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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Largest mailbag ... ever

Or at least largest ever in the months I've been doing it. Sorry I couldn't get to every question. Don't be offended if yours wasn't chosen, there simply wasn't enough time this week. (I also condensed a lot of your questions, such as on the offensive line coach, to just one.)

In this mail-blog, we address recruiting, Stacy Searels, basketball, my pets, the crisis in Tunisia (really), more football, more basketball, and the meaning of life.

On to it ...

Georgia averages around 23 players per recruiting class while Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Florida, and other rivals with more recent on the field sucess average between 25-28 players. With more players comes more potential starters and studs. Do you see Richt's reluctance to oversign like other SEC teams as a possible contributing factor to UGA falling behind said SEC teams in recent on the field competition?
- Anonymous

I see it as honorable. But yeah, the over-signing approach seems to have worked for Nick Saban. So I don’t think it’s an accident that Georgia appears to be taking commitments all over the place, and could go all the way up to the 28 limit. (And 30 if you count LeMay and Conley.) Make no mistake, Richt and his staff know this is probably a make-or-break year, so they’re adjusting.

If we don't get Jenkins, what is the solution at nose tackle? You don't have to look any further than the Alabama defense this year versus last year to understand what a difference a dominant guy makes in that spot.
- Anonymous

DeAngleo Tyson, step (back) up. Well, I think Bean Anderson and Kwame Geathers will be given every chance to show they’re ready to play now, and the staff could make another run at a recruit like Gabe Wright. But last year showed that the staff preferred knowledge to girth at that critical nose position.

I've always wondered how current players feel about recruiting. Most fans want these all-world recruits to come in and start right away. Have you ever seen some jealousy due to a great recruiting class?
- Anonymous

Sometimes there’s jealousy, but I don’t sense it this year. Not after a 6-7 season. Like when I talked to Trinton Strudivant after he decided to return, I asked him if he had any final thoughts, and he said “I hope we get good recruits.” I think the players know they need a talent infusion.

Are there any updates on the Offensive Line Coach search? I know you posted something about this last week, but that was last week. Thanks!
- Stamey

Richt has been concentrating on recruiting, so the chances are a hire will come after signing day. As for candidates, I’m not aware of any specific interviews. But the latest I heard is the hire was most likely to be someone young and energetic, with recruiting a heavy consideration.

Was an article ever written on the S&C changes?
- Anonymous

In answer to this question and the others related to strength and conditioning, I’m scheduled to have a story in the paper this week.

Will the new O Line coach most likely also be the "running game coordinator" or will Bryan McClendon take on that roll? It seems like a good opportunity to bring some new life into that area of the offense.
- NYDawg

The running game coordinator is pretty much a glorified title and rarely means much more in terms of contribution to gameplan. Every coach has imput, but bestowing a coordinator title is more of a way to justify paying the coach more - and a lot of programs are doing it now.

Eric Kreibel with three questions about Stacy Searels leaving:

A few things have surfaced since Stacy Searels left Athens. 1) there have been some grumblings that he didn't mesh well with the rest of the staff. Is that something you were aware of? If, so how much more of Searles do you think he would have put up with considering the subpar performance of Searles as a coach.

Richt still hasn't released a statement on Searels' departure, but I'm not sure whether that's because he's been too busy or just didn't want to. Honestly, I hadn't heard that Searels didn't get along with anybody on the staff, any more so than a group of 10 coaches would have normal disagreements.

2) Should we take any stock in the fact that days after Searles takes the Texas job their biggest OL recruit decommits and we begin to gain interest from Antonio Richardson and Xzaiver (sp?) Ward

The Texas recruit flipping to Auburn I'm sure had nothing to do with Searels, since he just got there. Richardson and Ward probably had more to do with circumstance, and if it was related to Searels' leaving, it was because Mike Bobo assumed the lead role now on recruiting OL. (John Lilly is taking a heavier involvement too.)

3) Seriously, I swear I'm not trying to smear Searles, but how ridiculous did you find it that he would not speak to the media and had his players follow suit. I mean I could respect it from someone like Alex Gibbs who a) has a resume that could get away with such a demand and b) was also someone who would probably require you censor every other word.

Searels actually was available more this season. Not a wonderful quote, but more accessible. He was a Saban disciple. Saban doesn't let his assistants speak, so Searels didn't tend to think assistants needed to speak to the media. I'm not sure it was about ego.

I read an article about Herschel Walker mentioning that he's spoken with Richt and McGarity about wanting to get involved with helping the program. Have you heard about this, and do you have any insight or guesses as to what specifically that could entail?
- Anonymous

I got a couple questions about Herschel, one of my more famous Twitter followers. To the person who asked about whether he can recruit for Georgia: No he cannot, that’s an NCAA violation. As for what role he can play with the program, I’m sure Richt and McGarity would be happy for him to be active in the way that every former alumni is, by appearing at fundraisers, dropping by the program to impart their wisdom and experience, and just generally be around the team when their schedule allows.

Who watches your dog and your cat when you travel for away games? Do just leave them with a heap of food and water?
- Anonymous

I leave Archie the dog with my pet-sitter, who does a tremendous job. (If anyone in the Athens area needs dog-training, e-mail me and I’ll pass along the recommendation.)

Unfortunately, my cat Lizzie went to feline heaven last week. She was only nine, but had been having blood clot problems for awhile. Allow me to take this opportunity to thank the vets and staff at the UGA small animal vet hospital for everything they did for her. Their care and work bought her a few more months on this Earth, for which I’m eternally grateful.

And just to relate it back to athletics, that same vet facility is where Uga is being treated, so my experience leads me to believe that Georgia’s beloved mascot is getting the best possible treatment.

During his red-shirt season Arthur put on twenty pounds of muscle and he got much faster, do you think he will finally get his chance?
- Lizziebelle

I assume you mean Arthur Lynch? He’ll be in an interesting spot, given that every other TE is back, and Jay Rome has been added. I’m not saying Lynch won’t play, but boy, it’s going to be tough this fall.

With the recent Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and the ousting of Ben Ali, do you foresee other Arabic states reforming to prevent similar uprisings or do you think dictators like Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will simply clamp down on his citizens? Also, any word on if McGarity is planning on opening the vaults to keep Fox around?
- Bourbon Dawgwalker

I actually called someone I know at the State Department – no seriously, I did – and the assessment is that a domino effect after the Tunisia revolution is unlikely. Look at Iraq after the fall of Saddam – there hasn’t been a sprouting around of democratic republics.

Oh, and as for Fox … McGarity values basketball, given his experience at Florida, so if the Bulldogs finish the season the way they’ve started I’m sure Georgia will let Fox know they value the job he’s done and want to keep him around.

I know it's early, but how close is tonight's Florida game to a must-win?
- Steve

It’s not a must-win, but ideally Georgia gets a split out of at least every East team, and a sweep of South Carolina. So if the Bulldogs can’t beat the Gators tonight, they probably need to make that up in Gainesville, or this weekend in Lexington.

Any response from the League office on McGarity's complaints after the UT game? Also, has CMF commented at all on the sudden hot shooting (hope that doesn't jinx us) from 3 pt? Attributed to home rims?
- Anonymous

McGarity said it would be handled “internally,” which means no public flogging. The improved shooting may just be one hot game, against Mississippi State, or the players getting more comfortable in their roles. We’ll see as it goes here.

So this is a bit premature, but watching the younger guys play a good bit on Saturday against Mississippi State, I got to wondering how the future looks for the program? It's obvious that Mark Fox didn't come to have one good year in Athens. Some of the young guys looked promising, granted it was against a Bizarro-Bulldog team that had probably quit. Who do you see as next year's leaders for the hoop Dawgs, and how big do you anticipate Kentavious Caldwell's role will be?
- Chris

If Travis Leslie comes back – and that’s a big if – there’s a good chance Georgia could actually be better next season. Caldwell-Pope is supposed to be the real deal, and we’re only seeing the tip of what Marcus Thornton can do. Nobody expects Trey Thompkins to return, but Gerald Robinson will almost certainly be around, and Dustin Ware and Sherrard Brantley are becoming pretty good players. They’ll need to develop some big men to replace Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes, but if they do that and Leslie is back, that’s a pretty good core of guys.

How would you rate the gameday atmosphere at stegeman this year compared to other SEC venues; is the student section as large as other schools?
- Anonymous

The place always struck me as cavernous, but that’s because it was hardly ever filled. Now it’s a pretty good place and can get loud, as a few Kentucky writer friends of mine observed a couple weeks ago. The student section is a bit more spread out, but I think it’s a real plus to have it behind a backboard.

After covering USC and UGA basketball, which SEC arena in your opinion offers the best big game atmosphere (other than Rupp arena) and how does stegman compare to other sec arenas?
- Anonymous

Arkansas is pretty good, probably the best on the western side. Every arena in the East, now that South Carolina has started drawing, is pretty good. But other than Rupp, I’d have to say Thompson-Boling, simply because of capacity.

If you could have one super power, what would it be? Also, what are your career aspirations/the typical career aspirations for someone in your position? To be the next Kornheiser/Wilbon? Just curious.
- Therapist

By the way, do you mean you're a therapist, or is this a take-off of the Sean Connery/Celebrity Jeopardy question? If it's the latter ... kudos.

My super-power would be for everyone to have to be honest with me, because then I’d get every single scoop as a reporter and my feature stories would be wonderful. My career aspiration has always to be a columnist, and having grown up reading TK and Wilbon – and working in the same office as them for four years – I’d take either of their careers in a heartbeat.

What's Caleb King's academic status right now?
- Anonymous

My understanding is that he’s fine at the moment.

I'm glad to see we're recruiting much taller backs in the secondary. What's your opinion on the state of our defensive backs and how Lakatos is doing? Do you foresee improvement in this area next year?

Size is a reason that Sanders Commings saw a shot this year, and could be why Jakar Hamilton gets a longer look at cornerback in the spring. I think even Lakatos would say his grade this year was incomplete, given all the problems on third-down defense. Basically everybody is back in the secondary, so if there’s not improvement, it’ll definitely be considered a disappointment.

Is there any truth to the rumor that Coach Lakatos once stomped a man to death at a cock fight?
- Anonymous

That’s not a rumor. That’s in his official bio.

Before I start, I am hetero, married w 2 kids, and I love football more than I should....That said, is there anyway we could get more coverage of the Gymdawgs? Not just that they won or where they are ranked, but maybe an update from the coaches now and then?
- Anonymous

Noted. I think the performance of the women’s basketball team, which is currently ranked, should also deserve an article or two in the future.

Any thoughts about Andy Gray? He was sacked today for things far worse than Ron Franklin.
- Anonymous

I had to look up who exactly Andy Gray is. But while we’re on the subject, the Franklin situation is sad, because he’s so good at his job. But I don’t think ESPN had any choice, given what we understand of what Franklin said. This is 2011, people.

What are the rules governing media contact with athletes in a sport that is in it's offseason? Are we going to be able to get our 'fix' and learn about what's going on with the players in, say, the summer semester?
- Joeski

UGA will allow us to talk to players on occasion, and within reason. I don’t blame them for being stingy with player requests in the offseason, because after all it is the offseason. Plus, if one media outlet gets its interview request granted, then all the others protest, and so on and so on.

Seth, name what you consider is the top 5 coaches in the SEC in football and basketball.
- Anonymous

That sounds like an order, not a question. It would also make a better future blog, so I’ll hold my thoughts till later.

Do you find questions like, "What is your favorite Downtown Athens eating/drinking establishment?" a little bit creepy and stalkerish. I mean, you're a sports writer, not a restaurant critic. Why should anyone care where you like to eat, unless that person is trying to either find you or to copy your lifestyle in some sort of perverted, misguided hero worship.
- ActuaryDawg

It’s not so much the stalker-ish thing – if someone’s going to buy me a free beer, who am I to complain? But I really need to be careful about appearing to endorse different places, lest it appear I’m trying to use my position to get freebies. That said, if I like a place enough, I’ll say so. Or vice versa. For instance, the Subway on Gaines School Road has just about the worst service I’ve ever experienced.

What is the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything?
- Peter


I've read recently that Taco Bell is being sued for claiming that it uses beef in its tacos, when the substance they actually contains less than 35% beef. (I'm serious. Google it.) ... What do you think the other 65% is?
- Anonymous

This seems like a valuable inquiry and if President Obama doesn't address it tonight I'll be very surprised.

Who are you picking to win tonight in the bball game. FL or GA?
- Assistant groundskeeper Carl

I’m trying to stay away from straight-up predictions on basketball. But I’ll have more thoughts on the pregame hoops blog.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Does that make you any cooler than you already are for living in your mom's basement? ^

As for Ron Franklin, I really miss those Saturday night games with Ron Franklin, Mike Gottfried and Adrian Karsten. Ahh those were the days.

Jeff Shultz said...

Ya please don't bring that ajc crap over here

Andy said...

This is probably just a personal pet peeve, but I get really tired of the term "Saban disciple." Since Grantham worked with Saban 15 years ago, and they both run the 3-4, Grantham is "Saban's disciple." And since Searels doesn't talk to the media that much, he is also "Saban's disciple." Just a minor gripe.

Andy said...

And btw, I'm sorry about your cat, Seth. Pets are part of the family, and it is always tough.

A-Murr-Ica said...

I can't believe you didn't pick my "Is Ray Drew bi-polar" question.

GumpDawg said...

In regards to the dog and cat question, this was written a few days ago:

Great read, especially if you are a dog lover.

King Jericho said...

As to the Taco Bell question, I found this article helpful:

"it's mostly water and "extenders" like "wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate." Also, something called "Isolated Oat Product.""

Ginny said...

Really sorry to hear about Lizzie, Seth.

The Subway on Gaines School might be one of the worst establishments in the nation. My bf lived in that area for a while and we went there pretty regularly when we'd had enough of ChooChoo. They never failed to amaze me at how awful they were at their job. Not to mention rude.

Please tell me you love Mirko. It might be my favorite restaurant in Athens.

Seth Emerson said...

Thanks Ginny. And glad I'm not the only one with major complaints about that subway. I live much closer to that one, but I'm tempted to drive all the way to the one just off campus. Actually it'd probably still be a shorter trip once you account for the long wait at the Gaines School one.

DawgFan10 said...

The answer to Peter's question about the Meaning of life, the universe, and everything is very clearly...


Army Dawg said...

As for signing more than 25 this year, I don't believe Richt is caving into pressure to keep up with the Bamas, Auburn's and LSU's of the SEC. I believe Georgia is offering and attempting to sign as many as he possibly can and still have 85 scholarship players on the roster next fall. I'm 99.9% sure that if UGA only had 10 seniors Georgia wouldn't be sitting here with 20+ commitments (like Bama). Remember the two that enrolled mid-term count against last year and does not impact how many Richt/UGA can sign this February (except that they are two scholarships closer to the 85 limit).

Go Dawgs!
Close Strong!

Burritoman said...

"Like when I talked to Trinton Strudivant after he decided to return, I asked him if he had any final thoughts, and he said “I hope we get good recruits.” I think the players know they need a talent infusion."

This is one of those quotes that I feel like gives you some insight into the program. I am not a CMR hater, I have decided that the wisest thing I can do is to usually keep my opinions to myself and judge the program based on the results on the field.

I may be reading too much into the quote, but I found this quote to be very telling about the true state of things inside the program. To me it read like "we need more players, cause what we got aint gonna cut it." I don't get a lot of confidence from that at all for next year, or think it bodes well for CMR's long term job security. I truly hope I am wrong, because I would love for all the haters to be proven wrong.

Stamey said...

Beer....lollllllz, Seth

Anonymous said...

anti-dusting agent AND isolated oat product. It's awesome with their new salsa verde packets.

Gravidy said...

Bravo, DawgFan10.

Peter said...

Yes Dawgfan10, bravo indeed. But, first we must examine what the question actually is...

Theseus said...

Ginny, I'd like to second that on the Subway. I just came from there and it still sucks fyi.

Anonymous said...

what about this comment from ray drew... "There will be a huge surprise on auburn, no Georgia, no lsu......time to shock the world baby"??????

Anonymous said...

Got food poisening from that exact Subway which at UGA. Man did that suck.

dawgofdasouth said...

BEER....sounds kountry to me Seth. ,,
GOD is Great,Beer is good,and people are

OldDawg55 said...

Seth, I can let football questions pass for a day but wanted to echo a couple of the commenters in giving my sympathy for the loss of Lizzie. I lost four of my cats this year..20 year old, two thirteen year old..brothers..and one four year old. Cancer is a killer even with our pets and having to hold your old friend while the vet euthanizes them is a killer. Hope you can replace Lizzie with a good pound is very much a family loss and again my deepest sympathy.