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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The new guy

As you may or may not know by now, or not even care, the new beat writer who will be managing this blog is Seth Emerson. Seth comes from The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., where he was annoying Steve Spurrier and Darrin Horn.

We thought we should hold a "Better Get to Know a Beat Writer" session with Seth. The questions were helpfully provided by one David Hale, the man passing the baton to Seth, whose first day is next Monday. (The first day of football practice.)

On to the interview:

David Hale, the old guy: You'll have plenty of time to let readers get to know you during the next few months, but let's give 'em a quick bit of insight: Describe your career and outlook on sports writing in 100 words or less. And, if you really want to test your mettle, don't use the letter "F" as a way of proving you won't accidentally write anything nice about Florida.

Seth Emerson, new guy: For one thing ... oops. Can I start over? Thanks. ... I've spent the past five years at The State in Columbia, covering the Gamecocks. Before that I was in Albany for three years, and before that four years at The Washington Post, where I mostly fetched coffee for Wilbon and Kornheiser. ... OK, I'm never gonna do this in 100 words or less. So forget it ... Oops, the F thing again.

As for my outlook on sports writing, I think like a lot of people I'm worried about the direction of the business. It's not an internet-mainstream media thing, it's an objective-homer thing. I hope we're not getting to a point where you're either perceived as anti or pro a school. I continue to feel, or at least hope, that there will always be a demand for good old-fashioned journalism, and I'll practice that till the day I die.

That, and I'll do my best to spell everyone's name right.

Old guy: Following a legend is notoriously tough. Obviously, my greatness is unparalleled (with the possible exceptions of Thomas Edison, Jimmy Page and Steve Guttenberg.) So... what can you tell concerned readers thinking you might be the next Ron Zook or Sammy Hagar?

New guy: I heard you had the same problem when you joined the Albany Herald. The guy before you, I heard, was EXTREMELY accomplished. In any case, I'm told you did great things on the beat and blog - I'm told, because I never read anything you wrote, in fact I still am not absolutely sure we've ever met. But seriously, don't ever put me in the same sentence with Ron Zook. I can't believe he still has a job at Illinois. All my hostility in this answer to you is derived from you mentioning me as a potential Zook. Hagar I could deal with. But Zook, he's a (deleted by moderator.)

Old guy: You covered Georgia early in your career at The Albany Herald, including the 2004 team that beat Florida. Give the readers some reasons for optimism in this year's Florida game based on what you liked about that 2004 team.

New guy: I've studied the Georgia roster, and I understand David Greene no longer has eligibility. So that's too bad, especially considering the QB situation. But given my past experience covering the Bulldogs - and watching them close up the past five years as a Gamecock beat writer, I know Mark Richt has year-in and year-out assembled a lot of talent, and I can't count them out of any game. The second one, at South Carolina, will be the telling one.

Old guy: Rate the following non-UGA topics in order of awesomeness: "Breaking Bad," Wiffle Ball, '80s cartoons, mustaches, bourbon, Neil Diamond, the movie "Goonies", Arnold Palmer the golfer and Arnold Palmer the beverage.

New guy: I've never watched "Breaking Bad" but I've loved Bryan Cranston in his other stuff. Either way, that's out, so in its place I'll substitute "Dexter."

And I've never drank Arnold Palmer the beverage, so for that I'll substitute Clorox Wipes.

My rating:
Wiffle Ball (assuming I get to cork the bat)
Bourbon (straight)
"Dexter" (what an end to last season!)
Clorox Wipes (they could fix anything. Including the oil spill)
'80 cartoons (does "the Great Space Coaster" count?)
Arnold Palmer the golfer (I heard he was good)
"Goonies" (The fat kid is NOT Jerry O'Connell!)
Neil Diamond (Mainly for the Will Ferrell SNL skit)
mustaches (not a fan at all)

EDIT: Thank you for alerting me that when it came to Jerry O'Connell, I had "Goonies" confused with "Stand by me." If that kind of alert editing is what I have to look forward to from the fans, I definitely am happy I took the job.

Old guy: Since you just got this job, I'm assuming you're not going anywhere for a while. But, for sake of argument, if you happen to end up getting offered the vacant Georgia AD job, what are the first three things you do in your administration that don't involve a BMW and red panties?

New guy: I'd honestly like a few months to get the lay of the land to give a good answer. So at the moment, I'll answer it this way:

1. Obviously the direction of the football program is an important one. I think Mark Richt is a heck of a coach, the only question is whether a program can get complacent if one coach is around too long. If the team improves this year, especially defensively, it should be a sign that Richt should continue to be the coach for the foreseeable future. I mean, 90-27 and 50-22 is exceptional at any SEC school.

2. The nonconference football schedule is an interesting dilemma. I saw Damon Evans' strategy in trying to get the Georgia name out there, and boost the program's visibility nationwide by playing at Colorado, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, etc. But you also see the counter-point, that the best way to boost your profile is to win. My plan would be to get one marquee game per year - besides Georgia Tech - and then round it out with two weaker opponents.

3. Rename it, at least officially, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. I mean really, who are we kidding?

Old guy: BONUS Question: You have an anonymous commenter on the blog who writes 2,000-word diatribes each day with Unabomber-esque detail who annoys the crap out of everyone else who reads your blog. What do you do?

New guy: Tell the commenter to get his own blog, because he's truly wasting his talents on our humble platform.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

OK, One More...

Forgot to mention this yesterday, but wanted to post it:

I have a ton of emails I've gotten from readers over the past few weeks but life has just been a bit too hectic to reply to many of them. I do promise to get to them at some point in the next week though, and I'm extremely appreciative of all of you who took the time to write.

Also, if you want to stay in touch down the road, my email account will likely be shut down soon, but you can reach me now at Feel free to shoot me a message any time. I'll probably be looking for mailbag material soon!

And lastly, among the many great comments to yesterday's post, this was one of my favorites. I figured it was worth sharing.

Posted anonymously… (See, not all Anons are bad)...

"Here is a handy-dandy comparison chart for your reference, in the hope that it eases your transition into Bizarro World:

Richie Ashburn = Herschel Walker
Mike Schmidt = David Pollack
Dallas Green = Vince Dooley
Tug McGraw = Kevin Butler
Steve Carlton = Fran Tarkenton
Bowa = Erk
Kalas = Munson
"Phiwwies" = "Dawgs"
Phanatic = Uga
Ringing the Chapel Bell = Booing & Throwing Snowballs at Santa Claus
Mitch Williams = Bryan Evans
Joe Carter (WS, 1993) = Dan Marino (Sugar Bowl, 1982)
Bobby Valentine = Steve Spurrier
Grover Cleveland Alexander & Gavvy Cravath = Frankie Sinkwich & Charlie Trippi
Whiz Kids = Junkyard Dogs
NY Mets = Florida Gators
Pittsburgh Pirates = Ga Tech
Braves = Alabama Crimson Tide
Washington Nationals = Vandy
Spring Training = G-Day
Lehigh/Reading/Clearwater = 3A, 4A and 5A GA high schools
The Vet = Between The Hedges
Citizens Bank = Butts-Mehre
Spectrum = Stegeman
Bill Giles = Don Leeburn
Ryan Howard = AJ Green
Roy Halliday arrival = Jarvis Jones transfer
Cliff Lee trade = Stafford/Moreno departure
JD Drew = Da'Rick Rogers
Blue Caps = Black Jerseys
Pat's King of Steaks = The Varsity
Cheez Wit = F.O.
Geno's = Poss's
Hoagie = Pulled Pork Sammich
Tastykake = Krispy Kreme
Ben Franklin = REM
Independence Hall = 40 Watt Club
Dick Clark = Dan McGill
ShopRite = Kroger
Wegmans = Publix
1980 = 1980
2008 = 2007
2009 = 2008
2010 = 2009
GB in Current NL East standings = UGA-UF record since Spurrier
Charlie Manuel's wet dream = Marc Richt
"You Suck!" = "Go Dawgs!"
Every Phillies Fan = Crazy Anon"

To keep yourselves entertained until the new guy starts (Aug. 2!) feel free to add to the list.

And thanks again for all the kind words.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

From the Mailbag: The End

There really seemed to be only one appropriate way to close out my life as a Georgia blogger. So, let's open up the mailbag...

George writes: Is is too much to expect some sort of Lost-esque finale from you. I don't know if I can move on in the wake of your departure without some good closure.

As long as you're not expecting the ending to provide any real answers or make much sense, then absolutely...

Matt writes: So, who is going to fill in your shoes as the Georgia Football Blogger? If you know David, could you provide us a link?

I know, but I can't tell you just yet. I can tell you that his first day will be Aug. 2, and he's someone I've known for a few years now. He's covered the SEC for much of his career, and he'll step in and do a great job.

Athens Homer Dawg writes: Trade that lawn mower in for a snow blower, don't forget the rock salt but hold on to that beginner southern drawl may be back. Good luck with it. Oh was your bride a southern gal?

I'm at least going to continue saying "Y'all" since I can't seem to break the habit now. But my wife's from Birmingham, and she's called dibs on using the Southern accent to convince yankees to be nice to her.

Lucid Idiocy writes: Put your prediction cap on for this one on the plane ride home: Will the dogs lead the SEC in rushing this year?

I'll say Washaun Ealey rushes for 974 yards and 5 TDs and Caleb King racks up 1,212 yards and 8 TDs. But I'm gonna say the Mark Ingram/Trent Richardson combo will out-rush them by a couple hundred yards on the year.

Ozam writes: I'm all about accepting the consequences of your actions, and the events that have occurred in Athens and Atlanta are what they are....

What mystifies me is how there seems to be an epidemic of off field problems at UGA, yet somehow most other institutions seems to avoid the same.

What gives....are the rules different in Athens? Are we asking these kids to be anything other than 18-20 kids?

I'm not excusing the behavior...I am just asking......

I went to college at Delaware and then grad school at Syracuse -- two very different places than UGA. And what I can tell you, with no hesitation, is that there is plenty of drinking going on at both of those schools, too, so Georgia is not unique. Now, why are more of UGA's football players getting arrested for alcohol-related issues than at other schools? That's a bigger question, that perhaps our next emailer touches on...

LawDawg567 writes: I'm wondering where the leadership from the players is at. The players know a lot more about each others social lives than the coaches do and have more power to prevent these kinds of incidents. A coach can point out all day that this type of behavior is selfish and hurts the team, but unless a senior who has shed the same blood, sweat, and tears is enforcing the philosophy, it doesn't work. This is a mistake for the entire team to let this kind of stuff happen, and CMR should punish the entire team. And as for them "just being kids;" BS. They know that they represent the team and the school. I'm not saying that they aren't going to do it, they should just be a lot smarter about it.

As I've written in the past, minor alcohol-related crimes, such as underage consumption, are hardly ground-breaking news on a college campus, so I'm not out to criticize Georgia as a program gone awry. I don't think that's the case. But LawDawg's question is a legitimate one because the sheer volume of off-field problems at Georgia has gotten to a point where it can no longer be shrugged off when a player is arrested for something most of us have probably done ourselves.

I'm not inside the locker room, and I don't know how all of this has really played out behind the scenes, but I feel pretty confident in assuming that there is a legitimate culture of acceptance when it comes to alcohol within the program. I'm not preaching, because God knows I did my share of stupid stuff when I was in college, but Georgia's players have to know by this point what the consequences of their actions are, and they've ignored them.

You can blame Richt, but how much more can the guy do? Players have been suspended and booted. Those are about as tough as the consequences can get. These players have all seen their AD's life completely fall apart because of drinking and driving... how much better an example can they find that stupid decisions can have terrible consequences?

At some point, the players have to take responsibility for themselves and their teammates, and at this point, it's hard to make the case that too many guys are taking these arrests all that seriously.

I think back to the Zach Mettenberger arrest and the common refrain from so many players was this: "We're football players and we're in the spotlight, so there is more pressure on us not to mess up." I'm not arguing with the sentiment, but it misses the real point. I think too many players -- and this is not unique to Georgia -- think that getting caught is the problem rather than realizing that getting caught is the result of the bad decisions they've already made.

I think the bottom line here is this: Things have to change in the way the entire team views alcohol, because while we can always expect one individual to mess up from time to time, the problem at Georgia recently seems to be that 85 players have allowed too many of those individuals to make bad choices.

Carter writes: Does Brad Johnson ever come around to help the QBs?

Indeed he does. In fact, Aaron Murray worked a bit with Johnson this offseason, and Mark Richt's brother-in-law even passed along some advice to the freshman QB about… well, taking advice.

“He said, ‘People are going to be asking you to do this and this or do this thing or meet these people,'" Murray said of his talk with Johnson. "'It’s whatever Aaron Murray’s comfortable with. In the end, you can’t please everyone. You take advice from people – maybe take a thing from me and a thing from Coach Bobo – but make it into your own thing and really become your own person. You’re going to have to grow up a little bit. You can’t please everyone else. You have to find ways to become a better quarterback and a better person, too.”

Schlagdawg writes: Also, would you like me to come by your new blog and type inane 1,000 word comments about how the Phillies recent World Series titles mean nothing and that all the current players are in decline, despite stats that might prove otherwise? Anything to make you feel more at home...

Charlie Manuel's career really hasn't measured up to Wally Butts' in the least.

Sam writes: Do you think that Anonymous sits around in his underwear, in puddle of his own feces in a small cramped, dark, depressing, basement apartment composing these diatribes?

I imagine him being like Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs." It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.

I've Got An Itch writes: you better hope our long-winded anonymous poster doesn't show up to your wedding. When the minister asks if anyone has a problem with the two of you getting married, anon will start a rant for 5 minutes about the many reasons why marrying you would be a grave mistake. Of course, you can keep him out of the ceremony to prevent this. He'll be the guy wearing a bag over his head so that he will remain anonymous.

My wife may one day regret Anon's non-attendance.

Woolly Butts writes: how about letting your legions of followers know where you are registered for your wedding so we can get you a nice farewell/wedding gift?

Actually, I already got the one gift I really wanted...

The Cuatro writes: You registered for Weekend at Bernie's... Classic.

Sadly, the Target Web site wouldn't let me register for "Weekend at Bernie's 2."

Taylor writes: Just curious...I know you've said before that you weren't really a fan of UGA since you were covering them and needed to remain unbiased. (Which is the right thing to do) I was wondering, now that you'll be gone, will you keep up with UGA football (and / or other sports) or will it become just an old job and a memory?

I'll definitely be keeping up with UGA still. While I can't promise to be a die-hard Dawgs supporter, I've definitely made enough friends in Athens and gotten to know the players and coaches well enough that it's not hard to want to see them do well. One of the best parts of covering this team for the past few years has been how great the vast majority of the folks associated with the program have been to work with. From the amazing UGA sports information staff who has tolerated my constant inquiries, to the coaching staff that has never once told me I was "a bad guy" for writing something they didn't like, to the many, many players I've interviewed that have never complained about the time they had to spend talking to schmucks like me.

I know that UGA's players have gotten a bit of a bad reputation, particularly after this offseason's trials and tribulations. And I'm certainly not going to make excuses for the actions of some of the players in recent months. But I will say that in the four years I spent covering the team, I could probably count on one hand the number of players I didn't like, and I'd have trouble trying to name all the guys I thought were not only great athletes, but really impressive human beings. If the folks I'm stuck interviewing in the future are half as thoughtful, pleasant and sincere as guys like Jeff Owens, Tre Battle, Nick Williams, Joe Cox, D.J. Shockley, David Greene, Matt Stinchcomb, Kris Durham, Brandon Boykin, Rennie Curran, Corey Butler, Albert Jackson, Trevor Holder… and literally countless other athletes I've worked with at UGA, I'll be a very lucky man.

Anonymous writes: I worry much more about your fiancee after what you did dismantling the Gym Dogs this last year. You need to tell her of the Hale curse in my opinion. The ring should have a disclaimer attached as to your dark cloud on others.

On the bright side, you did stop the drought in Georgia, win us a fishing and Equestrian Natl Championship and stop Hurricanes from hitting Florida the past 2 years.

Forgetting for a moment your hand in the Michael Jackson death and the horrible Lost finale that you wrote, and I'd say you were a mixed blessing!

Let's hope she can say the same in 50 years!

I'll settle for 50 days. Although it's less about my wife hating me and more about what my luck is apparently doing to the Phillies. I may get crucified in this town once they realize I'm responsible for the team's collapse. (And by the way, you Braves fans owe me one.)

Story writes: As much as it pains me to ask...any suggestions for a solid Georgia blog to check out? You've been the only blog I've read for he past year. Hate to see you go.

Georgia fans are lucky, because there are a ton of folks blogging about the Dawgs, so it shouldn't be too hard to find something you like.

Obviously you can check out Tim Tucker's blog or Marc Weiszer's. I'd certainly direct you over to the Dawg Post, where our pal Fletcher Page is now writing. And speaking of friends of the Bulldogs Blog, you can check out Brandon Spoon's work at Dancing in the End Zone.

As for other great blogs, Georgia Sports Blog is really the grandfather of UGA blogs. I've also been an avid reader of Dawg Sports and Get the Picture and recommend both highly.

When it comes to fan blogs, there are a ton, and many of them are quite good. I'm sure I'll forget a few, but here are a handful that I really like:

Bernie's, Bulldog in Exile, The Grit Tree, Battle Hymn Notes, The Chapel Bell, Dawgs Online, Leather Helmet Blog, This Dawg's View and, of course, Hey Jenny Slater.

And I'm failing to mention at least a dozen others, so what I'd recommend is checking out the blog roll on the side of this blog and peruse the options -- both UGA and college football blogs in general. All offer different slants on the Dawgs, and I'm guessing you'll find at least one or two you like.

And don't forget, just because I'm leaving doesn't mean the end of the Bulldogs Blog. The new writer will be taking over in this same space on Aug. 2.

MenloDawg writes: How could this happen!? We were going to have drinks in ATL when LSU met UGA in the SECCG!

Hey, the Phillies won't be playing in December, so I'll still be there. A deal's a deal.

Daniel writes: David I know you are short on time, but if you were working on something to give us dawg fans some hope, please do something on how much FL will miss Charlie Strong and how much we won't. Until proven wrong at Louisville, I have to say he is the reason for our terrible record down there in recent years. Lastly, thanks so much for the articles to read when I come home at night. Fair winds and following seas as we used to say in the Corps.

Ask and you shall receive…

Check out the numbers Georgia has posted against Strong's defenses compared to its overall scoring in each year. (Note: In italics = a UGA win.)

PointsAvg. PPG
1999 SC 24 28.00 -4
2000 SC 10 26.73 -16.7
2001 SC 9 28.62 -19.6
2002 Fla 13 32.14 -19.1
2003 Fla 13 26.50 -13.5
2004 Fla 31 27.92 +3.1
2005 Fla 10 29.54 -19.5
2006 Fla 14 25.15 -11.2
2007 Fla 42 32.62 +9.4
2008 Fla 10 31.46 -21.5
2009 Fla 17 28.92 -11.9

So in the past 11 years against Charlie Strong's defenses, Georgia has outperformed its season average in scoring just twice -- and only by about a field goal in that one year. (Not coincidentally, those are two of just three wins UGA has over Strong.) On the whole, Georgia has scored -- on average -- 11.33 points less per game against Strong's defenses since 1999 than it has against all other foes.

So yeah, I'd say Strong's departure to Louisville is a reason for optimism. Right up until the Cardinals come to Athens to open the 2011 season, that is.

Doug writes: Speaking of Aaron Murray's brother, is he still on the team? If so, how likely is he to see the field this year?

He's still on the team, but Josh Murray has battled injuries during his first year on campus. He missed much of spring camp this year, too, but should be able to play this fall. As to how much time he''ll get -- I'd be surprised if he saw more than some occasional special teams action. Still, his role as a mentor and support system for Aaron Murray could be huge in 2010.

Big Muddy Dawg writes: Can you ask Justin Houston if he carries a "Bad Mother******" wallet?

The path of the righteous Dawg is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil Gators. Blessed is he, who in the name of Todd Grantham and Warren Belin, shepherds defensive linemen through the line of scrimmage, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of scrambling quarterbacks. And Houston will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy his secondary. And you will know he's an All-American when he lays his vengeance upon thee.

Hugh writes: Take a look at the uga combine numbers. Boykin, Smith, Dowtin, Washington, Cuff, Rambo, Houston, and Green are the best Athletes. Notice anything? Green is the only offensive player - and he ranks fourth at best. And the defensive linemen out performed the offensive linemen by a mile. So, isn't it safe to say the defense has much more up side than the offense?

I'm not sure how much anyone should read into combine numbers. The past few years, Georgia's strength numbers -- particularly on the offensive line -- were quite good. The product on the field, however, rarely matched that. Pure strength numbers are simply a measure of strength in those particular exercises, but I remain skeptical about how much any of that actually translates into the skills a player needs to be successful on the field.

Having said all of that, I do think there's plenty of upside to this defense, but a lot will be riding on a.) how quickly they can pick up Grantham's scheme, b.) how well the MLBs -- Gamble and Dent in particular -- play this year, and c.) whether the new-look D-line can have anything close to the same success against the run that Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins and Kade Weston did last year.

Anonymous writes: I won't go back to those filthy AJC writers... I won't do it. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME DO IT

The bad newspaper punted Baxter! I'm trapped in a glass case of emotion!

JW writes: I have been reading your blog for a long time. I especially enjoy the "Fleeting Thoughts" pieces. You are one talented dude and certainly deserve every opportunity that comes your way. Please post the URL for the Phillies blog. I was born in Philly and moved to Atlanta in 1971 so I still follow Philly sports but GA sports come first especially my Dawgs!

Many thanks, JW. I assume most of you won't be excited to read about the Phillies, but I'll see what I can do about throwing in some Braves and UGA references whenever possible if you promise to cruise over to the new blog and say something nice every now and then. In fact, I have a fun with numbers-esque post already planned for later this week that should make Braves fans happy.

You can find my feature stories and game stories HERE .

My Phillies blog will be HERE.

And my new Phillies Twitter account will be HERE.

Oh, and FYI… the old UGA stuff won't be changing addresses, just authors. So no need to update bookmarks.

Coon Dawg writes: Damn, is this a Lane Kiffin type business decision?

Mr. Hale will offer a brief statement, and no cameras will be allowed. Also, I think the NCAA is currently investigating my new employer, and I'm already scouting that 8th grader from Delaware committed to USC.

Doug writes: You are so selfish! What about me?!

OK, Doug… you can come with me.

Anonymous writes: You will never forget how great fun Bulldogs' Sports are by contrast, here in the Sunbelt. You’ll be back.

I can only assume that in about six months I'll have grown a fake-looking beard, be driving around listening to Nirvana's "In Utero" album and muttering to myself, "We have to go baaaaack."

Anonymous writes: You ain't fooling me, David. The reason you are leaving is not to cover the Phillies, but rather to get away from that anonymous whacko that was tying up your comments section.

Gee, I'm not sure what you could possibly mean by that...

Anonymous writes: That is a whole lot of crap to have a Bulldogs Sports Blog and have ALL THIS to wade through.

I WILL NOT MISS THESE, nor would I go to FilthaDelphia, and there isn't anyone in FilthaDelphia following the baseball team who will be in the least interested in TV shows you watch, either.

If you want a hint, besides being best known here for your article on the I believe up to 47 arrests / suspensions since February 2007 a span of 3 years - I shall always take it with me

that all you do is WATCH TV shows.

And, leave this city of 6 million in the Sun Belt to go up there to that town of DISGUSTING sports fans.

You will NOT FIT IN. Control freaks hate being sports' writers of that city. And, what are you goint to do for college sports ?

Give up college football, and get to your real love - watching TV shows ?


I think I'll miss you most of all, Anon.

Opsomath writes: It figures that you would be leaving right when you stop writing about Lost (which I do not follow) and start writing about Breaking Bad (which I love with all my heart, being a chemist). If you do Breaking Bad-related posts on your new Phillies blog, I might read it despite the fact that it's about the Phillies mostly.

I'm wrapping up Season 2 now, and I'll absolutely be inundating unsuspecting Philly fans with numerous "Breaking Bad" references as soon as Season 4 premiers. Hopefully such random diatribes about my TV watching will serve to annoy some anonymous commenter in Philly, too, who feels that it took far too much time to read my eight sentences about TV so he takes the time to write twice as much about how stupid I am.

EBM writes: Reader from the beginning- never intended to post. Feel obligated to show the love. I will miss scanning 4-5 times per day for your blogs. Always been good stuff and written with a tone that is reminiscent of sitting at the corner bar with an excellent friend. As far as you leaving us dry, like most subjects, Omar sums it well: "All in the game yo, all in the game."

How come I didn't get the traditional Irish wake, a la McNaulty, at Finnegan's before I left town?

MN Dawg writes: What did MR say when you told him you were leaving...tears?

I'm guessing that sometime around Kentucky week, he'll stop short during an answer to a mundane question about a back up safety and ask Claude Felton, "Hey, what ever happened to that guy with the shaggy beard who always asked those annoying questions?"

Bulldog Bry writes: answer me this before you leave. IS there sex in the champagne room?

Oddly, there's not even champagne in the champagne room.

Dawg44 writes: thanks for all the hard work you've done. The thing that sticks out to me the most is that you cared enough about us fans to match our level of passion for the Dawgs with your level of passion for your work. That means a lot.

When I first got into journalism, it was probably for the same reasons most people get into it. They like sports, they like being able to see their name in the newspaper, and they hope it'll help them meet girls. But after you spend some time really working at a paper, you realize that sports is now your job, and it isn't exactly the same as sitting on your couch drinking a beer and watching the game. You realize that most people who read the newspaper never look at who wrote the articles they're reading. And you realize that you'd meet more women sitting on a street corner holding a guitar and panhandling for nickels than you do as a sports writer.

After a while, what keeps you going, what makes the job fun, is simply having a handful of people occasionally tell you that they enjoyed what you wrote. Of course, in most cases, the negative feedback outweighs the positive because, after all, it's very hard to please a large and diverse group of readers. So eventually you simply take some solace in knowing that people at least read what you wrote (or skimmed the first couple of paragraphs anyway).

I don't say that to garner any pity. Being a sports writer is still the best gig I could ever hope to have. I say it because it helps put into perspective just how much I've appreciated the amazing response I've gotten from all of you during the past two years.

It should go without saying that this was the best job I've ever had -- by a wide margin. Living in Athens was a wonderful experience -- as I'm sure most of you UGA grads will attest to. Working at the Telegraph has been amazing as well. My boss, Daniel Shirley, is as good a person as I'll ever work for, and the folks in Macon never once put limitations on how I did my job. In the beginning, I looked at this as a great experiment to see if we could find a way to marry traditional journalism with the new age of the Internet. Most of it was trial and error, and none of my bosses ever complained about any of the errors along the way.

And while management has been kind to me, I'm even more overwhelmed by how much effort many of my colleagues have put into helping me. People like Tim Tucker, Chip Towers and Marc Weiszer all had far more experience covering big-time athletics than I did when I started, and I learned a ton from all of them along the way. Dean Legge, in particular, provided me with an immeasurable amount of advice, insight and feedback. He's a big reason why my work was, at least on occasion, successful. And of course, there were the immense efforts of folks like Doug Stutsman, Jason Butt, Tyler Estep and, most notably, Brandon Spoon and Fletcher Page -- all of whom chipped in over the past two years to fill in the blanks on this blog and make it so much more than I could have done on my own. Most of the time, they were doing so for little or no money. That kind of passion and dedication gives me a lot of hope for the future of journalism, despite so many reasons for pessimism otherwise.

But at the end of the day, as appreciative as I am of all of that, what has really made this job great has been the readers. Many of you wrote to thank me for providing insight on your favorite team and allowing you to be even more passionate about something you care so much about. I appreciate that immensely, but I think it should be me thanking you.

Over the past two years, I've simply done my job the way I think it should be done, but was you guys who made the blog so successful. You were supportive, you were thoughtful, you provided amazing feedback and insight, and you kept things fun even when it was hard to muster the energy to write another post about a topic that was hardly much fun. But most of all, you allowed me to be a part of your lives and a part of the passion that is Georgia football. I know how special that is, and I'm honored to have been allowed to be a piece of it. It's been a great run, and it's definitely something I won't forget. So for that, I can't thank all of you enough.

I don't know what the future will hold from here. When I left the Albany Herald in 2006, I certainly didn't envision coming back to cover UGA again, but that's exactly what happened. So who knows, maybe I'll be back to wandering the halls of Butts-Mehre again someday, pestering Mark Richt with annoying questions and dutifully reading 12,000-word diatribes from anonymous commenters. Or perhaps you'll find your way up to Philly some day, and I'll be happy to buy you a beer. College football and life are both funny like that -- you never really know what to expect.

So really, there's only one legitimate way to end this final mailbag that stays true to what this blog has been so often about…

See you in another life, brothas.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Parting Shots

A note from a (shockingly) anonymous commenter yesterday:

"Monday's Loose Ends... You used the word 'I' ten times in 5 paragraphs...........egocentric much?"

But what could possibly be more interesting than me?

Well, either way, I don't want to come off as egocentric, so today, I'm letting someone else do the dirty work. Our pal Bernie held a formal exit interview with me, so if you'd care to read my departing words with him, you can find the interview on his blog.

Be back with one final post tomorrow as SEC Media Days kicks off without me. (*Sigh*)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday's Loose Ends

Couple loose ends on a Monday morning...

-- I've been absurdly busy, and so I haven't been able to devote the time to a final post that I'd wanted. I'll get to it though, I promise. Expect one or two more posts over the next couple of days.

-- SEC Media Days begins this week, and while I won't be covering it, Fletcher Page will be there and his stories will be posted at and on The Dawg Post.

-- I've yet to have anything to actually Tweet about -- and it's probably a bad idea to start the new job by rubbing it into the faces of Phillies fans that the Cubs just took 3 of 4 -- but if you'd like to follow my new Twitter account, you can find it HERE.

-- I'll have lots more info on the future of the Bulldogs Blog in the next week or so, but what you'll need to know in the short term: There will be a new writer, but the blog address and the Twitter feed are staying the same. So no need to change bookmarks.

-- And finally, if you're planning on heading out to the Georgia-Colorado game in September, tickets for the Colorado Dawgs' Fan Tailgate Party go on sale today. You can purchase them directly HERE or find out more information HERE. I'm just bummed I won't be there.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Links (7/17)

It's Saturday in Athens.

My last Saturday in Athens, to be precise. To say I'm a bit bummed would be a vast understatement.

But it's been a good run. I'll have one more post coming in the next 48 hours, but I'm also packing up as much stuff as possible and trying to get in a few last-minute bits of Athens life (like breakfast at Mama's Boy this morning) before hitting the road in the morning to drive home to Delaware.

In the meantime though, I couldn't leave without one last batch of links, so here ya go...

-- If you're not already stoked for the season, Stuff of Legend should be able to push you over the edge with two great warm-up videos.

-- ESPN previews A.J. Green as part of its ongoing 2011 NFL draft coverage.

-- This proves nothing. I text many of my friends at least 250 times a month. But I do have to wonder how sincere Damon Evans was when he said, "I have a beautiful wife, who is going through a lot right now, of which it haunts me and troubles me," when he was on the phone with Courtney Fuhrmann just one hour after saying it.

-- Marc Weiszer writes that Warren Belin is happy to be at Georgia, but sad to see his former boss leaving Vanderbilt.

-- Rodney Garner defends Georgia's players after a rough offseason of off-field problems.

-- About Them Dawgs looks at how Georgia has stacked up against the spread -- the betting line, not the offense -- during the past few years. Interesting to see which teams have the best records in the SEC against the number.

-- Dancing in the Endzone looks at how important returning receiving yards have been in years past.

-- Blogging Pantsless wonders whether it would be wise to try to get Hutson Mason some early experience.

-- UGA Sports counts down the top 25 things to watch this college football season.

-- When I was first in journalism school, my professor made a point of railing against TV reporters on a routine basis. I used to think he just had an axe to grind, but he was right. Here's reason No. 6,347,219.

-- And just for fun, let's look at another great moment in TV reporting.

-- "Modern Family" Season 1 gets its DVD and Blu-Ray release on Sept. 21.

-- Betty White will be making a guest appearance on "Community" this season.

-- "Chuck" fans won't have to wait until midseason for new episodes this year. The fourth season debuts Sept. 20.

-- Best news I've read in a while: The "Arrested Development" movie script is in the works.

-- Comics writer and subject of the great movie "American Splendor" Harvey Pekar died this week. One of my favorite episodes of "No Reservations" featured Anthony Bourdain's trip to Cleveland, where he hung out with Pekar in his home town.

-- Spin counts down the 20 best albums of 2010 so far. I've downloaded several to help entertain me during the 12-hour drive to Philly tomorrow.

-- And finally, kudos to TBS for providing a proper George Steinbrenner tribute... "My baseball people kept saying Ken Phelps, Ken Phelps..."

Monday, July 12, 2010

11 Bold Predictions for 2010

I'm still on my honeymoon for the next few days, but I had a VERY long flight to get here, so I took some of that time to write up a few predictions for 2010.

Since I'm leaving in a week, I figure I don't have to be too accountable for my prognosticating anyway, so with that in mind, here are 11 things I'm guessing will come true in the 2010 season...

1.) Justin Houston and Cornelius Washington will combine for at least 20 sacks.

The two combined for 11.5 last season, which is a decent enough number. But remember: Houston missed three games, Washington wasn't a starter, and both were playing defensive end in Willie Martinez's less blitz-happy scheme. This season, things will be much different. Both Houston and C-Wash will be full-time starters at outside linebacker, where the lack of depth also means they'll be on the field often. Add to that the notion that Todd Grantham wants to send his rushers after the QB as much as possible, and perhaps setting the bar at 20 might be a bit low.

2.) Aaron Murray will not match any of Joe Cox's major stats from 2009.

Few fans -- at least for the near future -- are likely to remember the Joe Cox Era as a fond one, but what's often overlooked is just how impressive many of his stats were. Cox completed nearly 56 percent of his passes, threw for nearly 2,600 yards and tossed 24 touchdowns last season. But that wasn't necessarily a good thing. His 332 passing attempts were far more than most fans would have liked, and way too much of the offense's success and failure rested on Cox's arm.

This year, Murray isn't likely to approach Cox's passing numbers (although the completion percentage might be a reasonable goal) but that also means Murray will be carrying less of the load on offense -- which is a good thing. It also should mean that Murray won't approach another of Cox's stats from last season: 15 INTs.

3.) The pass D will be much better, but the run D will be a question mark.

I love what Scott Lakatos is doing with the secondary, and I love the talent that Georgia will have in the defensive backfield, so while there will be three new starters on the field in 2010, I don't see it as a problem. Up at the line of scrimmage, however, things could get trickier.

While the D was widely criticized throughout the past two years, it's easy to forget that Georgia was actually fairly stout against the run. The Dawgs finished third in the SEC against the run last season, allowing just 3.42 ypc, and no individual rusher topped 100 yards against them. But now Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins and Kade Weston are all gone, meaning major changes on the D line. Abry Jones should have a strong year, but his strength is more as a rusher than a run stuffer, and DeAngelo Tyson -- the current leader in the race for starting nose tackle -- is undersized for the position. Add to that an aggressive defensive style in the new 3-4, the ongoing learning curve for the linebackers (particularly the MLBs), the memories of last year's failures by defensive players to adjust on the fly and the loss of Rennie Curran, the team's best tackling LB… and it all adds up to what could very well be the Bulldogs' big bug-a-boo on D in 2010 -- lots of yards allowed on the ground.

4.) The turnover ratio will be in the Dawgs' favor this year.

Last year Georgia finished the season at minus-16 in turnover margin, which wasn't just bad -- it approached historically awful. But virtually everything was going against the Bulldogs last year. Cox threw too often. The defense was passive. Heck, the D couldn't even pick up a fumble to save its life -- something Richt attributed a bit too often to "luck" but I'm not so sure there wasn't more to it than that.

This season, however, Murray should be throwing less, and Lakatos will have his DBs going after takeaways in the secondary. And while luck (and a simple regression to the mean) should help Georgia find a few more loose balls in 2010, something tells me Grantham will be in his guys' ears talking to them about how to make their own luck, too.

5.) Georgia will beat both South Carolina and Arkansas.

Most fans have these two early season games circles as potential losses, and for good reason. Both South Carolina and Arkansas played Georgia close last year, and both teams appear to be improved this year. Add to that the notion that Murray will still be getting his feet wet and the D will still be getting the hang of the 3-4, and the potential for disaster seems high.

But… neither of these teams runs the ball well, and as I wrote, I think it'll be the run D where Georgia has problems early on. And neither team was particularly stout on D last season, particularly against the run. South Carolina allowed 16 rushing TDs in 2009, while Arkansas allowed opposing rushers nearly 4 yards per carry. That means UGA has a good chance to run Caleb King and Washaun Ealey early and often, build a time-of-possession advantage that keeps the D off the field and, ideally, Mike Bobo only needs to ask Aaron Murray to manage the game and not make mistakes. I see a 3-0 start to 2010 and expectations getting raised quickly...

6.) Georgia will struggle with Mississippi State and Kentucky.

While I think the Dawgs can get by those early tests, it wouldn't surprise me if they struggled in a couple of games most fans expect them to win. Their trip to Mississippi State could turn out to be every bit the test that Murray's first road game in Columbia was, but against the Western Bulldogs, Murray will have less time to prepare and heavier expectations on his shoulders. Mississippi State is an improving team that played LSU and Florida tough last year.

Georgia fans are all too familiar with the stumbling block that Kentucky represents, too. This year, the Wildcats will provide Georgia with one of its toughest tests against the run and the game has "trap" written all over it with Florida waiting one week later. Georgia is really just a few plays away from riding a four-game losing streak to the Wildcats (seriously, how crazy is that?) and the task won't get any easier this time around.

7.) Georgia will lose three games… but will beat the Gators.

I think Georgia loses to either Mississippi State or Kentucky this year, and I think the Auburn game will be a tough one for them to pull out. Somewhere on the schedule, there's a good chance another loss will crop up, too… but I'm going out on a limb and saying it won't be to Florida.

While the outcome the past two years has been horrendous, that's been far more about a 9-0 edge in the turnover ratio for Florida than it has been about the Bulldogs being significantly outplayed. In fact, in both games, Georgia had its moments, but each time they fell behind early and were forced to abandon their game plan midway through the third quarter.

The truth is, I have little to support my prediction here other than a gut feeling, but at some point, after all these years, doesn't Georgia have to have the ball bounce its way for a change?

(And remember, UGA won in 2004, then lost '05 and '06. They won again in 2007, then lost '08 and '09. I'm sensing a pattern there that says 2010 is a win.)

8.) The Dawgs will play Wisconsin in the Cap One Bowl.

It wouldn't surprise me if Georgia won the East -- particularly if they end up with the tie-breaker over Florida -- but even if they do, it'd be tough to earn a BCS game with three losses, so they'd need to win the SEC title to make the Sugar Bowl. But after last year's disappointments and all the questions entering this year, I'm thinking the Cap One would actually be a nice step forward and would help set the tone for 2011.

9.) A.J. Green's departure won't be a completely forgone conclusion.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's virtually no way that Green sticks around. But I'll also be surprised if he doesn't play it coy for most of the year, and with the NFL's potential labor problems added to the mix, there will at least be some minor air of mystery surrounding Green's decision. And regardless of how it all plays out, I'm going to predict Green leaves with his name atop a lot of Georgia receiving records after this season. How about a line of 84 catches, 1,280 yards and 12 touchdowns?

10.) Georgia will have three players taken in the first round of next year's NFL draft.

Green is a given. Clint Boling is likely to end up there, too. As for the third? That's a wild card for right now, but I could definitely see Brandon Boykin, Cordy Glenn or Justin Houston playing themselves into the mix, should any decide to leave early. My money says at least one will.

11.) Mark Richt won't be "on the hot seat" next offseason.

I'm thinking this season will be a lot like the finale of "Lost" -- good but not great, and a lot of questions won't be answered, but on a purely emotional level, there will be a lot to feel good about. There will still be some anonymous posters grumbling incoherently about the program's decline, but the groundwork laid by the new defensive coaches and the development of Aaron Murray by year's end should leave most fans with a lot more hope than frustration.

And while a lot of people look at the hiring of a new AD as a reason for Richt to be concerned, I don't see it that way. Firing a coach as successful as Richt would be an extremely bold move for a brand new AD in his first year of work, and he'd essentially be lighting a torch under his own seat if he didn't bring in a big name afterward. Given the current economic conditions and the lack of any clear quality candidate, I can't imagine any AD in his first year would be excited by that possibility.

Of course, by the time all this actually plays out, I'll be shoveling snow out of my driveway in Philly and wondering why I thought leaving the South was such a good idea to begin with. But feel free to track me down (My new Phillies blog will be HERE) and remind me about how smart or stupid I was with these predictions.

OK, back in a few more days with a final handful of posts before the move.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Hits Keep On Coming

Just a topic to keep you busy: With this news added to the hot seat talk, Damon Evans, Zach Mettenberger, both Montez Robinson arrests, the handful of walk-ons arrested and the coaching changes necessitated by last year's struggles... when's the last time UGA had a worse offseason than this?

Anonymous Poster

I've had more lucid conversations with Balinese cab drivers who only know six words of English than what our pal has been posting this week. My apologies to those of you not in need of prescription psychotropic drugs.

Did you know that during the last nine days our anonymous poster has only posted 1,754,963 ridiculous words, but in Wally Butts' nine years from 1940-1949, another anonymous poster managed 1,873,004 and won a consensus "craziest blog commenter" award? LIES!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Video Blog: Boykin Talks Receivers

Brandon Boykin chats about Georgia's receivers and the joys of attempting to cover A.J. Green.

*Video courtesy of Brandon Spoon.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Video Blog: Murray Talks Playmakers

Aaron Murray talks about the playmakers he'll have to work with on offense this year...

* Video courtesy of Brandon Spoon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Video Blog: Up-And-Comers On O Line

OK, folks. I'm off for my honeymoon for the next week-and-a-half, which means the blog will be a bit minimalist. But... I'll leave you with a few videos that might kill a little time.

First up... Josh Davis breaks down Georgia's younger offensive linemen.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fleeting Thoughts: Damon Evans

Answering a few of your questions and tying up a few loose ends...

-- This was really the most surreal thing I've covered at UGA. I like to think I'm a decent writer, but I have no words to describe the awkward tension in the room at that press conference. I had a buddy who once woke up naked on a random stranger's couch after drinking too much. I can only assume that must be what this press conference felt like.

-- Damon Evans' full statement was just under five minutes long, and his Q&A lasted about another five minutes.

-- This is going to be heard a lot after Evans' description of his relationship with Courtney Fuhrrman.

-- Evans' wife was at the press conference, along with Mark Fox and several of the top UGA brass. Only Fox talked with reporters afterward. "Damon met with the group this afternoon, and I think he wanted to, as he mentioned, apologize and take responsibily," Fox said. "He stood up like a man and did so."

-- The biggest question: Do I think Evans will keep his job? Honestly, I don't know, but I will say that virtually every source I talked to before the news conference thought he would offer his resignation. The fact that Michael Adams is on vacation may delay any sort of decision, too. But the truth is... this is going to be very, very hard for Evans to overcome at Georgia. Which isn't to say it can't be done.

-- Perhaps a good compromise on the situation was offered by Fletcher Page, who suggested Damon spend a year as athletics director at Georgia Military College, then be invited back to UGA.

-- The whole issue with the woman in the car remains a mystery, and certainly it's understandable why Evans wouldn't want to get into details on that. But if she was arrested, too, then something more happened at the scene, and when the video and police reports reveal those details publicly, an ugly situation could get much, much uglier.

-- Evans held back tears at several points, and he definitely took responsibility and offered contrition. But... statements about getting hammered by the press and saying he never considered offering his resignation sort of undercut some of that. I've talked to several reporters who said they wished they didn't have to write this story -- and I can say I'm at the top of that list -- but Evans deserves everything he gets right now. Feel sorry for Georgia and his family, but not for him.

-- And speaking of family... mine is in town for my wedding on Saturday, so this is probably all the reporting you're going to get from me for the near future. But more details are sure to emerge. Hoepfully the curse of Hale will be officially removed from now on though.

-- And if you're in Athens this weekend, I'll be wrapping up my beer card (AND TAKING CABS HOME!) so feel free to stop into Pauley's to say hello.

Have a great July 4th weekend, folks!

Evans Q&A on Arrest

Here's the full transcript of the question-and-answer session with Damon Evans today...

Q: What was the reaction from Michael Adams?

“Dr. Adams is supportive. I think he’s going to let things play out. He has to do what is in the best interest of this institution. He told me that. I told him I agree with him from that standpoint. He knows I made a mistake, a serious mistake. He understands that. I believe Dr. Adams wants to work through that with me, but at the same time I think it depends on how things play out. If I bring too much shame or embarrassment to this institution, then there’s no telling what will happen. But Dr. Adams has been very good to deal with thus far.”

Q: Do you see your job status right now as undetermined?

“I’m not going to get into that, but I just know this: There are policies and procedures at this institution. I know that what I did is very, very serious. And I think that when, even me when I’ve been in a position to deal with stuff like that, you have to take a step back and see where we are and if we can move forward with said individual, and I think that’s the appropriate thing to do.”

Q: What was your relationship to the passenger in the vehicle?

“Just a friend.”

Q: Is it your desire to remain at your job?

“My desire is to keep my job. I want to be here at the University of Georgia. I love this institution. This is my alma mater. I believe that we have a lot of unfinished business here at the University of Georgia, and I will do everything in my power to be a part of this institution. But at the same time respect whatever comes my way.”

Q: Did you offer your resignation?

“No I did not.”

Q: Does the woman who was arrested with you have any affiliation with the athletics department at Georgia?

“No. No.”

Q: Have you met with any of the student-athletes?

“I’ve got a lot of people to meet with. I do need to address the student-athletes. That’s going to be something that is difficult, just as it was to address our coaches and senior staff. I’ve got to find the right time to do that. I’ve got to address a lot of individuals. It goes to student-athletes. It goes to administration. It goes to board members. It goes to alums. I’ve got a lot of addressing to do.”

Q: What did you tell the coaches when you met with them?

“First and foremost, I apologized. I apologized to those individuals. We’re here to support our student-athletes and our coaches. That’s what my job is as an administrator, to help them be as successful as they possibly can. I always talk about setting the tone and setting the example, and I failed to do that. So it was an apology. I wanted them to know where I stood. I wanted them to hear it from me personally and know that I have a lot of respect and admiration for what they do, and hopefully I can be a leader that they would like me to be.”

Q: So you do not have any plans to resign?

“No. I should rephrase that this way: I have a lot of things on my mind, and when you’re in a situation like this, you contemplate. I want to be at the University of Georgia as I stated earlier. But I made a serious mistake, and I’m not taking that lightly, nor should anyone in this room take that lightly, nor should the president of this institution take that lightly. However that’s dealt with, as some might say, I’ve just got to accept it. I’ve made my bed, and now I have to lay in it.”

Q: Can you recall the specifics of what happened last night?

“It’s an ongoing case, and I’ve been advised not to comment specifically about that case.”

Q: In a more general sense, do you recall last night?

“Again, I don’t want to get into that right now while this case is still under investigation.”

Q: Athletes are subject to immediate punishment when charged with a DUI. Do you feel or do you know what punishment you'll receive?

“The question was, players who receive DUIs, there were certain sanctions that we bring forth. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s coming my way. That’s a determination of the president and the powers that be to take a look at everything in totality and render a decision. I’m going to sit back, do what I need to do to try to, as best as possible rectify this current situation.”

Q: Do you feel this arrest will hinder your ability to do your job?

“Some might say that. Some might say that it does compromise my ability. I’m looking at this as it’s going to make me stronger. I’m looking to take this and rebuild myself and become an even better leader. I think in life, our greatest successes come from our failures. We all know that. What you’ve got to do is you’ve got to learn. You’ve got to take those mistakes and learn from them, and that’s what I plan on doing in all facets of my life. This is not just about – as much as I love the University of Georgia, there’s some things personally I’ve got to take a look at. I’ve got to look at my family. That’s important. I don’t want to bring shame to people who mean so much to me.”

Damon Evans Statement to Media

Here's Damon Evans' full statement to the media at today's press conference. I'll have the Q&A portion shortly...

“I sit before all of you today very ashamed and embarrassed by my actions. I let this university down, I let my family down, I let those in the Bulldog Nation down. I let so many people down that have supported me and believed in me along the way. My behavior, my actions were not indicative of what we teach our student athletes at the University of Georgia. My goal has always been to represent this institution in the utmost fashion. Unfortunately, I failed at that. I failed miserably.

“When I sit back and look at things, all I can do is move ahead and learn from my mistakes. I like to look at mistakes as opportunities in disguise. This is an opportunity to learn about myself, for me to take a look at myself in the mirror and size up who I am as an individual. Right now, I have some shortcomings. I think that’s part of life to have shortcomings. But I also know this: I owe it to all of you in this room, I owe it to all our fans, owe it to Dr. Adams, who stood by me through this very, very difficult time. I have had conversations with him, and I understand the predicament that I have put him in. I believed and will always believe that what should be done is what’s in the best interest of this institution.

“I do feel like my actions have put a black cloud over our storied program – one of which I never thought in my years here at the University of Georgia, that I would bring such shame to this magnificent institution. I’ve got a lot of soul searching, a lot of thinking to do, and I’ve got to take a step back and pause and say, Damon, you’ve got to get back on track. You’ve got to set an example. You’ve got to be the leader that you talk about being. You’ve got to be the role model for the student-athletes that come through this institution that you say you are. Last night, I was not that.

“To all the people out there in Bulldog-land, it’s going to take a while to gain your trust back, and it should – and I don’t know if I ever will. But what I can say is that I will do everything in my power to make you believe in me once again. I’m back to ground zero. I’ve got to build, and I’m going to have to build one step at a time. I’m going to need the help of you in this room, I’m going to need the help of family and friends.

“And speaking of my family, I have to mention family, because they are the most important thing to me. I brought shame to them – my two lovely children, Cameron and Kennedy. I have a beautiful wife, who is going through a lot right now, of which it haunts me and troubles me. And when you have such deep feelings and love for some one and you hurt them, as you all know, it’s something that’s hard to take. I’ve done just that. But I’ve hurt everybody.

“I simply want to end by saying I sincerely apologize for my actions. I hope that you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me. What I say here is coming from the bottom of my heart. I’m an individual who made a grave, grave mistake, one that will be with me for the rest of my life. But it has to be one, I will have to turn it into one, that will teach me a lesson.

“So I want to apologize again to the Bulldog Nation and all of our supporters and specifically to Dr. Adams and the administration. I appreciate what you’ve done. I appreciate you standing by me. My staff, our coaches, our senior staff, all of our staff that’s in this room – thanks for being here. I’ve been given a lot of support through emails and text messages, but at the same time, I’ve taken a beating and deservedly so. So again, I humbly apologize.”

Adams Statement on Evans Arrest

Here's the full statement from Michael Adams regarding the Damon Evans arrest. I'll have a full post on Evans' statements shortly.

"UGA Athletic Director Damon Evans informed me early this morning of his arrest and provided me an account of the events of last night. Drinking and driving is a serious mater, and I was extremely disappointed to hear of his arrest. Certainly this is not an example of the kind of leadership that I expect our senior administrators to set. I have high regard for Damon personally; I care deeply about him and his family and know him to be a man of integrity. He has sincerely apologized to me for the embarrassment this has brought upon the university. I was notified of this matter while away on vacation and will reserve further action pending a full review by staff and legal counsel."

UGA Schedules Evans Press Conference

Georgia will hold a press conference at 6:30 p.m. Damon Evans will be in attendance, although whether or not he'll announce his resignation has not been confirmed.

Follow me on Twitter for details as they happen.

I'll post more here after the press conference.

By the way... I'm getting married in 48 hours and probably could have used this time for other things. But it's a lovely swan song on the Georgia beat.

Revised: Evans Arrested on DUI Charges

University of Georgia athletics director Damon Evans was arrested on charges of driving under the influence late Wednesday night in Atlanta, according to Georgia State Police.

According to Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright, Evans, 40, was pulled at the intersection of Roswell Road and over by a Georgia state trooper just before midnight on Wednesday in a 2009 BMW after the officer viewed Evans driving erratically.

The officer said he smelled alcohol and administered a field sobriety test, after which Evans was taken into custody at the Atlanta city jail on charges of driving under the influence and failure to maintain lane.

“Once (the officer) got Evans stopped, during the course of that conversation the officer detected an odor of alcohol,” Wright said. “He administered a field sobriety test and determined that Evans was less safe to be operating a vehicle.”

Evans reportedly refused a breath test at the jail.

Another passenger was in Evans’ vehicle at the time of the arrest and, according to Wright, was also arrested. Further details were not yet available, Wright said. Because the arresting officer was part of a DUI task force that deals in a large volume of arrests, no police report was immediately available. Evans was released Thursday morning.

Evans became athletics director at Georgia in 2004 and recently signed a new five-year contract that went into effect this week, raising his salary by $110,000 to $550,000 annually.

Evans has commented several times about the numerous alcohol-related arrests that have plagued the Bulldogs’ football program during recent years. During home football games at Sanford Stadium, Evans appears in a public safety video warning fans not to drink and drive.

As of Thursday afternoon, neither the school nor Evans had commented on the arrest, but a statement by the university is expected shortly.

Damon Evans Arrested on DUI Charges

This counts as a REALLY bad story.

UGA Athletics Director Damon Evans was arrested overnight on charges of driving under the influence in Atlanta. has the full story and the mug shot. I'm still working on details, which I'll post as soon as I get them.

UPDATE (12:50 p.m.)

-- The AJC has a few more details including comment from a police spokesman. Still no word from UGA or Evans.

One interesting nugget out of the AJC report is this:

Wright said a passenger with Evans also was taken to jail. Wright could not immediately provide further details.

This adds a bit more intrigue to an already volatile story, depending on who the mysterious passenger was. If it was another UGA employee, that could be significantly more problematic.

As for the actual charges, Evans' apparent refusal to submit to a breath test violates the state's implied consent law.

Under Georgia's implied consent law, you are agreeing to chemical testing when you driving a motor vehicle. The implied consent law basically means that if you are driving you are "consenting" to DUI testing upon being suspected of DUI.

In the state of Georgia, you are required to submit to a breathalyzer is required by a police officer. If you refuse, you could lose your license or receive other penalties.

What that means is, Evans is subject to various automatic penalties which could include loss of driving privileges, but it is not legal evidence of guilt on DUI charges. So, there's still much we won't know regarding the situation for a while.

Of course, as has been said numerous times of Georgia's players following an off-field incident -- sometimes guilt is less important than how the situation appears. And this looks really bad.

I would expect some comment from UGA or Michael Adams at some point, but I've not been informed of a time table on that.

Video Blog: Houston Talks Defense

Justin Houston talks about the early practices for the defense this summer.

Video courtesy of Brandon Spoon.