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Monthly Archives: August 2010
I was sent something by a reader that I was saving until Saturday morning, but since Barnhart posted about it this morning, here ’tis – a letter from Erk Russell to his 1980 team, just before the start of camp.
If you don’t want to click on the link, here’s the text:
July 7, 1980
Gentlemen (and Linemen),
The football season of ‘80 will be my seventeenth as a Georgia Bulldog. During this time there have been many thrilling Saturdays of competition, each with it’s individual memories, because each game has it’s own personality.
There are two Saturday traditions and experiences which have remained basically the same throughout the years for me and I would like to share them with you.
The first one concerns the THE RAILROAD TRACK CROWD. These are my people because they love the ‘Dogs almost as much as I do. Oh, I know they do some crazy things- like turn over our opponents’s buses sometimes and now and then they throw one another down the bank and into the street below. But they stamp out Kudzu and they pull for us to win and that ain’t bad.
If you can get off the bus to cheers of THE RAILROAD TRACK CROWD and walk down those steps to the dressing room and not be inspired to play football as best you possibly can, something important is missing beneath the Georgia jersey you wear. It is impossible not to be inspired. They choke me up!
The season of 1980 will be the last for THE RAILROAD TRACK CROWD. A great Georgia tradition will have passed with the new addition to our stadium. The view from the tracks will be no more.
Your team will be the last Georgia Team to be greeted and cheered by THE RAILROAD TRACK CROWD. Wouldn’t it be fitting if their last team was also the best Georgia Team ever? Think about it!
Another Saturday tradition which has meant so much to me over the years can be stated very simply. “THERE AIN’T NOTHING LIKE BEING A BULLDOG ON SATURDAY NIGHT- – - – -AFTER WINNING A FOOTBALL GAME.” I mean like whipping Tennessee’s ass to start with, then ten more and then another one.
This is the game plan. We have no alternate plan.
Assistant Head Football Coach
He called it, didn’t he?
If that doesn’t get you pumped up for the start of the season, I give up, folks.
The SEC Power Poll (nifty new logo, by the way) is asking its voters to take part in a preseason poll – in this case, not to rank the teams, but the teams’ uniforms. So I thought I’d get your opinion on the matter. Which do you think are the best and worst looking uniforms in the conference?
There actually is an objective measurement for “worst”, believe it or not. It’s this:
I certainly don’t feel sorry for Steve Spurrier, but I’m beginning to appreciate why he continues to insist that his team hasn’t been distracted in preseason camp. It’s about the only line he can take.
Consider what he’s been working through:
- Weslye Saunders has been suspended for almost a week with no indication when he might return.
- Lingering injuries to key performers like fullback Pat DiMarco, a team captain, and linebacker Shaq Wilson, the Gamecocks’ leading tackler last season.
- Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, in charge of the secondary, worked Tuesday without starting safety Akeem Aguste and backup cornerback C.C. Whitlock.
- Defensive lineman and captain Ladi Ajiboye was late to that session because of what assistant coach in charge of defense Ellis Johnson said were issues about the hotel.
South Carolina hasn’t heard from the NCAA yet, but expects to before its opener Thursday night against Southern Miss.
And that doesn’t even count the self-imposed uncertainty of the quarterback battle between Garcia and Shaw.
Of course, if this is really what Southern Miss is counting on, all the distractions in the world won’t matter.
Clay Travis informs us that we’re “angry”.
Well, he may be sensing some emotional response on our part, but it’s not because “Mark Richt’s season narratives all have pretty much the same script”, whatever the hell that means.
Nah, we’re probably just irritated by assholes in the media repeatedly telling us how we ought to feel about a head coach who’s gone 90-27.
The Athens Banner-Herald has its football preview posted today. One of its features is a series of Q&As with several players. Every one interviewed was asked what game or games was he most looking forward to playing and why. Most gave safe, coach-speak type answers.
Most, but not Vance Cuff.
What game are you most looking forward to and why?
“I always look at Florida. It’s strong. Playing for Georgia, it just endorses bad feelings for them and Georgia Tech, too. It’s really those two teams. The other teams I know players on. I might not be best friends with them, but I know them. But the other two, I’m like a different person when I’m on the field with them. It’s like they’re the enemy and they hurt me.”
Then, there’s the succinct word from Blair Walsh.
What game are you most looking forward to and why?
Saturday can’t get here soon enough.
Admittedly, I don’t follow the Georgia Tech program that closely, but surely this isn’t correct:
In looking for another theme on the depth chart released Saturday by Tech officials, senior wide receiver Kevin Cone figures to be the only non-scholarship player to start. [Emphasis added.]
How many top-20 teams do you figure start walk-ons (not counting special teams, of course)?
At least he sounds qualified for the job.
… At 6-feet 2, he looks more like departed wide receiver Demaryius Thomas — bigger.
“I was about 200 pounds last year, and I’m about 210 now,” Cone said. “I just wanted to get a little bigger so I can be more aggressive. Last year, I was having trouble getting off press [coverage] and staying on my man [while blocking].”
I’ve got a couple of good statistical exercises to share with the interested Georgia fan.
First, Year2 finds – again – that penalties don’t have much of an effect on wins and losses over the long haul. I know a lot of Dawg fans like to harp on the high number of penalties Georgia has incurred over the past couple of seasons as a key factor in why things went awry, but the truth is that plenty of winning teams draw lots of flags.
On the other hand, I doubt there’s a single person who followed Georgia’s 2008 season who would be surprised by this:
Here is the bottom line. There is value in determining who gained worthwhile momentum during the last 3-5 games of the season, but you should not spend even five seconds attempting to derive value in bowl performances.
We’re getting closer…
- Excellent rant about the stupid FWAA vote on the ’04 season.
- David Ching give us a capsule review of Georgia’s 2010 schedule; the opening line about South Carolina is worth the price of admission.
- You gotta love Matthew Stafford lobbying Mike Bobo to add a couple of things to the playbook.
- Is redshirting becoming less common? (h/t The Wiz of Odds)
- Say what you will, Mark Richt understands human behavior – or at least that practiced by eighteen to twenty one-year olds: “I think they probably do,” Richt said. “But like a lot of people, they don’t think something could happen to them.”
- In the for-what-it’s-worth department, Georgia enters the new season ranked thirteenth in Sagarin’s “starting ratings”.
- Matt Hinton takes a look at whether Alabama’s defense is merely reloading this season.
- Hell hath no fury like a booster scorned. Especially when said booster is, well, going to jail for fraud.
Again, it bears repeating that the single most valuable asset in the world of BCS-conference college athletics is the football regular season. That’s where the bulk of the TV money is generated, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past year, it’s that TV money rules the football world.
Here’s a handy chart comparing the revenues and expenses compiled at each SEC school over the 2008 football season and the 2008-2009 basketball season:
School F’ball Revenues F’ball Profit B’ball Revenues B’ball Profit Alabama 64,606,392 38,162,437 8,766,826 3,777,011 Arkansas 38,630,265 20,321,009 14,391,769 7,755,353 Auburn 58,618,819 29,816,951 7,187,457 2,668,494 Florida 66,150,063 43,289,638 10,016,431 1,909,310 Georgia 65,218,406 45,381,440 7,266,018 971,584 Kentucky 26,143,126 12,895,649 14,773,034 6,157,308 LSU 61,868,953 39,125,745 6,034,178 1,264,808 MSU 18,732,248 5,873,586 6,197,698 2,473,007 Ole Miss 18,688,648 9,174,092 4,725,911 2,223,317 S. Carolina 57,118,519 37,232,819 8,101,086 2,963,232 Tennessee 42,805,360 19,842,551 12,576,715 7,111,804 Vanderbilt 18,564,940 4,383,262 8,021,361 1,020,874
As you can see, football revenue and profit dwarfed those from basketball, even at Kentucky.
In the debate about D-1 football’s postseason, what you and I think ain’t that big a deal. But if you don’t think those numbers aren’t on the minds of every president, athletic director and conference commissioner in the Big Six, you’re kidding yourself. They’re not going to do anything they perceive might present the possibility of killing that golden goose.