Saturday, May 10, 2014

Defensive back-tracking

Josh Harvey-Clemons left.

Shaq Wiggins is leaving.

First thought: Grantham is recruiting better than he ever did in Athens.

Second thought: Remarkably, we just got younger at defensive back. But when you consider the fact that Wiggins couldn't rise to the spring occasion, chances are he wasn't going to see much of the field anyway, barring attrition by injury.

Good luck with your "fresh" start Shaq. Sincerely hope the grass is greener up yonder. More importantly, I hope the young(er) guys are hungry.

- - - - - - - - - -

Shaq speaks about difficulty fitting in.
"First of all, (the) University of Georgia is a great school and I would like to thank Coach Richt and his staff for the opportunity to play at Georgia. When you are new to an organization, it’s extremely important to have the right fit. I love football and want to reach my highest potential. Therefore, after careful thought and much consideration, I believe that it is in the best interest of all parties that we part ways.
"I am looking for a team who will embrace my personality, someone who is a jovial, carefree and a bit of a jokester but who knows when to put jokes aside, get focused and become a true competitor, especially when on the field.
"I want to learn, and I want someone who can channel my energy and enthusiasm to take my game to the next level." 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Congrats y'all!

A reminder for all of you graduates...stay within your skillset. At least until you clear the stage and the YouTube cameramen.

And a special shout out to the AthensHomerDawg clan. Big weekend around that house. Very glad the sons' blog reading didn't get in the way of their studies. But as their wise elder said, "You put the time in, you get the results."

Congrats! And Go Dawgs!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dawgs in the Draft - Chasing (and living) the Dream

My kids have all A's and B's. I don't say that to brag. (Ok, well a little bit.) But when I look at their grades and then hear them verbalize being overly anxious about a test that the state has mandated, it really sticks in my craw. They're good kids and have worked hard. They have incredible teachers who have pushed them to realize their academic potential. And yet there's still this assessment that's supposed to tell us more than all of the classwork, homework, projects, quizzes and tests combined.

Something Garrison said in that last podcast really resonated with me. Probably because of this state testing thing that has me a bit distracted. But he alluded to the fact (a couple times) that too much attention is given to what these NFL Draft "experts" are saying and the numbers put up at the combine. For hours upon hours and days upon days they've been talking more and more about a glimpse taken through a window as opposed to the view one can get from just opening the door.

Tuesday Busted Coverage was sending out some informative and historical tweets related to the poo that these experts like to fling around. I grabbed a screen shot for you of some of the best ones to the right, but you can read more of them here if you're so inclined. The point being that sure, these guys get some things right. But Jimmy Clausen was a solid enough pick to bet one's career on it?

So Clowney is the jewel of the 2014 draft. As the saying goes, he looks good getting off the bus. He's a freakish blend of size and speed. Many teams covet his potential at the professional level. So will they overlook the fact that he took some sick days this past season and that his stats took a significant drop from his sophomore to his junior year? Most certainly, yes. And one team will pay him handsomely in hopes that the potential they think they see is realized.

Brown was an overwhelming success in his rookie season in Baltimore. (via)
No wonder a guy like Garrison Smith, whose numbers dwarf the defensive lineman Todd McShay calls a "once in a decade type of natural talent", is turned sour by the spectacle that is the NFL draft coverage these days. After all, Smith had twice as many sacks as his SEC East counterpart, the guy considered to be the best pass rusher in this year's class.

Which leads me to something else Smith said. When asked if he was nervous about the draft or where he may end up living in a couple of months he quickly responded no, that he was excited for the opportunity and would be happy with whatever comes to pass. That's a sentiment echoed by former teammates like Rantavious Wooten:
“I did everything that I could do,” Wooten said after Georgia’s Pro Day last month. “I’m going to sit back, relax and whatever happens, happens. I’m not going to stress about the draft or sit here and put so much pressure on myself or everything like that. I did everything I could do. If it works out for me, great. If I get drafted, great. Free agent, whatever I have to do, I’m fine with it.”
While most of us would have trouble relating to what it's like to be on the verge of breaking into professional football, we've all found ourselves yearning for certain job situations, promotions, advancements. You work hard towards getting to a certain position where you can validate all of those long hours of preparation. It's rewarding to realize that level of success.

As Weiszer points out, some of the Dawgs in this year's class of draft eligible players may find themselves in Marlon Brown's shoes from a year ago - for whatever reason, having to prove themselves further and having to beat someone out of a roster spot. They are chasing the dream, one that they've had for years. Decades even, as many of them have been aiming for it since they were learning their ABC's. Some have watched friends and family make made poor choices, using those experiences as motivation for a better life. They've overcome injuries and even endured coaching changes, all while balancing the life of a student and an athlete.

The obstacles lay behind these Dawgs now. They have have refused to settle for what might have been. And are pursuing the answer to what will be.

Dawgs in the Draft - Aaron Murray gets board

Dan Rubenstein's Wonderlic seems a lot more fun.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dawgs in the Draft - remembering Terrell Davis

Was reading up last night on some red and black draft history for a post that will come out tomorrow, and I rediscovered a story I had forgotten. So I started to wonder if you had forgotten it too.

Terrell Davis came to Athens by way of Long Beach State. He redshirted his freshman year, rushed for a modest 262 yards his first season and then found himself without a field when the program there was eliminated for budget reasons.

So he came all the way out east to play for Georgia, but quickly found himself on the bench behind future 1st round draft pick Garrison Hearst. Once the star tailback was officially an Arizona Cardinal, Davis seemed to blossom as an every down back while rushing for over 800 yards and as a receiver out of the backfield for another 160. He ran with power and had good speed for a tailback with his size. With really just one full season of college football experience, he decided to remain his senior season in hopes of becoming a top pick the following April.

But his senior season was marked by a hamstring injury and disagreements with head coach Ray Goff. The hamstring was a nagging injury that forced him out of the backfield for three games. Meanwhile, Goff insisted Davis practice or ride the bench his senior season. I remember hearing stories of disputes between the two both at the time and later after Goff was let go. In one the head coach had an all out meltdown in the locker room at the half insisting Davis man up and find his helmet.

And while that is mostly a matter between the coach and the player, it came to a true boil when Davis was trying his best to get drafted. He'd showed great promise as a potential every down back for an NFL roster, but there were questions about his health and durability. According to Davis, Goff was not only of no help in this regard, but he made matters worse. Much worse.
"The head man there didn't go out of his way to even sit down with the scouts and tell them about my situation, " Terrell complains of his former coach. "And that goes a long way, because they are going to go with who knows you best. He was just real derogatory in everything he did...when the scouts would come down there, he would lock up the film room and go home! He was just mean to everybody - he's hurt countless players that way,"
Of course, we all know eventually Davis went on to a great albeit short NFL career in Denver. He joined the 2000 yard club in 1998 with the Broncos and has a couple of Super Bowl rings, not to mention a Super Bowl MVP trophy as well as an NFL MVP trophy.

All that to say (and to help lead up to tomorrow's post), that many times the best players aren't even given a look on draft day(s). And many sure as hell aren't ever mentioned by guys like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay during their endless coverage leading up to the selection show(s). Terrell Davis was one of three tailbacks in the history of the NFL to rush for as many yards as he did (6,413) in his first four seasons. The other two are also Hall of Famers, Eric Dickerson and Earl Cambell. And yet, Davis was the 21st running back chosen in the 1995 NFL draft, landing in the 6th round as the 196th player overall. Ahead of him were the likes of Kijana Carter (1st overall) and Tyrone Wheatley (17th). Carter amassed just over 1,100 yards in his injury-ridden career; Wheatley eventually passed Davis' four year total in his last season with the Raiders in 2004.

There may not be many names from the University of Georgia called during this year's NFL draft. At least not as many as we've grown accustomed to in recent years. But there's also a rich history of former Dawgs overcoming many obstacles to make rosters, further their career, provide for their families and make a name for themselves.

Humpday Hilarity - Urban likes big butts!

Remember about a year ago when news surfaced of just how much Urban Meyer had in common with Sir Mix-a-Lot? Well, I see no better day than today to applaud the Ohio State coach's efforts to provide opportunities for young men who shake that healthy butt!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Junkyard Dawg Podcast #9 - Catching up with Garrison Smith

Former defensive standout Garrison Smith takes some time out of preparing for the NFL to talk about his career at Georgia, what makes him the person that he is and where he sees himself after football. Just a great young man on the road to doing great things. Thankful Garrison could take so time to visit with us here in the Junkyard.

Links from this episode:
official UGA bio
official @GarrisonSmith56 twitter
- Hey NFL scouts, the tapes don't lie
and neither do the stats