is strongly encouraged. This improves Google ratings for your site. Especially if the picture has little to nothing to do with the blog's topic.
  4. Al Gore invented the internet, but Houston Nutt recruited him to do it. So he deserves at least an asterisk reference somewhere in each post. Preferably after a semi-nude picture of Lennay Kekua.
  5. Excesssssive typppping doesn't cause carpal tunnnnnel. Chewing gummm while typpppping causes carpppal tunnnnel.
  6. Whenever you click the spell check button before posting a computer generated electronic mail message is sent to your third grade teacher. She'd like a word with you before recess.
  7. Stealing content from other websites is neither encouraged or discouraged. While the internet was founded by incredibly smart and driven people, it is maintained and managed by lazy folks with cheese dust on their t-shirts. Majority rules. Solidarity.
  8. Shoes are optional at all times. But pants are strictly forbidden at ANY time.
  9. The word ANY must always be in all caps, and preferably followed at the end of the sentence with multiple (more than three but less than twenty two) exclamation points!!!! !
  10. When your blog achieves its own Wiki page, stop and start over again. You've clearly done something wrong. Or maybe too incredibly awesome.
There are 4,294 more rules, but I'm sure you're hungry and tired of reading. Plus, #799 clearly states that you must keep posts as brief as possible. And this is already a long par 4. Here's your napkin. Shirt stains are a two stroke penalty. Maybe.


Coach Wilson filling Garner's shoes

Today begins the new evaluation period, an important time for Georgia coaches as they evaluate everything from roster needs to high school talent from coast to coast. And for the first time in fifteen years Rodney Garner will not be on staff in Athens. Instead, Chris Wilson is in his place ($) and will be spending a lot of time in Atlanta picking up where his predecessor left off.
(Nabulsi, ESPN)

Wilson will split metro Atlanta with running backs coach Brian McClendon, and Wilson's experience in recruiting the area should help. Wilson gets schools as far south as Griffin and Spalding County and as far east as Hancock County.
Some of his top targets in the 2014 class include ESPN Watch List prospects Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian), Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton), Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove), Wesley Green(Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), Kendall Baker (Atlanta/Marist) and Nick Ruffin (Atlanta/St. Pius X). Wilson has the chance to deliver some quality players to Georgia, but he will have to beat out the heavy hitters to do so, as Atlanta is one of the most heavily recruited areas in the country. 
Wilson earned a lot of recognition for hitting the ground running in January and pulling in some big targets. Eager to see what the guy can do now that he's settled into his office.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Three stars...high motor...instinctive...hard to block...

Admit it. You read that and were probably thinking of a Univeristy of Georgia three time All-American. But yet those are just some of the words being used to describe sophomore linebacker James DeLoach instead of David Pollack these days.
DeLoach signed with the Bulldogs last year and played in 13 of 14 games. He recorded just four tackles, with two of them coming in the 42-10 hammering of Georgia Tech.
 The 6-foot-3, 270-pound biology major from Millen, Ga., grabbed the starting spot within the first couple of spring practices and never let go.
 "James is really an instinctive, crafty guy, and he's really hard to block," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "He can affect the quarterback, and I think he can do a lot of things for us. He can give us some flexibility."
As Paschall explains, DeLoach has some very large shoes to fill taking over Jarvis Jones' spot at strong side linebacker.  And admittedly, Spring practice just ended. But the kid from Jenkins County that was a signing day after-thought is getting high praise all around.