It's Saturday in Athens

It's Saturday in Athens

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Take a Moment Today to Thank Mark Richt.

The biggest story out of Athens this morning actually comes to us from Destin, FL, where the SEC meetings open up today. This pales in comparison to the stories coming out of Columbus, OH this morning.

Both Mark Richt and Jim Tressel took over storied and hungry programs in 2001. Both found early success. Both became regulars in BCS games. Both went 9-1 against their most hated rivals. Jim Tressel is filing for unemployment this morning. Mark Richt is preparing for the Chick fil-A Kickoff game against highly ranked Boise State.

Amidst all the rumblings (mostly from opposing fans, mind you) about Mark Richt needing to lose his job, take a moment today to appreciate the person Mark Richt is, and how good he is for the Bulldawg program. The latest story directly relating to Richt involves him selling his multi-million dollar lakehouse on Hartwell to able he and his family to donate to needy charities more frequently. Ask the people of Buckeye Nation if they would like to trade publicity..... 

It is unfortunate these days, the way the rabid media paints a picture in which anything less than a National Championship constitutes failure. In turn, it gets in many fan's heads that changes need to be made way before they actually do. In a blog and social media fueled topic such as college football, where every fan can have a heard voice, things can escalate into ugliness all too quickly. Throw in bully-media such as the two evil stepsisters at the horrible, horrible Atlanta Journal Constitution, Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz, and unnecessary changes can become an obsession amongst many. Especially rival fans who cheer for a program in which Mark Richt has absolutely owned..... here's looking at you, North Ave.

Mark Richt is the right man for the UGA program. His wholeheartedness and christian values make him one of the best role models for impressionable college kids in all the land. While he can not hold a players hand at all times, and make sure they don't make bad decisions around the clock, he certainly preaches his values and ethics enough to supply guidance and testimony to any young man willing to listen.

Every UGA fan wants nothing more than a National Championship. But some need to take a moment, look at story lines around the nation, and decide at what costs do we really want to endure to only hopefully accelerate the process. Do we want to have a liar and cheat cover up huge scandals in order to keep his best players on the field? Do we want to be accused of pay-for-play in order to give ourselves an advantage? Do we want to dive into the pathetic over-signing practice being conducted by a few of our neighbors? Do we want to get it done at any cost, or would we rather be patient and get it done with a man who is the true definition of character and dignity?

Take a moment today, Dawg fans, and think how lucky we are to have Mark Richt in Athens. Recognize the fire in Richt's attitude over the last several months and over the upcoming summer as a true desire to win in Athens, while doing it the right way. Let the haters hate. Let the haters tell us how soft Mark Richt is. Let the haters call him "Saint Richt". Then do exactly what you should do, and thank them.

Welcome to Athens, Mark Richt. Make yourself at home, and stay as long as you'd like.

94 days til' kickoff.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Big" John Jenkins cleared for BIG impact.

College football is a 365 day obsession..... I mean sport, for true die-hards like myself. And unfortunately, early summertime is usually reserved for rumors about academic ineligibility, with a sprinkle of early commitments from rising High School seniors.

The academic rumor mill has been churning strongly in Athens, with rumors of projected starting RB Caleb King, projected starting LT A.J. Harmon, and incoming JUCO transfer and projected starting NG "Big" John Jenkins all coming up short in their academic obligations.

While nobody knows for sure the status of Caleb King or A.J. Harmon, the "biggest" rumor of the 3 was squashed today, in an interview from the AJC's  UGA beat writer Chip Towers with John Jenkins.....
              “Yeah, I don’t know exactly where that came from,” Jenkins said Tuesday. “Everything is good. Everything is straight. I’ll be there in June. All it is is rumors. I don’t know where it starts. Regardless, I’m going to be playing against Boise State and that’s all I’m thinking about right now.”

This news comes with a giant gasping sound coming out of Athens. I believe John Jenkins was the single most important signee in UGA's 2011 signing class. Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense relies heavily on a big NG in the middle to take away the run-up-the-middle option from opposing offenses (see Marcus Lattimore DESTROY UGA with this tactic this past Sept), which was sorely lacking last season. The arrival of an experienced NG will allow DeAngelo Tyson, the fill-in option last season, to move back to his more natural position of DE. 

So breathe Dawg Nation, breathe.

As far as the early commitments, I was a little ashamed that UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, and new LB coach Kirk Olivadotti did not make more of an effort to recruit 4 star LB Dillon Lee out of Buford..... especially considering Dillon's brother, Dallas, ALREADY PLAYS AT UGA!!!

I have been a believer for years that Rodney Garner "knows what he is doing", but his delayed tactics not to be the first offer for the easily influenceable in-state talents is in serious need of addressing. I am also a firm believer that many kids are intrigued by the thought of playing away from home, and cutting their own path, but we need to at least make them feel we want to keep them at home. Here's hoping a better LB is still available come Signing Day, 2012.

GO DAWGS!!! 108 short days til kickoff!!

In the wake of these rumors, I am working on a piece going over how social media is effecting the way rumor's spread, as well as how it is influencing recruiting. STAY TUNED

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Washaun out, Caleb in. Isaiah still in high school.

I have been away from this blog for a very, very long time, and have decided it will keep my writing skills sharp if I make an effort to pick it back up. Last season was a frustrating one for a Dawg die-hard like myself. One of the side effects of being a fan in the SEC is the constant hate and negativity you get from rivals and media. Last year got to me a bit, but I have decided that nothing can EVER change my love for all things UGA football and the SEC.

So let's pick it up with the most recent news: WASHAUN EALEY RELEASED.

The kid is a knucklehead. No other way to look at it. Bonehead  arrest last season, prima donna attitude, fumbles on the 1 yard line, missing punishment runs....... bad apple.

However, I truly feel sorry for the kid. When you hype up a kid's ego from the age of 16 or so, pull him out of Emanuel County, Georgia (population 300 or so + 600 cows + 1 traffic light) and stick him in into the relentless SEC fans' judgment, the media's harsh realism, all on top of a magnificent and tempting town like Athens, GA, the kid is going to mess up. However, this is where the true character of a kid needs to come through. Everything was provided for Ealey to be the most successful individual in the world, regardless of if he ever saw the endzone in his football career. I cannot help but think that no matter where he ends up, he will one day sit in a rocking chair as an older, much more mature man, and realize what he had and how he wasted it. And for that regret to weigh heavy on him, I feel bad.

But enough pity. Where does leave the UGA running game? Fine, I say. Caleb King has been the most injury prone, overly hyped RB out of the state of Georgia since Jasper Sanks. When healthy, we have seen glimpses of the kid we drooled over at Parkview High School and Greater Atlanta Christian School. He claims to be in the best shape of his life, and call it the "blind-homer-optimist" in me, but I think we will see a lot more of the success this year. Since being suspended for the Liberty Bowl for "missing academic appointments" (mind you, this is NOT failing classes, this is missing study hall and/or tutoring sessions required by the football team), I have seen a bit of a light click in in King's head. He looked great in his minimal attempts at G-Day last month, and has had a few quotes about the new strength and conditioning program and incoming competition that has satisfied me.

I am not worried about Caleb King gaining 1,000 yards this season. I do not think it is necessary. We are a throwing team anyway, though the desire to have the dominate RB is always there. Aaron Murray should be great in his second year, and with the exit of A.J. Green, we are about to recognize weapons we didn't know we had in Tavarrees King, Marlon Brown and Rontavious Wooten. If we can get 700-800 yards from Caleb King this season, and a few TD's, I will be happy.

Many of you want to say: "But we have Isaiah Crowell coming in, the next Herschel Walker!!"............

The only thing I have to say about Isaiah.... HE IS STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL. Leave the kid alone, and we will worry about him when he gets to campus.

I have lots I want to blog about, since I really do not know or talk to anybody on a consistent basis who shares the passion and love for the Dawgs and an SEC Saturday afternoon the way I do. I will attempt to write these more often, and be more insightful than this quick opinion.

116 days til kickoff.