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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mailbag: Making Up For Lost Time (Part 2)

If you didn't see Part 1 of our mailbag, you can find it HERE.

And for those of you with more time to kill today, here's Part 2...

ChicagoDawg writes: I think I have read previously, in some of your looking forward to next year blogs, that there will be the leadership gap with the departure of Joe C. Especially in the offensive huddle with a freshman QB. I suspect that Ben Jones is the most likely candidate to fill that role. Frankly, if that were the case I couldn't think of a better scenario. Having the strong leader in the middle of the line, who is an emotional effort player (not to discount his real physical gifts), is an invaluable asset. Is Jones as well respected among his peers as he is among the coaches, I would think so? Also, he seems to be verbal on the sidelines and in the huddle (if C. King's recent praise is any indication), but I am not sure what his normal temperament and demeanor are in the locker room. Any perspective on this?

David: I think Jones is the perfect guy to step up as the vocal leader on offense next year. Looking at the other candidates -- Caleb, A.J., Boling -- they're all quiet guys. The whole "leading by example" thing is overrated -- which isn't to say it's not worthwhile, but just overrated -- and a team needs a couple of vocal guys like Cox and Rennie have been. I think Orson Charles and Aron White could play that role, too, but both are still relatively inexperienced. Shaun Chapas will probably take on a larger role next season as well, and the quarterback is always looked to as a leader, but I agree with you that there's every reason to believe that Ben Jones is going to be the foundation of that offense's personality. And given that Jones may, in fact, be crazy, that's a very, very good thing.

Anonymous writes: Loggia:
-"We're going to rip off their necks, and sh*t down their throats!"
-"Let us pray."

That's the kind of motivational speaking and enthusiasm we need in our next DC!!

David: This followed my suggestion that Georgia hire Robert Loggia's character from "Necessary Roughness" as its DC. The suggestion caught on…

Andy writes: David, I love the Robert Loggia idea. He is more likely than some of the names others have dropped (i.e. Tubbs and Muschamp). What are the chances he brings Kathy Ireland with him? We may not need a kicker, but I'm sure we could make room for her on the roster. Also, he could bring that ninja linebacker with him. He would be an excellent replacement for Curran should he leave for the NFL, even if he is penalty prone.

David: And with Joe Cox graduating, Georgia needs another ninja!

Anonymous writes: This may be asking too much, but any way we could hear your take on the Tiger Woods debacle? I need a good laugh.

David: You know, I might be the only person in the country who doesn't care about this story in the least.

First off, I never really liked Tiger. In fact, I think I may like him more now, just because at least I now am aware that he's a human being. For the vast majority of his career, Tiger was like some sort of genetically engineered Buick spokesman. There was nothing remotely real about him. Granted, this story is more "Real World" than real, but at least it proves he's a flawed person, the same as the rest of us.

That said, I'm just uninterested in the story. Maybe I'm a bit jaded, but being surprised that any celebrity cheats on their spouse is like being surprised that a baseball player used steroids. Haven't we heard this story enough times that it shouldn't be so galvanizing?

And the way that the supposedly legitimate media is covering Tiger drives me crazy. I get that TMZ has its niche, and I'm OK with them giving Tiger the Lindsay Lohan treatment. That's what they do. But why does ESPN have to put stories about Tiger's mother in law going to the hospital or Gatorade discontinuing its Tiger-flavored beverage on its scrolling ticker? Why is this important sports news? The answer: It's not. It's scandal-driven reporting, and ESPN is simply trying to boost ratings by chumming the waters of what is already an absurd feeding frenzy of media hype. When Tiger decides to take a leave of absence from the tour, yes, that's sports news. When Tiger takes his SUV for an oil change? You can probably skip that one and show some hockey highlights, WWL.

But I think the stuff that annoys me the most is all the talking heads -- from ESPN to CNBC -- that feel the need to pass on advice to Tiger. I get that we live in a culture where everyone shares an opinion, so I expected the criticism and analysis of Tiger's situation, but the advice-giving is just too much. Do I really need a guy who hosts a financial show on CNBC telling me what he thinks Tiger should do with his life? And I love how it's always like they're having a direct one-on-one conversation with Tiger. You know, they always go like this: "Tiger, what you need to concentrate on now is fixing things with your wife." Like Tiger tuned in to see how his Microsoft stocks were doing and then -- wham! -- sound advice on his marriage. "Wow, talk to my wife first? Why didn't my agent tell me this?!?!?"

And seriously, why doesn't his wife get a say in this? I absolutely hate how many people want to see Tiger and his wife on a stage addressing the media to show a united front, a la every corrupt politician. Um, hasn't his wife been embarrassed enough? Why does she have to remotely care what his image is at this point? Seems to me ruining your image is the risk you run when you start dating porn stars. (And I'm at a total loss to explain why celebrities continue to sleep with porn stars. If you can get almost any woman you want, why would you possibly sleep with someone who is clearly willing to do anything for the right amount of cash?)

So, sorry, I don't have any jokes to go with this story because I think the coverage of it is enough of a joke. It's one more example of why people hate the media and why I won't have a job in a few years.

(OK, one joke: What do Tiger Woods and baby seals have in common? They are both clubbed by Norwegians.)

Davis P. writes: Don’t know if you saw ESPN’s 30 for 30 movie on Miami last night, but if you didn’t then you missed the most epic two hours of programming ESPN has ever had. Any who, the entire time I was watching the movie I kept wondering how CMR ever fit in a place like that. I would be forever grateful if you asked him about his time at the U/his general thoughts on the film. If this violates every professional cannon of journalism or is too insanely off topic, don’t worry about it. But I would love to hear his thoughts.

David: I'm glad you brought this up, and I'd be interested in Richt's thoughts, too. So I'll ask him at some point this week. I know Richt is widely considered the nicest guy in college football now, but the few stories I've heard about his college days lead me to believe he managed to fit in at the U.

Beyond that, a couple other thoughts I had on "The U."

First, I've really enjoyed the whole "30 for 30" series. I thought the Ali-Holmes one was by far the best, but the USFL episode, the Jimmy the Greek episode and the Len Bias episode both were really good, too. I'm not sure how I felt about 'The U" though.

On one hand, it was a good biography of what happened at Miami in those years and certainly had its interesting quotes from former players. On the other hand, it almost played out like a Wikipedia entry. I don't feel like we learned much about why The U became what it was or what the lasting impacts of that personality the program developed over the years was. Moreover, the director, Billy Corben, is a Miami graduate, and I felt like the film came off very one-sided. The school president and the NCAA were clearly painted as the bad guys and the players and coaches at Miami came off as the misunderstood misanthropes. I'm sure there was some level of truth to that, but I felt like the deeper issues were glossed over or ignored -- and given that Corben had two hours to work with, I probably learned less about the subject matter than I did in the one-hour documentaries on Ali or Gretzky or Trump's USFL.

Of course, the biggest lingering question after watching "The U" was -- what the heck has happened to Bernie Kosar? He looked and sounded like he'd been drinking at a bowling alley for about six hours before shooting his scenes. It was like he should have been co-hosting a radio show with Howard Stern. He looked like he hadn't showered in two weeks. Did they stock the green room with Scotch before shooting Kosar's scenes? I mean, when Michael Irvin seems like the clean-cut guy compared to Kosar, something is wrong. The only thing that would have been better is if it was Suzy Kolber interviewing Kosar and he tried to kiss her midway through.

Jeff C. writes: I enjoy reading your work and was just curious after reading about how hard AJ Harmon works in the weight room is that paying off in practice? I haven't heard anything about him this season. What position is he even working at?

David: Harmon has been working at right guard and right tackle most of the year but has had little playing time on Saturdays. With Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins and Kade Weston all leaving and just two experienced DTs back for next year, there was some thought that Harmon could move back to the defensive line, but Richt said that isn't happening and that coaches are pleased with Harmon's efforts on offense. It wouldn't surprise me to see him play the Vince Vance role next season and then step into a starter's job in 2011.

Danny writes: I know we probably won't have a better feel until the new defensive coaches are set, but do you think the coaching change will increase the chances that Rennie and Reshad choose the NFL over college? I would imagine it would but you probably have a better feel for their attitudes.

David: I think it's fair to say both guys were leaning toward leaving before the changes were made, and I can only assume that this pushes them farther in that direction. In Reshad's case, he may decide a new coordinator brings a scheme that suits him and if his draft status isn't where he wants it, he could come back. On Rennie's side, he may decide the changes are what Georgia needs to win an SEC title and he returns for that. But I wouldn't put money on either of those scenarios unfolding.

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

David: This was in response to my comments about Brian Kelly leaving Cincinnati before the Sugar Bowl to start his new gig at Notre Dame, and it strikes me as the most ridiculous yet widely held opinion among college football fans. Let me count the ways in which this makes no sense:

1.) Stafford and Moreno didn't quit before the Capital One Bowl. In fact, they were cautious to make sure no one was aware of their decisions before the game in order to ensure it didn't effect the outcome.

2.) Stafford and Moreno didn't get paid millions of dollars to be in Athens. They were playing for free.

3.) Stafford and Moreno didn't have a contract.

4.) Stafford and Moreno didn't spend the entire season asking their team to buy in and stay committed and follow their philosophy. It's the coaches who preach about not quitting, then quit when a better opportunity comes along.

5.) While there is no chance that Brian Kelly's work in a bowl game would have ended his career or altered his deal with Notre Dame, there is a chance that Stafford or Moreno could have gotten hurt and cost themselves a chance at millions in the NFL -- but they still played.

6.) When Stafford and Moreno left, they were both taken in the first round, which paves the way for other top athletes to view UGA as a place that can get them to the next level. Their departures helped Georgia's recruiting. What do you think Kelly's departure did to Cincy's recruiting?

All of those same things will be true of Reshad and Rennie should they choose to leave (with the exception of when they'll be drafted) and I can assure you from talking to both of them that they won't depart without serious reservations about leaving a place they truly love.

It astonishes me, after all the work these kids put in, that fans still hold it against them that they leave early for the NFL draft. I honestly wonder if those same fans would continue to work an unpaid internship at their local bank if Goldman Sachs came calling with a seven-figure offer.

And just to be clear, I don't blame Kelly for doing what he did. I blame the system that is in place. It forces any coach at a traditionally smaller-name school to leave when a big school comes calling because that's the only way to reach the big time. It's another way the NCAA keeps getting the rich richer and the poor poorer. And the fact that teams wrap up their seasons the last week in November, then many won't play again for five or six weeks while their coaches get poached one by one is absurd. Imagine if the Redskins could hire away Sean Payton in the second round of the NFL playoffs. It would be absurd. There would be chaos. Mike Lupica would literally overdose on indignancy on "The Sports Reporters." And yet, if you include assistants, it happens all over the country dozens of times every year in college football. How is this fair?

Pat M. writes: Really enjoy your postings. I was at the Gala last night .The newcomer awards for offense were T King and Orson Charles after Coach Richt presented he said " 3 more years"

David: Thanks for the insight, Pat. I talked to Richt a good bit at the end of last season, and it was clear that he thought the season was an aberration and he trumped up the "10 win" meme repeatedly. It was business as usual for the most part. The 2009 season ended just two weeks ago, but it's obvious that Richt is taking a far different approach this time around. I don't want to say he's re-energized because, if anything, firing his friends was emotionally draining on him. But I do think he is taking a sincere look at what has worked and what didn't, and like so many of us outside the program, sees immense potential next year if the right decisions are made. It takes a lot for someone with his success to erase the blackboard and start again, but that's what he has done. It's hard not to be impressed, and I think there's every reason to believe that the next three years can be pretty special.

Pete C. writes: As great as watching the Gators lose on Saturday was, it was even better to see 2 of my jokes get mentioned in your stalwart live-blog of the game (Ingram circumcises Florida's D, Verne likes cheese). It almost felt cathartic to laugh about football again after such a tough year for UGA. Here's one more for the road... Verne, "There he goes!!!!", Gary, "To the CFL."

David: Pete C., everyone! He'll be here all week. And remember, the 1:30 show is completely different from the 10:30 show. Tip your waitresses!

Seriously, you guys do a great job of coming up with quality material in the comments. Hilarious stuff.

Mike writes: Been trying to piece together the reactions of the 2010 recruits but finding it a difficult task for a non-journalist with no contacts. Think you could put together a simple list of all 18 verbal commitments with comments from each? Sure would make for interesting reading.

David: I wish I had this kind of time, but sadly, there's just no way. But I've followed the good work that Rivals and Scout's Georgia sites have done and it doesn't sound like the Dawgs are close to losing any of their defensive recruits following the coaching changes. Now, I think it's possible that, depending on who gets hired as the new DC, that could change, but only if a player decides the new scheme doesn't fit their style of play. Still, I'd say that's unlikely because the commitment those players made was to Mark Richt, and no coach on that staff comes close to being as important as Richt is in recruiting. It's like me and the SEC title game -- sure, I wouldn't be there at all without the football, but it's the press box desserts that really make the difference in whether I stick around.

Ben S. writes: Since the ballot only lets you choose one player, wouldn't it make sense just to elect Pollack to the list by executive order and reserve the voting for the #2 DE? I mean, seriously. What Georgia fan is not going to vote for David Pollack if they have to choose only one?

David: Yes, this is a good point. Pollack is currently racking up in the neighborhood of 91 percent of the vote (and I assume the other nine percent have been drinking with Bernie Kosar) which makes it tough to identify the No. 2 guy. So here's our solution -- a run-off election. Look to the right side of this page and I've created a new poll where you can vote on your choice for Georgia's No. 2 defensive end of the decade. Vote early, vote often.

Mike writes: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Karate Kid remake is very much underway. And you CAN blame it on Jackie Chan, because he is playing the Mr. Miyagi character.

Brian K. writes: How could you leave The Goonies off the list?! "Why don't we just spread chocolate all over the floor and let Chunk eat his way through." I persoanlly would have thrown Fast Times on the list too. "No Shirt, No Shoes.......No Dice."

Pete writes: Got to have Back to the Future on your list...

Carter writes: Can't remake Road House, Red Dawn, or Wall Street. Too late for the last two.

Hobnail Boot writes: Blade Runner, Raging Bull, Brazil. One that should? Clue.


David: I knew the idea of Jackie Chan starring in a new Karate Kid must have come from somewhere. Ugh. At the very least, I hope this at least revives kids wearing those Cobra Kai skeleton costumes on Halloween.

I can actually see the rationale behind a "Wall Street" remake, but it's a lazy way to approach the film. Why not just make a whole new film that depicts current practices on Wall Street rather than dipping back 20 years for characters?

Call me a heretic, but "Red Dawn" is less watchable now than I remembered it being. I could actually get behind a well-done remake. Of course, I doubt it will be well done.

"Blade Runner," "Raging Bull" and "Brazil" are all good suggestions. The latter two probably aren't prime remake material, but you have to think Jerry Bruckheimer is wringing his hands and cackling maniacally at the thought of remaking "Blade Runner."

I'm in no way suggesting that "Back to the Future" should be remade -- quite frankly, I don't see how you improve upon it -- but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it gets done. And I'm sure Ford will pay some serious cash for product placement to replace the Delorean with a Mustang or something.

I love -- LOVE -- "Goonies" but it can only be a matter of time before Disney decides to remake this one. "Goonies" has absolutely everything kids love -- pirates, treasure maps, making fun of fat kids, booty twaps (that's what I said, booty twaps), the Truffle Shuffle, kids saving their parents from economic collapse, a Corey, bad guys being foiled -- I mean, what's not to like? So you have to assume Disney is going to get this done, casting Kathleen Turner as Ma Fratelli and the essentially using the cast of The Suite Life with Zach and Cody to fill out the rest of the roster. Replace Cindy Lauper music with Jessica Simpson, replace pirates with vampires, replace the Truffle Shuffle with Tostinos Pizza Rolls™ Shuffle and voila! You have yourself a crapfest of a movie.

But the movie I absolutely should have included on my list yesterday was "Road House." That's a film that is so awesomely bad that it can never be improved upon without making it worse. I call that the "Weekend at Bernie's" paradox, in that it's what makes the movie bad that makes it good. R.I.P. Swayze.

(BTW, one bonus point for every absurdly hilarious thing you can identify in the clip above.)

Anonymous writes: Did I miss something? Sounds like you're saying that Richt has offered Smart the job and was turned down.... I haven't seen any reporting to that effect. What gives?

David: This was some poor wording on my part. I think contact (whether formal or informal) has definitely been made and the surrounding circumstances would lead me to believe Smart is one of -- if not the -- top candidates for the job. But the fact that Georgia went so hard after Bud Foster would indicate they aren't planning on waiting around forever for Smart either. But if you're asking me to handicap the potential hires, I'd still say the smart money is on Smart.

Anonymous writes: i know you're tired of this DC search, and by goodness i'm tired of following it. However, do us one favor: give us an updated handicap of the field at this point in time. you can give us numbers with no commentary, and you can put as many qualifiers on it as you want, tell us it's pure editorialization (with perhaps a few hunches/tips used to help you get there), etc. We all need something, and we're tired of the "my cousin's uncle has a friend who coaches in the ACC, and he said..."-nonsense. Let's hear it...

David: Honestly, the list of names I was fairly sure were on Georgia's radar has grown increasingly short. I get the distinct feeling that if it is Smart, we won't hear about that any time soon. The other names I've heard mentioned from some sources -- Ellis Johnson, Wally Burnham, Mike MacIntyre -- all seem either unlikely or a notch below where this search began. (And to be clear, I have no indication that Georgia has contacted any of those guys, but just that I've heard those names mentioned from outside sources.) So again, if I were a betting man, my money would probably still be on Smart, but the safest bet is probably on someone way off our radar at this point.

And for what it's worth, Mike in Valdosta does a nice job of summing up the situation, and it doesn't sound like there's a lot of urgency to make a hire. Nothing I've heard would lead me to believe this post isn't spot on.

Brad writes: Not sure yet if I'll be making it to Shreveport, although I am working on it, but are you gonna try to swing by New Orleans while you're in the area? Only 300 ish miles away...

David: My plan is to hit the casino in Shreveport, triple my money in the first couple of hours, then get a limo to New Orleans. First round of Hurricanes is on me. Let's make the most of this bowl game!

OK, I'm off to Mark Richt's pre-bowl news conference, and I'll be back with lots of info later this afternoon.


Kathleen said...

This is a Tiger joke I've heard:

How are Santa and Tiger Wood different?

Santa stops after three ho's.


Thank you for taking the time to defend Stafford and Moreno's decision to leave early. I agree there is no kid in the world who'd turn down a 7-figure job in accounting just to stay and finish their accounting degree, so it always makes me go a little numb when I hear people harping about how football players should stay and finish degrees.

Think of all the kids on 7-year bachelor degree plans anyway. So a kid takes 5 years off.. or 10 years off and makes a couple $.

Kathleen said...

I meant Tiger WoodS... but I guess Tiger wood could be the real problem.

Anonymous said...

Police: "Elin, how many times did you hit Tiger with the golf club?"

Elin: "I don't know. Put me down for a five."

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between a golf ball and a Cadillac Escalade?

Tiger can drive a golf ball 400 yards.

brad said...

Who in the H E double hockey sticks are the 9% that didn't vote for Pollack? Are you kidding me?

And Anon 12:39, that's the best Tiger joke!

Anonymous said...

Georgia fans who whine about players leaving early are ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"You made a time machine out of a mustang?"
That would be "get your hands off me you damn, dirty human" bad.

Auntie Rae said...

The reason you won't have a job in a few years is because you don't think the disgraceful fall of one of the greatest athletes to ever occupy our great round world qualifies as news. News men will put themselves out of business by deciding to pass on something like that, to instead shovel cliched shit like who Joe Cox will pass the "leadership" torch to. Will it be Ben Jones? Please, let me know. I can't wait. In the meantime, I'm off to

David Hale said...

You're totally right, Auntie. We should talk about a golfer's personal life and stamp it as news. That's a fantastic approach. And while we're at it, why do we keep having these boring stories about the war in Afghanistan? Man, if I have to hear about one more soldier being killed, I'm just going to cancel my newspaper subscription and just re-read my Harry Potter books while I'm on the john in the morning.

Please, I welcome you to go to TMZ instead.

Kathleen said...

I was hoping Auntie Rae was kidding. The main point is, this is a Georgia news site. It's *supposed* to be about Georgia athletics and who is going to take over for Joe Cox. Expecting to read about Tiger Woods here is like going to Webkinz for porn.

Anonymous said...

Wait, webkinz has porn? This is wonderful news.

Anonymous said...

Kathleen - links please.

BigMuddyDawg said...

So, in the runoff vote, I picked Quentin Moses purely for the stern glowering he gave the Tech sideline during the closing moments of the 2006 game, after he contributed in sacking Reggie Ball on third and long, one play before the Oliver interception.

Jeffster said...

"The U" was a very entertaining program. It was at its strongest in discussing how Miami harnessed an untapped talent source combined with community pride and created a college football juggernaut. It was at its weakest in covering the 'Canes misdeeds; but there was time limitations and at least it mentioned them. I think this program will end up winning awards.