That was then…
“It’s not like they’re some big, powerful team. After all they lost to Vanderbilt.”
… this is now.
“It’s not disgraceful to lose to Vanderbilt more than any of these other teams because Vanderbilt is a very good team.”
A comment from David Hale this morning:
– The Sporting News writes about the Bulldogs’ poor kickoffs. Interesting note about this: I tried to ask Blair Walsh what was wrong in the kicking game, and he said he was under direct orders not to talk about kickoffs. No kidding.
I don’t know about you, but to me, imposed silence usually isn’t a good sign that everything is cool.
Three things that I read, liked and thought I’d share:
“One thing that has changed the most has been our academic strategy. We’ve really done a great job of looking at the young men’s playing time and saying, if this guy does not redshirt, we must get him graduated in three-and-a-half years. That’s not easy to do, but we target that through summer school and maybe one or two May-mesters. It’s a tough grind for them, but if they don’t redshirt, they need to get graduated in three-and-a-half because after that fourth season which is three-and-a-half years of school they’re looking to go try out for the NFL and go around the country to train. And now that we’re doing that, and I have more confidence in that, I’m a little more likely to play a young kid.”
Now I don’t doubt that Richt sincerely cares about making sure his kids get a degree. But this also strikes me as a very smart reaction to the NCAA’s APR rules in light of Georgia’s ability under Richt to get his players to the next level. I think it’s something that pays off with parents on the recruiting trail, too – as it should.
How much of the South Carolina fanbase do you figure has been engaged in debating the merits of Skip Holtz and Steve Spurrier this weekend?
Speaking of the OBC, it looks like we’re going to get a heavy dose of the coy side of the man this week.
… Spurrier is 22-17 in his fourth season in Columbia heading into Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. CBS game against No. 2 Georgia (2-0, 0-0). After going 122-27-1 with six SEC titles and a national championship in 12 seasons at Florida, that has prompted some to wonder if the game may have passed him by.
“With the way we play offense, you can say that,” Spurrier said Sunday. “Two years ago, our offense was pretty good but it ain’t been very good lately, that’s for sure. That’s part of the game. If your team doesn’t play well, you’re not a very good coach and I’m not a very good coach right now. That’s just the way life is. When I had a bunch of guys running around scoring a bunch of points, I was a real good coach.”
Aww… isn’t that the cutest? Plus, he’s unsure. About everything.
But there’s always that little zinger that gets tossed in at the end.
“It’s very consistent each year,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. “They’ve played very well the week before, and we’ve not played very well the week before. We’ve had pretty good games with them every year, so hopefully we can get in a close game with them and make a play or two to beat them. They’re certainly one of the best teams in the country, as we all know.”
As we all know, because he likes to remind us, the Dawgs have been there many times before when he’s beaten Georgia. Hopefully, Richt isn’t bothering to buy into Spurrier’s bs this year.
Georgia’s opened as a 7.5 point favorite for Saturday’s game.
Yeah, if you go by the absolute strict definition of Part C of Rule 9-2-1-2, stating that throwing the ball in the air in celebration is a penalty, what Locker did could technically get flagged. But if officials are really going with the “letter of the law” defense, then why isn’t there a holding call on every play? Pass interference could be called on 75% of pass plays. By the rule book, there’s something that could be flagged almost every time the ball is snapped, and why doesn’t it happen? Judgment. Officials are supposed to be able to judge what’s really holding and what players should be able to get away with. Yes, there’s room for an official to use common sense, and that includes what Farina should’ve used after the Locker throw, and for Parry to stand behind the rule book in this situation makes all officials look bad…
but let’s not forget that this was a Pac-10 crew that made a call that screwed over a Pac-10 team in a game against a non-conference opponent. As I’ve said before, these guys just don’t care what anybody thinks about them.
And that should give the team that currently leads the SEC in penalties some pause for thought on its game in two weeks. We may see Evil Mark Richt blow a gasket before it’s all over.
I can’t believe Ivan Maisel wrote this.
It would be easy to mock Notre Dame’s struggle to win 21-13 at home against lowly San Diego State. But you can’t underestimate the importance of this victory. The Fighting Irish found a way to win in the fourth quarter. That not only demonstrates a change from last season, but should serve as a wellspring of confidence in the weeks to come. History will look back fondly at this game.
Unless he’s being wonderfully sarcastic, that’s about as in the tank as you can get. In any event, it’s amazing to me that the Irish have sunk so low that someone of Maisel’s prominence can write the above passage, straight, sarcastic or otherwise.
The Michigan-Notre Dame game is shaping up as a real battle of the Titans.
UPDATE: Bruce Feldman has this ringing endorsement of Notre Dame from SDSU head coach Chuck Long:
… I’m not sure if this is truly the state of Notre Dame football, but there is this gem from San Diego State coach Chuck Long’s postgame news conference. Asked who was better, Notre Dame or Cal Poly, Long responded: “That’s a tough question. It’s hard to say who’s better.”
So… our first controversy in 2008 isn’t over whether this kid should start, that kid should be benched or directional kickoffs (though maybe they should be), but why this isn’t plastered all over ESPN.
Even Mark Richt got in on the act.
… Afterward Richt said it was one of the most amazing runs he’d seen in all his years and he looked forward to seeing it on SportsCenter that night. Trouble was, ESPN didn’t bother showing it.
ESPN buried Georgia’s game deep within its broadcast and, when it finally got around to the nation’s No. 2 team, quickly ran through the 78-yard interception return by Demarcus Dobbs, the first TD catch by Mohamed Massaquoi and Moreno’s 52-yard TD run in which he stiff-arms a defender to spring him down the sideline.
But the play that awestruck everybody that saw it was a no-show.
I asked Richt about its omission on his weekly Sunday teleconference call and it initiated a pretty interesting exchange between me, him, a guy from an ESPN-affiliated website and a guy supposedly with Fox Sports South.
Was he surprised they didn’t show it?
Richt: “Yeah. They missed the boat or didn’t do their homework or whatever. I don’t know how they couldn’t have noticed that as thorough as it seems like that are most of the time. But it’s going to make our highlights for a long time.”
The exchange that follows – a pillow fight between an ESPN rep and a Fox affiliate (both of whom cover the Dawgs) – is hilarious.
… Then Brett Jensen of “TotalUGA.com,” a website that covers Georgia athletics for ESPN, piped in.
Jensen: “I spoke to some people up in Connecticut about that today. They said Fox, who had control of the game, didn’t put that in that highlight in the highlight package they sent up to the satellite.”
Richt: “You’re kidding me? [Starts laughing] Oh, so you throw Fox under the bus? I threw you under the bus and now you throw Fox under the bus. That’s the way it works.”
Then Dean Legge, whose website georgia.scout.com is in the Fox family, chimes in? “They had cameras there. They could have pulled it off the satellite.”
Richt: “Maybe it just wasn’t that good of a play. I don’t know. I thought it was pretty good.”
Another reporter asks: “So ESPN is back under the bus?”
Richt: [Laughs] “I think they’re both under the bus now.”
Will the lack of narrative itself become a narrative? Maybe, if ESPN’s smart. (And, note that Chris Low did pay homage to the Hurdle in this blog post.) For the WWL, any audience attention is generally good attention. Besides, look for Uncle Verne to play up the Hurdle on this Saturday’s broadcast.