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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here?

After a dizzying 24 hours, I think it's important to take a step back and get a fresh look at this coaching search.

First off, what do we know?

For one, I'm tired. I'm very, very tired. Why does this have to be so complicated? And why does it have to happen right in the middle of spring football? Please, Damon, for my sake, let's get this over with.

OK, enough of my whining.

What else do we know?

We know that Anthony Grant isn't coming here. Georgia apparently never offered him officially, despite the hopes of many fans.

We know that Mike Anderson isn't coming either. If Anderson's agent is to be believed, no official offer came from Georgia on him either, although I have to believe there was a good bit of "preliminary" talking that occurred.

Web outlets reported that offers to both candidates took place, reported specific dollar amounts and reported a decision would come soon.

So how did the information for these stories turn out to be wrong? (Or at least, reportedly wrong, depending on who you talk to.)

A lot of that has to do with how the search has been handled from Georgia's standpoint.

There is good reason for why Georgia would want to be tight-lipped about the process, but what has occurred has been a lot of attention, a lot of interest and very little actual information. Most of the info that sources have had -- both my sources and those belonging to the other reporters, including the ones who have penned stories saying an offer was made -- has come from agents or outsiders, not from Georgia.

So bad info has been floated, the rumors have heated up, fans have gotten into a tizzy over this guy or that guy, and through Georgia's silence, they've lost control of the message. This has become problematic. I remain confident that Damon is going to get the right coach for the job, but from a P.R. standpoint, things don't look great for Georgia right now.

Fans are hesitant to trust that a good hire will be made after a long track record of failure since Tubby Smith left, and this represents the first time Damon Evans has had to make a marquee hire. There was tremendous excitement surrounding Anderson today, and now anything less is going to seem like a disappointment, even if it's actually a wise move.

So, the big question at this point is where do we go from here?

With John Calipari heading to Kentucky, the picture is both clearer and more complex. We at least know who the players are, but with Memphis in the mix (along with Arizona to an extent), there are programs with better historical pedigrees than Georgia and potentially more cash to offer.

Given that popular names like Grant and Anderson have now come and gone, the rest of the pickings appear to be either a.) thin or b.) unlikely, particularly given that Georgia is potentially third in the pecking order for luring the best talent.

That isn't to say there aren't plenty of names being floated out there by everyone from legitimate basketball people to guys on the street who have never seen a Georgia basketball game in person. (And as a side note, isn't it odd how much more interest there is in this hire than there had been in the program at pretty much any time in the past six years?)

So, who might it be? I absolutely caution you by saying that I know no reason to assume these names are likely candidates, possible candidates or even candidates at all. But given that so many fans are about to leap from tall buildings after losing out on Anderson, I think it's a good idea to open the refrigerator door and scan the leftovers for a few minutes to see what we've got.

The Prodigal Son

Tubby Smith -- He's a name people around Georgia will get behind, he obviously can recruit Georgia well (he's still getting them in Minnesota) and it would be a heck of a story to have him come home. Having said all that, I highly doubt it's happening. Tubby has said repeatedly that he's staying in Minnesota, and he has -- to my knowledge -- a rather cumbersome buyout if he leaves.

The Big Names

Tom Izzo -- Sure, his name has been out there, including for the Kentucky job. But while Georgia might have a lot of cash to throw around, they'd likely have to top Mark Richt's salary to land Izzo.

Jeff Capel -- From Day 1 of the search, his name was near or at the top of fans' wishlists, but the general consensus has remained that he's sticking it out at Oklahoma. And if Mizzou has the cash to match a Georgia offer, you can be pretty certain Oklahoma does, too. FOX Sports is reporting that Capel is now back atop Georgia's wishlist, but this also from the site that floated the Capel rumors with little sourcing several weeks ago.

Sean Miller -- He has a long-term deal at Xavier, and while some fires were stoked early on him, there hasn't been much talk in a while.

The Biggest Name

Bobby Knight -- It isn't happening. No way, no how.

The NBA Guys

Sam Mitchell and Reggie Theus -- anything is possible I guess, but while there hasn't been much said by Damon Evans or Michael Adams, they have made a point of saying they want a coach with a proven track record on the recruiting trail, and these guys are pretty far removed from their last recruiting trip.

The ACC Also-Rans

Oliver Purnell, Leonard Hamilton and Frank Haith -- Each of the three names has been mentioned at one time or another, and ESPN's Andy Katz floated Purnell and Haith on Tuesday as potential replacements should the Anderson thing fall through. Of the three, Haith seems the most likely to actually take the job if it's offered, but Damon would have to work some serious public relations to smooth over that hire with a fan base that had expected more.

The Outsiders

Herb Sendek -- He has SEC ties after being an assistant at Kentucky, has recruited the South as a head coach at N.C. State, and has won at a football school at Arizona State. He's got a lot to like, but the name is pretty far out of left field at this point.

Scott Drew and Tim Floyd -- Both candidates have some impressive name recognition and both fulfill another important aspect of the Georgia search -- they've proven they can win at a football school. Floyd reportedly was a candidate when Georgia hired Dennis Felton, so he could certainly be on Georgia's radar again this time. The problem with both candidates is that they come with a certain level of baggage that, given the scars of the Jim Harrick era, Georgia may not be willing to accept.

The Surprise Candidates

Ummm... your guess is as good as mine. Hey, everyone is pretty bummed about the swing-and-miss on Anderson, but Damon Evans is no dummy either. There's just as good a chance that, given the tight-lipped nature of the proceedings thus far, Georgia has another candidate targeted who will come completely out of left field. Remember, the search firm in charge of identifying the next coach handled the same situation for LSU a year ago and plucked Trent Johnson seemingly out of thin air. That could certainly be a possibility again this time, and given the amount of money it appears Georgia is willing to spend, there can't be a lack of candidates willing to sign their name on the dotted line.

So, who am I forgetting?

Andereson Staying at Mizzou

THE LATEST: (11 p.m.) FOX Sports is now reporting that Jeff Capel has returned to the top of Georgia's wishlist. The story also says that Frank Haith is next on Damon Evans' radar. Again, I had been told that yesterday, but as time has passed, I'm more and more wary of the accuracy of that.

MORE: Missouri has put out a release saying that a deal is, in fact, done with Anderson. It is for seven years and various reports have it at 1.6 million with incentives that could take it to around 2.3 million per year. I'll have more shortly.

BIG UPDATE: (8:45 p.m.) Missouri's site is reporting that Mike Anderson has reached an agreement to remain at Missouri.

UPDATE (7:15 p.m.): OK, so this is old news since I spent the past hour doing football interviews, but Calipari has accepted the Kentucky job, according to CBS Sports.

How does that affect UGA? Well, it adds another potential bidder for Mike Anderson's services. The media around Missouri, however, seems to think Anderson isn't going anywhere, and for what it's worth, Georgia quarterback (and Missouri native) Logan Gray agrees. "I think Missouri's got a good basketball program rolling right now, and they've got some awesome basketball facilities," Gray said. "But I read Georgia was going to offer him something like $2.2 million, and it's about the money, I guess."

See... even during football practice I'm still working the hoops story!

UPDATE (2:18 pm): A Memphis TV station (which we know can be a bit unreliable) is reporting that John Calipari has decided to head to Kentucky. This was the next domino to fall. Now we wait and see if Memphis gets involved in the Mike Anderson sweepstakes.

UPDATE (12:55): Sources close to the situation confirmed that preliminary discussions have occurred between Georgia and Anderson, but that no official offer has been made, which fits with the AJC's story quoting Jimmy Sexton, Anderson's agent.

UPDATE: ESPN's Andy Katz is also floating two more names out there for the job: Clemson's Oliver Purnell and Miami's Frank Haith. To unravel the mystery I started yesterday, I'll add that Haith was the name I had heard most often yesterday. There is definitely not an offer on the table for him, but I would be willing to bet that Katz's sources on that know what they are talking about.

The AJC reports that Anderson's agent said the reports that Georgia offered the job are false.


ESPN is reporting that Missouri's Mike Anderson received an offer last night from Georgia somewhere near $2 million per season.

It isn't known whether Anderson will or has accepted. Regardless, Georgia appears to have its guy, and I'm told there are options should they swing and miss on this one. Either way, there should be a coach in place within the next couple of days.

Gamble Staying Put... For Now

With Jeremy Longo out, linebacker Darryl Gamble moved up to the line and worked as a pass-rush specialist during much of Monday's practice. While the rising junior looked sharp, Richt said he doesn't expect it to be a permanent move, particularly considering the short-term nature of many of the injuries to the defensive ends.

"We want to be fair to Darryl and let him continue to improve at the position that we know he'll play in the fall," Richt said. "If we thought these defensive ends would not be available for the season, we might consider that. But by June, I might be the happiest guy in America just to see about 25 or 30 guys that have been injured get the clean bill of health to go."

Richt said that between returning injured players, the influx of the 2009 recruiting class and a new group of walk-ons, the Bulldogs could add as many as 50 healthy bodies to their practice sessions by the summer.

The short-staffed line, however, has given Richt a chance to see players like Gamble illustrate some potential at positions they haven't played in the past. In Gamble's case, that could earn him some additional playing time when Georgia loses its Sam linebacker in nickel formations.

"Could Darryl in our nickel package rush the passer? That might not be a bad idea for him because he's played a lot of Sam, and the Sam linebacker leaves the game when you get into the nickel," Richt said. "We saw enough of him where we think he could probably (rush the passer)."

Practice Notes: Longo Done For Spring

Just when coaches thought things couldn't get much worse for Georgia's defensive ends, another Bulldogs pass rusher has been shelved for the spring.

Freshman Jeremy Longo suffered a shoulder injury that will likely keep him off the practice field for the remainder of spring practice, head coach Mark Richt announced Tuesday. Longo was hurt during Monday's scrimmage, suffering what Richt called a "sublex" injury, which momentarily shifts the shoulder out of joint.

"It didn't dislocate," Richt said. "Sometimes those will create enough damage where you need to operate, but they don't think is one of those situations. But it's going to be sore enough where I doubt he gets back in before spring is over."

That leaves Georgia with just two healthy scholarship players at the position – Justin Houston and Kiante Tripp, who just moved from the offensive line last month.

With so few players to fill the void lefty by the myriad injuries at the position Georgia's coaches have been forced to resort to desperate measures.

"We took two of our walk-on tight ends, and I'm not even sure which two we took, and moved them to defensive end to help us get through the rest of the time," Richt said.

Beyond the sudden shift of the walk-ons, Richt promises few other changes. While the situation at defensive end has become dire, he said it was crucial to make sure the rest of the players were able to get in the requisite work they need to improve this spring.

"We're not going to cancel spring ball, we're not going to stop practicing, we're not going to quit tackling, we're not going to quit going full speed," Richt said. "We've just got a lot of guys that need a lot of work, and we want to continue to improve on the tempo of really both sides of the ball. We're not going to back down."


Sure, several of Georgia's top offensive linemen are sidelined with injuries, but Mark Richt isn't sure it would matter who was lined up across from defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

"Geno is just a dominant football player right now," Richt said. "I don't know if anybody can block him."

For his part, however, Atkins is playing it coy. He said he definitely feels his game has improved – and he did have two sacks during Monday's scrimmage that was largely won by the offense – but he said there's still plenty of things he hopes to improve before he hits the field this fall.

"I feel like I've still got a lot to work on, but my pass rushing skills have gotten better," Atkins said. "I felt like I needed to work on my fundamentals and my footwork and have a better pass-rush game."


While Atkins has been dominant, Richt said he has seen plenty of other Bulldogs step up their games this spring as well.

Near the top of his list of spring standouts has been linebacker Nick Williams, who had six tackles in Monday's scrimmage and is making a quick adjustment to his new position after moving from safety last fall.

"Nick Williams made some great strides," Richt said. "He's still learning what to do, but he's a guy who will play hard, will stick his face on you and try to run through you. He's certainly got some technique issues right now, but his effort, his attitude and his toughness have really showed."

Ah, but it wouldn't be like Richt to dispense small doses of platitudes when he could heap some praise on a handful of other top performers as well.

Here's a quick run-down, via Richt, of the top spring performances…

"A.J. Green, I thought he's done outstanding. Joe Cox has total control of everything he was trying to do. I think Cordy Glenn has been practicing extremely well. I thought Bryan Evans played with great energy and enthusiasm. Bryan had a nice day. (Vance) Cuff is coming along. Cuff, for a guy that when spring started wasn't even getting any reps, he's really had a nice spring so far. Rennie (Curran) is outstanding. (Akeem) Dent is playing well."

Richt said that depth chart decisions are usually made after the first scrimmage, but he had not had a chance to discuss any changes with his assistants prior to Tuesday's practice.


While the injuries at defensive end continue to mount for the Bulldogs, two other players who have spent the spring in green non-contact jerseys appear close to returning.

Running back Dontavius Jackson has participated in many of the non-contact drills this spring and Richt said he could be good to go at full speed by this weekend or early next week.

Richt also said linebacker Akeem Hebron appears ready to return to full participation by this weekend as well.


Georgia's freshmen quarterbacks have been the center of attention, and Logan Gray said he has been impressed by their progress. But when it comes to the battle to land the No. 2 spot on the depth chart, Gray isn't too concerned with what the young pups on the roster are doing.

"I'm watching them every day in practice, but all I've tried to focus on is myself and every single rep that I take," Gray said. "No matter what they do, that doesn't have any outcome on my situation."


Wide receiver Kris Durham sat out of Monday's practice with a minor shoulder injury, but he said he returned to individual drills Tuesday and doesn't anticipate any longterm problems.

"It's fine," he said. "I was out there today and did some individual (workouts) and other stuff, just trying to work it back in."


Former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford held an individual workout for the Detroit Lions on Tuesday in hopes of securing his spot as the first overall pick in next month's NFL draft. While the workout was meant for a select audience, several of his former teammates and coaches dropped by to check out his performance.

"I came down and watched a little bit of it," Kris Durham said. "I had to show a little support. He looked pretty good out there. Hopefully he can settle that No. 1 spot."

Durham said Stafford has remained fairly stoic throughout the process, a fact that isn't at all surprising for those who know the quarterback well.

"That's just his personality," Durham said. "You can tell he has that confidence, and whoever wants him, he's going to go in there and show what he can do."


Mark Richt said the team will have two more short practices this week and will scrimmage for the second time on Saturday. Last week's rained out practice session resulted in a five-practice week for the Bulldogs, which is something Richt hadn't done in the past.

"I don't know if we've gone five practices in one week since I've been here during spring ball, but that's the plan for now," Richt said.

Freshmen QBs Learn on the Fly

Joe Cox knows his job about as well as anyone on the practice fields at Georgia, but it wasn't always that way. So when he watches freshmen quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger struggle through another practice session this spring, it isn't without a healthy dose of empathy and a handful of fond-but-embarrassing memories.

Cox was reflecting on his early days at Georgia earlier this week when he decided it was time to give the freshmen a history lesson.

"If you want to see a funny scrimmage," Cox told them, pulling out some film without actually finishing his sentence.

The three quarterbacks sat in the film room and watched footage of Georgia's first spring scrimmage of 2006. Cox was a redshirt freshman at the time. He was splitting snaps with Matthew Stafford, then a new arrival on campus, but now a potential top overall selection in the NFL draft.

"We watched some of those clips and got a good laugh out of it," Cox said. "We were all running around with no idea what to do."

Watching Monday's first scrimmage of the spring this season, Cox knew Mettenberger and Murray weren't a whole lot better off than he and Stafford were three years earlier, but they at least looked the part.

Murray had a break-out performance running with Georgia's second-team offense. He completed 4-of-6 passes for 131 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Spellman that triggered a major momentum shift for the offense.

Mettenberger struggled statistically, completing just 1-of-10 passes, but head coach Mark Richt was quick to point out that several of his passes were dropped by receivers.

"I do like the rookies," Richt said. "They've got ability. Considering how little they know right now, they do have confidence when they walk in the huddle. You have to kind of spoon-feed them a little right now, but they're getting there. They'll be alright."

But the numbers weren't all that important anyway, Cox insisted. The two quarterbacks carried themselves with confidence, and that was more than he could say about his spring scrimmage debut three years ago.

"They both got a lot of reps, and they both looked good," Cox said. "Coach (Mike) Bobo said the one thing he was impressed with with everybody was huddle presence, and he was laughing looking at those two guys saying, 'Even if you didn't know what was going on, you sounded good in the huddle, and you said it with authority.'"

The depth chart at quarterback hasn't changed any since spring practice began two weeks ago, Richt said. Rising sophomore Logan Gray remains the primary back-up behind Cox, and the true freshmen are still jockeying for position while simply trying to keep their heads on straight. But it's a learning process, and Richt said he's pleased with how things are progressing.

"Logan certainly is ahead of the other two as far as understanding what to do, and I think he's progressing well," Richt said. "The other two are learning, but they're talented. They don't know enough to go out there and play right now. They're going through that process of learning how to play quarterback at Georgia."

Tuesday Links (3/31)

Well, it looks like fans aren't going to be too disappointed -- assuming that a.) ESPN's report is correct, and b.) Mike Anderson decides $2 million is enough of an offer to lure him from Missouri.

ESPN has the story posted HERE for those of you who haven't read it yet.

And if you (like me) are burned out on hoops stuff, here's a basketball-free batch of links...

-- The Red & Black has the latest on the disastrous situation at defensive end for the Bulldogs.

-- says Paul Johnson's momentum at Georgia Tech should have the Bulldogs worried.

-- This one comes from Senator Blutarski over at Get the Picture, and if you hate Tim Tebow, you'll want to read it.

-- Diamond Dogs coach Dave Perno talks with the guys at 960 the Ref.

-- Perno's boys are ready to begin a big series against Clemson that will really kick off the meat of the schedule over the next few weeks.

-- Georgia's Christie Hamilton earned SEC pitcher of the week honors.

-- Now that the hoops search appears to be winding down, Michael Adams has something new not to talk about.

-- A couple of links I found at Rob Neyer's blog at I genuinely think Bill James is one of the most important sports writers in history, but I just can't share his enthusiasm about the death of newspapers; What I can be enthusiastic about is a list of the ugliest baseball uniforms of the 1970s.

-- It's official! "Friday Night Lights" will be back for two more seasons.

-- I took some time last week to watch all six episodes of "Eastbound and Down" on HBO On Demand. As long as you aren't easily offended, that's gotta be one of the funniest shows I've seen in a while. Bulletproof tiger, man. Anyway, it will be available on DVD in June.

OK, well back to the hoops beat. More to come as the day drags along...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Practice Notes: Defense Takes a Hit

Head coach Mark Richt said the biggest lesson his team learned from its first spring scrimmage was that the players needed to do a better job of recovering from adversity. You can read what Richt said, along with stats from the day's scrimmage, HERE.

Beyond that, the big news of the day was the struggles of the defense. The secondary had a couple of interceptions, but didn't exactly capitalize, as they fumbled them away after the catch.

A few big plays, including a 75-yard touchdown from Aaron Murray to Vernon Spellman, turned the tide after a strong start defensively, and cornerback Prince Miller said he was disappointed in how his team responded.

"I know on our end, we gave up some big plays," Miller said. "We could have been better about being more vocal, being a team. Guys had good efforts, just overall we need to learn to be a team and fight through it."

That was the message defensive coordinator Willie Martinez imparted – with a healthy dose of angered inflection – after practice, too. But safety Bryan Evans said it shouldn't be up to Martinez to correct these problems. The responsibility falls on himself and the rest of the Bulldogs' senior leadership.

"Right now, as players, we don't want Coach Martinez to tell us what to do," Evans said. "We want to be led as a team, not be coach-driven. We want to show Coach we can do it without him having to jump down our backs."

Of course, the blame shouldn't fall completely on the leaders. The truth is, injuries are once again hampering the defense. With the high number of hampered defenders, defensive tackle Geno Atkins said the latter half of the scrimmage saw a lot of guys struggling to catch their breath.

"We had a couple good plays here and there, but we kind of got fatigued toward the end," Atkins said. "(The offense) got the best of us."

In addition to Spellman's big grab, A.J. Green was a full participant in practice and put up some good numbers. The other offensive highlights belonged to the guy who has been stealing the show all spring.

"Carlton Thomas looked pretty good," Atkins said. "He had a couple of touchdowns and a nice run where he cut it back one way and ran it all the way back the other way and scored a touchdown."

Richt felt Thomas had not only been the best of the bunch Monday, but said that the diminutive freshman had been Georgia's most consistent runner all spring -- ahead of Caleb King. While Thomas has been the talk of the spring, Atkins has been Georgia's most dominant player, and with two sacks, he offered the biggest highlights of the day for the defense.

"I knocked Carlton a couple times, had one up against Dallas (Lee)," Atkins said. "I guess I gave Cordy (Glenn) a run for his money a couple of times, too."

The performance by the offense wasn't perfect, quarterback Joe Cox said, but hearing the defense admit defeat was music to his ears.

"So many times people say the defense is normally going to get the better of the offense during the spring," Cox said. "Any time that they'll actually admit we beat them in something, that means we did something pretty good."


Georgia's defensive ends took another hit Monday, when freshman Jeremy Longo suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of most of the day's scrimmage. Richt said he was unsure the severity of the injury immediately, but should Longo miss any significant time, Georgia will be down to just two healthy scholarship ends.

"By the time (the scrimmage) was over, (defensive tackle) Geno (Atkins) played a little D end and Kade (Weston) played a little D end," Richt said. "So I'm not sure how we'll proceed."


Incoming freshman offensive lineman Austin Long underwent back surgery Monday and likely won't be available to practice when he arrives at Georgia, possibly until December.

"I think we still plan on bringing him in at the normal time and being there to rehab him," Richt said. "By the end of the season, maybe by bowl practice, he might could get some work and be ready for spring. If he gets a medical redshirt his true freshman year, he'll still have four (seasons) to play."


Wide receiver Kris Durham suffered a minor shoulder injury that kept him out of Monday's scrimmage. Richt said he expected Durham to be back as early as Tuesday.

More concerning to Richt, however, was the status of receiver Tony Wilson, who is still recovering from ankle surgery – an injury he first suffered last spring and attempted to play through early last season.

"Tony's just not 100 percent," Richt said. "I don't think there's any question he can help us, but he's going at a certain percentage – my guess would be about 60 percent. He's healthy enough to go, but as far as his speed and agility, it's just not there right now."


Nick Williams didn't figure on playing linebacker when he came to Georgia, but since making the move from safety late last season, he has quickly adapted to the new role.

Williams led all Georgia players with six tackles in Monday's first spring scrimmage, and linebacker Rennie Curran said the freshman from Bainbridge has looked right at home at his new position.

"He's looking good," Curran said. "He asks a lot of questions. He's real confident, but listens to what the coaches are saying. He's a great guy to have around."

While Williams adjusts to his new position, Curran said he has been adjusting to the role of mentor. He said he has taken Williams under his wing and tried to offer as much advice as possible.

One topic that has been a popular one for Williams is the issue of adding some bulk to his frame. Having arrived as a safety, adding some heft has been a top priority for Williams, and the weight room just so happens to be Curran's area of expertise.

"All of those guys when they come in as freshmen, they go through a transformation," Curran said. "I just try to let them know that it's more about making plays. Don't get stuck on gaining weight or anything like that. At the end of the day, it's about who gets to the ball and makes the tackle."


Former Clemson quarterback Jon Richt took in a scrimmage with his dad and his girlfriend at Valdosta State last weekend, and Mark Richt said the whole family was impressed by their visit.

Jon Richt announced earlier this month that he planned to transfer after spending a year at Clemson. His father said he had hoped to find a school close to home, which made Valdosta State an intriguing possibility.

"I'd never been to Valdosta State before, and it's a beautiful campus," Mark Richt said. "It's about the right size, and I think he'd really feel comfortable."

Mark Richt said the group took in the scrimmage, enjoyed a campus tour, sat in on the quarterback meetings and checked out the academics, too. The Richts have already visited Georgia State and Mark Richt said they plan to take trips to Chattanooga and Mars Hill (in North Carolina) before making a final decision, which could come in about two weeks.

"Everybody's been great," Mark Richt said. "They just lay it out – this is who we've got, this is why we think he has a chance to compete, this is what we've got. It's just been great."


Longtime NFL and college football coach Lou Saban died Monday at age 87. Saban was the head coach at Miami who recruited Mark Richt to play for the Hurricanes in college. Although Saban left after Richt's freshman season, the Georgia coach said he still had many fond memories of his first college coach.

"I've seen Coach Saban from time to time afterwards, and I loved him in that he's the one that sold Miami to me out of high school, gave me the opportunity to play," Richt said. "I was sad to hear it, but I know he lived a very full life and coached a lot of ball over the years at all levels."

Coaching Decision Coming Soon

The rumors surrounding key coaching jobs around the country are spinning at a pretty frenetic pace right now.

John Calipari looks like he's headed to Kentucky.

That makes Mike Anderson a prime candidate at Memphis.

Anderson may or may not be talking to Georgia, too, but Missouri has not confirmed contact at this point, and Damon Evans certainly isn't talking.

A Memphis TV station is reporting that Mike Anderson's agent met with Damon Evans in Atlanta today, but I have been told by people at UGA that was a false report and that Evans was on campus nearly all day today.

A source in Missouri thinks Anderson is staying put, and Jason Whitlock seems to agree.

Dean Legge at Scout reports that officials at Oklahoma, Xavier and Florida State have all taken a "no comment" approach on any contact that Georgia may have had.

Here's what I do know --- something with Georgia will happen soon. Some of my readers in UGA's band have reported that the athletics department has already requested their presence to perform at a press conference within the next week. That's a timetable that I have confirmed through various sources, including some within the athletics department at Georgia.

The other rumors... well, until they can be classified as something more than that, I'm not going to print them. I will say, however, that there is at least one name out there that I'm fairly certain has gotten attention from UGA that isn't Jeff Capel or Mike Anderson.

Stay tuned...

Scrimmage Stats

I'll have more football notes up at some point tonight, but I've got to shift some focus over to the basketball coaching search, too. Here's the main info you'll need from the first scrimmage of the spring...

Georgia held its first scrimmage of the spring Monday, and the results, according to head coach Mark Richt, were decidedly mixed.

Both the offense and defense were dominant at times, but neither unit handled adversity well.

"There were spurts," Richt said. "When things were going well on one side of the ball or another, they had enthusiasm. When they weren't, they had their head down a little bit. They have to be able to recover from a bad play. We've got to be able to handle a little adversity when things don't go just right."

The beginning of the scrimmage was dominated by Georgia's defense, which held the first-team offense to virtually nothing on the first six or seven plays, but freshman quarterback Aaron Murray and walk-on wide receiver Vernon Spellman hooked up for a 75-yard touchdown pass that turned the tide.

"It looked like they were going to stop them again on third-and-long, and (Murray) launched one out there that Spellman caught on the run for a touchdown," Richt said. "Then it got pretty back-and-forth from that point. I would say we've got a long way to go yet."

The sudden momentum shifts were a particular concern for Richt, who watched his team respond poorly to big runs by Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech in losses last season. Richt said he addressed his team after practice Monday to ensure he got his message across, and said it will now be up to the team's leaders to respond with a strong performance in Tuesday's practice session.

"We've got to understand things aren't always going to go out way, and we've got to be able to recover right away and play ball," Richt said. "I just didn't see that."

Stats from the day...

Daniels 9-45-2
Thomas 8-26-1
King 6-32
Chapas 3-7-2 ("Sounds like a fullback," Richt said.)
*Note, Richt said some of those runs were when the team was practicing goal-line work, so not to get too excited about the TD numbers. I was also told that, despite the mediocre YPC for Carlton Thomas, he looked exceptional.

PASSING (completions-attempts-INTs-yards)
Cox 9-13-0-79, 1TD
Murray 4-6-0-131, 1TD
Gray 3-8-1-64
Mettenberger 1-10-1-4 ("He had quite a few balls dropped," Richt said.)

Green 5-65
Marquis Brown 3-24 and a fumble
Moore 2-14 1 TD
White 2-57
Spellman 1-75 TD
Wilson, Troupe, Chapas, C King 1 catch each

Walsh 47-yd FG ("Outstanding kick," Richt said.)

Nick Williams 6 tackles
Boykin 6
Hollander 3
Gamble 3
Houston 3
Dowtin 3 and a fumble recovery
Griffith 3
11 others with 2
Commings, Rambo 1 INT each
Cuff 3 pass breakups
Evans, Pugh, Rambo 1 PBU each
Sacks – Crawford, Tyson, Weston and two for Atkins

Rushing to be Ready

The immediate goals are simple for Georgia defensive end Cornelius Washington.

"Right now it's just to get healthy and get myself onto the field," Washington said. "Everything else I think will fall into place."

Confidence comes easily for the freshman pass rusher, who was a beast during his senior season at Burke County, when he racked up 55 tackles, six sacks and 18 tackles for a loss. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Washington is slim, sleek and awfully fast, making him a difficult matchup for opposing offensive linemen.

His speed could have made him an impact freshman a year ago, but he was plagued by injuries. A shoulder injury has him sidelined still, keeping him out of spring practice and keeping fans waiting to get their first glimpse of the potential difference-maker in action.

More than making fans wait patiently for his debut, the injuries have forced Washington to be patient in his progress. His speed is a natural asset that could help him make an impact quickly, but the details that turn a talented player into a great one still must be developed.

"My speed helps, but there's a lot of things that I have to get better, a lot of things I have to work on technique-wise," Washington said. "I'm a freshman and there's still a whole lot of learning I have to do, but I'm ready to do whatever it takes."

A return to full speed for Washington would be a big boost for the Bulldogs, who have been ravaged by injuries at the defensive end position. A year ago, Georgia mustered just 17 sacks during the regular season -- the worst mark in the SEC -- a year after leading the conference in that category. Rod Battle and Washington were among the numerous battered ends a year ago, and both have missed the entire spring this year. Meanwhile, Demarcus Dobbs broke his foot in practice last week, leaving Georgia with just three healthy defensive ends this spring -- a list that includes freshman Jeremy Longo, who redshirted last year, and Kiante Tripp, who moved to defensive end less than two months ago after playing on offense last season.

The Bulldogs expect to be back to full strength at defensive end by the time fall camp opens, but it will be essential, Washington said, to get everyone on the same page quickly once they return to the field.

"I feel like we all have our own separate little things to put in," Washington said. "We all just have to work harder and get better and do the little things it takes to excel. It's not just me and what I have to add. We all have to come together and do our respective jobs."

Poythress Earns SEC, National Honors

Courtesy UGA Athletics...

Georgia junior first baseman Rich Poythress has been named SEC player of the Week and a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week after leading the Bulldogs to their second straight SEC sweep and their first series win at Tennessee since 2001.

Poythress hit .615 (8-for-13) with five home runs and 12 RBI in four games last week. In Tuesday's game against Wright State, he hit a two-run home run in the first inning, then had his first career multi-home run game along with two doubles and two walks for a career-high 12 total bases against Tennessee on Friday. He followed that with another two-home run game on Saturday and tied his career high with five RBI. In his first nine plate appearances against the Vols, Poythress was 6-for-6 with four home runs, two doubles and three walks.

Poythress is one of five players selected as a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week. Other players to receive the honor include Susquehanna's John Lunardi, Coastal Carolina's Cody Wheeler and Texas-Arlington's Nathan Long.

The Grovetown, Ga., native is now ranked in the top three in the SEC in nine offensive categories including first in batting average (.447), on-base percentage (.556) and RBI (47); second in slugging percentage (.936), runs (37), home runs (13) and total bases (88); and third in hits (42) and walks (22).

Poythress is currently eighth all-time at UGA with a .357 career batting average. His 31 career home runs is one shy of 10th all-time at UGA, his 146 RBI is four shy of 10th, and his 38 career doubles is nine shy of 10th all-time at Georgia.

Poythress and the Bulldogs play host to Clemson Tuesday at 7 p.m. before paying the Tigers a visit on Wednesday. LSU visits Athens for a three-game series beginning Friday.

Monday Links (3/30)

Last week's scrimmage was canceled due to rain, so the session will be made up this week. Georgia will scrimmage today at the stadium, and the team is adding an extra practice tomorrow. They'll practice today, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday now.

So, looks like we've got a busy week ahead of us, so let's get it started with a handful of links...

-- If you didn't get a chance to read it yesterday, Doug Stutsman had a story in the Telegraph looking at the progression of Georgia's defense from the Brian Van Gorder era up to last season's collapse. It's a great read.

-- What with his Twitter account always tweeting, I've paid less attention than I should to As it turns out, there's some good video up that you can check out HERE, including some fake pro day interviews hosted by Shaun Chapas and some locker-room chit-chat with Vince Vance.

-- Meanwhile, Richt and his son, Jon, made an appearance at Valdosta State over the weekend. Wonder if this means we'll be seeing Jon Richt playing there in the fall.

-- Mile High Report looks at the draft possibilities for former UGA linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

-- Some NFL royalty was in Athens over the weekend, and Bernie's Dawg Blawg has the wrap up. I was telling my girlfriend about this Saturday, and she informed me that Nick Montana plays on the same high school team as Will Smith's son and Wayne Gretsky's son. She was quite proud she knew something about sports that I didn't. I then pointed out that Wayne Gretsky's wife was really hot, thus ending our conversation.

-- Both Senator Blutarski and I spent some time last week tossing around the idea of an expiration date on a coach's message, but the Senator took things a step further today with his post on how adding kicker Brandon Bogotay was another step in Mark Richt's reinvention of his message.

-- Bleacher Report looks at the top 10 games of the Mark Richt era at Georgia.

-- I had meant to mention this during last week's coaching search posts, but this was obviously going to become the next big story. Billy Gillespie refuses to sign his contract, and now we'll be subjected to two years worth of lawsuits and arguments after he gets canned. Kentucky basketball... catch the excitement!

-- Kentucky's Scout site seems to think Billy Clyde would be a good fit in Athens. I asked that question over the weekend and I didn't get a lot of positive response from fans.

-- The AJC's Chip Towers talks to Missouri's chancellor, who says he hasn't heard anything about Mike Anderson leaving, but a pay raise is in the works.

-- Georgia Sports Blog continues to stay on top of all the coaching comings and goings.

-- offers five reasons why Georgia's hoops team can turn things around quickly.

-- The Diamond Dogs enjoyed a clean sweep of Tennessee over the weekend.

-- And the softball team managed a sweep of its own at Kentucky, too.

-- After taking in a movie with me (OK, not with me) on Saturday, the Auburn women's golf team took home a victory in the rain-shortened Liz Murphey tournament.

-- The Georgia men's tennis team didn't get much sleep but they did get some wins over the weekend.

-- Herschel Walker lives to see another day on "Celebrity Apprentice."

-- This is such an unfortunate lead: "A French pole vaulting champion ran naked with his pole."

-- All us "Friday Night Lights" fans should find out the fate of the show today.

-- And finally, this story is not interesting or related to Georgia, but it did remind me of this "Simpsons" clip which I thought was worth sharing. And, I for one would like to welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that, as a trusted blogging personality, I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hot Reads (3/29)

To steal the intro from Lewis Black on "The Daily Show," each week, plenty of news stories fall through the cracks. We're here to make sure you didn't miss anything good. Here are this week's hot reads...

1. The Search Continues. Well, we know who won't be Georgia's next coach. Anthony Grant agreed to a contract with Alabama, but it was another SEC school that really threw a monkey wrench into the hunt for a new coach when Kentucky canned Billy Gillespie. Missouri's Mike Anderson might be the next big name to crop up on people's radar, but nothing is set in stone yet. Regardless, the next coach won't be in a no-win situation.

2. It's a new attitude. Last year, Georgia's defense took a heaping helping of criticism in the wake of a series of poor performances. This year, they're hoping to turn things around with a fresh outlook, and some old faces in new places. One thing's for sure, if the defense fails, it won't be because of Rennie Curran (or if you're not in the reading mood, there's Rennie video, too). Of course, it's not just the defense with a new attitude. Everyone from the coaching staff to the team's biggest offensive superstar have bigger goals in mind for 2009.

3. Who's No. 1? The Detroit Lions continue to look at Matthew Stafford as a potential No. 1 overall selection in the draft. Should he fall past Detroit, however, the San Francisco 49ers definitely won't be interested after a problematic meeting between Stafford and a team psychologist. None of that really affects the legacy that Stafford will have left behind in Athens.

4. New Kid in Town. There will be plenty of new faces in Athens when the new recruits arrive in June, but Georgia added a late addition to its 2009 signing class last week. With a scholarship freed up after some off-field drama, Mark Richt finally landed another kicker in the form of Brandon Bogotay, a JuCo transfer from San Diego. The special teams already figured to have a couple changes in store, but the addition of the strong-legged Bogotay could be a big difference maker for Georgia next season.

5. The Injury Bug Bites Again. A hefty contingent of Georgia players were already nursing injuries this spring. Progress for some was going awfully slow. And while Georgia managed to make it through nearly two weeks without adding any names to the walking wounded, the injury bug finally caught up with the Dawgs on Thursday at a position they could ill afford another loss.

Oh, and in case you missed them, I did some multi-tasking last week, holding an online chat to discuss spring practice, the hoops search and more, and I also chatted with the guys at 960 the Ref on Friday morning.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Links (3/28)

No practices again until Monday, so I'm going to actually try to enjoy a weekend off for a change. I need some time to recover from the anticlimactic conclusion to Syracuse's basketball season. If something happens with the hoops job, I'll let you know, but other than that, a few links will have to fill the void for the next 48 hours or so...

-- The AJC's Tim Tucker talks to Rennie Curran about how Georgia plans to improve its defense in 2009 -- and how Curran plans to improve his own game.

-- 49ers great Joe Montana is in Athens this weekend with his son, Nick, who has an offer to join Georgia's class of 2010.

-- Jeff Owens' latest blog post gives thanks to Bulldog Nation.

-- Chip Towers looks at what Kentucky's entry into the coaching search sweepstakes might mean for Georgia.

-- Mobile's Gentry Estes says Anthony Grant will bring plenty of change to Alabama.

-- Georgia Sports Blog attempts to read the tea leaves after yesterday's events surrounding Billy Gillespie, Anthony Grant and Billy Donovan. Just curious on this since I've already heard it mentioned: What would you guys think about Gillespie being a candidate?

-- Jeff Schultz talks with Hugh Durham about the value of the Georgia basketball job.

-- 960 the Ref chats with Diamond Dogs coach Dave Perno.

-- The baseball team avoided the raindrops in Knoxville and thumped the Volunteers 12-6.

-- The Banner-Herald looks at the impact of freshman reliever Michael Palazzone.

-- Since Georgia fans are reading plenty about their new kicker from San Diego, I figured I'd share this story I came across on Rob Neyer's ESPN blog about another San Diego product. The story, from SI' Lee Jenkins, is about a pitching phenom at San Diego State, and if you think mat drills sound bad, just wait til you read what the SDSU coaching staff did to this kid.

-- And finally, I think we probably all should have seen this coming: Vince, the legendary spokesman for Shamwow and Slapchop, has been arrested and charged with punching a prostitute. This from a guy whose commercial catch phrase is, "You're going to love my nuts."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Now It Gets Interesting

UPDATE: FOX Sports reports that Anthony Grant has accepted the job at Alabama. Does that mean Donovan isn't planning to go anywhere?


In the least surprising news of the day, Billy Clyde Gillespie is officially out at Kentucky.

The Billy Donovan rumors are already swirling , with the Gainesville Sun reporting that a private plane is already en route from Florida to Lexington, and says that UF athletics director Jeremy Foley is hot on the trail of Anthony Grant.

That would help explain the particularly slow pace at which the Alabama proceedings are moving with Grant.

How does all this affect Georgia? Maybe not at all, considering the tea leaves certainly looked like the Grant ship had already sailed in Athens. Does that mean all eyes are now on Jeff Capel and Mike Anderson? Georgia Sports Blog thinks the latter has a much better chance of happening.

Richt's Refresher Course

There are two types of arguments: Those supported by the facts, and those supported by opinions. The beauty is -- as everything from sports to politics have taught us -- both types can and will be disputed by those with louder opinions.

For just that reason, it is always with great enjoyment that I come upon a topic of conversation that intrigues me over at Senator Blutarsky's Get the Picture blog. While the rest of the sports world revels happily in delusions, the facts still get the weight they deserve at GTP.

So, consider me in a bit of a pickle on the latest fact-based discussion, which came via ESPN's Bruce Feldman, via the Senator. Feldman presents an argument with plenty of factual ammunition. And yet, based mostly on my own opinion, I can't bring myself to believe it.

Here's the basics: Feldman wonders if college football coaches have a shelf life and puts forth the assumption that after about Year 4 or 5, the chances of a coach winning a national title decrease significantly. Recent history gives the theory a healthy dose of evidence.

* 2009 Florida: Urban Meyer's 4th year
* 2008 LSU: Les Miles' 3rd year
* 2007 Florida: Meyer's 2nd year
* 2006 Texas: Mack Brown's 8th year
* 2005 USC: Pete Carroll's 4th year
* 2004 LSU: Nick Saban's 4th year
* 2003 Ohio State: Jim Tressel's 2nd year
* 2002 Miami: Larry Coker's 1st year
* 2001 Oklahoma: Bob Stoops' 2nd year
* 2000 FSU: Bobby Bowden's 24th year
* 1999 Tennessee: Phil Fulmer's 7th year
The lone veteran on the list is Bobby Bowden, with only Phil Fulmer and Mack Brown joining him in winning a title beyond Year 4. As I'm sure Georgia fans are aware, Mark Richt is entering Year 8.

So, does the evidence here indicate that the MNC ship has sailed on CMR? (I still can't decide if I like this blogger lingo.)

According to Feldman, the theory goes a bit like this:
To me that is reflective of a couple of factors: 1.) Coaches who come in bringing a new energy to a program can have huge success; 2.) In many cases they've inherited situations with programs that have the talent base but are eager for a change in direction. (Some players initially will respond better to a hard-line staff. Others to a "players' coach". Either way, the shift can be the key.) 3.) Successful coaching staffs can get stale over time and players/recruits, just like fans, can be swayed by the next new thing around and they want to be part of a fancy turnaround project.

I like it. It starts with a hypothesis, adds evidence and concludes with a viable explanation.

But are we really to believe then that Richt stands less chance of winning a national title now than he did three years ago? Should we assume that, after four more years, the shine will be off Urban Meyer? (NOTE: He'll probably be in South Bend by then anyway.) Should you be concerned that Richt is destined to get the Fulmer treatment in a few years?

Hey, anything's possible, but I have a hard time giving this more than a, "well, that's interesting."

As Feldman points out, there is some rationale to the theory. Yes, complacency can set in for a coach, and that's a bad thing. But there are more factors at work here.

Look at the list again. Of those coaches, three had national-championship-caliber rosters when they first arrived. (Say what you want about the Zooker, but the guy could recruit.) Larry Coker, Meyer and Les Miles all took exceptional talent that was already in place and added the last ingredient to the national-title recipe.

Two other names on the list deserve a good bit of credit, but both helmed sleeping giants. The Texas and USC programs have huge recruiting advantages and by all means never should have slipped to the depths they had reached prior to Pete Carroll and Brown's arrivals.

Moreover, should winning a national championship really be the barometer by which we measure these things? It's one of Richt's favorite cliches, but the national title is really out of a coach's hands. Yes, it should be the ultimate goal each year, but what is the real difference between Georgia's 13-1 season in 2002 and Florida's 13-1 mark a year ago? (Or LSU's 12-2 the year before?)

More than just wins and losses, however, the bigger reason that fewer veteran coaches are taking their teams to national championships these days, may have a lot less to do with motivation of players and a lot more to do with money in the bank.

Over the past 10 years -- the time period Feldman looks at -- the salaries for head coaches have increased dramatically, which leads to two undeniable truths: Coaches (like Nick Saban) are more likely to jump ship for a richer deal, and schools are less likely to keep a high-paid coach in place when he's not winning. From 1993 through 1999, only Lloyd Carr won a national title at a school he had coached at for fewer than six seasons.

In essence, it's the result that proves the question. There is so little tolerance for losing among fan bases, boosters and administration now that most coaches either win a title early or they aren't around anymore by Year 8, 9 or 10.

Of course, all this is taking the long way back to my original point -- my defense is, at heart, my opinion that coaches can stick around for a while and still have a reasonable (or as reasonable as the next guy) shot at winning it all.

But who am I? If you're going to base an argument on opinion, after all, you should at least find someone whose opinion actually carries some weight. So I went straight to the man, himself. And guess what? Mark Richt seems to agree with Feldman.

"You need to revive, you need to always go back to the basics every year," Richt said. "You just can't take anything for granted. Even when you have a staff that understands what we do, how we do it."

As you may have read, Richt's plan for this season is to reinvent his approach by looking back at his early years in Athens. That's a move he wouldn't have made in years past, despite his certainty in its value now.

"There's been years where I've said, 'Men, I know what you're going to do, I know how you're going to do it, I'm not going to have to insult anybody's intelligence to say we're starting from ground zero,'" Richt said. "But this year, I said I don't particularly care if anybody's feelings get hurt. We're going to pretend like we've never done it before, and we're going to make sure we do it the Georgia way. That's the mentality with the staff and with the players and myself."

This, as much as anything else, illustrates the advantage to a veteran coach. They learn from experience.

As much as Richt wants to downplay the failures of last season -- the Dawgs did go 10-3 after all -- there was a lesson learned, and it's essentially the lesson that Feldman's article illustrates. The message does get stale. The landscape changes, and the coaching staff needs to change with it.

I see this in the newspaper business every day. There are hundreds -- thousands -- of good writers and reporters out there who won't make it in today's market. They don't know a blog from a buffalo, and they become out of touch with what it takes to succeed in the current environment.

If last year accomplished nothing else, it served as a reminder to Richt and his staff that no one can rest on their laurels and fresh ideas are invaluable. (Heck, even Richt is on Twitter now!) While Feldman's piece illustrated a trend that is tough to ignore, there's a difference between likelihood and destiny. The way to avoid the likely outcome is to learn from the past, and that's something Richt and his staff seem anxious to do.

"I think the coaches have enjoyed it actually," Richt said. "It started in the bowl practice, and it started with me. I think we've really got a lot of good momentum right now."

Kiper on Stafford

ESPN's Mel Kiper held a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming draft. He was asked to compare Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford. Here's his response...

"There is no similarity with Ryan because Ryan played his senior year. If Matthew Stafford would have played his senior year then there would be no concerns. I think he would have lit it up. A.J. Green is a developing star as a wide receiver. He was a true freshman last year and he's ready to be one of the great receivers in college football. The offensive line which was so young last year with freshmen and unproven players is now a cohesive group. Granted (Knowshon) Moreno left, but there's some quality backs in the program. Had he stayed another year, he would have been off the charts. I think that's where you say, where could he be? That's going to be his year. You have to coach him and treat him like he's a senior in college. You're not going to have a guy like Matt Ryan, even a Joe Flacco who stayed for his senior year. You're not going to have a veteran coming in. You're going to have a guy who is still a junior. … You have to treat him differently. If you draft him, the first year, if you want to get him later in the season, don't expect a lot. If you think he needs to play through his mistakes, fine, but you have to coach him.

"With the talent he has, he'll be a sponge. He'll pick everything up. He'll work hard at it. His arm strength is in the rare category, rare arm strength. We always talk about above average arms, great arms. A lot of guys have good arms, but elite arms are rare and this kid has it.

"So you ask why people are all over the place. They have to determine if he's worthy of being the No.1 pick in the draft. How NFL ready is he? How much time do we have to spend with him? Do we want to commit all these dollars? They don't treat quarterbacks like they did back in the 1980's where you have three to four years to develop them. They want them to play right away. In Matthew Stafford's case that's not realistic. In Mark Sanchez's case it's not realistic."

Another One Bites the Dust

Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs is the latest victim of Georgia's injury bug.

Dobbs broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during yesterday's practice, which will require surgery. He will miss the remainder of the spring, but a full recovery is expected, according to trainer Ron Courson.

Dobbs will undergo surgery early next week, according to one source, and Courson confirmed that Dobbs should be able to start training over the summer and will be back to full speed for the start of two-a-days.

The injury leaves Georgia with just three healthy, scholarship defensive ends this spring: Justin Houston, freshman Jeremy Longo, who redshirted last season, and Kiante Tripp, who just moved to defensive end after spending all last season on offense.

Scrimmage Rained Out

Due to the bad weather in Athens, today's scrimmage has been canceled. No make-up date has been announced.

The End is Near

During the season, Mark Richt meets with reporters each Thursday. By this point, most of the week's biggest storylines have been parsed over repeatedly, so the event usually turns to more off-topic discussions. It was during one of these meetings that Richt informed us that, despite his Web site, he didn't really know what a blog was. I can't blame him. I'm sure he has better things to be doing than reading the Bulldogs Blog on a regular basis (although it would be nice if he took some time out to peruse the content from time to time).

But my, oh my, how far Richt has come. According to this AJC story, the Georgia coach is now on Twitter!

Here's an example of some of the tweets you might see, again from the AJC story...

— Practice #6 is in the books. The 2009 Spring Coaches Clinic is underway.
— We had a great practice yesterday the team’s attitude was great and the intensity level was off the charts!!! 167 days…
— Practice #3 in the books, tomorrow is the first scrimmage of spring and the team is working hard and practicing with a great tempo.
— Pretty cool to hear a character on Lost was wearing a UGA Sweatshirt tonight.
— Today I am having lunch with Tony Dungy. He will also visit with the team today before practice #2

Now, I haven't necessarily determined that it's Richt who's doing the actual Tweeting, but these sound pretty Richtian. After all, while Richt is great at the occasional Lane Kiffin joke, he's far more likely to be quoted counting the number of practices the team has engaged in thus far. I'll be 100 percent sure it's Richt if we see a few other Tweets like this:

-- good practice today, the spirits were high
-- we're still getting used to this weather
-- South Carolina's punter is really outstanding
-- it was a bit cooler out today than we'd typically like for a practice this time of year
-- Oklahoma State's third-string tight end is really outstanding

Trust me, if you covered the team, you would find that hilarious.

Nevertheless, I'm certain this is another nail in the coffin of reporters. Between Jeff Owens' blog and Richt on Twitter, pretty soon, you'll have no use for me. Instead, I think I'm going to start working on my directional kicking. I think I still have at least three years of eligibility left.

Before I get to that though, you can listen to my interview with David Johnston and Dave McMahon from this morning on 960 the Ref HERE.

Friday Links (3/27)

Happy Friday, folks. I just wrapped up a segment on 960 the Ref with Dave Johnston and Dave McMahon, which I believe exceeded the FCC's maximum Dave occupancy for a radio show by at least one. It's a pretty nasty day outside, but there is something to look forward to... Georgia will hold its first scrimmage today at Sanford Stadium, starting around 4:15. Both Mark Richt and Joe Cox discussed the significance of the scrimmage yesterday, saying it is really a crucial day in solidifying playing time down the road. I'll have a post-scrimmage update on the blog as soon as it's over -- probably around 8:30 p.m. -- but in the meantime, let's get to some links...

-- I have a story in today's Telegraph looking at how the large contingent of injured players are holding up through spring practice.

-- The AJC's Tim Tucker touches on a number of topics, including Georgia's penalty problems last season, in his latest blog.

-- Since I'm sure everyone is curious, here's some video of Georgia's new kicker in action.

-- has a good look at the long road new defensive end recruit Montez Robinson has taken to Athens.

-- First there was just regular Mark Richt. Then came Evil Richt (which unfortunately didn't involve a goatee). And now, T. Kyle King gives us the latest incarnation... Hip Richt. You cats are aaaall right.

-- Jeff Owens has a Q&A with Brandon Wood on his blog.

-- The Banner-Herald's Marc Weiszer writes that tight end Bryce Ros is hoping to make the most of this spring in order to follow in his father's footsteps.

-- The Hobnail Boot takes a deeper look at the supposed rift between Matthew Stafford and the San Francisco 49ers.

-- Bubba 'n Earl want to see a return of the Georgia-Clemson rivalry. Perhaps now that there are no Bowdens or Richts in Tigerland, that might actually happen.

-- Suzanne Yoculan isn't happy about her portrayal in the new book detailing the behind-the-scenes power struggle between Michael Adams and Vince Dooley.

-- Georgia Sports Blog thinks Mike Anderson could be attainable for Georgia. I'll note, however, that this post was written before Anderson's Missouri team smoked Memphis to advance to the Elite 8 and ruin any lingering hope I had of winning my pool.

-- Gordon Beckham will begin the season in Double A, but something tells me he won't be there for too long.

-- Remember a couple weeks ago when Senator Blutarski was astonished to find a strange and disturbing set of search terms that led to his site? Well, yesterday my keyword statistics included two searches for "Brannan Southerland shirtless." That's particularly upsetting since I took those pictures down months ago.

-- Deadspin gets the award for blog that made me laugh the hardest this morning.

-- On the flipside, Deadspin also has some really disturbing video of the traffic stop involving Ryan Moats outside a hospital in Dallas last week. I don't even know what to say about this, but I'm 100 percent certain I wouldn't have handled it as well as Moats did.

-- There are tons of spoilers for a bunch of shows in this post, but there's also some bittersweet news on "Friday Night Lights." The show expects to be picked up for two more seasons any day now, but it looks like the actresses who play Tyra and Lila will both be leaving the show.

-- And finally, I found this blog post about the 10 best TV series finales interesting, as I was just discussing that very topic with someone the other day. I can't say I'm particularly in agreement with the writer of this one though. I'm sorta partial to "Cheers" for having more emotional resonance than any comedy finale, and while a lot of people hated it, I'd actually rank "The Sopranos" near the top. But the best ending of all time? That belongs to "Newhart." That one won't ever be topped (although I'm holding my breath that "Lost" doesn't screw me over).