(NOTE: Don't forget, we're chatting live at noon at macon.com/ugachat. You can post your questions now and check back any time after noon for the response.)
Among the many great aspects of my job is the fact that I get to know some of the players and coaches that most fans only get to see on the field. I won't lie, some football players are just that: Football players. That's mostly what they think about, talk about and do virtually all the time. But most are much more interesting for what they do off the field than on it.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being a part of a couple of conversations between players and reporters that had little to do with football but made me awfully glad I cover this team for a living.
The first was with safety Makiri Pugh, who has written eight books of poetry and is working on several more. He talked at length about his love for writing, his goals for creating his own publishing company down the line and his approach toward his craft. It was incredibly interesting stuff.
Then a bit later, I sat in while the Red & Black's Tyler Estep chatted with Rennie Curran for an informal piece he's working on and got to hear Curran discuss his passion for making music, his family background in Liberia and the local Liberian community in Atlanta where he has spent a lot of time growing up. He talked about what a great relationship he's had at Georgia with people ranging from teammates and professors to the lunch lady in the dining hall. He talked about his daughter and how much she means to him, his family and all they've done for him and his dreams of giving back to Liberia once he graduates and the speaking that he already does now in churches and schools in hopes of motivating young people.
It's so easy to get caught up with what these guys do on the football field because that's the picture most of us see of them, but it's nice to get a reminder every once in a while that there is a lot more to most of these players that what meets the eye. And while I'm always impressed at how much any student-athlete manages to find a balance between school and athletics and family and friends, that's really just the tip of the iceberg for most of them.
Anyway, I figured with the last home game of the season just two days away, it was probably worth mentioning just how much these kids are doing at Georgia beyond their work on the football field.
Now, some links...
-- I didn't post links yesterday, so if you didn't get a chance to read it, check out my story on the relationship between Caleb King and Washaun Ealey, and how it has dramatically helped both of their careers.
-- And I have a story in today's Telegraph on the sudden emergence of Israel Troupe. By the way, Troupe has been in a green non-contact jersey this week, but Mark Richt insists it's due to illness and that Troupe will be ready to play Saturday.
-- Here's a great story in The Statesman on how David Greene has reacted to the imminent loss of his record for most career wins to Texas' Colt McCoy. Greene is such a class act.
-- Marc Weiszer has the latest on whether Reshad Jones still has his sights set on the NFL.
-- Mel Kiper has updated his top five juniors by position list and Rennie Curran and Reshad Jones both make the cut. (Note: ESPN Insider required)
-- Is it bad that I'm just bored by the talk of coaching changes now? Jeff Schultz chimes in on the issue, but it seems to me that it's really pointless to debate right now. The vast majority of fans (probably the most any group has ever agreed on anything) want a change. Richt isn't going to mention anything about it until the season's over. So whose mind are we trying to make up here?
-- And on that topic, Buck Belue writes that there are other places to point the finger of blame before you start wanting the heads of coaches.
-- Bernie has his locker notes in for the week. I think this has been my favorite running blog post of the year. Nice work, Bernie.
-- David Paschall has a story on Joe Cox's ability to complete the deep ball and reaches the same conclusion I've been trying to argue for months -- i.e., Cox ain't too bad at it.
-- Fletcher Page has that story on Pugh, who has self-published two books of his own poetry.
-- Roger Clarkson looks at how quickly Orson Charles has adapted to a demanding position this season.
-- Battle Hymn Notes laments what might have been with this senior class, the first of the Mark Richt era to finish their careers with fewer than 40 wins.
-- Here's a fun post from Bubba N Earl that's well worth the read, but the comments (h/t GTP) make it so much better. Read the whole post, but be sure to check out the first two anonymous comments. Nothing like blanket anger directed at "progressive liberals" (who are well known for their hatred of free speech at football games) and the exceptional analysis that Georgia fans lack passion because they don't boo their own players enough.
-- The Red & Black finds out what some of Georgia's athletes are doing for Thanksgiving.
-- This Bleacher Report writer echoes a pretty popular sentiment: Dawgs fans are sick and tired of hearing from Georgia Tech fans, and they'd be quite appreciative if UGA could put an end to that next week.
-- Georgia Sports Blog posts some early thoughts about the good and the bad of the first two games of the Mark Fox era.
-- Randall Cobb is listed as questionable for this week's game at Georgia. I'm not buying it.
-- Think it's been a rough season in Athens? Chris Low writes about the challenges Kentucky has endured.
-- Remember when stories like this used to be the other way around, and it was Mark Richt trying to talk up Kentucky before a game?
-- Does it seem a bit ironic that Mark Mangino would insult players about personal issues? I mean, aren't the comebacks to that awfully easy? Luckily we'll always have Baby Mangino to make us feel better.
-- A buddy of mine who is a huge Minnesota fan is likely at the heart of this issue.
-- I'm less than thrilled with the on-field progress at Syracuse this season, but this article is yet another reason I'm gaining confidence in Doug Marrone as the head coach. (h/t Mike in Valdosta)
-- I'm so on the fence about Bill Simmons these days. I have a ton of respect for the guy whose work, no doubt, had a legitimate effect on my decision to get into sports writing. But at the same time, I friggin' hate Boston sports teams. So we've sort of reached an impass. Nevertheless, there's an extensive interview with him done by The AV Club about his new book, which is currently No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
-- Do you guys remember Darren Daulton? As a Philly-area native, I was always a fan. But did you know he's completely crazy now? Like seriously crazy. And better yet, he's started a new Web site dedicated to his craziness. (ESPN actually did a great piece on him a few years back about alien abduction and other stuff like that, but I couldn't find any video of it. Too bad.)
-- This probably makes me a giant nerd, but one of my top five favorite Web sites is BaseballReference.com, where you have access to an ungodly amount of baseball stats and can easily waste about six hours of any given day reliving the glory years of Teddy Higuera.
Anyway, one of the ways Baseball Reference pays for its site is by allowing readers to sponsor certain pages. I'm saving up to buy out "Sports By Seth" for this page. Anyway, this great blog posts finds the top 10 fan sponsorship comments on Baseball Reference, and it's just a delightful read.
-- Paste continues to crank out the "best of the decade" lists, and this one on the 25 best moments of live TV strikes me as a pretty good one. I particularly enjoyed watching the Patriots lose in the Super Bowl (thanks to a catch by a Syracuse kid) and reliving the amazing interview Jon Stewart did on "Crossfire."
-- Note to Steven Seagal: If you need to preface comments about your new TV show with, "This is not a joke," then it might be time to reconsider some life decisions.
-- I hadn't realized this, but apparently "V" won't be sticking around long. It goes on an extensive hiatus after next week and could look a good bit different when it returns.
-- Forbes does some math to calculate a list of Hollywood's most overpaid stars. I can't think of a better dubious honor.
-- Reason No. 3,641,893 to be very concerned about our future.
-- And finally, SciFiWire has a good story on the final season of "Lost," for which we will not see any advance scenes. As to why: "I think even a single scene from the show would basically tip what it is we're doing this year, and what it is we're doing this year is different than what we've done in other years," said creator Damon Lindelof.