As you may or may not know by now, or not even care, the new beat writer who will be managing this blog is Seth Emerson. Seth comes from The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., where he was annoying Steve Spurrier and Darrin Horn.
We thought we should hold a "Better Get to Know a Beat Writer" session with Seth. The questions were helpfully provided by one David Hale, the man passing the baton to Seth, whose first day is next Monday. (The first day of football practice.)
On to the interview:
David Hale, the old guy: You'll have plenty of time to let readers get to know you during the next few months, but let's give 'em a quick bit of insight: Describe your career and outlook on sports writing in 100 words or less. And, if you really want to test your mettle, don't use the letter "F" as a way of proving you won't accidentally write anything nice about Florida.
Seth Emerson, new guy: For one thing ... oops. Can I start over? Thanks. ... I've spent the past five years at The State in Columbia, covering the Gamecocks. Before that I was in Albany for three years, and before that four years at The Washington Post, where I mostly fetched coffee for Wilbon and Kornheiser. ... OK, I'm never gonna do this in 100 words or less. So forget it ... Oops, the F thing again.
As for my outlook on sports writing, I think like a lot of people I'm worried about the direction of the business. It's not an internet-mainstream media thing, it's an objective-homer thing. I hope we're not getting to a point where you're either perceived as anti or pro a school. I continue to feel, or at least hope, that there will always be a demand for good old-fashioned journalism, and I'll practice that till the day I die.
That, and I'll do my best to spell everyone's name right.
Old guy: Following a legend is notoriously tough. Obviously, my greatness is unparalleled (with the possible exceptions of Thomas Edison, Jimmy Page and Steve Guttenberg.) So... what can you tell concerned readers thinking you might be the next Ron Zook or Sammy Hagar?
New guy: I heard you had the same problem when you joined the Albany Herald. The guy before you, I heard, was EXTREMELY accomplished. In any case, I'm told you did great things on the beat and blog - I'm told, because I never read anything you wrote, in fact I still am not absolutely sure we've ever met. But seriously, don't ever put me in the same sentence with Ron Zook. I can't believe he still has a job at Illinois. All my hostility in this answer to you is derived from you mentioning me as a potential Zook. Hagar I could deal with. But Zook, he's a (deleted by moderator.)
Old guy: You covered Georgia early in your career at The Albany Herald, including the 2004 team that beat Florida. Give the readers some reasons for optimism in this year's Florida game based on what you liked about that 2004 team.
New guy: I've studied the Georgia roster, and I understand David Greene no longer has eligibility. So that's too bad, especially considering the QB situation. But given my past experience covering the Bulldogs - and watching them close up the past five years as a Gamecock beat writer, I know Mark Richt has year-in and year-out assembled a lot of talent, and I can't count them out of any game. The second one, at South Carolina, will be the telling one.
Old guy: Rate the following non-UGA topics in order of awesomeness: "Breaking Bad," Wiffle Ball, '80s cartoons, mustaches, bourbon, Neil Diamond, the movie "Goonies", Arnold Palmer the golfer and Arnold Palmer the beverage.
New guy: I've never watched "Breaking Bad" but I've loved Bryan Cranston in his other stuff. Either way, that's out, so in its place I'll substitute "Dexter."
And I've never drank Arnold Palmer the beverage, so for that I'll substitute Clorox Wipes.
Wiffle Ball (assuming I get to cork the bat)
"Dexter" (what an end to last season!)
Clorox Wipes (they could fix anything. Including the oil spill)
'80 cartoons (does "the Great Space Coaster" count?)
Arnold Palmer the golfer (I heard he was good)
"Goonies" (The fat kid is NOT Jerry O'Connell!)
Neil Diamond (Mainly for the Will Ferrell SNL skit)
mustaches (not a fan at all)
EDIT: Thank you for alerting me that when it came to Jerry O'Connell, I had "Goonies" confused with "Stand by me." If that kind of alert editing is what I have to look forward to from the fans, I definitely am happy I took the job.
Old guy: Since you just got this job, I'm assuming you're not going anywhere for a while. But, for sake of argument, if you happen to end up getting offered the vacant Georgia AD job, what are the first three things you do in your administration that don't involve a BMW and red panties?
New guy: I'd honestly like a few months to get the lay of the land to give a good answer. So at the moment, I'll answer it this way:
1. Obviously the direction of the football program is an important one. I think Mark Richt is a heck of a coach, the only question is whether a program can get complacent if one coach is around too long. If the team improves this year, especially defensively, it should be a sign that Richt should continue to be the coach for the foreseeable future. I mean, 90-27 and 50-22 is exceptional at any SEC school.
2. The nonconference football schedule is an interesting dilemma. I saw Damon Evans' strategy in trying to get the Georgia name out there, and boost the program's visibility nationwide by playing at Colorado, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, etc. But you also see the counter-point, that the best way to boost your profile is to win. My plan would be to get one marquee game per year - besides Georgia Tech - and then round it out with two weaker opponents.
3. Rename it, at least officially, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. I mean really, who are we kidding?
Old guy: BONUS Question: You have an anonymous commenter on the blog who writes 2,000-word diatribes each day with Unabomber-esque detail who annoys the crap out of everyone else who reads your blog. What do you do?
New guy: Tell the commenter to get his own blog, because he's truly wasting his talents on our humble platform.