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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Links (1/30)

I have a firm belief that the two phrases most guaranteed to result in a story that bores the life out of you are these:

1.) "You wouldn't believe what happened in my fantasy football game this week..."

and 2.) "Let me tell you about this dream I had last night..."

Stories that start that way always end poorly and require me to immediately begin drinking heavily.

And the addendum to this theory is that everyone who agrees with it will also at some point use the phrase, "I know stories about people's dreams are always awful, but here's one that really is crazy..."

Then they proceed to tell you about the time they were playing poker with Salmon Rushdie, a unicorn, the 1976 Flyers and Tony Danza and the game ended in a rash of gunfire due to a dispute over someone's fantasy football game.

(Actually, that's not a bad story.)

Anyway, I'm not promising entertainment here but... I had a dream last night that I was just about to take a few days off from work when I got a call that Scott Lakatos had decided he really didn't like living in the South and was quitting his job at Georgia to return to UConn, and I would need to immediately start covering yet another coaching search.

I'm now seriously concerned that I may never be able to go back to the normal life I had before Willie Martinez was fired without blowing up a nuclear device on a mysterious island to reconfigure the space-time continuum.

So... if some day I end up in a mental hospital muttering to myself about defensive coordinators and 3-4 defenses, please promise that at least a few of you will come and visit.

One other note: I was asked by a few people yesterday about signing day festivities at Butts-Mehre. The third-floor museum area is still open to fans, so if you have plans to go, you should be fine.

OK, some links...

-- I have a story in today's Telegraph on what the Senior Bowl could mean for Jeff Owens' draft stock. In talking with Jeff, I asked him if he'd had a chance to hit Tim Tebow at all during practice. Sadly, that wasn't the case. But you still have to enjoy his response:

“We can’t hit the quarterbacks here, but I knocked down one of his passes. It was a low ball and I came in and knocked it down. But I haven’t had a chance to hit him yet since no one’s allowed to hit the quarterback in practice. But we’ve been getting after him. We’ve been getting pressure to him and making him step up in the pocket and make some bad throws.”

-- The Senator uses numbers -- which, as we know, ALWAYS lie -- to illustrate that there's a reasonable chance that some of the anomalies of 2009 can regress to the mean and provide UGA with a pretty solid chance to win the East in 2010.

-- I wrote yesterday about the correlation among SEC teams' big recruits and the likelihood that those players would eventually be drafted by an NFL team. Well, Dr. Saturday did some research a while back that goes even further and finds that there is definitely some merit to the star system as a predictive device. (h/t mp)

-- Marc Weiszer looks back at a few of Georgia's marquee signing day gets from 2005 and 2006 to see how they panned out.

-- Willie Martinez finally has another job -- and he'll now be working on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford.

-- Dawg Sports has some insider info on Georgia's new DBs coach, Scott Lakatos. I must point out one glaring error early in on Kyle King's story though: He says UConn basketball is really important this time of year, but he's mistaken. UConn doesn't have a basketball team so much as it rounds up some bums at the bus station and puts them on a basketball court occasionally. Suck it, Calhoun! Go Cuse!

-- Mr. SEC defends himself against some criticism from the AJC. It's funny how "unnecessary" quotation marks can cause such a stir when "employed" as a means of conveying "sarcasm."

-- Don't forget that Herschel Walker steps into the, um, what do they have in MMA? A ring? Octogon? One of those rolly balls like on "American Gladiators"? I gotta start watching this stuff. Anyway, Herschel is fighting tonight.

-- has a story on Georgia freshman gymnast Shayla Worley and her role as the face of a very talented group of young Gym Dogs. (And seriously, a college gymnastics story on Nice going, Gym Dogs!)

-- T Kyle King breaks down how a good UGA fan should root in this year's Super Bowl.

-- Our pal C Trent Rosecrans has a great list of all the absurd prop bets you can make on this year's Super Bowl.

-- Mark Fox's crew faces yet another tough test on the road, where they're now 0-6 this season.

-- Hoop Dawgs looks on the bright side of things for Georgia, despite its 1-4 conference record.

-- Connor Nolte adds his latest trick shot video to his blog, this one featuring Georgia's secret weapon for next season.

-- Dawgs for Haiti has already raised $45,000 for relief efforts.

-- If you're a baseball nut like I am, you'll enjoy this: It's a history of the stolen base, as charted by Baseball Analysts.

-- See, this is why newspapers are still important... what else are you going to go buy as instant memorabilia after something big happens in your town? Printing out a Web page just doesn't have the same mystique. (I know someone forwarded me this link, but now I can't find out who... so h/t to whoever you are!)

-- As for that other dying journalistic medium, here's a little do-it-yourself guide to being a television news journalist. (NSFW)

-- Jim Boeheim ladies and gentlemen... he'll be here all week! Tip your waitresses! (Seriously, Syracuse must have a good team this year because Boeheim is NEVER that amusing.)

-- Jimmy Kimmel reminds us who the real victim in the late-night wars is... poor, poor Jay Leno.

-- My favorite "Top Chef" contestant has dropped out of a prestigious cooking competition.

-- Sci Fi Wire has a list of 15 strange roles the cast of "Lost" had before landing on the show. (They foolishly left off Daniel Dae Kim's guest spot on the "Seinfeld" episode when Kramer is doing acting work at the hospital, playing a guy with gonorrhea. Kim plays one of the med students.)

-- And finally, Access Atlanta has an interview with "Lost" star Josh Holloway in which he talks about his time at UGA and his love for the Bulldogs.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Whitaker Talks About His Decision

I've been told by about a half-dozen people who know a thing or two about football that the perfect fit at nose tackle in Todd Grantham's new scheme would be Warner-Robins' defensive lineman Jeff Whitaker, who will be announcing his college decision on Monday. (He's also considering Miami and Auburn.)

The Telegraph's preps writer, Jonathan Heeter, spent some time with Whitaker earlier this week and will have a more in depth story in Sunday's paper (so be sure to pick it up!), but here's a bit of what Whitaker had to say about UGA and his upcoming decision.

On Todd Grantham:
“He’s a really great guy. I think he is going to do a great job with the defense. He's honest with you and shoots straight, and that means a lot.”

On Grantham's scheme:
“I’ve played some 3-4 defense. I feel comfortable with it, although it isn’t what we played most of the time. I think (Georgia) feels like I would be a very good fit at nose tackle.”

On Georgia vs. the other programs he's deciding between:
“The thing I tell people all the time is that Georgia will be great with me or without me. It’s a great football program, and they have a great coaching staff."

On his decision to announce his decision Monday rather than to wait until signing day:
“I wanted to get it out of the way before Signing Day. Signing Day is a day for all of my teammates who are signing, not just me. It’s about our Warner Robins family.”

And one more big reason to like this kid -- he told Jonathan that he won't be doing the traditional picking from a row of hats because he doesn't want it to seem like a slap in the face of the other coaches who recruited him. “I’m not playing games with those men when I make my pick,” he said.

Classy kid who's going to be a heck of a player.

One other thing: A few of you have asked about our coverage of signing day. Last year, I was in Butts-Mehre for the entirety of the day and live blogged the event. My plan was to do something similar this year, but with the construction going on at Butts-Mehre, the media has been pushed over to Stegeman. So... I'm not entirely sure how I'll be doing it yet, but I can promise you that we'll have full coverage (or as much as possible at least) on the blog as the day progresses. Mark Richt is scheduled to meet with media at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, so I'll obviously have updates from that as well.

Changing Faces: 5 Potential Breakout Players on Defense

At this point, it's hard to gauge how Todd Grantham's new 3-4 defense is going to affect the current roster of Bulldogs other than to say it's definitely going to shake things up.

But of all the fan-friendly quotes I've heard from Grantham so far, I think this one caught my eye more than any others when it comes to player development:
"The best thing you can do is create one-on-ones. You try to get the guys that can win for you against the guys that can’t win for them. I don’t think there’s any question that can be an asset for us, and I think that some players will thrive because of that. I think some guys will enhance their careers because of that, because we’re going to find ways to make guys in protection – whether it be a back or a freshman guard or tackle – we’re going to find ways to make those guys block.”
Add that to Grantham's insistence that the best players will play and there's a clean slate for those who hadn't seen much playing time in the past, and I'd say it's a safe bet that we'll see some new stars emerge on defense next season.

So, with that in mind, I tried to put together a quick list of five players I think might see the biggest impact in Year 1 from Grantham's arrival.

Now, keep in mind, this isn't a list of which players I think will find the most success. My guess is Justin Houston is going to be a first-team All-SEC guy in 2010 -- but he might have been that anyway.

And it's not a list of who the new faces will be this season. Players like Garrison Smith and Jakar Hamilton appear to have bright futures, but again, they would have likely had bright futures regardless of the DC.

This list is of five guys who have already been in Athens for at least a year who have a chance to see the career path they were on shifted in a positive direction now that the new staff is (almost) in place. For some, it's a matter of the scheme now matching their skills. For others, it's about getting a fresh start with a new opportunity to prove themselves. And for others, it's just about getting some better coaching to iron out the flaws in their game.

Anyway, here's what I came up with...

Cornelius Washington (RSo./DE). At 6-4, 250, Washington is a big boy, but his pass-rush skills have always hinged on his speed. Add to that the fact that in the 4-3, he was going to be stuck behind Houston and Demarcus Dobbs on the depth chart, and you have a guy with a ton of skill who wasn't being utilized in the best way. Enter the 3-4 and it's a completely different story. While Dobbs possesses the wider frame that could keep him at DE, Washington is a prototype outside linebacker in Grantham's scheme and could be an absolute stud as a pass rusher. If he teams with Houston at OLB in 2010, Washington's numbers could be off the charts, and Georgia's pass rush could be downright frightening.

Akeem Hebron (Sr./LB). I'm not entirely sure where Hebron fits in, but the fact of the matter is, he arrived at Georgia as one of the most highly recruiting linebackers the Dawgs had landed in recent years and his career has come and gone with about as little fanfare as any top-100 recruit could have. He has appeared in just nine games and made just four tackles total at Georgia, but with a fresh start under Grantham and the departure of Rennie Curran, there's a chance Hebron could salvage the final season of his college career much the way Brandon Miller did in 2007.

Marcus Dowtin (Jr./LB). Dowtin made huge steps forward in 2009 and was arguably Georgia's second best linebacker already. But the biggest chink in Dowtin's armor has been his consistency. I've been told by Curran and John Jancek and Darryl Gamble and even Dowtin himself that he has a tendency to take a play or two off on occasion or to let down his guard from time to time. Something tells me that Grantham and his 11 years of NFL experience won't be letting that happen any longer. Dowtin is talented enough to be a future star at the next level, and I wouldn't be shocked if Grantham gets him to just that point. Add to that Dowtin's strong tackling skills, strong work in blitz situations and ability to play in coverage and he seems like a good fit at ILB in the 3-4 to boot.

Kiante Tripp (Sr./DE). This might be wishful thinking on my part, but for anyone who has followed Tripp's career, you have to root for the kid to finally make something of himself at Georgia. He's been misused from the beginning, and he hasn't complained. Wherever coaches have needed him, he's gone. And each time he makes a position change, he gets thrown to the wolves, then cast aside quickly. The same was true last year after moving to DE when Tripp struggled to get onto the field after some early injury concerns. And as much as it would be a shame for a guy who has given his all for Georgia to miss out on a finding some success, it would be a crime for UGA to let someone with Tripp's combination of size and athleticism to graduate without turning him into a real player. Tripp's body type could work very well on the D line in Grantham's 3-4, and while he'll no doubt be pushed by some younger talent like Abry Jones and Kwame Geathers, he won't be without a good group of fans pulling for him to turn the corner after so many setbacks.

Jordan Love (RFr./CB). A lot of competition for the final slot -- with Geathers and Jones among the younger players who might thrive in new roles and Darryl Gamble or Akeem Dent among the older players who might cap their careers nicely in the 3-4 -- but I didn't want to only consider the front seven. In any defense, it's incumbent upon the corners to provide solid play in the run game, and Prince Miller did that really well last year. In the 3-4, that responsibility becomes even more important. Certainly Branden Smith could fill that role and do it well, but Love is bigger and more physical and could find himself in competition for a bit more playing time this season than he might have been otherwise. A foot injury kept him off the field in Year 1 of his career, which might have put him behind the 8-ball with the previous regime, but a strong spring could now leave him in prime position to be, at worst, the top corner off the bench in nickel situations.

So, what do you guys think? Any sleepers you're particularly excited about in 2010? Any veterans you're hoping will get one last shot?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fun With Numbers: Wrapping Up Recruiting

Before we get too deep into this post -- which, by the way, will be lengthy for all of you who might have planned to get some work done today -- I wanted to clarify one thing.

I'm a fan of stats. I can remember forcing my dad to take me out to buy the Sunday USA Today every week during baseball season when I was 9 years old so I could get the full MLB stats. I started playing fantasy baseball when I was 13. I like numbers.

And when it comes to stats, and particularly, these types of posts, I tend to hear two types of negative responses:

1.) "These stats are flawed because they don't take into account X, Y and Z."

2.) "Numbers lie. I know what I see."

As to the first critique, you are right. Which is why I write this post with an all-important caveat -- I'm providing you with information and some of my thoughts about what the information means. But for it to be truly meaningful, you're going to have to think about it some, too. Stats, in a vacuum, really aren't worth much. They require you to dig deeper. I'm just trying to give you the shovel.

As to the second critique, you might as well just stop reading blogs like this and go back to enjoying the games on Saturday. And I don't mean that as a criticism. There's a lot to be said for the folks who just want to enjoy football as a diversion and soak in the atmosphere on game day. But while stats don't always give us the whole story, the numbers are far from meaningless. They do help us to understand deeper issues and peel away some of those oft-repeated memes that really do us no good other than to provide things for useless comentators to quote during games.

So that's my soapbox moment for this post. The numbers are well researched, and hopefully they help you gain a better picture of things. If you don't like the results, feel free to ignore them. It's worked for politicians for years. And if you're intrigued, feel free to dig deeper, and keep me posted on what you find.


OK, we've gone through a handful of the results our pal Jim F. dug up in his extensive research of recruiting during the past couple of weeks. But today is the day we empty out the vault, and a day I get to use lots of charts and tables. Fun times.

So, I figured we'd start by addressing a few of the questions that you guys have brought up after the first couple of posts.

First up -- Recruiting rankings tell us how good a player is when he leaves high school. But how good are these guys when they leave college, and how is Georgia doing coachin' 'em up?

Hard to really quantify that, but let's give it a whirl. So, let's take a look at how many of the top-100 level recruits signed by each SEC school went on to earn All-Conference honors during their careers.

(*Remember, these stats include only players ranked by Rivals as "Top 100" players since 2002.)

School Top 100
(1st team)
Florida 47 15
31.9 6 12.8
LSU 43 7 16.3 5 11.6
Georgia 35 5 14.3 3 8.6
Tennessee 32 7 21.9 3 9.4
Alabama 22 4 18.2 3 13.6
S. Carolina
14 2 14.3 0 0
Auburn 11 1 9.1 0 0
Miss. State
9 3 33.3 1 11.1
Arkansas 7 2 28.6 2 28.6
Ole Miss
7 1 14.3 1 14.3
Kentucky 1 1 100.0 1 100.0
Vanderbilt 0 0 N/A 0 N/A
Total 228 48 21.1 25 11.0

OK, so what do we see?

Well, for one, the idea of landing a top recruit isn't really as big a deal as everyone seems to think. Even if you happen to sign a top-100 level prospect, there's only about a 1 in 5 chance that he'll go on to be one of the three best players at his position in his own conference. So maybe we've overvalued this whole recruiting thing a bit.

Chris Low has some interesting numbers from the 2009 All-SEC teams for offense and defense that essentially shows how being a big-time recruit doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a great college player, and coming in as an under-the-radar signee certainly doesn't prevent you from having a big impact.

There's an interesting book by Malcolm Gladwell that I'm sure a number of you have read called "Outliers." The book is essentially about how people become great at their craft. In addition to the numerous points about luck and hard work and opportunity and effort, there was one thing that sort of stood out to me. Gladwell concluded -- and this was backed up by a number of studies -- that you don't have to be the smartest guy in the room to be great at an intellectual exercise. You don't need to be a genius to be an immense success. Instead, you have to have reached a minimal threshold of ability, beyond which it doesn't matter how much smarter you are. In essence, a guy with an IQ of 130 and a guy with an IQ of 190 have roughly the same probability of achieving some specific level of success.

Perhaps that is true of these recruiting rankings, too. It doesn't matter that much if you're a top-100 guy. What matters is that you're good enough to be recruiting by an SEC team. If you have that much ability, then your odds of success really then become exactly the same as everyone else's -- the difference will be how hard you work, how lucky you are to avoid injuries, how many opportunities you get for playing time, etc.

Of course, when we get beyond that, there is still no doubt an element of a high-level recruits impact that is determined by coaching. And what these numbers tell us is that, for the truly high-end athletes, Georgia hasn't been particularly good at turning them into high-end performers.

Setting aside Kentucky and Vanderbilt, who have managed to ink just one player from this pool combined, Georgia is tied for eighth of 10 teams in turning top-100 prospects into All-SEC performers, and perhaps more importantly, the Bulldogs' staff has been successful at less than half the rate their arch-enemies at Florida have done. In terms of aggregate numbers alone, Florida has used its top-100 talent to create three times as many All-SEC performers as Georgia.

Now, football is no doubt the ultimate team game, but when your top competition is churning out two All-SEC players for every one that you do... that's a problem.

Also, one more note: There was only a marginal difference between the "elite" of the top-100 (i.e. 5-star guys) and the other top-100 players (i.e. the upper-echelon 4-star guys) who turned into All-Conference performers. In the SEC, 20 percent of 4-star guys went on to earn All-Conference honors, and 23 percent of 5-star players did.


OK, let's get back to those recruiting numbers for a minute. You might have been surprised to learn how few of the top recruits actually turn into All-SEC performers. I'll admit, I was.

But let's broaden the scope a bit. The thought behind a 5-star guy coming out of high school is generally that he has immense NFL potential, and the college experience is all about ironing out those details to get his game ready for the next level. So let's look at how our pool of elite high school talent in the SEC fared when it came time for the NFL draft.

Year Top 100
Still in
Percent Drafted
2002 30 0 0 0 0 10 33.3
2003 29 0 0 4 13.8 8 27.6
2004 23 0 0 2 8.7 8 34.8
2005 25 13 6 2 8.0 4 16.0
Total 107 13 n/a 8 7.5 30 28.0

*Note: "still in school" includes players who were still playing at the college level during the 2009 season. "Left Early" was used only for the 2005 totals as a means of differentiating between those still in school and those who weren't part of the 2009 NFL draft because of an early departure to the NFL.

Yikes! If you're a top-100 recruit, you have roughly a 1 in 13 chance of going on to be a first-round draft pick in the NFL. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Of course, the fact that about 1 in 4 does go on to the NFL is probably a fairly favorable number, and probably tells us that, when the recruiting rankings turn out to be good, they turn out to be very good. And when they miss, they miss by a fairly wide margin. (Which, for the sake of fairness, isn't necessarily due to flaws in the recruiting services alone. There are tons of factors that go into determining whether a big-time recruit turns into an NFL player.)

In case you're curious, Georgia has landed 21 top-100 recruits from 2002 through 2006. Of that group, six were still in school at the end of the 2009 season. Of those six, Kade Weston and Reshad Jones figure to be drafted, while Bryan Evans likely won't, Akeem Hebron and Justin Anderson aren't yet draft eligible, and Nedarris Ward transfered.

So, of the 15 who have come and gone, seven went on to be drafted. If you add in Weston, Jones and Evans, Georgia is looking at a 50 percent success rate of turning top-100 players into draftable commodities. That's not too shabby -- but when you compare the NFL draft results with the All-SEC results, you might fairly argue that the players are being drafted more on talent than success at the college level.

And one more note -- Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno became the first two first-rounders from this group last year.


We listed the number of overall top-100 talent at each school earlier, and Georgia hasn't exactly been in the same ballpark with Florida overall (the Gators hold a 47-35 edge total from 2002-2009) but what about the players the two teams had last year?

As it turns out, there really wasn't a huge difference. In fact, here's a run down of the number of top-100 recruits still in school among the SEC's teams.

Team Still in school
Florida 29
LSU 24
Georgia 21
Alabama 19
Tennessee 17
S. Carolina
Auburn 6
Arkansas 4
Ole Miss
Kentucky 1
Miss. State
Vandy 0

As we've pretty clearly shown, a top-100 ranking doesn't necessarily make you a future star. But this list is a good indicator of who has had the most talent to work with, and while Alabama and Florida turned their talent into wins, LSU and Georgia probably could have done a might bit better with the ability of the players on their rosters. And hat tips are probably deserved for Kentucky, which has really had a fine half-decade in the SEC despite having virtually no top-tier recruits.


A few other interesting tidbits from Jim's research to pass along...

-- It probably comes as no surprise that the Southeast is a fertile recruiting base. But fertile might be an understatement. It's really the Octomom of recruiting bases.

Of the 800 total "top 100" recruits from this time period, 321 of them came from the Southeast region. That's 40 percent.

It's no wonder then that the SEC has been the best conference in the country during that stretch.

It's also worth noting that of all the regions, the Southeast also had the highest percentage of top recruits who stayed in state for their college careers.

-- Here's the SEC's draft breakdown from 2002-2006, if you're interested:

First round -- 11
Second round -- 3
Third round -- 5
Fourth round -- 2
Fifth round -- 4
Sixth round -- 2
Seventh round -- 5

Not drafted -- 58
Still in school -- 137

-- You won't be surprised to learn that, during the decade of the 2000s, the SEC produced more players drafted by the NFL than any other conference. It was the ACC, however, that led all conferences in first-round draft picks (thanks Miami and FSU!), producing 69 first rounders compared to 58 by the SEC.

-- Georgia ranks sixth among all schools in producing players who were drafted during the 2000s with 49 players being selected. The Bulldogs also rank sixth in producing first-rounders with eight.

As for that team down the road -- Florida has produced 47 total draft picks (putting the Gators seventh overall) and is tied with Georgia by producing eight first rounders.

The Gators should have an early edge for the new decade after this year's draft though.

-- You might want to know about success in the NFL after being drafted... well, Jim dug up a few numbers on that, too.

33 players were drafted from the SEC among "top 100" recruits. Of those 33, only seven have become regular contributors at the next level, with the jury still out on the rookies. (And by "solid contributors," Jim used Jerious Norwood as the line of demarcation. I was amused by that.)

Overall, Jim's math says only about 8 percent of all top-100 recruits will go on to be decent NFL players.

Oh, and the average pick for a top-100 recruit being drafted is 109th overall -- i.e. the beginning of the fourth round.

-- A quick list of "top 100" talent that ended up transfering during this stretch:

Ben Olson, QB (BYU to UCLA)
Willie Willians, LB (Miami to L'ville)
Ryan Perrilloux, QB (LSU to Jax State)
Mitch Mustain, QB (Arkansas to USC)
NaDerris Ward, TE (Georgia to Oregon)
Ryan Mallett, QB (Michigan to Arkansas)
Cam Newton, QB (Florida to Auburn)
Brandon Saine, RB (Ohio State to Michigan)
Willy Korn, QB (Clemson to TBA)
Nu'Keese Richardson, WR (Tennessee to TBA)

Bottom line on these guys... it doesn't usually work out well.


OK, well I hope you at least managed to kill a hefty portion of your work week with these posts, and maybe got a bit of additional information from it.

And if you're complete sick of these types of posts, don't worry. You're free for the next few days. But I am working on another in-depth analysis of a completely different topic that you'll be treated to sometime in the next two weeks. So you've got that going for you. Which is nice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Charles Takes Training to Next Level

Happy birthday wishes go out today to Georgia's freshman All-America tight end Orson Charles, who turns 19.

Another year older and a year of experience under his belt means fans are obviously excited about what Charles will contribute next season to Georgia's offense, but he's hardly resting on his laurels following a freshman campaign in which he caught 23 passes for 374 yards and three TDs.

In fact, quite the opposite.

Charles is taking a military science course this semester that's required for his major. During the course, his teacher spent some time discussing the training that Army ROTC members on campus participate in and encouraged students to give it a try. Never one to pass up on a challenge, Charles accepted.

"I took a little of it in high school, but I never really got serious, so I decided to just go ahead and do it and see how I'm feeling," Charles said. "So that's what I've been doing."

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the past three weeks, Charles has been getting up at 5:30 in the morning and heading out for PT with members of the UGA ROTC. And while he assumed going into it that he was already in pretty good shape, the early morning workouts have helped to open his eyes.

"It's definitely different than football -- way different," Charles said. "In football, the most you'll probably run is probably 200 (yards) back and forth. They go miles and miles and miles, and my whole method is just trying to keep up with them. … You go out there and find out you're not in shape."

The running is no jog through the park, Charles said. Each day, he reports for PT at 5:50 a.m. and runs -- either through campus or laps indoors -- about four miles, he said. Motivation is the key.

"You've got to talk to yourself when you're running with them," Charles said.

Of course, hard work is nothing new for Charles, who is doing the ROTC PT in addition to his daily workouts with the football team.

Charles isn't using football as a crutch though. In fact, while a few people have recognized him, he's made a point of keeping his career on the gridiron under wraps.

"I'm not sure if they know I'm on the football team," Charles said of the ROTC students he's been working with. "I just told them I have that class, and my teacher just recommended we come out there. I don't really go out there and tell them I'm on the football team. I had a couple people write me on Facebook saying that I had motivated them. I know a couple people that I told them I was coming out there, and they didn't believe me. My teacher said that on the first PT. So I'm surprising a lot of people."

He's surprising himself a bit, too, and that's what it's all about for Charles. He hopes the extra training will get him in better shape for football, but really, it was just about pushing himself.

"It's more something I wanted to see if I could do, see if I could beat my mind," Charles said. "Your mind says don't get or it's not worth it. I wanted to see if I could do that. Hopefully it rubs off on football."

Wednesday Links (1/27)

Yesterday I ranked my excitement level for Georgia's 2010 road games, so I figured I might as well do the same with the home dates today.

8. Vanderbilt. Yawn.

7. G-Day Game. When's the last time you were this excited about a scrimmage six months before the season?

6. Idaho State. This will no doubt be an early kickoff and a blowout win, which means easy deadlines for me. There's a good chance that me and Zach Mettenberger are really the only two people in Georgia with this one circled on our calendars though.

5. Tennessee. It will probably be an important SEC East game, but it's hard to get too excited about it now without an arch villain on the opposing sideline. But hey, maybe UGA ends up playing USC in the national championship game in the next few years, and revenge can be appropriately dished out then.

4. Louisiana-Lafayette. Hey, it's the season opener. Everybody's excited about Game 1, right?

3. Georgia Tech. I'm assuming both Caleb King and Washaun Ealey are planning to run for more than 200 yards in this one.

2. Open Date. Seriously... I gotta wait 12 weeks into the season before I get a Saturday off?

1. Arkansas. This will probably be Georgia's second-toughest SEC test of the year, and the Bulldogs' new-look secondary will have its hands full in Week 4. The funny thing is, UGA gets Stephen Garcia and Ryan Mallett back to back then won't play another established, experienced QB until the regular season finale against Tech.

Of course, looking at that slate, the one thing that jumps out at me is that this year's schedule is a whole heck of a lot easier than it has been the past two seasons. Not a walk in the park by any means, but a lot more manageable than the recent past. Outside of Arkansas, every team UGA faces at home this year should be either an easy win or has some serious question marks right now.

Winning on the road at Colorado might be a tougher task than usual, but the Buffs aren't terribly good. The date with Florida looms every year, so that's certainly no gimme. But UGA could afford to drop the game against the Gators and still win the East if they're flawless in the rest of their SEC games, so it seems to me that South Carolina-Arkansas stretch will probably define just how far the Bulldogs go in 2010. If they win 'em both, they're in good position to finish up the year at the Georgia Dome. Lose 'em both, and it'll be a long year. A split, and once again the season will effectively come down to what happens in Jacksonville.

OK, some links...

-- Mark Fox's Dawgs look to put an end to a rather dubious run on the road when they travel to Gainesville tonight.

-- Georgia Sports Blog ranks the difficulty of each remaining basketball game, and the bottom line is tonight's contest would go a long way to getting Georgia in position for the postseason.

-- The Red & Black talks to the UGA walk-ons responsible for the now famous Mark Richt trick-shot video.

-- Police had their hands full with scalpers at Georgia's game against Tennessee last weekend. That belongs on Mark Fox's resume.

-- ESPN's Chris Low has two great posts looking at the original recruiting rankings of the All-SEC performers on offense and defense last season. What the results tell me is that, while a great recruiting ranking can often mean loads of success down the road, it's even more likely that an All-SEC performer wasn't anywhere close to the top 150 prospects in his class.

-- The Red & Black looks at the potential impact of the new 3-4 defensive scheme.

-- Jeff Owens is using the Senior Bowl to chat up a few potential employers, according to the AJC.

-- Like any good directional kick, Jon Fabris has actually landed pretty far from where we all thought he was going.

-- Chan Gailey really is the gift that keeps on giving for Georgia fans. He has lured Tech's recruiting coordinator Giff Smith away to the Buffalo Bills and he has successfully lobbied the NCAA to let Reggie Ball come back and play one more season. OK, I made that last part up.

-- Mike Leach has done pretty much exactly what I would have done in this situation. Nothing like a Rum Runner at Sloppy Joe's to clear your head. (h/t EDSBS)

-- Tim Tebow made some strides during Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice, but that's all beside the point. He only struggled because he was "a little under the whether." Yup, and Brett Favre just throws killer interceptions because "he's just like a kid out there" and he "loves the game so much." Plus it's easy to overlook Tebow's fumbled snaps and trouble setting his feet (subscription) because he "continued to embrace a leadership role."

I can completely see how that works at the NFL level:

Tebow: "Come on guys, get your heads up! We're not out of this yet! We're gonna win!"

Multi-million-dollar super star: "Shut the f*** up. If you hadn't fumbled the last four snaps we wouldn't be down 30 points."

Hooray, leadership!

(And yes, I realize this sarcasm flies in the face of some Joe Cox-related posts I wrote last year. The irony is not wasted on me.)

-- Speaking of Tebow, CBS is defending the anti-abortion ad he will appear in during this year's Super Bowl.

-- Jack McBrayer is heading back to Macon for the city's annual film festival.

-- I know we've all enjoyed Travis Leslie's work this season, but there's really something missing from his dunks... beer! Check out this YouTube clip of the best Beer Pong dunks of all time. (h/t Tom)

-- I love these "Lost" party invitations, particularly the bunny one. (h/t Peter)

-- Matthew Fox says fans are going to be disappointed in the final episode of "Lost." And in other news, the role of Jack will now be played by this guy.

-- You're breakin' my heart, Hawk. You're breakin' my heart.

-- Check out these outtakes from the old "Siskel and Ebert" show in which you get the distinct impression that these two guys are giant a-holes.

-- And finally, MTV is close to a deal with the cast of "Jersey Shore" for a second season, so our long national nightmare may soon be over. Although, knowing just how much cash these people are getting for being idiots sort of makes me hate them rather than enjoying their stupidity. (Also, I really wish the "Jersey Shore" cast negotiations had been covered the same way as the Georgia defensive coordinator search.)

From Strong to Weak

So we know the whole Urban Meyer situation turned out to be a whole lot of nothing, but I figured it was worth passing along some other information about a coach who really is leaving Florida that might make nearly as big an impact.

Our pal Chris sent me an email last week summing up Charlie Strong's success against Georgia, and the numbers really are pretty staggering, both at South Carolina and Florida.

Strong's first year with the Gamecocks was 1999. Here's how Georgia fared against his defense in each season:

vs. Strong
vs. rest of SEC
24 31
2000 10 23
2001 9 26
2002 13 35
2003 13 29
2004 31 29
2005 10 28
2006 14 24
2007 42 27
2008 10 29
2009 17 31

So for the past 11 years, Strong's defenses have essentially held Georgia to 11 points below their average against other SEC foes, and only twice in that span have the Bulldogs topped their season average against a Strong-led defense.

Add to that the huge losses in personnel on defense at Florida this season, and there's definitely some room for optimism.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Links (1/26)

I got an email yesterday from the president of the Colorado contingent of the Bulldog Nation, pointing me in the direction of their group's blog that covers all things related to the UGA-CU game this coming season. If you're planning on (or thinking about) making the trip, it might be a good place to start.

And since I didn't have much else to write about this morning, here's how I'd rank 2010's road trips...

6.) Jacksonville. This trip annoys me more every year.

5.) Starkvegas. Thus fulfilling a lifetime dream.

4.) South Carolina. At least it's a short drive. Of course, the last time I went, it didn't go well.

3.) Auburn. All things considered, I think Jordan-Hare is my favorite stadium in the SEC outside of Athens.

2.) Kentucky. It has been three years since I've been to Keeneland to gamble on the ponies. I cannot wait.

1.) Colorado. The last time I was in Denver, I was awake for the first 36 hours of the trip. I'm hopeful this visit goes a bit smoother.

OK, how about some links?

-- Da'Rick Rogers isn't ditching Georgia just yet, but he's not exactly ruling it out either.

-- Nickell Robey, on the other hand, sounds like he's all but gone.

-- Mr. SEC compares the quality of the commitments so far at each SEC school.

-- Chris Low looks at the recruiting needs of teams in the SEC East and includes one I mentioned earlier today for Georgia.

-- The Grit Tree has a great piece on what it's like to be a hot commodity on the recruiting trail when you've never experienced much of the spotlight before.

-- Marc Weiszer writes that Georgia's defensive backs remain a confident group despite a lack of experience.

-- Geno Atkins is turning heads at Senior Bowl practice.

-- Leather Helmet Blog has a good interview posted with Georgia walk-on Reuben Faloughi, who says he's likely going to be making a position change. (Side note -- I think he's another guy who might fit really well in the 3-4.)

-- Red, Black and Three Sheets to the Wind uses Terrence Cody's Senior Bowl weigh-in as evidence that "strength and conditioning" is a relative thing. Of course, Cody isn't alone among former Alabama players who could use a Bro (or Manzier, if you prefer).

-- Ah, ESPN's Rumor Central... where an innocuous opinion on an unrelated story shared by one local beat writer in a far-away town must obviously mean Mark Richt will soon be out of a job.

-- Sundiata Gaines was inked to a deal through the end of the season by the Utah Jazz.

-- has it updated mock drafts posted and two UGA stars make the first-round cut for the 2011 draft. (h/t Stephen Hartzell)

-- Hoop Dawgs takes a look at a guy who could add some serious punch to Mark Fox's crew next season.

-- Travis Leslie was named the SEC's player of the week after his big game against Tennessee, and Battle Hymn Notes pays tribute to Leslie's fine efforts.

-- T Kyle King warns hoops fans not to get too far ahead of themselves in predicting big things for this year's Dawgs.

-- A Web site honoring the nation's best fans has named Peanut Butter Kid their fan of the month.

-- Signs your story may be in trouble: 1.) You called a high-level executive to ask about a rumor that was utterly unsubstantiated. 2.) You were told it was "ridiculous" and that is the only quote you have on the record from anyone. 3.) You felt the need to use the word "quote" in addition to using quotation marks. 4.) You spelled about a dozen words wrong. But yeah, I'm sure baseball is coming to Orlando real soon.

-- This YouTube clip allows you to watch the entire flight 815 crash from "Lost" in real time. (h/t Mike T.) I'm going to predict that within nine months of the show ending, someone with way too much time on their hands will recreate the entire show in chronological order.

-- "How I Met Your Mother" has been renewed for a sixth season and the creators have another show in the works, too.

-- I can only assume rehab didn't go very well for Steven Tyler.

-- And finally, I meant to post this link the other day, but it managed to escape me. Dawgs for Haiti is collecting funds for the relief efforts in Haiti. You can find information on how to make a donation HERE.

Fun With Numbers: The Battle in the Trenches

Last week I started posting some findings from an in-depth study done by our pal Jim F. on the top recruits and how Georgia fared in landing them. Most of the post dealt with where the recruits were coming from and how well Mark Richt and Co. protected the borders around the state.

I got a ton of great feedback from you guys on the results, pointing out some issues with the analysis (which was fair) and asking some deeper questions (which we'll get to).

First, here's some points from Irwin R. Fletcher:

The problem then is that you then diverge into thinking that state boundaries somehow indicate proximity. Just look at FSU. It is almost the same distance to drive to UGA from Perry, GA as it is to drive to FSU. Proximity isn't accurately defined by state lines.

Anyway, I think the percentages are a red herring. You can only take so many kids no matter how big your state is. The fact is that since there are fewer BCS schools in GA, the percentages are going to look worse. Texas has how many BCS schools? 7? Bama produces about half as many top 100 recruits but has 3 BCS schools...of course their percentage will be higher. It also explains why PA and GA have lower percentages...fewer choices for kids to stay in-state. (It also becomes an interesting thought when you think about how big a state like Texas and California are and how far these kids have to travel to stay 'in state.')

When you have states like Alabama producing half as many top 100 kids as Georgia, Bama and Auburn are going to have to 'get theirs' from Ga, too.

Fair points, all. I agree wholeheartedly with the notion that Georgia (the state) is poached routinely because many players in the outer borders don't see Georgia (the school) as their "home team." Of course, as Todd Grantham said last week, that's a battle he's going to start fighting.

“If we took the best players in the state of Georgia and within a five-hour radius of our school, and they come to University of Georgia, we can win the SEC championship and compete for a national title. And I think you can be better than Florida, you can be better than Texas and you can be better than Southern Cal if those players came to the University of Georgia.”

So while I think Mr. Fletcher does a fine job of pointing out a reasonable set of explanations for a perceived failure, I'd also say it's probably good news for Bulldogs fans that Grantham is setting his sights even higher.

There were tons of other questions raised by readers after last week's post, and I'm hoping to still hit on a bunch more in the next few days. (Seriously, we've just hit the tip of the iceberg in Jim's research.) But for today, I wanted to address just one.

This issue is brought to us from My2Cents, who wrote:

I think we will do fine in state and around the southeast. What I would hope from Coach Lak and Coach Grantham is to get some of the big lineman that come from up north and out in the midwest. There are also usually some good linebackers and skill players from those areas. The way we play next year will open the doors and tweak a lot on interest. We need to be better at which of the best of the best we pick.

Good points, but as it turns out, the bigger concern might be on the line on the other side of the ball.

Remember, this analysis covers all of Rivals' top 100 recruits dating back to 2002 -- or, for the purposes of this discussion, the best 800 high school players from the past eight years.

So, how might that list break down by position? Glad you asked...

Off. Line
Def Back 110 13.7%
Receiver 94 11.8%
Running Back 92 11.5%
Linebacker 89 11.1%
Def End
87 10.9%
Def Tackle
67 8.4%
Quarterback 64 8%
Athlete 59 7.3%
Tight End
26 3.3%

* Two things are slightly deceiving here. 1.) "Defensive Back" is a bit of a general term. There's a big difference between recruiting a corner and a safety, so we may be being a bit broad in our terminology. 2.) "Athletes" generally end up as defensive backs or receivers, so by labeling them otherwise, we're sort of short changing a couple of categories.

Taking the aggregate numbers only, however, we notice quickly that offensive linemen make up a pretty hefty share of the best players coming out of high school. So, you might then assume that, since only eight schools in the country have secured more players from this list than Georgia, the Dawgs should have gotten a decent number of O linemen, right?


Of the 800 best high school prospects since 2002, Georgia has signed 35. Here's the Bulldogs' positional breakdown:

Off Line
3 8.6%
Def Back
4 11.4%
Receiver 5 14.2%
Running Back
4 11.4%
Linebacker 3 8.6%
Def End
4 11.4%
Def Tackle
4 11.4%
Quarterback 2 5.7%
Athlete 3 8.6%
Tight End 3 8.6%

In case you're wondering, of Georgia's "athletes," one became a defensive back (CJ Byrd), one became a running back (Richard Samuel) and one became a receiver (A.J. Bryant).

So, let's do a simple comparison here: The first chart essentially shows the talent pool of great prospects. The second shows Georgia's success rate in luring those athletes.

Now, where do we see a difference?

Well, on the plus side, Georgia knows how to grab a good tight end. And while that QB number is a little on the lower side, the stats for that position can be deceiving because you don't really need to grab more than one really good one every two years or so.

The biggest difference though? There's no doubt that it's on the offensive line.

In the past eight seasons, there have been 112 offensive linemen ranked among the best in the nation coming out of high school. In that span, Georgia has managed to sign just three of them.

Of course, your next question might reasonably be, "Who were they?"

The answers: Justin Anderson, A.J. Harmon and Chris Burnette.

Anderson spent a year at prep school and has been up and down in his success since arriving in Athens. Harmon and Burnette have yet to start a game (and Harmon opened on the D line, to boot).

In other words, since 2002, Georgia has essentially played without a single top recruit on the offensive line at any point.

This season, Georgia stands to add one more top-100 guy to their linemen cache with Brent Benedict, but he is one of just two O line signees.

On the other hand, Florida has signed six top-100 linemen since 2002 and Tennessee has inked five.

Now, it's fair to ask whether these O line evaluations were all that great to begin with. After all, the list of Georgia's top signees in the trenches doesn't include Clint Boling, and he's turned out to be pretty good.

But I think it's also fair to say that Georgia hasn't had nearly the success with O linemen it should have in recent years, so closing with at least one more this year might make for a big finish.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of positional success for Georgia, here's two more of concern: Defensive end and Linebacker.

Georgia's four "top prospects" at D end during the past eight years where Brandon Miller (miscast for three years), Marcus Jackson (injuries derailed his career), Toby Jackson (never qualified) and Charles Johnson.

That, however, should be changing this year with three four-star prospects joining the ranks and Todd Grantham's new look on D.

At linebacker, Georgia's three "top" signees were Akeem Hebron, Desmond Williams and Josh Johnson. Not exactly an impact group.

Of course, I think Hebron's name might be one that has a chance to float back to the surface as Grantham evaluates his personnel for the 3-4.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Notes: Howard's Legacy Stays With Lakatos

In his first few meetings with recruits in Georgia, the Bulldogs’ newest coach didn’t have to pass out copies of his resume for players to be familiar with his accomplishments.

Defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos, who was officially hired last Monday and spent his first few days on the recruiting trail last week, already had a few fans in the state after his Connecticut team thumped South Carolina in the Bowl on Jan. 2.

“I didn’t get called out on my accent at all,” said Lakatos, a New Jersey native who spent his entire career in the Northeast. “They were interested in UConn, and some of the guys down here, they know about our program. They saw our bowl game, and they were very receptive.”

Of course, while the big bowl performance may have turned a few heads in SEC country, it was hardly the most memorable part of the Huskies’ season. Unfortunately, the defining memories of 2009 were all about what UConn lost.

Junior cornerback Jasper Howard was stabbed to death in mid-October, leaving Lakatos and the rest of the Connecticut coaching staff to rally their team in the face of tragedy.

“We got that phone call at 3:30 in the morning, and that certainly wasn’t easy to deal with,” Lakatos said. “We had to get our team together. We had great kids at UConn. Somehow we managed to pull through that thing and get turned around and get the season back on track. But it was difficult.”

The Huskies lost three straight games in the immediate aftermath of Howard’s death, but as the initial shock wore off, the legacy of their fallen friend helped turn the season around.

“One of the things that Jasper was is, Jasper was a guy who showed up every day and worked,” Lakatos said. “He loved football, and his teammates knew that about him. They took it upon themselves that, ‘We’re going to approach this thing like he did. Let’s get ourselves ready every day and work.’”

The result was a four-game winning streak to wrap up an eight-win season – including that bowl victory over South Carolina.

On the recruiting trail, Lakatos said he hasn’t heard much so far about the tragedy he helped his team overcome last season, but that doesn’t mean players weren’t paying attention. In fact, while Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin said he didn’t know a lot about Lakatos when his hiring was announced, the way Connecticut responded to tragedy spoke volumes about the Bulldogs’ newest hire.

“When I saw he was from UConn, that was the first thing I thought of, the guy getting killed,” Boykin said. “Just the way his team responded and getting to go to a good bowl game and actually win despite all that adversity that happened. The defense played well in that game against South Carolina, which was a great team that put up plenty of points against us. I knew that, and I liked that about him.”


New defensive coordinator Todd Grantham isn’t in a hurry to complete his defensive coaching staff, which still has one more opening yet to be filled.

Grantham said he expects the hire to be another linebackers coach – although he said it could be either an inside or outside linebackers coach – but there isn’t a timetable on the hire. The important thing, he said, is finding someone whose personality fits well at Georgia, and he’s grateful to head coach Mark Richt for giving him some say in making the final judgment.

“When you can have access to the hiring, I think all that’s a positive,” Grantham said. “Because coaching is teaching … so I think it’s important to hire good teachers and good motivators and guys who are on the same page to get things done.”

Of course, the hiring of a linebackers coach puts to rest any speculation about the possibility of bringing in a full-time special teams coordinator. That means Georgia will continue to divvy up the responsibilities for special teams among the entire staff – and that’s fine with Grantham’s first hire.

“I’ve been at UConn and coached on all the special teams except PAT and field goal,” Lakatos said. “I’ve had specific areas up there, so I’ve had access to those things. I did the same thing at Rutgers and was the special teams coordinator at Maine for a couple years. That’s coaching. It’s no different than defense. Make sure guys know what they’re doing and get out there and play fast and execute.”


Lakatos is just beginning to get his feet wet on the recruiting trail, but he said the future isn’t likely to take him back to his roots too often.

Although Lakatos spent his entire coaching career in the Northeast at places like Connecticut, Rutgers and Syracuse, he said his priority now is landing the top recruits in his new home.

“If there’s a player up there that’s interested in Georgia that can help us win an SEC championship, then we’ll go back up to New Jersey or Pennsylvania or wherever it is to see what we can do to get them down here,” Lakatos said. “But my knowledge of this area is that there’s a lot of players in the state of Georgia, so if you can get the players in this state to stay here, you may not have to go too far.”


Georgia defensive end Demarcus Dobbs is eager to see how the Bulldogs’ new defense will look in spring practice, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking ahead too far. With offseason conditioning about to begin, the grueling pace of mat drills remains first and foremost in his concerns.

“In the back of my head, all the excitement and everything is there, but I know we have mat drills coming around, and that’s been the biggest thing on my mind,” Dobbs said. “But as far as anticipation, I’m just excited to see what’s going to happen, and I’m ready to work.”

Get to Know: Jakar Hamilton

If you didn't get to read it over the weekend, I had a story in Sunday's Telegraph on the quick start junior college transfer Jakar Hamilton has enjoyed in his first few weeks at Georgia. The kid certainly doesn't lack confidence.

Anyway, I had a chance to chat with Jakar for a while last week, so I figured it'd be a perfect time for the second installment of this year's "Get to Know..." series.

David Hale: I've talked to Bacarri Rambo, who said you've already been pushing yourself pretty hard these first few weeks on campus. What's it been like?

Jakar Hamilton:
Every day in the weight room now is competition. Rambo is going to get up and do high weight, so I’m going to do it. Washaun will do high weight, so I’m going to do it. We’re all pushing each other in the weight room. If he’s going to do it, then I’m going to do it. And if I can’t, then I’m going to get a spot and work towards it. That’s what I’m doing now.

DH: There are a couple of starting jobs open at safety. Is that what you and Rambo are talking about?

I talk to him all the time about the best safety duo in the SEC. That’s what we’re pushing for. In the weight room we say it. Out of the weight room we say it. On the way to class we say it.

DH: Well, your path to get here wasn't exactly the traditional one. In fact, you've moved around quite a bit in your life. What was your favorite place you lived?

It's got to be Houston. I've lived in New Jersey, I've lived in West Virginia. I've lived in South Carolina. But there's nothing like Houston. It's just a great atmosphere. You see stars just about every day -- basketball players, rappers, actors. Even at the airport, you'll see Beyonce come through once or twice. Motumbo came through. It's just a great experience living in Houston.

DH: Well your new position coach is a Jersey guy, too. Will you have a few Jersey stories to swap with him?

Oh yeah, lots of them. I like shopping in New Jersey. It's a cool place to live at.

DH: After high school, you ended up at Georgia Military College. That's a tough transition for anyone, and I've talked to guys like Corvey Irvin and Jarius Wynn who did it before. What was your experience at GMC like?

It was hard. I'm not going to lie, it was hard. But in the back of my mind, I made my decision that it was either I do it here or I can go back home and be on the streets. It's hard to quit. I have a bunch of people back home who would beat me up. So I'd just read the Bible, pray to God each night before I went to sleep and thank him. I got my way through there, and now I'm here. So hard work is starting to pay off. And I'm still working.

DH: Now that you're gone, do you find yourself appreciating things more?

Oh yeah, I really appreciate it. I called up my DB coach and I thank him for pushing me. The hard work I did, I thought it was stupid at the time, like 'Why are we doing this?' But now I see why, because I thought it would be better coming here, but we also work hard. GMC actually prepped me up for something like this, so I'm really thankful for GMC.

DH: You have an older brother -- Mike Goodson -- who plays with the Carolina Panthers. Does having someone you're so close to who has already made it to the NFL provide you with a good template on how it's done?

People asked me if I was going to go to Texas A&M (where Goodson played), but I didn't want to live up under my brother's name. He made his name, and I'm going to make mine. But since he made it, I've got to make it. I also have another brother, my second-oldest brother, he plays point guard at Gonzaga. So hopefully he'll be going to the NBA, and I'll do what I do here, and all three of us will be in professional leagues. So I just keep praying every day that that happens.

DH: So which of you was the best athlete?

I don't know. It was always kind of even, but I was stuck in the middle. My oldest brother, Michael, he always played football. Demetri was always playing basketball. I was stuck with both, so I had to choose between basketball and football. My dad told me (to pick) and I listened to him and just stuck with football. But I hated football. I hated it. I cried when he made me play. But I started it and I was like, 'Wow, I'm really good at it.' I thank him, I thank God, I thank GMC, and now I'm thanking Georgia for giving me the opportunity to come here.

DH: When did you start playing football?

I think it was my eighth grade year. I was a really good basketball player and started playing running back and went from there.

DH: So at what point did you decide there might be a future in football for you?

First game I scored four touchdowns at running back and thought, 'Wow, I kind of like this, running people over and juking them.' From there on out, I just loved it.

DH: You played a bunch of different positions. Which was your favorite?

Receiver. I loved receiver because small cornerbacks, and I was kind of big, taller than everybody. So I just slapped them out the way and go catch the ball for a touchdown.

DH: OK, last question is a basketball one. Rambo says you've already impressed him on the court, but Georgia's got a bunch of good hoops players like Brandon Boykin and A.J. Green. How do you stack up?

Oh yeah, A.J. can shoot. But the other day we were playing basketball and I jumped over somebody's head for an alley-oop and dunked it. After that, everybody was like, man, this guy can play. In high school I took my team to the third round of the playoffs and was mentioned All-State. I ended up breaking my foot, which put me back from playing in an All-Star game. But I've seen A.J. play, and Boykin can jump to. I don't know. It'd be a pretty good match with me and them three.

Monday Links (1/25)

Happy Monday, folks. Hope everyone's week is off to a good start.

I've got a lot on tap for this week -- some of which will surround the new coaches, but most of which will be other topics. But before we forget about the big news of the past two weeks, I figured I'd pass along two good Twitter messages I got last week regarding the new coaches:

From Mike Moore: I'm loving the fact we are running a 3-4! We hav so many athletes and tweeners on D that cud thrive from that system.

From Rod Battle: I wish I had another yr to be in this system. It seems like the coaches can be very creative w/ the talent. I'll be watching.

Hey, if those guys are excited about it, there's no reason for you not to be.

And speaking of Twitter, I'm up to 1,860 followers. When I get to 2,000, I can officially send a notarized letter reading, "Suck it!" to my high school guidance counselor who told me that cracking jokes and not taking my future seriously would result in me being an abject failure. So be sure to sign up as a follower HERE.

Of course, if you want a lot more UGA coverage via Twitter, here's a quick run down of some notable current and former Bulldogs who are Tweeting, too. (And if you have more, let me know and I'll add to the list.)

Jeff Owens, @jeffowens95
Darryl Gamble, @Gambleworld50
Christian Robinson, @crob45
Rex Robinson, @RexRobinson5
Danny Ware, @dannyware
Matthew Stafford, @MattStafford9
Mark Richt, @MarkRicht
Mark Fox, @CoachMarkFox
Reshad Jones, @reshadjones9
Mike Moore, @MikeMoore82
David Pollack, @davidpollack47
Rod Battle, @RodBattle
Travis Leslie, @TLeslie1
Matt Bucklin, @Bucklin12
Jeremy Price, @Bombeklot50
Connor Nolte, @ConnorNolte
A.J. Green, @ajgreen_uga8
Bacarri Rambo, @BRambo_18

(UPDATE: Courtesy of Ally...

Just fyi, @sportsin140 confirms all legit athlete's twitter accounts. They confirmed several months ago with the Detroit Lions & Matt Stafford that he is not on twitter. That account you listed is a fake, by a fan in Atlanta(according to twitter geotracking). Sorry.

Other UGA Athletes that are on twitter & confirmed:

Football Players
Jordon Love (@PoloLove10)
QuintinBanks (@qbanks31dawg)
Bacarri Rambo (@BRambo_18)
Drew Butler (@DrewBut13)
AJ Green (@ajgreen_uga8)
Derrick Lott (@Dlott85)
Kris Durham (@KrisDurham16)
Tavarres King (@TKUnoDos)

Hoop Dawgs
Tyler Whatley (@TylerWhatley)
DeMario Mayfield (@DMayfield2)

Lady Dawgs
Angel Robinson (@angelrobinson33)
Jasmine James (@Jzmnj10)

Diamond Dawgs
Christian Glisson (@CGlisson26)

Former Dawgs
Champ Bailey (@champbailey)
Knowshon Moreno (@knowshonmoreno)
Max Jean Gilles (@mjg62)
Hines Ward (@HWmvp86)
Corvey Irvin (@CorveyIrvin)

So there you have it...)

OK, on to some non-Twitter-related links...

-- Coaches Hot Seat runs down the winningest active coaches at their current school, and Mark Richt comes in at No. 11. That's pretty impressive, but then keep in mind that, of the 10 ranked higher, only four have spent more than five years at their current school. The bottom line: There just aren't many coaches better at maintaining success than Richt, and the decisions he's made this offseason only go to bolster that fact.

-- Meanwhile Ivan Maisel ranks his top programs of the decade , and Georgia slots in at No. 8. Interestingly, of the seven ranked higher, only Boise State hasn't won a national championship (and they've had two undefeated seasons).

-- T Kyle King writes that the biggest step forward for Georgia going forward might well be a step back by Florida.

-- OK, OK, I know I instituted a firm ban on anything from Deadspin a few months ago, and I promise you, I haven't visited the site since. BUT... I came across the link to this story on Georgia's "Peanutbutter Kid" from this weekend's hoops game, and I couldn't resist.

-- Mark Richt paid a visit last week to the former star of MTV's "Two-a-Days." No truth to the rumor that he also visited with J-Woww on a trip to recruit a tight end in New Jersey.

-- Da'Rick Rogers is still a Bulldog for now, and Jeff Whitaker was pretty impressed in his first meeting with Todd Grantham.

-- Bleacher Report breaks down some of the highlights of Todd Grantham's recent interviews.

-- The Sporting News says Geno Atkins has a lot to gain at this week's Senior Bowl. (h/t Jim F)

-- Matthew Stafford looks like he'll be working with a new quarterbacks coach next season.

-- The Denver Broncos appear to be moving away from their traditional zone blocking scheme, which could benefit Knowshon Moreno.

-- The AJC looks at Herschel Walker's foray into the world of mixed martial arts.

-- It's hardly time to start calling the Bulldogs a deep team, but Fletcher Page writes that Georgia's bench is improving and was a key to the big win over Tennessee last weekend.

-- Well, the State of the Union won't infringe on the "Lost" premier, but it is going to have an effect on the RADIO coverage of the Georgia-Florida hoops game. (My bad earlier... that's radio coverage, not TV.)

-- Speaking of "Lost," this new promo actually contains footage from the new season... but not much.

-- Last week I gave the two questions I wanted answered in Lost's final season. Sci-Fi Wire goes a step farther... with it's top 100 questions that have to be answered.

-- Ever wonder what a sitcom would be like without a laugh track? The answer... very creepy.

-- The now defunct CFO on "The Office" is actually a real-life financial wiz.

-- The story of how Bobby Valentine got the boot from Japanese baseball is a pretty interesting one. (h/t C-Nati) It's crazy since it was only about two years ago that Valentine was considered "a national hero."

-- A new "Gremlins" movie could be in the works ... in 3-D. And I'd like to remind readers that, as enjoyable as this blog may be, it's even better when you read it in stunning IMAX 3-D.

-- And finally, a New York woman submits her story for the next Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away?" commercial.