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Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Links (12/11)

Part of me would like to rail against the injustices of college football and how coaches like Brian Kelly are forced to abandon their teams before their biggest game of the year and how flawed the system is and how it's always the student-athletes who get screwed, but I just don't have the energy. It is what it is, and there are bigger problems in the world. But nevertheless, it's sad to see happen yet again. And it will happen again next season, too. I would have been rooting for Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl regardless, but I definitely will be now.

Anyway, some links for your Friday afternoon...

-- Whatever you do, take some time to read this Rivals.com story on the inspiration Chance Veazey is offering others while dealing with his own immense challenges.

-- After a heavy dose of feedback yesterday, Rex Robinson responds to the critiques of his blog post questioning the culture and conditioning in Georgia's locker room.

As someone who does this for a living, I commend Rex on being willing to admit a mistake and on sticking to his guns about the things he believes. That's really all you can do as a writer.

It's a tough dynamic for anyone. It's something I struggle with almost every day. I try to keep my opinions to a minimum and instead focus on news and analysis, but in this age of the Internet -- and particularly on a blog -- that's tough. Presenting those opinions properly is even tougher.

You guys read this blog (and, presumably, Rex's blog) because you are Georgia fans. As fans, the vast majority of you crave good news about your team. So presenting an opinion that provides a less than glowing portrayal of the team you love is a delicate affair. But more often than not, it's also a necessary one.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting around chatting with a few other reporters about the stories we all wrote over the summer. My honest assessment was that, looking back, I was embarrassed by some of what I wrote. I glossed over too many obvious problems -- or at least problems that would have been obvious if I had dug a bit deeper -- and I was too quick to give coaches and players the benefit of the doubt.

But put yourself in my shoes. It's hard not to do that. Over the offseason, no one is talking about bad news. It's like Spring Training -- every team is optimistic. Coaches don't want to tell you about how many picks the new QB is bound to throw or how far below expectations the O line might play (although kudos to Mike Bobo, who actually did tell us that). They want to sell you on the positives, and in June and July, most fans are all too happy to buy as much good mojo as they can.

So as reporters, columnists, bloggers, radio hosts, etc., we're left with two options: Report on what the players and coaches are telling us or voice concerns that we have little evidence to support. We don't get to watch practice, we don't have many on-the-record complaints from the primary figures involved, and we don't have any games or stats or film to base those opinions around.

If Mark Richt and Mike Bobo and all the receivers tell us how accurate Joe Cox is, I don't have to believe it, but back in June, what evidence did I have to argue a contrary opinion? And my abiding approach to voicing opinions on this blog is that, without evidence to support it, it's worth nothing more (and sometimes less) than what you can find on any message board or around any office water cooler.

But the truth is, I am embarrassed by some of what I wrote last summer. I wish I had viewed things with a more critical -- perhaps cynical -- eye. But had I done that, how many readers might have reacted to those stories the same way they reacted to Robinson's post yesterday?

I don't think Rex worded his blog perfectly, and that's something he admits in his follow-up today. But I also don't believe he was being malicious in writing it.

As we approach January with some new coaches and new freshmen on the way, there are more than a few reasons for optimism in 2010. But before we don those rose-colored glasses and react with anger and contempt those who might focus the spotlight on the chinks in Georgia's armor, let's just remember how many stories I wrote about Richard Samuel and Bryan Evans and Carlton Thomas last summer.

Optimism is a good thing, but it should always be tempered by reality. I have no doubt that was Robinson's only goal, regardless of how eloquent it might have been argued. And I don't write this purely as a defense for Robinson. I write it because, ideally, I don't want to have any stories I'm embarrassed by next year.

-- Congrats to Drew Butler, who took home the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter. Speaking of stories that seem silly in hindsight, remember all the talk about how Butler would fare as a replacement for Brian Mimbs last summer?

-- Battle Hymn Notes has an excellent post on how the Dawgs could benefit from Charlie Strong's departure at Florida.

-- About Them Dawgs has some more interesting statistical analysis on the four key statistics that have the biggest impact on a game's outcome.

-- And speaking of stats, the Red & Black offer a few of interest from Georgia's latest hoops loss to St. John's.

-- Tim Tucker writes about the official job postings for Georgia's defensive coaches. I'm not sure if Kirby Smart got his masters yet.

-- Bulldawg Illustrated points out that Washaun Ealey had a remarkable season this year, despite playing in only sevend-and-a-half games.

-- Orson Charles and Montez Robinson both made it to the All-SEC Freshman team, but no signs of Washaun Ealey.

-- The Shreveport Times writes that the winner of the Independence Bowl is likely to be whichever team actually cares about being there.

-- Bubba N Earl note that in down years, it's usually the kicking game that comes up big.

-- Dave McMahon has some interesting stats for this week, including a long list of Georgia players who were born in 1991 -- the last time the Dawgs went to the Independence Bowl.

-- You're welcome.

-- I'm not smart enough to follow a lot of legal mumbo jumbo, but this case sounds like it could have some far-reaching effects throughout professional sports.

-- Back when the Phillies were routinely awful, I purchased a "Fire Ed Wade" t-shirt and wore it to a game. It more than paid for itself. I had at least five beers purchased for me and strangers wanted their picture taken with me (and the shirt). I was almost a bit sad when, a few weeks later, Wade really was fired. But after seeing deals like this one made by Wade, now the GM in Houston, I'm thinking I can put my shirt for sale on eBay and find a few Astros fans ready to pay top dollar for it.

-- If you're a comics fan, this is pretty cool -- a number of other comic artists provide their own vision of Calvin and Hobbes.

-- ABC is slashing one episode off the season tally for both "V" and "FlashForward."

-- I know we have a bunch of "Modern Family" fans that read the blog, so here's an interview with one if its stars, Eric Stonestreet.

-- There's a great Lewis Black joke about how he assumed he's reached the nexus of the universe when he walked out of a Starbucks and saw another Starbucks across the street. I got that feeling reading this: A list of the top lists of 2009.

-- "Whoa whoa whoa, Miss Lippy. The part of the story I don't like is that the little boy gave up looking for Happy after an hour. He didn't put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy's gotta think 'You got a pet. You got a responsibility.' If your dog gets lost you don't look for an hour then call it quits. You get your a$$ out there and you find that f***ing dog." Gotta love Athens. (h/t C-Nati)

-- Need to kill that last hour of your workday? This ought to take care of it.

-- And finally, Georgia is scheduled to practice tomorrow, so we should finally have some real, legit football news to discuss. As to whether any of that has to do with a defensive coordinator... we shall see.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a Georgia beat writer myself, phenomenal entry. My favorite one you've written yet...by far.

Mrs. Robinson said...

Will Sexy Rexy Robinson apologize if his doomsday projections come to pass?

I think he's just as likely as Adam Krohn. Which is to say- he isn't. He's a chump, nothing more.

Mrs. Robinson said...

Er...DON'T come to pass, I mean.

Anonymous said...

So ND can hire a new coach and Louisville can hire Strong. Have we even formed a committee yet to hire a DC? How can there be no news coming out of Athens on the new coaches? I guess we really were not planning on new coaches so the question is what changed CMR's mind other than the obvious?

Army Dawg said...

How can a Philly guy like you not have any Army/Navy stuff for us. I know it is not big time football or even Syracuse football but it is the only D1 football game on tomorrow. I like the set up and I especially hope that Army will make it much more competitive than it has been in previous years.

Go Army! Beat Navy!

Anonymous said...

David- Of course we were all overly optimistic. The truth is, there were more question marks coming into this year than in any other year I remember. How good was Joe Cox? Who would replace Knowshon? Would the defense be better? Who would take a load off AJ Green? Was it really the injuries that hurt us in 2008? Honestly, I don't think anyone really knew that answers to those questions in the preseason- not even the coaches. Sure, you see what the players can do in practice but it really doesn't mean anything until you get in that game situation. Maybe Joe Cox was in fact a super accurate passer until he had 300 lb d-linemen in his face. Since we didn't really know, it was much easier to be optimistic than to not. You shouldn't be embarrassed for those articles you wrote in the summer.

Also David, this may be asking too much, but any way we could hear your take on the Tiger Woods debacle? I need a good laugh.

CoonDawg said...

What is Rex referring to in his link to the DawgVent? Haven't a clue and his blog entry is limited without that info.

Anonymous said...

Good post about Washaun! I wonder, though, why the author says Washaun should get 20 carries per game and Caleb should get 10? In the last three games of the season, Caleb's ypc average was higher - and that was about when he started eating again, no? I think a 50/50 split like the Tech game was great to see. And Caleb seems to find the endzone more.

Maybe it's the 24 that causes the fascination?

Greg said...

David- I HAVE A HUGELY IMPORTANT QUESTION.....

Where can I get my "FIRE FRANK WREN....NOW!!!" version of it.


Was the demand for Takashi Saito SO high that we HAD to sign him before the arbitration deadline then get egged in the face by Soriano?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Kirby got his masters at FSU. He's got a perfect resume.

JRL said...

The style and unsupported innuendo Rex used got under my skin but truth be known I have heard from multiple sources that the UGA S&C regime is light years behind several SEC teams. Bulging biceps do not make All - Americans.

Army Dawg we can only hope for a miracle.

Anonymous said...

David,
What obvious problems did you gloss over in your preseason coverage? How could you have dug deeper to investigate them? Did any of those problems have to do with morale and discipline?

Anonymous said...

David -I don't think fans were upset with Rex calling out the coaching staff and players, but they were upset with the lack of innuendo and specifics.

Even still I think his backpedaling and link to a message board where you have to be a paid member to view is pretty cowardly.

Since Rex is not employed by any of the news gathering organizations that reguarly cover the football team, I do not expect that he will ever reveal the specifics.

But he did say that he verified these suspicions. Now, I would challenge you and your colleagues to dig deep and publish what has alleged and "verified."

It is now a story for the Bulldog nation. I do not think that any of us want you to embarrass an individual - be it a coach or player - but given the interest in the team, the public should know if Robinson's claims are legitimate.

Anonymous said...

David,
Don't beat yourself up on the Cox acuracy thing. I bet he was extremely accurate. Alot of guys are in practice against 2nd team D and even our coaches admitted this year our 2nd team D was below normal standards. Hell, look how good our first team secondary made QB's look, imagine the 2nd team DB's. And there is also the "practice" element that anyone that played the game will tell you about. Some guys are heros in practice, but come crunch time, can't get it done. In my day at UGA, Preston Jones carried that enigma. Maybe Cox carries the same baggage.

Jeffrey said...

VIc Koening rumors?

Lee said...

Rex posted an opinion as a fact with out something substantial to back it up and some people called him on it. That he way it's supposed to work right? I'm guess I'm missing the story here.

As for the stuff you posted this summer, why apologize? Some people are going to love you if you're optimistic. Others are going to love you if you're cynical. You going to be loved and hated either way :)

Just report what you know (with whatever facts you can come up with) and point out what's opinion and what is factual. Nothing else should be required.

In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter how analytical you are or how precise your picture of the team is. If every thing worked out the way the numbers say they will, we'd just have the BCS computers crunch the numbers and skip the games. It's much more exciting to put the teams on the field and see what happens...

(Yes I realize the last paragraph pointed out how we pick champions. It's a sad state of affairs. It would be much more interesting to see how far a team like TCU or Cincy could go and more prestigious to be the team that took on all challengers and claimed the crown.)

Anonymous said...

"and how it's always the student-athletes who get screwed"...so remind me again who got screwed when Stafford and Moreno left early.

Anonymous said...

Florida State has hired Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as its next defensive coordinator, according to a source close to the hiring process

One more time, why is there no information coming out of Athens about the DC job. Are they that good about keeping info secret or are all the reporters assigned taking a vacation. This is a bad sign and indicative of our defense during the year. No one knows what is going on.

David Hale said...

The Koenning stuff is coming more from his side -- he's definitely interested -- but I havent heard much of anything to indicate the interest is returned. His defensive style isn't vastly different from Willie's, and I think Richt is looking to go in a different direction.

As to why more info isn't coming from Athens... I wish I could tell you. Richt and his staff have been very tight-lipped, and beyond the knowledge that they are indeed working on finding a replacement, I haven't heard much specifics coming from inside UGA.

That, of course, could have a lot to do with who they are likely targeting and a certain big game ahead on his schedule.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I hope it turns out okay.

Anonymous said...

DH, I really enjoy your blog. In response to previous reply, I agree, if we don't hear anything surprising from Richt this week it will probably be left to announcing the DC right after the Nat.Champ game.

It seems that no one is privy to the info rex is referring too...should I go into details? The only thing the fans need to worry about is that the biggest change that needed to happen to move the program in a positive direction already took place.