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Monday, January 10, 2011

Ye olde snow-bound mailbag

Judging by the amount of questions sent in shortly after posting the blog, it looks like a lot of people out there were snowed in too. The good news for yours truly is today is when the battery in my smoke detector decided to run low, causing it to beep every 30 seconds, and of course I don’t have any 9-volt batteries in the house, and can’t get to the store.

But anyway …

As always, sorry I couldn’t get to every question.

Does Coach Searels really never grant interviews/questions? Are you aware of anything he's said (substantive or otherwise)regarding the under performance of his unit or the O-line in general? It seems pretty reprehensible to me that he doesn't get taken to task (at least publicly) for his performance as a coach.
- Rbfris

Searels actually granted more interviews this season than he has in the past, from what I’m told. Here’s a Q&A I did with him later in the season.

I know it may not be as quite hard-hitting as some want, but honestly it’s usually not the role of the media to ask coaches why they shouldn’t be fired, ask players why they shouldn’t be benched, etc. Because frankly if we did then people would probably stop speaking to the media, and that would’ve serve anybody. It is our job to ask pointed questions, but only to get answers, not to try to glorify ourselves.

OK, off the soapbox.

What, in no uncertain terms (arrests, coach speak, firings, hirings, recruits, and wins), gets Mark Richt another season in Athens and/or faith restored in his ability to lead the program effectively?
- Ryan

That last part is probably up to the fan base itself, right? Otherwise, I’ll just have to be general in my answer, because I don’t think we can sit here on January 10 and say it’ll take such-and-such number of wins or anything else. From speaking to Greg McGarity, as well as some limited conversations with Michael Adams, my sense is it will be a general feel for the direction of the program. Think of it as a court case: If it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that a change needs to be made, they’ll do so.

Have you heard any feedback on Fran Tarkenton's comments from last week on Richt? As much as it pains me to say, he makes a good point. Why after 10 years is Richt realizing he needs to "spend more time on football." You'd never hear Saban or Kelly or Tressel say something like that because they already DO spend all their time on football.
- Nick McCloskey

Here’s a link to Tarkenton’s comments last week on WCNN radio. Some people asked why I didn’t blog them at the time; Perhaps I should have, but frankly I didn’t hear them, and didn’t have a chance to listen to the interview or see a transcript until now. Plus, if I ran to the keyboard every time a former Bulldog player criticized the program, we’d have no time to discuss everything else.

That said, I suspect the reason you don’t hear Saban, Kelly or Tressel saying those things is because they’re winning right now. And everybody thought Richt’s approach worked when he was the golden child of the SEC. Now that the program is down, every little thing he says or does will be dissected.

Frankly, I think it’s simplistic to point at one reason or another. There’s so much that has gone into it – some recruiting misses, the defensive coaching, etc.

I will say that, arriving on the scene for the 10th year of the Richt era, after being around for some of the early ones, you could certainly argue that things had grown complacent and sort of on automatic pilot. That’s changing now, at least it appears.

Have you ever run a marathon? If so, what is your best time? If not, why not and when are we going to remedy this unfortunate failure of yours to become a true runner? Oh, and does that nose from Connecticut have to declare by national signing day and do you think he will choose to do so early and choose UGA? Thanks
- Robbie

Whew, after those last few meaty questions, this one is refreshing. No, never run a marathon – in fact, other than my school days on the cross country team, the most I’ve ever done is a single five-miler. I guess I’m more of a “health” jogger, rather than competitive.

As for John Jenkins, I haven’t spoken to him or anybody near him, so all I can tell you is Georgia is pushing for him hard. He can sign anytime he wants, but my understanding is that for academic reasons he can’t enroll until after the spring semester, so it’s anybody’s guess when he’ll make a decision.

Do you think with Boise looking like its losing 10 starters and its entire coaching you think the Chick Fil-a (game) will lose some of its hype? On a good note...that could help us open with a win.
- Scott Jones

I think a bigger hit was Boise State losing to Nevada, which happened after Georgia made the scheduling change. But no matter who Boise State loses – and I don’t think head coach Chris Peterson is going anywhere – it is bringing back quarterback Kellen Moore, who will be a Heisman Trophy candidate again. No, I think either way it’s a big deal anytime Boise State (or TCU) play a BCS conference team, and as I’ve said Georgia deserves credit for being one of the rare big-time programs to be willing to put itself on the line.

What effect do you think Mark Richt not having his contract extended for another year is having on recruiting right now? As you know, most programs like to have a coach with 4 years left on his contract, so he can guarantee that he will be there for the next four years. Do you think it's just that obvious to recruits that if things don't turn around next year, Richt is gone, and they hope to be a part of the turnaround? I was wondering if there is no point to extending it as it would be a facade as we all know things HAVE to change next year.
-Randall Pink Floyd

I actually asked McGarity, back in December, about a contract extension for that very reason. Here’s a link to what he said. (Basically, he doesn’t buy into the four-year rule.) As for now, I think Georgia knows a contract extension would either ring hollow to some, and tick off others, among the fan base. So I’d be surprised if it happened now.

Since you covered the Gamecocks last year I have a question. Was the recruitment of Lattimore to the Gamecocks similar to the recruitment of Crowell for us? Did the Gamecock fans view Lattimore as the player who would save the program? Was he a must get prospect in the fans and coaches view in the way Crowell seems to be for us? Also in your opinion how does Crowell compare to Lattimore as far as being an immediate impact player? While they both came from very talented high school teams it looked like Lattimore had to carry a heavier load than Crowell.
- ChrisDawg

Yes to all of that. Lattimore was considered a huge get for the Gamecocks, who each year under Steve Spurrier had failed to have a consistent run game. Now that Lattimore had that kind of impact on South Carolina, I do kind of wonder whether expectations on what Crowell could mean to Georgia are being unfairly raised. But from what I understand, Georgia coaches have those hopes as highly-pinned on Crowell as their fans do.

Do you feel that some of lesser know recruits we have gotten in the past few days is the beginning of the coaches thinking we won’t get the higher ranked recruits and they are starting to feel out needs?
- Erked Russell

Not at all. They’re up to 18 commitments now, out of a class that’ll probably be around 25. I suspect you’re seeing the class filled out with a few weeks remaining, while the big names – Ray Drew, Crowell, Malcolm Mitchell, Jenkins – would be the capper.

Seth I was just reading about the Theus kid we signed out of Florida as a long snapper. Upon further reading I see that his younger brother John Theus is going to be the number one offensive tackle next year. A five star player. I also read they want to play with each other in college. So I guess it's a forgone conclusion that he will sign at Ga. Is this a common thing in recruiting? To recruit a big time players family member. I see we did a similar thing with Alec Ogletree. I personally think it is a great idea. I can't remember the last time we got an elite offensive tackle in recruiting.
- ScarinHerrin

Actually, Alec Ogletree committed before his brother did. And I haven’t heard that Alec was wavering, and as we saw Zander contributed as a true freshman. But certainly, if Georgia were offering a big-time recruit’s brother – or a teammate or close friend – it wouldn’t be the first time that tack was tried.

Seth do you believe that the Bama signing of rb Dee Hart will effect Crowells decision? He is ranked ahead of Crowell in many rankings. Also Bama has Richardson, and Lacy already so immediate playing time at Bama might be hard to come by. This is something I have not seen mentioned in many places but I think this might make Crowell a sure thing at Ga. Any opinions?
- GrovetownGADawg

All the signs lately have been that Georgia leads for Crowell. It doesn’t mean he won’t change his mind, especially if he’s going to wait until the last moment. But for now, he appears to be Georgia’s to lose.

Some S&C questions since that's the only thing we have been told is going to change: What does the football off-season look like for the players? How soon can Joe T's S&C program be implemented- can strength/nutrition coaches work with the players or is it up to them to workout on their own until a specific date? Anybody thinking of joining Orson Charles by training with ROTC (that guy was ready to play every week)?
- Nick

Nick, I’m hoping to have a story on the strength program changes within the next week or two. I was supposed to meet with Tereshinski this week, and hopefully the snow won’t push that back.

What do you think of Travis Leslie's performance this year? Is he being less aggressive as some have complained, or does it just look that way to the passive fan because he isn't on Sportscenter every night?
- Bee

A basketball question! (Georgia fans, your hoops team is pretty good. Please wake up to that.) I’ve thought that Leslie has been too passive all year, but Mark Fox dismissed that thought when I put it to him last week. I don’t know if that’s coach-speak, and privately he’s telling Leslie that. I do know that Leslie’s coaches and teammates feel he’s really improved his defense this year, which may be part of the reason he’s been a bit quieter on the other end.

Chocolate, blacks or yellows....which Labs do you like best? We have 3 yellow's and 1 black and they love the snow.
Why are we hearing that Boykin and Houston have already made a decision if they have not?
- Aladawg

Well, Archie’s a beautiful black lab, but I think all labs have great personalities. And it’s hilarious to watch them in the snow.

I’d be surprised if Houston hasn’t already decided and is just figuring out when or how to announce it. Boykin, I couldn’t venture a guess. But his tweet of last Thursday night, saying he hadn’t made a decision, indicated that he probably wasn’t even close to a decision at that point, so I’m not surprised he’s waited until now.

Falcons or Packers?
- Eddie Dawg

You know, the temptation is to say you need to see the Falcons do it in the playoffs, but wasn’t the wild-card win the first for Aaron Rodgers? I’ll take the Falcons because they’ve been so good at home, but I don’t make that pick with much confidence.

During the season, Coach Richt had the players doing more practices in full pads and admitted that he had made a mistake by not doing that more during the off-season. Has he said for sure whether or not he intends to do more full pads/full speed work during this coming off-season?
Dallas Smith
College Park, MD

I’m sure that spring and preseason practice will be much more physical. Richt says he came to that conclusion on his own, but if he for some reason changed his mind, McGarity would gently urge him to change it right back.

David Hale was a great beat writer for many reasons; however, I think people enjoyed his blog as much as they did because of his passion and appreciation for all things UGA and Athens, despite being from the North and being educated at Syracuse. I enjoy reading your blog daily and your stories when they're published, but I haven't sensed the same "homer-ism" or fanhood/passion for the school, athletic department, or Athens culture that Hale showed. I know that as a professional journalist, you strive to maintain a certain amount of objectivity and impartiality. However, do you think that the wall between fanhood and occupation might erode over time to any extent? Did that happen for you in Columbia at all? Have you grown to love Athens, or at least started to given your limited time there? Do you ever see yourself becoming a passionate Georgia supporter or will you always try to maintain your lack of bias?
- Wilson McCauley

I don’t think Dave (who has been a friend of mine since he replaced me in Albany, ironically) was as much of a “homer” as you think. Regardless, while I have a ton of respect for Georgia and I love living in Athens, the approach to sports journalism I’ve had since college and honed at four different papers has served my career well, and I don’t plan on changing that a bit.


Anonymous said...


You better step your game up now that Herschel is following you on twitter. You don't want him to go into MMA Beast Mode.

Anonymous said...

With regard to recruiting payoff ever was recruiting mediocre DB Ronald Bailey.

Anonymous said...

Great work Seth, commas and all

Anonymous said...

Can people cool it with the "Seth's a northerner" talk? The Civil War's over, the South lost.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for Seth or anyone else. At the same point in there careers who was the more talented back Lattimore or Crowell? From watching video clips I would say that Crowell looks like the better and more explosive athlete but Lattimore carried a heavier load then Crowell. Another thing I don't think SC had a rb of the caliber of Ealey when Lattimore arrived. I believe Ealey to be extremely underrated. A true sophomore and if he had not been injured and given ample carries he would easily be a 1000 yard back. No matter how good Crowell is Ealey deserves some carries.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 4:05

I don't think anyone really has a problem with Seth being from "the North". Isn't Maryland technically a southern state, anyway?


My main complaint with Seth isn't his lack of homer-ism (Seth, I appreciate that you don't blow sunshine up our rear ends daily) but rather his sometimes sarcastic writing style.

For example, that whole "GA fans need to wake up b/c their bball team is good" comment was unnecessary and could have been delivered in a much "nicer" way. The way you wrote it, Seth, made you sound a bit like a jerk.

I know you can't please everyone, and God knows you shouldn't try to please me, but sarcasm (ex: "Overrated chant starting in Stegeman. Rolling eyes) does not translate well in written form and thus reads more like you are making fun of UGA fans.

I know you've been writing for years and what you do works for you. I enjoy your blog and will keep reading till things like what I have mentioned above become unbearable.

Just some healthy critique to keep you honest. You don't want to go on autopilot and make this blog mediocre now do you? Heh heh.

Keep up the good work, Seth.

TrboDawg said...

@ Anon 4:51 - some of us appreciate the humor, gives the writing that 'personal' touch - but to each their own, if you don't like it, don't read it...

Not your job, but could ask someone at the paper to update the "LINKS" column? I use your blog as a jumping off point (cause I want to read your stuff FIRST.) Several haven't been updated in months, and the "Leather Helmet"Blog points to an outdated link...


Anonymous said...

I think there is some confusion amongst the readers. Do people on here actually think that Seth is writing this blog out of the goodness of his own heart? Seth, I could be wrong (and please feel free to correct me if I am), but are you not compensated in some monetary form for running this blog? I see advertisements... who does that money go to? If not you, then I'm assuming your employer, who in turn compensates you?

People get way too defensive when anyone offers up a criticism of your writing. I don't understand it. If I were you, I would welcome criticism. This is your profession. Many people would pay money to get some honest criticism of their on-the-job performance.

TrboDawg said...

Ads? Really? where? I've never seen an ad on this blog - lots of ads on others...

Anonymous said...

Look closer

Doug said...

I don't think Mr. Hale was a homer. Right now there isn't a lot to report about UGA that doesn't stink. I'm hoping next year will be full of great stories about our Dawgs.

btw, 5 miles? That's it?

Anonymous said...

Rumors Grantham may leave to coach Pitt? A buddy of mine also said he heard it on, but I haven't checked there yet. You hearing anything, Seth?

Seth Emerson said...

Todd Grantham is still the defensive coordinator at Georgia.

Todd Graham, currently the coach at Tulsa, is going to be named the new coach at Pitt.

Next, I'm expecting the rumor to be that Mark Richt was at one time wanted on tax evasion charges and had to flee to Switzerland, but was pardoned by Bill Clinton before he left office in 2001.

Anonymous said...

Nevermind. Turns out it was Too Graham! Haha. False alarm.

Anonymous said...

I never thought of Hale as a homer. In fact, when the Dogs underperformed, he would ask the staff tough questions, and he wouldn't always back off (is that why he left?). But I think that is a journalist's responsibility: to ask tough questions (in the right way) and not just accept lip service in return. Of course, it is easier to ingratiate yourself to your interviewee by being a little less adversarial.

Chris said...

Hale left to take the Phillies beat writer back where he was from. Yes, he too was a Yankee. Hale was very objective in his writing, but left out the snarkyness. This is where people have the issues with Seth.
And Maryland is South of the Mason-Dixon line.

Anonymous said...

Again, who cares if someone is a "yankee?" Why can't we just be Americans...

Muckbeast said...

David Hale was not a homer. Not even close.

He wrote some great analytical pieces where he really dove into the problems that ailed our program. And he pushed and asked really tough questions. That's why people loved his work.

Seth is on the road to being a solid blogger as well so lets cut him some slack. For now... *grin*

Anonymous said...

Chris - Hale was just as snarky as Seth is. Personally, I love it...and the commas...maybe he should try some ellipses next.