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Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Links (1/11)

I know the topic everyone wants to discuss right now is the DC search and Kirby Smart, and I'll get to that. But I think it's only fair that we start off with some words about Rennie Curran.

I did a story over the summer on Georgia's weight room work and in doing so, I had a long chat with Dave Van Halager. Somewhere along the way, we started talking about Rennie. I mentioned how much I enjoyed interviewing Rennie because he was always thoughtful in his responses, rather than simply going through the motions of talking up reporters before he could go home and relax.

Van Halanger simply smiled and said, "That's just how Rennie is. There's nothing he does that he doesn't want to be great at."

I think that sums up my experiences with Rennie Curran perfectly.

On the field, he was great -- despite his size.

In the weight room, he was downright frightening.

In the locker room, he was a leader almost from Day 1 -- a guy people simply looked to in times of crisis.

Off the field, he was a leader in his community. He spoke at churches and hospitals and schools and when he finally gets that first big paycheck, he's already said he wants to start using it to help people in Liberia, where his parents were born.

I've heard him talk about his daughter enough to know that being a great dad tops his priorities, too. My guess is that's a big reason he made the decision to turn pro now.

With us reporters, he was always thoughtful and helpful and extremely generous with his time. For those of you who don't know, most days we get to talk to players after practice -- long days of practice -- and before they can shower and eat and go home to relax, they're forced to answer questions from us. Most players are pretty good about it, but Rennie was always the best. It wasn't a chore for him -- or at least, he never acted like it was. It was part of the job, just like working out or watching film or making tackles. And as good as he was at all of those other things, he wanted to be good at talking to us, too.

There are plenty of Georgia fans out there sad to see Rennie go. The tributes are numerous already -- HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE to name a few.

Plenty of folks who don't write blogs have some fond memories, too, like this anonymous comment left yesterday: "I will miss Rennie Curran. He was and always be a Damn Good Dawg. Said this before, I will never forget his first Dawg Walk. Kid had the biggest smile on his face I've ever seen. He wanted to play for the red and black. We need to recruit more of these type of players. Thank you Rennie Curran, God bless!"

I could probably run off a few dozen fond memories of Rennie's time at Georgia, too, and none of them would be things he did on the field. I remember listening to Rennie talk to the Red & Black's Tyler Estep in late November about all the things he would miss if he left Georgia. He even mentioned one of the dining services workers in the dining hall on campus. I remember that he was the first person to advise me to go to Peaches on Broad Street for a killer Southern meal. That was some great advice. I remember Stacy Searels' daughter telling me she was dressing as Rennie for Halloween two years ago. I bet she cleaned up ticker-or-treating around the neighborhood.

But more than anything, I'll remember exactly what Dave Van Halanger and so many others who have met Rennie will -- that he always worked hard to be great at what he did, no matter what it was. There's something particularly inspiring about that, and I'm glad I had a chance to be around it for a few years.

-- Mark Bradley thinks Rennie is making a mistake by leaving school a year early, noting that he will be fighting an uphill battle to get drafted early. My experience with Rennie tells me that he wouldn't have it any other way.

(And one other note on that -- I haven't talked to him recently, but I spoke with Todd McShay about Rennie last year and he said that if he'd been able to come out as a sophomore, he could see him going in the second round and compared him to Cato June. Will that happen now? Hard to say, but I know no one is going to work harder at it than Rennie.)

-- And I wrote this up before the season, but I figured it was worth revisiting now -- my breakdown of a Rennie Curran interview.

-- OK, here's the best I can tell you on the coaching stuff: We're not much beyond where we were Sunday morning in terms of specifics. The offer is on the table for Kirby, and while it is believed Alabama has countered, everything I've been told is that -- based strictly on dollars -- it would be unlikely that a counter would match Georgia. But we also know there's more to any move than dollars, so that doesn't make it a slam dunk. In fact, it's probably fair to say that, while money speaks volumes in a deal like this, lateral moves often come down to the perks.

So nothing is done yet in one direction or the other, but I find it hard to believe this can continue too much longer. I credit Mark Richt for staying quiet about everything, but the whole situation is far too public at this point to let it continue to simmer for several more days. We may not know who the next DC at Georgia will be in the next 48 hours, but I'll be very surprised if we don't know whether or not it's Kirby Smart.

I'll keep you posted when I know something for sure, but again, credit Richt & Co. who have continued to play this extremely close to the vest.

-- If you've been in a cave all weekend (which is where I might have preferred to stay following that game in Dallas on Saturday) then here's your recap of all things Kirby Smart. (Also, here's the initial Tuscaloosa News report about the offer... which is made so much better by the accompanying art that, I believe, might be a screen grab from the Zapruder film.)

-- Of course, I don't know why you're reading this blog when you could be getting BREAKING NEWS and FIRST TO REPORT information like this stuff at a far more reputable site.

-- Dean Legge does a fantastic job breaking down the coaching search from Day 1 to Day 648 (or whatever we're up to now) over at the Dawg Post ($$$).

-- Dawgs BUI wants Kirby to get the job if for no other reason than so a few journalists have to eat crow.

-- The Senator reacts to the AJC's thoughts that Georgia Tech is way better at this whole coaching search thing than Georgia.

-- While it was generally a down year economically, the Independence Bowl got a big boost from UGA and Texas A&M to buck that trend.

-- Jeff Dantzler hands out his postseason awards for Georgia at Bulldawg Illustrated.

-- You don't hear much about these guys, but this is a good piece on what life is like for the scout teamers and walk-ons for UGA.

-- Former Georgia star Robert Edwards landed a coaching gig at Arlington Christian in Fairburn.

-- Georgia's hoops team turned in a respectable, if unsuccessful, performance against Kentucky over the weekend, which is another sign of progress, writes Dawg Stephen.

-- Bleacher Report is impressed by how far Mark Fox's Bulldogs have come in a short time, too.

-- Meanwhile, Georgia's women keep piling up the wins, getting another one over Florida on Sunday.

-- David Ching has a really good column on how Suzanne Yoculan is handling life away from coaching.

-- The late-night debacle at NBC could have two big positive effects: An early return for "Friday Night Lights" and more opportunities for "Chuck."

-- Jerry Seinfeld puts the onus for NBC's problems on Conan.

-- The New York Times scolds NBC -- not for the late-night mess but for botching the announcing during Saturday's NFL playoff games.

-- Working with Axl Rose must be worse than working for Nick Saban. Slash has turned down big bucks to reunite with Guns N Roses.

-- Bugs & Cranks comes up with a list of the best baseball managers with losing records. What, no Jim Riggleman?

-- Inside Movies has a list of the top 10 food fights in film, and No. 1 is no surprise.

-- And finally, I'm generally not a huge fan of Morgan Spurlock but I enjoyed "The Simpsons" 20th anniversary retrospective last night. I don't tune in regularly anymore, but I'd estimate that between 30 and 90 percent of my conversations with friends from 1996-2001 involved some sort of Simpsons reference. Anyway, here's a nice montage of Homerisms from Esquire (h/t C-Nati).


Anonymous said...

I was reading about the Axl Rose thing and... how could you not be alarmed by THIS...??

Anonymous said...

Given that everything is unsubstantiated rumors at this point, can any meaningful analysis of the timing be done. In other words, we can be pretty sure that a formal offer was made either Friday or Saturday. We can be pretty sure that Richt was at least 50% confident that the terms of the formal offer would be close enough to what Smart had asked for. The fact that it has been two days since the contract was put in Smart's hands and he hasn't announced a decision is worrisome to me. Is this a typically lengthed delay between the offer and the decision or is it beginning to look like Smart is changing his mind?

David Hale said...

I wouldn't read much into the delay. It would have required him to wait for a response from Alabama and I'm sure Richt isn't rushing him at this point.

Unknown said...


You've resorted to plane-tracking? Thats normally something left to the folks on the paysite message boards who spend all day hitting the refresh button.

Didnt you say you just moved? Go hang a picture or something. You've worked much too hard this year to be tracking cessnas in mid-january.

I heard they're displaying the Natl Championship trophy at the WALMART in Tuscaloosa. If you REALLY need something to do, Im sure it would be an interesting experience to see such a grand display of irony....

David Hale said...

Haha... nah, not tracking. Just came across the info and figured I'd share. I may make a Home Depot run now though... just because that's probably what it'll take to get some movement on this story!

Unknown said...

Amen to that and thanks for planning your schedule so as to facilitate story development for our sanity's sake.

Kind of like if I ever want the Hawks to win a game, I just stop watching or if we want the Dawgs to win, you just pick against them.

Funny how the world works sometimes.

Captain said...

Not that I'd put too much stock in it, but the plane that left Athens for Tuscaloosa is coming back this afternoon. Should land at 5:16 PM EST.

Anonymous said...

If I had all the money in the world, I would keep flying between Athens and Tuscaloosa. I might throw a flight in from Athens to Dallas just to make you guys think I was meeting with Todd Grantham...

David Hale said...

Haha... I was just thinking the same thing. There's probably some random guy who has thousands of people tracking his flight for no reason whatsoever.

Sam said...

David, what officials do the most "legitimate" leaking in the college business? If the offer and salary figures are correct, who do you think is leaking the info?

Anonymous said...

I live in Birmingham and just heard via the radio that Saban announced Kirby Smart will be staying at Alabama.

Anonymous said...


Dawgsopinion said...

Its true Kirby is staying the press release is supposed to be released shortly