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Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Links (7/31)

Only time for a few links today...

-- I did a short interview with SEC Rivals talking about Media Days and the upcoming season for Georgia if you're interested in checking it out.

--'s Page 2 has a Q&A with Matthew Stafford that covers all the important topics from hair care to prosthetic appendages. I must take issue with Stafford's claims about a scooter though. I saw his truck get towed way too many times to believe he was riding a scooter to practice every day.

-- It was just last week that Mark Richt again professed the "it's no big deal" theory about penalties. The stats do back him up --- sort of. But as Georgia Sports Blog points out, it's not so much about how many penalties Georgia got last year, it's about when they happened. I would even add the overturned interception against Florida to Paul's synopsis. That game will be remembered as a blowout, but had that penalty not been called and Blair Walsh made a couple kicks, Georgia had a real chance.

-- The State's Seth Emerson has five questions about Georgia, and to be honest, the last one is getting a little old. The Senator gives one good example of why.

-- Chuck Dowdle will be doing Georgia's postgame interviews this season.

-- Lane Kiffin is doing a little advertising (or maybe some expensive smack talking) in Atlanta.

-- Justin Grimm has pitched well in the Cape Cod league this summer, but can't seem to buy a win.

-- Folks in Georgia's athletics department are being forced to take state-mandated furloughs by the end of the calendar year.

-- E! is reporting that Dominic Monaghan will return to "Lost" for three episodes this season -- whether he's alive or dead, however, is still a mystery.

-- If you're looking for any other "Lost" coverage from Comic-Con, our buddy Scott has a fantastic wrap-up over at my favorite UGA/Lost blog, I'm Thinking 19.

-- And finally, Alan Sepinwall has an update on the "Seinfeld" reunion that will take place on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this year -- including a new photo of the full cast.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Official Ticket Priority Levels Announced

From UGA release...

William C. Hartman Jr. Fund contributors are eligible to order renewable season tickets, away game tickets and single home game tickets based on their cumulative score, annual contribution and availability. Cutoff scores are identified by arranging William C. Hartman Jr. Fund contributors in score order and assigning tickets based on availability.

The University of Georgia Athletic Association Ticket Office has released the following cut off scores for the 2009 football season.

Renewable Season: Contributors who ordered and have a cumulative score of 4,205 or higher will receive adjacent renewable season tickets.

South Carolina: No single game tickets are available because South Carolina receives the maximum allotment for visiting team.
Arizona State: All contributors who ordered with a cumulative score of 18,050 and higher will receive tickets.
LSU: All contributors who ordered with a cumulative score of 32,500 and higher will receive tickets.
Tennessee Tech: All contributors who ordered will receive tickets.
Auburn: No single game tickets are available because Auburn receives the maximum allotment for visiting team.
Kentucky: All contributors who ordered with a cumulative score of 10,000 and higher will receive tickets.

Oklahoma State: All contributors who ordered with a cumulative score of 4,000 and higher will receive tickets.
Arkansas: All contributors who ordered will receive tickets.
Tennessee: All contributors who ordered with a cumulative score of 21,950 and higher will receive tickets.

Cutoff score requirements for VANDERBILT, FLORIDA and GEORGIA TECH will be announced once the institutional allotments from the respective host institutions are received and allocated.

Refund checks for unfulfilled orders will be issued as soon as possible following determination of cumulative score requirements for all games.

Thursday Links (7/30)

Some Thursday reading material for your viewing pleasure...

-- I have a story in today's Telegraph on how the rest of the SEC East is handling the perceived dominance of Florida to start the season.

-- Need to get psyched for the start of fall practice: Start by watching Georgia stomp Michigan State in a re-airing of the Capital One Bowl today.

-- Mark Bradley rehashes what is becoming a very stale topic: Will Mark Richt ever win a national title? As Bradley even points out in his column, only luck has kept Richt from at least one shot at the big game, so why is this even a question? Richt seems to get this more than others, I think, just because he does his job with a smile on his face. At Media Days, Nick Saban compared the coaches' poll to soldiers fighting for American's right to vote. I'll take the coach with a real perspective on life any day.

-- On a similar topic, T Kyle King wonders if we all need to rethink our perspective on college football a bit.

-- And speaking of perspective, this tidbit pointed out by the Senator adds a little more of it.

-- Chris Low writes about the fresh faces likely to make an impact at Georgia this season. He offers some good candidates, but I must take exception with his contention that Washaun Ealey is the freshman fans are most anticipating. I think that honor goes to Marlon Brown or Orson Charles.

-- The Anderson Independent-Mail writes that Joe Cox seems to be pretty comfortable with all the pressure he's facing this season.

-- The early betting lines are out and Georgia is favored over Georgia Tech already.

-- Speaking of Tech, Rex Robinson wonders if Yellow Jackets fans haven't gotten a little too big for their non-silver britches.

-- AJC commenter "Saint Simons" is a perfect example. He posts the same comment as soon as any AJC writer posts an article to the site, as you'll notice in Bill King's latest blog discussing Vegas' 8-4 predicted finish for the Dawgs.

-- The all-knowing Michael Carvell sent this bit of info along: Delta has some cheap flights to places like Oklahoma City and Northwest Arkansas that might be of interest to Georgia fans.

-- Now this is a great idea for a documentary: A former philosophy student is trying to figure out why fans love "The Big Lebowski" so much. The answer is simple -- sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, well, it eats you. ... Is that some kind of Eastern thing?

-- There are still a few more weeks of summer left, and NPR has a list of its 100 best beach reads to help keep you entertained while you're working on your tan.

-- Screech is writing a tell-all book about "Saved By the Bell." This may be the final blow to Jimmy Fallon's plans for a full-cast reunion.

And, finally, here are two entries in the "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be sports writers" category:

-- A New York Daily News reporter broke stories that Mets player development chief Tony Bernazard had a series of violent altercations with players. Mets GM Omar Minaya then fired Bernazard. Minaya then suggested that the stories were completely made up by the Daily News reporter because the reporter wanted Bernazard's job. All of this happened at a news conference Monday, and yesterday the reporter in question offered his side of things. His argument that the stories were accurate certainly makes sense, but I have a real problem with a reporter covering a team while angling for a job by cozying up to the owners. Minaya's way off base for this particular story, but his overall criticism is well founded.

-- A sports writer from New Hampshire has been arrested on charges of running a prostitution ring using Craigslist. Several things I find hilarious about this post: 1.) See, this proves sports writers who have been in the business for 20+ years can embrace the Internet. 2.) The phrase "could clearly hear activities consistent with sexual intercourse" really needs to be used in more stories. 3.) He only used Marriott properties to arrange the encounters. If you know anything about sports writers, Marriott Rewards points are perhaps the most essential perk we get.

Help Wanted: 5 Players Who Need to Step Up

Yesterday, I ran down my list of the five Bulldogs I think have the best chance at breaking out this season. You guys added a few more suggestions of your own in the comments. Today, I figured it made sense to take a minute to look at who the biggest question marks might be.

(Now, before anyone jumps all over me for criticizing these guys, let me clarify what I mean here: These are the guys I think are both a.) question marks heading into fall practice and b.) vital to Georgia's success in 2009. None of that is saying they won't be great this season, just that there are question marks now.)

Mark Richt has made a point of not singling out a lot of individuals this year. It's all part of his "the star of the team is the team" mantra that seems to have become the unofficial motto of the 2009 team (just take a look at the cover of this year's media guide for further proof). But that doesn't mean that there aren't a few individual players who have a rather hefty burden on their shoulders this season.

The obvious first response would be to point to the running backs. With Knowshon Moreno gone to the NFL, there will be a lot of carries up for grabs in the Georgia backfield, but no one has used the opportunity to prove they are ready to provide the same type of production Moreno did.

While I'll admit, Caleb King, Richard Samuel and company definitely have some work to do, I tend to agree with Richt's assessment of the situation:

"I could probably blindly grab two or three of them, just pick 'em up, and I would have confidence whatever three I picked out, we will have success with them," he said. "Sometimes when you say no one has separated themselves from the pack, sometimes that's bad if your pack isn't very good. But if you got a pack of good ones, it's hard to separate also because you have some talented guys around you. I think it's more a situation of that than not having anybody outstanding. I think they're all pretty outstanding."

OK, "outstanding" may be a strong term, but there is definitely talent there, and I'm pretty sure the coaches will find a system that works, whether one guys stands out and gets the bulk of the carries or a handful of them share the load. The upside, too, is that King, Samuel and Carlton Thomas all offer somewhat different skills and could each compliment one another nicely.

"If it's one guy carrying the load, the majority of the load, I'm fine with that," Richt said. "If it's three guys sharing it, I'm okay with that, too. But we're gonna run the ball."

So who is Richt concerned about? Well, we pretty much agree on that, too.

"We need pressure off the edge," Richt said. "Defensive ends, I feel like they're hungry. They feel like they've got something to prove. Historically, since I've been at Georgia, our defensive end position has been highly productive. We've had many first- and second-team All-SEC performers. We've had guys lead the league in sacks. Last year we fell short of what was normal for us."

Well, that's an understatement, as I discussed in this post earlier this month.

But I'm not sure I like Richt's rationale for confidence. Yes, historically Georgia's defensive ends have been solid, but if anything, historical precedent says this year's group won't be. Essentially, the Bulldogs are using the same group as last season, and only Justin Houston has had a chance to show much progress. He'll be suspended for the first two games, by the way.

So that's my first two entries on the list of players who need to step up:

Justin Houston (So./DE) and Demarcus Dobbs (Jr./DE)

Houston had an impressive spring, but his suspension is problematic. For one, he'll miss two important games. Oklahoma State may be completely overrated, but that doesn't mean you can give the Cowboys' QB time to survey the field from the comfort of the pocket. Secondly, Houston's suspension certainly could hinder the growth he had made during the spring. It's sort of like going to the gym -- it takes a long time to get in shape and only a few days off to completely get out of the habit (a story I know all too well). But most importantly, the suspension -- particularly during an offseason when the pressure to stay out of trouble was so intense -- shows a lack of discipline on Houston's part that he'll have to prove he has overcome.

Dobbs had two of Georgia's most memorable defensive plays last season -- an interception he returned for a long touchdown against Central Michigan and a game-saving pick in the fourth quarter against Kentucky -- but he'll need to do more in 2009. With Houston out early and Rod Battle injury prone, Dobbs will need to be a steadying force at defensive end this season. Unfortunately, consistency has been his biggest problem during his career so far, and his spring injuries haven't helped. He has lots of potential, but he needs to play up to that potential more often this season.

Moving on, Richt says he's confident in Blair Walsh as his kicker, but Drew Butler's punting is a bit more worrisome.

"Butler is unproven as a punter," he said. "Butler has proved to me he can punt well enough to be outstanding in our league, just by observing him, but he hasn't proved that he can be consistent enough. So I guess what I'm saying is maybe last year he's five or six out of 10 that were outstanding. We got to get him to where he's nine out of 10, 10 out of 10, which he's been working diligently to be that."

I'll second that, which leads me to No. 3 on my list.

Drew Butler (So./P)

Butler's often gets overlooked, and since punters and kickers aren't a big part of spring practice, his new role replacing Brian Mimbs hasn't been the biggest topic of discussion. It should. Mimbs was consistently strong throughout most of the season last year, and given all the problems the Dawgs had on special teams, he was a lone bright spot. Considering Georgia's offense is likely to take a step back -- particularly in terms of big-play potential -- having a consistent punter that can help change field position could be crucial, and Butler needs to show he can be that guy.

So, who else?

"We need guys that can cover people outside," Richt said. "If you're weak in the middle, you got problems. I'm not disappointed by any stretch about our corner play or anything like that. I'm confident in them."

That doesn't exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, but I'm actually confident in them, too. As I wrote in yesterday's post, I expect big things from Brandon Boykin this season, and Georgia could certainly do a lot worse than Prince Miller at the other corner.

But No. 4 on my list does come from Georgia's secondary, and I'm guessing most people will agree with me.

Reshad Jones (Jr/S)

I think we all know what Jones' problems were last year. It's been discussed enough. After the season, Jones was literally a few hours away from declaring for the NFL draft before reconsidering. Yes, Jones has NFL ability. But at no point in his career has he shown he's ready to be a star at the next level. He needs to make that leap this season, and if he does, it would be a huge boost to the Georgia D.

Any final concerns from Richt?

"It just dawned on me, I think we only have three seniors on offense -- Joe Cox and Vince Vance and Michael Moore. I didn't realize that," Richt said.

Sure, that might be a bit concerning, but guess how many seniors Georgia had starting on offense last year. The answer: One. Mo Massaquoi was the lone senior starter, and there really wasn't another senior who was both consistently healthy and consistently contributing even in a back-up role.

So having three seniors this year should be a nice upgrade, and of the rest of the group, only the tight end depth chart lacks significant experience. Which leads me to my final entry on the list...

Aron White (So./TE)

White actually showed some nice flashes of potential last season (hey, White and Cox were Georgia's best offense against Florida) when pushed into duty due to injuries, so there's a lot of reasons for hope this year. But there are still concerns.

Bruce Figgins will miss the first six games, Arthur Lynch is a true freshman and Orson Charles isn't a prototypical tight end by any means. All of that means that White is likely to get the bulk of the early work in traditional sets, and he hasn't exactly shown he's ready to be a successful blocker.

"He has his moments where he does great, but most of the time, he's just battling his tail off," Richt said.

The good news is White has added some serious bulk this offseason and figures to be at around 240 pounds by the start of the season. He'll need it, and he'll need to show he can be more than simply a receiving threat in the passing game, particularly early on until Charles and Lynch have gotten a taste of life in the SEC.

Again, I'm hardly saying these players won't be good this year. All five could blossom into stars. But all are crucial to Georgia's success this year, and I still have serious questions about each.

So... what players will you be watching the closest this fall? What worries you? Am I crazy for being concerned about any of these guys?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Links (7/29)

Yesterday I liked to a post by Rex Robinson in which Rex was less than enthusiastic about the future of Richard Samuel at running back. It met with some mixed reactions from you guys.

I can understand the concerns about Samuel. His running style certainly isn't the typical one, and that's probably not changing.

But I think there are a few important things to remember about Samuel:

-- Last season was his first as a full-time running back.

-- He was just 17 when he arrived at Georgia last season.

-- He never got consistent carries to really develop his game.

-- He hasn't so much as practiced fully since December.

While I certainly wouldn't stake my career on Samuel blossoming into a star tailback, I think it's still way too early to write him off. He's still very young and fairly inexperienced, but in talking to players and coaches, I'm not sure there's anyone that works as hard at preparing to be a great tailback as Samuel does.

OK, now to some other links, which hopefully will stir some more lively debate...

-- A Carver High player who planned to attend Georgia but changed his mind after his QB's scholarship offer was pulled has landed at Clemson. (Edited... sorry for the screwy tease earlier. I didn't get much sleep last night.)

-- There are certainly some question marks facing the Bulldogs this fall, but Mike in Valdosta isn't too concerned and says you shouldn't be either.

-- Georgia Sports Blog links to a truly amazing interview former Bulldog Bill Stanfill did with the Banner-Herald and adds another older tale of Stanfill as well.

-- Courtesy of Get the Picture, here's today's installment of Oklahoma State providing bulletin board material for the opener.

-- The Senator also has some interesting notes from Phil Steele's strength of schedule rankings. Two things I find interesting right off the bat: 1.) Two-thirds of the conference ranks among the top-25 toughest schedules in the country and 2.) There's a good reason why Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss are considered favorites.

-- ESPN's Chris Low has a mostly up-to-date scorecard for recruiting in the SEC this season. Georgia looks good. Kentucky, not so much. Oh, and Lane Kiffin might need to start spouting some more crazy. The Vols only have four ESPN Top 150 players committed. Remember, it's all part of the plan.

-- Fletcher Page continues the Red & Black's roster rundown with Aron White through Marcus Washington.

-- Mohamed Massaquoi has agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Browns.

-- Kentucky Sports Report has a profile of Joe Cox, but you'll need a Scout membership to view.

-- The Gwinnett Daily Post wraps up the festivities from Tuesday's College Football Preview Luncheon with thoughts from Mark Richt and Paul Johnson.

-- Las Vegas has released the betting odds for the NFL's rookie of the year award and Knowshon Moreno opens as the 5/2 favorite.

-- The 2009 Georgia football media guides are now on sale at Sic Em Dawgs if you're interested.

-- Rich Poythress has reached a deal with the Seattle Mariners.

-- A Georgia alum will have photos displayed in the Smithsonian.

-- Apparently I'm causing havoc on the Tampa Bay Lightning blue line. (See second item down, h/t Mike S.)

-- I read that "Lost" won't feature too much more info on the Dharma Initiative in its final season, but ABC is launching a Web series that should fill in all the blanks. (h/t Justin P.)

-- The actor who played Mr. Eko on "Lost" may have a new role in a Marvel movie.

-- And finally, this beats the heck out of my "Catching Up With..." posts. This blog tracks down whatever happened to the cast of "Night Court." (BTW, the "30 Rock" episode last year with Harry, Christine and Mac was by far my favorite of the year.)

Digital Network Creates Massive Online Library for SEC

From SEC release...

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) and XOS Digital, a division of XOS Technologies, Inc., jointly announced today that SEC fans will soon be able to experience the Conference as never before in the history of college sports, thanks to the fast-approaching launch of the SEC Digital Network. With its arrival just prior to football season, the fully integrated new media network will empower fans to experience their favorite SEC teams outside of live, at-game parameters and within minutes after a game’s conclusion. "The SEC Digital Network provides our fans with access to the largest online library ever of the Southeastern Conference and its institutions," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "Through the efforts of XOS Digital, the SEC Digital Network will provide us with the ability to create and repurpose programming for our fans in a way that was not possible in the past."

The SEC Digital Network will launch prior to the 2009-10 college football season and will set an industry example for how sports organizations can aggregate, manage and distribute exclusive content to fans, according to John Christie, XOS general manager of the SEC Digital Network. Christie added that this technology milestone further positions the SEC as a leading industry example in the digital realm.

From a fan perspective, the SEC Digital Network translates as the largest online library of exclusive and comprehensive SEC sports content available anytime, anywhere. "What makes it so appealing from a fan’s perspective, is not only the breadth of exclusive content and flexibility it provides, but also the fact that it’s all indexed and easily searchable," Christie said.

Upon launch, the SEC Digital Network will provide its combined fans and alumni from all 12 Conference schools with original produced programming from nearly 10,000 hours of exclusive SEC video. In addition, much of this content will be accessible just minutes after a game’s conclusion, which is something Christie says has not been a reality for fans until now.

Fans will have 24-hour, multi-platform access that includes a completely revamped Web site ( and mobile devices. The SEC Digital Network will provide fans with access to exclusive content through online video syndication, digital downloads, and exclusive live-streaming and on-demand video content encompassing:
  1. Highlights
  2. Complete game replays
  3. Breaking SEC news in real-time
  4. Post-game interviews
  5. Tailgate events
  6. Behind-the-scenes pep talks
  7. Press conferences

In addition, the SEC Digital Network will enable fans to engage via widgets, polls, forums and mashups that enable the blending of two external functionalities.

The SEC Digital Network will encompass all men’s and women’s sports. For the 2009-10 season, fans can expect coverage and commentary from a total of 96 regular season Football games, 186 regular and pre-season Men’s Basketball games, 165 regular season Women’s Basketball games, more than 750 Olympic events and all championships and tournaments.

Details on the official launch date for the SEC Digital Network will come in mid-August via Twitter ( or, FaceBook, SEC fan e-mails and an official news release. The Conference encourages fans to continue to visit the current Web site for updates in the coming weeks. For more information fans can also visit

The Next Big Things

In the Telegraph this weekend, we're running features for both Georgia and Georgia Tech, listing five reasons each team should be better in 2009 and five reasons they'll be worse.

Putting the lists together forced me to go through the roster position-by-position (more on that later). In doing that, I came up with a list of my top five players I think are ready to make a big step forward in their careers.

Certainly there may be others -- and perhaps it's possible I'm wrong about these five -- but after talking to players and coaches about all of them this offseason, I feel pretty confident in saying these Bulldogs are going to be big-time contributors in 2009.


2008 Results: From the outset, Jones did enough as a true freshman to impress offensive line coach Stacy Searels -- and that's no easy task. He received generous playing time from Day 1 and by Week 4 of the season he had taken over the starting center job, playing nearly every snap the rest of the way.

2009 Outlook: Starting center once again, recovering from offseason thumb surgery.

Analysis: Throughout the 2008 season, Jones played far beyond what should have been expected of a true freshman. This year, he'll have a season of experience under his belt and rather than playing alongside two freshmen, he'll be flanked by veterans.

He says: (On Searels using him in a goal line situation in Georgia's opener last year) "After he did that, I said he trusts me to do this, so I guess I can do anything else. That was a big play for me. I'll always remember that. Ever since then, I was like, I can do anything."

They say: OK, I don't have any quotes from anyone else on Jones that I can find, and the feature I wrote on him early last season has been deleted from, but you can read the introduction to the story on Gentry Estes' Alabama blog, and I think it should tell you all you really need to know about Jones.


2008 Results: Appeared in all 13 games -- primarily at Sam linebacker -- making 10 starts. He recorded 46 tackles, including a career-best 10 vs. Alabama.

2009 Outlook: Slated to be the team's starting middle linebacker.

Analysis: Dent enters his third year as a starter and has shown significant progress in each of the past two. He'll likely move to middle linebacker this season, replacing the departed Dannell Ellerbe. That might be an apt comparison, too. Ellerbe was a key contributor for two years, but blew up in his third year and became one of the SEC's top defenders. Dent was extremely good -- although slightly under the radar -- last season, but he's ready for a break-out campaign. Perhaps most encouraging is that, like Ellerbe did as a junior, Dent has thrown aside his understated personality and begun to come out of his shell and assume more of a leadership role on the defense.

He says: (on mentoring the young guys) "You have those first time jitters the first time you go out on the field because you don't know what to expect, but me, Darryl Gamble, Rennie, we're out there and we critique them on everything, even if it's something minor because we want them to do it the best way."

They say: "Going back and looking at a lot of the clips from the season, Akeem Dent really did a great job." -- Linebackers coach John Jancek


2008 Results: He had a heck of a year, recording 75 catches for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns. Unfortunately it was for Plant High School in Tampa.

2009 Outlook: With no heir apparent to the TD job and a lack of depth at receiver, the athletic Charles is likely to see plenty of playing time as a true freshman.

Analysis: Charles has the skills to be a decent enough pass blocker and an exceptional weapon in the passing game. The question was whether he could develop those skills fast enough to make an impact immediately. To hear his fellow players tell the story (here, here, here or here), he has. So far, Charles is getting the full A.J. Green treatment from his teammates (i.e., they can't stop talking about how great he is) and he certainly seems to have the personality to handle the hype.

He says: "I have my own mind-set from the get-go that I just want to make everybody better around me. I just want to win. ... I don't want to wait til my sophomore or junior year to win a national championship."

They say: "Orson Charles is going to make a big impact. He's a man-child." -- Brandon Boykin.


2008 Results: Appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman, but saw little action. Finished the season with six tackles.

2009 Outlook: Mark Richt has him slated as the starting cornerback opposite Prince Miller to start fall camp.

Analysis: I remember hanging around when Paul Dehner of the Albany Herald was doing interviews midway through the season last year, asking each Georgia player who they thought were the potential second-half stars. Sadly, the Herald's archives are, um, not good, so I can't find the actual story, but I clearly remember nearly every player bringing up the name Brandon Boykin. That playing time never really developed last year, but now that Asher Allen is gone, the path is clear for Boykin to become the star his teammates predicted, and he has spent his offseason working on getting ready for the job. The kid is extremely athletic, can jump a mile, and perhaps most importantly, he has that natural ability to find the football.

He says: "I'm trying to come in and make plays like Asher did, get in on all the tackles like he did, and I feel like I'm stepping into the position."

They say: "You ought to see him on the basketball court just going up and dunking on people. It's amazing how someone his size can get up so high." -- Wide receiver A.J. Green


2008 Results: Appeared in just three games, serving as Matthew Stafford's back-up, but completed 11-of-15 passes, including Georgia's only touchdown against Florida.

2009 Outlook: When Stafford left for the NFL, Cox was handed the job of starter and, more importantly, team leader.

Analysis: For whatever reason, people are worried about Joe Cox. I'm officially convinced they shouldn't be. No, he doesn't have Stafford's arm -- but how many times did Stafford's cannon really make the difference in a game? Cox can make all the throws he needs to make, he's extremely accurate and he has a great rapport with his receivers. More importantly, the kid is as good a leader as you'll find. I don't root for Georgia and I definitely don't play on the team, but I've left interviews with Cox thinking, "Man, I can't wait for the season to start." He just has an infectious personality that gets people excited to play for him. And while Stafford brought a lot of tools to the table, I can't help but wonder if having the vocal Cox as the starter might not have made the team better last year. Regardless, he's the man this season, and he'll have a tremendous offensive line and a guy named A.J. Green to work with. I think there's every reason to believe he'll be a David Greene-like player who puts together a D.J. Shockley-like season.

He says: "I felt like at times, and really throughout my career, you can see certain games where it just seemed like we were flat. We just needed somebody or something to spark it, and hopefully I can bring the way I like to play, hopefully that can change some things and maybe bring some fire to us."

They say: "He has a confidence about himself that no matter what happens we're going to always prevail. That's something that Stafford had, too, but with Cox it's more like, when you look at him, you know you're looking at a champion, and his energy feeds into you to do the best you can. It's just the confidence he gives off. I don't know the critiques he's being given by the commentators or the scouting reports, but when we look at him, we look at a ball player. And when we look at him, we're ready to play." -- Left tackle Trinton Sturdivant

OK, a few honorable mentions I considered for this list: Carlton Thomas, Bryan Evans, Rod Battle, Michael Moore, Trinton Sturdivant.

How about you? Which players do you think will take the next step toward stardom this season?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stinchcomb Preps for New Role with ESPN

ESPN was all over the place at SEC Media Days last week, which shouldn't be surprising given the landmark deal the network signed with the conference this year. The upside for me? It gave me a chance to chat with former Georgia lineman Matt Stinchcomb, who will be handling color analysis for the SEC's new studio show on the SEC Network. Here's what Stinchcomb had to say about his new gig...

David Hale: Are you excited about the new job? I know a lot of Georgia fans are happy to have a local guy doing analysis of the SEC.

Matt Stinchcomb: A meathead? A meathead they'll all know and recognize? No, that'd be someone else. Yeah, I'm fired up. It's just another opportunity to talk shop. To get to do that all day on a Saturday and not actually have to go hide in the garage or something to get away with it -- that's not a bad scenario really.

DH: Well, I think ESPN and the SEC are both pretty excited about the scenario, too. Have you given much thought to what it will be like working for a network like ESPN with such a huge reach nationally?

MS: There will be plenty of voices other than mine, but it's exciting. Growing up where I did, we're Tucker, Georgia guys, growing up in the heart of SEC country. You grow up a Georgia fan, you grow up surrounded by this kind of football, to be able to do that after you're done playing, to have a good excuse to follow it other than just because you want to kill a Saturday, that's ideal. It's just a tremendous opportunity. It's a landmark deal that ESPN and the SEC entered into, and it just shows that this conference has legs outside of the geographic area that it exists. This has an impact on the national landscape. So to be a part of that and have input on how that's communicated to sports fans, that's going to be a lot of fun.

DH: As a guy with such close ties to Georgia, I assume it will be hard to hide your allegiances on the air. How will you be giving an unbiased opinion about, oh, say, the Florida Gators?

MS: An unbiased opinion? Well, they know where you played your college ball, so it's not hard to figure out. But it's not difficult to be an objective observer. I think as long as what you're looking at, the observations are fair, it's hard to really argue with it. At the end of the day, it's always going to just be your opinion, but I think there's ways to communicate that where it's respectful. I grew up a Georgia fan and I follow Georgia now. I've got a lot of family there. But that being said, you can look at the SEC and analyze a football game and it is what it is. Football's still football and you ignore what decal is on the side of the helmet. As long as you're fair to everybody, I think it will be an easy thing to do.

DH: As you're looking ahead to what's to come this season, as a broadcaster, what games are you most looking forward to?

MS: There's plenty of them. Florida-LSU, Georgia-LSU, the Oklahoma State game will be fun. Alabama-Virginia Tech to start the season is going to be an interesting game to watch. Right there, you see one of the top two teams in the SEC East in Georgia playing Oklahoma State, that is by some accounts a top-10 team and one of the best in the Big 12 having to go to Stillwater. Then you have Alabama playing Virginia Tech, another top-10 team out of the ACC. That's a heck of a way to kick off your opening game for two of the top teams in this conference. So those are two of the games you look to almost immediately. Down the line, in the SEC West, pick one. The fact that you have Ole Miss, Alabama and LSU in the conversation, and then you have Arkansas just waiting to spoil one of their seasons, there's too many to really pigeonhole. You can talk about that whole mix. All those teams are going to mesh, and it'll be interesting to see who survives it. That's going to be a murderer's row this year, the SEC West.

DH: Were you at Media Days when you were at Georgia?

MS: As a player I came.

DH: So how does being back here this time compare?

MS: I'm doing a lot more interviews this time. The SEC was big then, but it's a lot bigger now. Part of that is the BCS and the media deals and how successful this conference has been in the bowl season and on a national scale in the bowl championship games. There's a lot of attention on these three days, and rightfully so. This conference impacts what it looks like in December and January.

DH: So with all that's in store for you when the season starts, how are you preparing for the new job? Have you been studying up? Get a haircut?

MS: How does my hair look?

DH: I think it looks great.

MS: I appreciate that. I've worked hard on the weave and tweezed the eyebrows more than once.

Seriously, as much as a lot of people, including myself, follow SEC football, it's not going to be that different. You kind of have to distill some of your thoughts. You can't get up there and do what I'm doing right now and talk and talk and talk. You have to be more concise. But the subject matter, it's great subject matter. It's really compelling stuff that I would follow anyway, so I don't know that it's going to be that much different. I read all the magazines and visit all the sites whether I'm going to be on television or not.

Tuesday Links (7/28)

I'll be spending my day today in the car, driving from Delaware to Athens with my dog in tow. Wish me luck.

Before I hit the road, however, here's some reading material to keep you entertained today...

-- I have a story in today's Telegraph on the lessons Mark Richt learned from Georgia's lackluster practices last year.

-- You'll need a Scout membership to read this one, but I have a story up over at Dawg Post on the relationship between Georgia freshmen quarterbacks Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray.

-- Mark Richt did his part to get fans excited for the upcoming season at the Bulldog Club event in Atlanta on Monday.

Some interesting thoughts from Tim Tucker's coverage: 1.) Richt really doesn't plan on redshirting any linebackers? So what, he'll play nearly a dozen linebackers this year? I find that hard to believe. 2.) The Tim Tebow stuff is still being discussed? Ugh. 3.) That Mark Fox knows how to rally a crowd. If nothing else, he's a huge upgrade from Dennis Felton in that respect.

-- Mark Bradley has more coverage of the event in his blog.

-- Neland Ball's sales pitch to his brother must not have been too good. Chip Towers reports Neiron Ball is headed to Florida.

-- My hope is that you found a lot of good SEC Media Days coverage here and at But if you still need some more, T Kyle King has his usual excellent synopsis.

-- And if you still haven't gotten enough, ESPN's Chris Low has a 20-point inspection from the event.

-- Battle Hymn Notes wonders how the new deal between the SEC and ESPN might affect future scheduling around the league. By the way, check back a little later today for some more notes on ESPN's SEC coverage.

-- Rex Robinson takes a look at the players in the mix for running back duties this year and decides that Carlton Thomas oozes potential and Richard Samuel might not be the man for the job.

-- The Asbury Park Press looks at what life is like for Knowshon Moreno now that he's a pro.

-- The Denver Post reports that Moreno isn't very close to a deal with the Broncos just yet.

-- Moreno's new teammate and fellow former Bulldog, Champ Bailey, is starting to get antsy to win a Super Bowl.

-- Moreno may take a while to sign, but Asher Allen got a deal done with the Minnesota Vikings.

-- And so did Corvey Irvin, who reached a contract agreement with the Carolina Panthers.

-- Friend of the blog and Oklahoma State beat writer Scott Wright predicts the outcomes of the Cowboys season and he doesn't foresee Georgia putting up much of a fight. (h/t Michael F.)

-- Eye on Sports Media has an early review of the Larry Munson autobiography due out next month.

-- For reasons I cannot possibly guess, Every Day Should Be Saturday takes a moment out to joke about the size of Matthew Stafford's head (literally, not figuratively).

-- The Red and Black's Tyer Estep makes some interesting comparisons between Lane Kiffin and Suzanne Yoculan.

-- Tyler and Fletcher Page are also going player-by-player with some preseason analysis, starting at the end and working back.

-- Looks like LSU and North Carolina will be kicking off the 2010 season in Atlanta.

-- I didn't get a chance to post links earlier this week, but a big congrats to the Senator on marking a milestone . I'm sure I represented a fair number of clicks along the way.

-- Former Georgia pitcher Dean Weaver agreed to a deal with the Washington Nationals.

-- I got an email from the performer of this song, so I'll pass it on to you: Martha Ann Brooks is a singer from Georgia and UGA alum. She is offering a free download of a song about the Bulldogs on her Web site. (scroll to the bottom)

-- Georgia moved up the list of party schools, but is still being beaten out by those Gators.

-- If you're a fan of old baseball cards and exceptional narrative writing, you'll love the Cardboard Gods blog. The proprietor was on hiatus while writing a book, but returned with a great post last week.

-- I'm not sure if this should come with a spoiler alert or not, but here's some info on some familiar faces you might see on "Lost" this season.

-- Wait, wait, there will be even more characters coming back... these ones not so old.

-- Some more "Lost" after Comic Con: Here's an interview with the actor who plays Richard. Apparently the producers spent some serious cash and time on their Comic Con presentation. And from it, they got this piece where Michael Emerson "auditions" for the role of Hurley.

-- And finally, if you've grown tired of trying to sync up Dark Side of the Moon with "The Wizard of Oz," here's a new Pink Floyd-related coincidence you can try.

Monday, July 27, 2009

SECCG to Stay in Atlanta Through 2015

From SEC release...

The Southeastern Conference and the Georgia Dome have agreed on a five-year extension for the SEC Football Championship Game that will have the game played at the world-class facility through the 2015 game, announced SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Monday.

"The SEC Football Championship Game has become one of the season’s premiere events," said Slive. "The Georgia Dome and the Georgia World Congress Center is a fitting host for our event. Their operations staff and leadership have been tremendous to work with and we look forward to continuing the relationship."

The SEC Football Championship Game continues to be one of the most popular sporting events in the nation. The game has been sold out every year but once (1995) since the first game was played at the Georgia Dome in 1994. Last year’s SEC Football Championship Game pitting Alabama against Florida drew 75,892 fans – the largest crowd ever to witness a sporting event in the Georgia Dome.

"The city of Atlanta has also served us well in the past," added Slive. "The quality of accommodations and the fact that it is a transportation hub for the Southeast makes it a great city to host the SEC Weekend of Champions."

The 2009 SEC Championship Game will be played on Dec. 5 with kickoff slated for 4 p.m. ET. The game will be televised by CBS Sports. The SEC Weekend of Champions begins with the Regions Bank SEC Coaches Luncheon on Friday, Dec. 4 and also includes the Dr Pepper SEC FanFare and the SEC Legends Dinner presented by AT&T.

From the Mailbag: Cox's Concerns

It was tough getting Twitter questions answered with all the Tebow inquiries, but I did get one answered...

From @Suthern_Shepherd: Is there one thing in your own game that you are deficient in or want to improve on this fall?

Deficient probably isn't the right word, but there is one thing Cox is a bit concerned about. Here's his answer...

Get to Know: Brandon Bogotay

For the past few weeks, we've been chatting with some of Georgia's incoming freshmen to find out a bit about what they're like away from the football field. In our latest installment, I talk to kicker Brandon Bogotay, who transferred from Grossmont College in San Diego with the hopes of handling Georgia's kickoff duties in 2009... and maybe more.

(NOTE: This interview took place before Bogotay arrived at Georgia earlier this month.)

David Hale: Most of the kickers I know have a genuine empathy for their NFL brethren. Is your favorite player a kicker, too?

Brandon Bogotay: Usually I look more toward personalities than what position they play. I live in San Diego so I'm a big fan of LaDanian Tomlinson, just because I think he's a team leader on and off the field. He's a humble character and a hard worker and he supports his teammates.

DH: But you do sympathize with what kickers go through, right?

BB: Most definitely. You're on the field for just a little bit of time, but that little bit of time can be a game-changing moment. Every kick, every point matters in the game.

DH: Are you the typical Southern California guy who spends all his free time at the beach surfing?

BB: I do enjoy the beach. I grew up surfing. I love the beach and relaxing, but you can only sit on the beach for so long.

DH: Coming all the way from San Diego, Athens has to seem like another world for you. Are you concerned about the change in culture?

BB: I'm sure it's going to be a big change coming from San Diego, but I'm just excited to be in a college town and just see how everybody vibes off each other. When I was there (in the spring), people were a lot nicer to each other than they are out here in San Diego. I'm excited.

DH: Well, I lived in San Diego for a few years, and I think you'll probably be fine in Athens. One thing I do miss though is the food. You really can't get great fish tacos out here.

BB: Yeah, I was asking one of the players if they've ever had carne asada and they had no idea what it was. I was like, ‘Oh man.'

DH: That's true, but if you want some pulled pork or some meatloaf and mashed potatoes, you're in the right place.

BB: That's what I hear. I hear the barbecue is amazing.

DH: So what do you think you'll miss the most about San Diego?

BB: Probably just my friends and family. I've got a good group of core friends and most of my family is here, but I'm ready to step out and experience some new things.

DH: Well, since you mentioned it, how did your friends and family react to your decision to come to Georgia? That's a long way for them to travel.

BB: Everyone around that we all know, everybody's rocking the Georgia gear now. You see Georgia flags all over San Diego, which is cool. My mom retired in the airlines, so she has flight benefits and they're going to try to fly out to as many games as they can.

DH: As a Southern California guy, you undoubtedly run into a celebrity or two every now and then. Have you ever met anyone famous that you were particularly impressed by?

BB: I've met a couple of Chargers because one of my buddies works at a car dealership and gets to talk to a bunch of those guys, and they're just great guys.

DH: Well, among the celebrities you haven't met, who would you most like to spend some time with?

BB: No. 1 celebrity? I'd have to say Tiger Woods. He's super competitive, he always comes out on top, but he's also humble, and he's one of the hardest working players on the tour. I know he works out with the Chargers every now and then, and I've heard he puts up like 360-something on the bench. The guy's got everything going for him.

DH: Yeah, and he's usually at his best when he's playing out there at Torrey Pines, too.

BB: Yeah, he's unbelievable.

DH: Blair Walsh is a big political buff and a pretty staunch Republican. Not to get too personal, but do you have any strong feelings on that stuff and have you talked about it at all with Blair?

BB: I haven't talked politics with Blair. We're still trying to get to know each other a little bit. It's hard to talk politics with people you don't really know because everybody's got their strong opinions and beliefs. I kind of stick in the middle. I don't like to give myself a label. I like to vote for policies rather than a label.

DH: So away from the football field, what do you like to do for fun?

BB: I used to ride dirt bikes but I stopped that so I don't get hurt. Golf is great, I love golfing, playing basketball and soccer.

DH: Last question: You're going to be the last guy to arrive on campus since you're transferring in a little late. Are you concerned about being the only guy in the locker room who doesn't know everyone else already? What do you think it'll be like?

BB: It's one of the things I'm not really sure. I've never been in this situation, but I'm just looking forward to getting there, meeting the guys and getting things rolling.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Media Days '09: Richt on Running Backs

Mark Richt talks about the competition at running back for Georgia this season.

Media Days Notes: Florida Dominates Preseason Projections

A year ago, Georgia was the top team in the country to start the season, but the media in Hoover, Ala. for SEC Media Days still picked Florida to win the East. It probably shouldn't come as a big surprise then that the Gators were the runaway pick to repeat in 2009.

Florida was a unanimous selection by media to win the SEC East in the preseason balloting released Friday. Only one of the 64 voters selected anyone other than the Gators to win the conference. The lone dissenting vote went to Mississippi.

With the exception of receiver Percy Harvin, Florida returns nearly every key contributor from last year's national championship team, and the Gators' selection as the odds-on favorite to repeat as conference champs came as no surprise to the rest of the SEC.

"They win the big games, and you can't take anything from them," Georgia senior Jeff Owens said of the Gators. "They're a great football team, and we know that if you're going to be successful in this league, you've got to beat Florida. If you want to win a national championship or an SEC championship, you've got to beat Florida. That's the No. 1 thing."

Georgia was the consensus pick to finish second in the East, and the Bulldogs also landed five players on the All-SEC teams, as selected by the media. Receiver A.J. Green was the team's lone first-team representative, while linemen Clint Boling and Trinton Sturdivant, defensive tackle Geno Atkins and linebacker Rennie Curran were both named to the second team.

In the coach's poll, Curran was a first-team selection, but South Carolina's Eric Norwood said the demotion by the media was a reflection of the immense talent at linebacker in the conference.

"Our conference, you've got to have good linebackers," Norwood said. "It's not an option. It's not like you're in the Pac-10. This is a tough, physical conference, and you've got to be able to hit."

Alabama was selected by the media to win the SEC West, but the balloting was much closer. The Crimson Tide received 33 first-place votes, followed by Mississippi with 16 and LSU with 15.

Florida led all teams with 12 representatives on the All-SEC teams, including eight first teamers. Alabama had eight selections, while LSU and Ole Miss tied Georgia with five.


The long national nightmare is over. The culprit has been found. The mystery has been solved.

The coach who left Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's name off his preseason All-SEC ballot was South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, but he promised the slight was unintentional.
Spurrier said an assistant filled out the ballot, leaving Tebow's name off and instead voting for Mississippi's Jevan Snead. Spurrier signed off on the ballot and admitted it was a mistake.

"I've called (SEC media relations director) Charles Bloom and said, 'Can I change our selection and put Tim Tebow in?'" Spurrier said. "I was able to put Tim Tebow in today, so now it's unanimous."

But even after Spurrier took full responsibility for leaving Tebow's name off his ballot and corrected the mistake, large contingent of reporters refused to let the story die. Nine more questions were posed to Spurrier involving Tebow, Florida or his voting habits, and a horde of reporters followed the former Gators coach off the stage and into the lobby to pose additional inquiries.

"I know some of you may not think that's right," Spurrier said of the voting error, hoping to end the discussion. "We made a mistake. Tim Tebow is not only the best quarterback in this league, I think he's the best in the country. … I admire and respect him. I apologize to him. He should have been on that ballot. I messed up, and I take full blame for it."


Spurrier's admission of the voting snafu put an end to the week's biggest story, but it created a second wave of inquiries from the reporters in attendance.

After admitting that an assistant filled out his ballot, Spurrier added a bit of fuel to the fire surrounding the decision this spring to keep coaches' ballots anonymous in the top-25 poll, beginning in 2010.

The coaches' poll represents one-third of the formula for determining the final BCS standings, which in turn determine which teams play for the national championship. Many coaches, like Spurrier, don't fill out their own ballots, instead delegating the job to assistants, and the South Carolina coach understands why that creates a problem.

"I've been doing the preseason ballots for 17 years, and I've never filled one out," Spurrier said. "I don't know why we vote. I guess it's because college football is still without a playoff system. I really believe most coaches do not know a whole lot about other teams, but we do vote. That's what they ask us to do, and I think we all try to do the best we can."

The sentiment isn't one LSU's Les Miles disagrees with, but he thinks delegating the voting to assistants at least makes the system work a bit better, as head coaches focus primarily on teams in their own conference.

In the end, Miles agreed the system was far from perfect, but argued that he hadn't heard a better alternative.

"I am for the playoffs, I just don't see how it works effectively," Miles said. "Everyone in the room can come up with a playoff system … but until it gets done, I'm not going to complain."


With just 10 days before Georgia begins fall practice, head coach Mark Richt is still waiting on one more recruit to arrive.

Lineman Kwame Geathers still hasn't qualified officially, and while Richt remains confident that he will, nothing is set in stone yet.

"The only guy who hasn't been in is Geathers, and we still expect him to be here," Richt said. "There's a couple more hoops that he had to jump through that hopefully he's jumping through right now."


Norwood figures to be South Carolina's defensive leader when the Gamecocks arrive in Athens on Sept. 12, but if he knew in high school what he knows now, he might have been in the opposite locker room.

Georgia recruited Norwood heavily, he said, but issues with his grades – he had a 1.6 GPA at the end of his senior season – forced the Bulldogs to give up their pursuit.

"I had a grade problem," Norwood said. "Clearinghouse was like a 2.3, but by then it was too late. Teams have to recruit."

Auburn and Oklahoma State joined South Carolina in offering a scholarship to Norwood, but the majority of the other teams that had shown interest dropped out after learning of his grades. Once he chose South Carolina, it took three tries before he could be admitted. The process was a lesson learned for the All-SEC linebacker.

Since joining the Gamecocks, Norwood has turned his academic life around. He has made the Dean's list five times, he said, and he is scheduled to graduate in December.

The key, Norwood said, was simple. He just had to commit to his studies and believe he could do it.

"Applying myself, that's the main thing," Norwood said. "In high school, I used just walk around the halls and stuff like that. Now, we have a great academic support staff, and they let me believe that if I didn't have football, I could still succeed academically in college."


Tebow was the dominant topic of conversation throughout media days, and Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin knows why. His fan base may hope the Volunteers will be national championship contenders this year, but Kiffin is already handing the title over to the Gators and their star quarterback.

"I think there will be a million articles written after Tim has another great year," Kiffin said. "With all the great players, they'll win another national championship. He'll win a Heisman. I'm serious about that. I really believe that."

Media Days '09: More From Mark Richt

A few more quotes from Mark Richt from yesterday's Media Days session...

On what it will take to turn the defense around...
"Number one, we hope to stay healthy. Number two, we hope to practice the way we've practiced every year since I've been at Georgia, and that is to practice tackling by tackling, and to practice goal line by getting on the goal line, practice inside run by getting after it full speed, full contact.

"What we did last year, at my direction and my decision was to we backed off of some of those practice sessions in full pads with the intention of playing full speed as far as tackling to the ground, cutting below the waist, just playing football, because we got to the point where we were so thin at some positions, if we lost one more guy, we were gonna be in trouble with just having a guy that would know what to do.

"And so our injuries came fairly fast and furious. I mean, like, for example, we normally have three scrimmages in the pre season to try to determine who the starters should be, the backup should be, but also to hone our skills at playing football and tackling, playing with speed and energy and intimidation on defense. By our scrimmage number two last year, I made the decision to thud that practice rather than go full speed.

"As soon as it was over, I knew I made a mistake because you don't get good at defense by doing that. So the next day, we did scrimmage some, not nearly as much as we would have the day before. I was trying to at least get us back into that mode.

"But things like that happen throughout the year because of the number of guys that were banged up. I hope I'm not put in that situation again to have to make that decision, but if I don't flinch, we're gonna keep practicing the way you got to practice playing defense. Hopefully, we learned a good lesson there."

On handling off-field issues this year vs. last...
"There's really been no difference in our coaching staff's pursuit of educating our guys about those types of things. I think when it comes to that, that has to be player led. I did spend a lot of time speaking to our seniors.

"We have a character education class. We meet once a week for half an hour and talk about leadership. We sometimes get off of our curriculum and we'll just talk about the team, how we can practically lead the team.

"We talked about some of the things that happened last season. One of the things the seniors came up with is they felt like there wasn't enough accountability, you know, player to player. One guy didn't have enough accountability to his teammate in how he handled his business in a lot of ways, whether it was schoolwork, how hard he worked, what he did off the field. So they felt like they needed to be accountable to each other much more than they ever have.

"I think that Joe Cox, Jeffrey Owens, the two that are here today, and others, have done a very good job of relaying that to their teammates. I just think they see the value in that.

"I think there's a lot of players that got sick of it themselves. They didn't want it to happen again."

On Georgia's tough non-conference schedule...
"Yeah, non conference, to have three BCS conference opponents out of the four non conference games is pretty heavy duty. Then when you look at who they are, you know, Oklahoma State, probably pre season top 10 by most people, loaded offense coming back, a team that you hear the coaches say, We've been kind of pointing to this season for the last couple years, opening a brand new stadium. I think they're charging $100 a ticket. I think it's the highest pre season start for Oklahoma State.

"So they're gonna be off the chart when it comes to enthusiasm and excitement and expectations towards their season.

"Then you also have Arizona State. Another BCS opponent. Dennis Erickson has won a couple of national championships, at least one. Did he win one or two? He won two, didn't he, at Miami?

"Then of course, Georgia Tech, we've all seen what they've been able to do under Paul Johnson's direction. That's pretty tough when you consider who you play in conference.

"We might have bit off more than we should have. I think the plan was never to have three BCS opponents. We did say, after the 12th game was added, we would add try to add a BCS opponent outside of the Southeast Region. We decided to do that. Just because of the scheduling, it so happened the only way it would work, with some home and aways with Arizona State and Oklahoma State, it had to happen all in this year. But I doubt that happens again anytime soon."

On being the longest tenured head coach at one school in the SEC...
"When I said I was surprised I'm here, it wasn't so much because of any recent season or anything like that. I think I was reflecting back on being here for the first time nine years ago, and to think that you are going to be here nine years later in our league, in college football in general, the same team, the way things are going, you can't sit there and start predicting that that would happen.

"You know, every decision I ever made since I've been at Georgia has been to try to make a decision that would help us in the long run. I didn't try to do anything in a quick fix fashion. I was used to working for a man, named Bobby Bowden, he had so much success at one place, you know, that was attractive to me. I wanted to provide that same kind of stability for our players and our program and our staff and their wives and children, as Coach Bowden did for me and my family.

"So everything I've done is to try to make sure we will be here for the long haul. But it's humbling, no doubt. I don't know what that means other than we're doing a little something right here."

On prepping for a new defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State...
"You look at where he's been, and if it's consistent at Kansas, Miami, then schematically you know this is probably what he likes to do. But then as you're studying his scheme, you're not studying his personnel. If you're studying Oklahoma State's personnel, it's in a system that they're probably not going to be running. Coaches don't like the unknown, and we don't know for sure what's going to happen."

On Tim Tebow...
"If I had a vote on a national level, I'd have voted for him, too. I think that guy might be the greatest player/leader, maybe the greatest one ever in college football. When you take his ability, his productivity, his leadership, his ability to get everybody to rally around him, I don't know if there's been many like that."

On what he likes about Joe Cox...
"I've coached QBs a long time. To me, quarterbacks need to be accurate. They need to be great decision makers. They need to be able to handle the pressure of the job. And they need to be leaders. Joe is all of those personified. He also has the confidence of his teammates. A lot of guys have leadership qualities, but for some reason guys don't tend to follow them. Maybe he doesn't have that charisma that draw people to him. Joe's had that from the first day."

Media Days '09: Cox Talks Tebow

Which has become more tiresome -- the Tebow talk or all the video I've posted? Well, here's more of both, courtesy of Joe Cox...