Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

So, what’s the next earth shattering crisis?

Logan Gray elects not to transfer.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The WWL’s go-to guy for sports administration

Craig James never ceases to amaze me.  Fresh off his assistance with the administration at Texas Tech on how to handle the firing of a head coach, he’s now moved into the field of career advice.

ESPN’s Craig James said he encouraged Randy Shannon not to sign an extension and gamble that he would help his bargaining position next season, the final year of his contract.

Brilliant!

… But that would hurt recruiting; an assistant coach at another Florida school said opponents are hoping an extension doesn’t materialize and that there’s a backlash from local high school coaches.

James is going to be a real treat to follow this fall.

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UPDATE: Shannon didn’t take his advice.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

More cowbell

The SEC and Mississippi State are on the horns of a dilemma.

… Southeastern Conference spokesman Charles Bloom said Tuesday that he anticipates the league’s presidents and athletic directors will revisit the SEC’s stance against artificial noisemakers at its spring meetings June 1-4 in Destin, Fla. Bloom wrote in an e-mail that he’s “not quite sure” how much discussion will take place or the possibilities of an end result.

According to others familiar with the issue, potential modifications could strengthen the penalties in place in the current ban, potentially adding fines to schools whose fans break the rule…

One can only hope that they’re able to put this issue out to pasture without upsetting things in the barnyard overly much.

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Filed under SEC Football

Verne crush: it’s time for a new GTP poll.

It hasn’t gotten much mention, but with the departure of the GPOOE™, we’re at the dawn of a new age:  Verne Lundquist has to find another object of his affection.

Sure, he’s had his flirtations here and there, but when you get down to it, there have been two Verne crush eras.  From 2002-4, it was the Time of the Two Davids.  Since then, of course, it’s been Tebow Time.  But now the void left by his departure has to be filled by another.  Who will it be?

That’s where you come in.

But before you vote on your idea of the most likely candidate, let’s go through the attributes that Uncle Verne looks for in a player.  Then I’ll handicap the guys on the ballot.

To be on the receiving end of a Verne crush, it seems to me that a player has to come up big in a few areas.

  • Talent/achievement. Sure, it’s obvious, but second team All-SEC doesn’t cut it with Verne.  To get the love, you better be big time.
  • Exposure. The better your team, the more you appear on CBS.  The more you appear on CBS, the more opportunity to be the center of Verne’s attention.  (Of course, the real key to being on the receiving end of a Verne crush is that he’ll prattle about that even during games that don’t involve the player.)
  • Human interest angle. Motors that never stop running.  Filipino foreskins.  Playing Pee Wee ball together.  Verne has to have something to talk about besides converting the tough third-and-two, or quarterbacking your team to all those NCAA wins.
  • Longevity. Verne’s not into flash-in-the-pan types.  He prefers somebody you can settle down with and talk about for more than one season.

With the criteria established, let’s check the contendahs:

John Brantley:

  • Talent/achievement -  He’s basically a blank slate, but he’s garnered plenty of pundit love going into the season.  Call it neutral, with lots of upside.  But he’ll have to beat Mallett out as the top QB in the conference to get there.
  • Exposure – He’s Florida’s starting quarterback.  He’ll get that in spades.
  • Human interest angle – He’s got several good ones from which to whet Verne’s appetite.  His dad played at UF.  He’s waited patiently for his chance.  Best of all, he gives Verne the perfect opportunity to keep talking about Tebow.
  • Longevity – This one’s tricky.  He has to have a good enough year to justify the attention, but not so good that he turns pro after this one year.

Ryan Mallett:

  • Talent/achievement – He comes in as the likely preseason first team All-SEC quarterback.  He’ll also get his share of buzz as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.
  • Exposure – Not too good to start with, but if Arkansas’ season takes off, that could change.  It would also feed into his Heisman Trophy chances.
  • Human interest angle – Meh.  You’ve got the local kid who wanted to go to Arkansas, but went to Michigan instead, and then came back when RichRod showed up.  You’ve also got the “he’s overcome the offseason injury” story to play.  Not the most compelling stuff.
  • Longevity.  Not good.  If he has a good year, he’s gone.

Mark Ingram:

  • Talent/achievement – He’s the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.  It doesn’t get much better than that.
  • Exposure – I think ‘Bama will be on CBS a few times this season, don’t you?  The only warning is that he’ll have to share the attention with Julio Jones.
  • Human interest angle – Pretty good, with his dad, the road naming and the Heisman.
  • Longevity – Another one who will be gone with a good year.

Julio Jones:

  • Talent/achievement – He and A.J. Green are the top two wide receivers in the conference.  Injury concerns are an issue, though.
  • Exposure – What I said about Ingram goes here, too.
  • Human interest angle – Not much of one.
  • Longevity – He’s gone after this season.

Cam Newton:

  • Talent/achievement – He’s a physical freak playing in a pinball offense that will give him a chance to generate some attention-getting stats.
  • Exposure – He’s playing on a team in the SEC West, which helps this year.
  • Human interest angle – Tebow, the laptop and banishment to a JC program for a year.  Verne loves “overcoming” stories.  But he’ll have to excel early on to make that play.
  • Longevity – Hard to see Newton turning pro after this season.

A.J. Green:

  • Talent/achievement – He’ll be a unanimous preseason All-SEC pick, and he’s the best playmaker in the conference.
  • Exposure – Not much to start with.  His team will have to play into that as the season progresses.
  • Human interest angle – The story about his high school basketball team is moving.  If he and Jones have great seasons, Verne will get a lot of mileage with comparisons.
  • Longevity – He’s projected as a top five NFL draft pick now.  See ‘ya.

I’ll leave you with two other options on the ballot.  If you think somebody else takes hold of Verne’s heart, pick “other” (and tell us in the comments who and why).  Or, if you think that Verne lays off this season – and with the longevity issues listed above, that’s a possibility – you can choose “nobody”.

For the record, I’m going with Brantley.  The Tebow connection puts him over the top in my book.

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Filed under SEC Football

Kirby Smart picks a narrative.

January 6, 2010:

… Smart said earlier this week that he expected to be back at Alabama next season. But on Tuesday, he didn’t completely shut the door on going back to his alma mater, either.

Richt has talked to Smart about the job, but Smart says there’s never been a formal offer.

“I haven’t really talked to Mark much,” said Smart, who was the Broyles Award winner as the top assistant coach in the country this year. “To say I said ‘no’ to Mark … he’s not offered me anything. So that’s not really accurate. To be honest, with this game coming up, I haven’t even thought about it.”

Smart admitted that you never say never in this business.

“You don’t ever know what’s going to happen, but I’m certainly excited about the opportunity to be back at Alabama,” Smart said. “We’ve got a lot of good players coming back.”

January 11, 2010:

“I think it was pretty well known that there was an opportunity to return to my alma mater as defensive coordinator. I wouldn’t even have considered discussing the position with any other school, but when it is a place I’ve spent some of my best years and had some great memories, I thought it was something I should discuss with my family and figure out what was best…”

May 10, 2010:

“Everybody just assumed I was given the raise later after I talked to schools,” Smart said. “But that wasn’t the case. Coach (Nick) Saban was very proactive in that he offered me a very substantial raise right after the Florida game.

“I always wanted to return to Alabama, and I felt that way all the way through the process.”

Smart said he spoke with a couple of teams by phone but ultimately never interviewed elsewhere.

Gee, Kirby, I wonder how anyone could have gotten the wrong impression about that.

Hey, look, more power to Smart – it’s hard to begrudge anyone the opportunity that presented itself to him in January.  But he’s going to have a tough time convincing me that some feelers weren’t sent out in Richt’s direction about his possible interest in coming back to Athens as the DC.  Remember that Richt was already in the midst of doing his due diligence on Grantham (hence Bud Foster’s interest in talking) and had already been used by a couple of candidates to enhance their bottom lines with their current employers when things appeared to get interesting with Smart.  The idea that Richt would stick his neck out like that again with a guy who “always wanted to return to Alabama” seems unlikely.

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Filed under Georgia Football