Daily Archives: March 9, 2011

In one way, God is just like Lane Kiffin.

They’re both given credit for having a plan when seemingly random events occur which impact SEC football.

… Zach’s father Bernie and mother Tammy, who has worked in Georgia’s football office with Richt for a decade, recently visited their son at LSU, which is a popular pick to win the national championship next season partly because of Mettenberger’s addition at quarterback.

“The facilities at LSU are just off the chart. He loves it there. The food is out of this world,” his father said. “He just went duck hunting with one of his tight ends. We feel like things have worked out. He grew up a Bulldog fan. He was practically raised in that family. My wife has worked in the Georgia football office since he was 8. We always thought he’d be at Georgia, but I think we may have pushed him there too much. Maybe God had a plan for Zach to get kicked out of Georgia and to win a national title at LSU.”

I’ve never been that comfortable with the concept of the Almighty One as micromanager, but so be it.  It’s just that if there was a plan, our Heavenly Father sure chose some unusual agents of change.

… Mettenberger’s father and Cowart each say that Mettenberger was a victim of timing and circumstances when he was kicked off of the Georgia team. He was arrested on March 7 during spring break – just two days after Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 154 miles away in a bar in Milledgeville, Ga., and later accused of sexual assault. The Roethlisberger story drew national headlines for weeks. He ended up not being charged, but he was suspended for six weeks by the NFL for breaking its personal conduct policy.

Also at this time, Richt was dealing with a string of alcohol-related arrests stretching back several months. Cowart, who worked in the Georgia football office as a student, feels Richt was pressured by Georgia president Michael Adams and then-athletic director Damon Evans to release Mettenberger.

“He probably got punished for what some other Georgia players did,” Cowart said. “And you had the Ben Roethlisberger incident. And Michael Adams was up for the appointment of president of the NCAA. If it had happened six months before, he wouldn’t have gotten kicked off.”

Funny, you’d think God would let Mark Richt know before Adams and Evans that it was the right time for a move.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Jarvis Jones speaks.

Chris Low talks with Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones. It’s less than a three minute interview, so give a listen.

 

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Filed under Georgia Football

Watch this space.

It’s gonna be a long preseason for at least two schools.  (And maybe the NCAA, now that I think about it.)

Charles Robinson, one of the investigative reporters for Yahoo! Sports, was just interviewed on the Waddle and Silvie show on ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago.  He stated that there are two additional high-profile stories he is working on, on which will break within the next few weeks and another that looks like it will break in August.  Mr. Robinson was prodded fairly hard by Tom Waddle, but would not divulge any individual or institutional names.  He was asked to rate the Tressel story on a scale of 1-10 scale, and gave it an 8.  Mr. Robinson rated the story to be broken this month as a 6-7, and gave the late-summer story a 10-rating, without hesitation.

Hmm… what would you pick as a more explosive story than Tressel’s?

55 Comments

Filed under College Football

Envy and jealousy, Tatgate edition

If cynical sarcasm were an Olympic event, Ray Ratto would be wearing a gold medal now.

A taste:

It’s because college sports runs on two things: Money, and the right to say to your neighbor wearing the different color sweater, “See? Your guys are cheaters too.”

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Filed under Envy and Jealousy

Reset

By the way, spring practice starts tomorrow.  Amidst all the usual optimism you get on this occasion, there are a couple of quotes from Mark Richt worth your attention.

First, this on the running back situation:

Georgia signed Isaiah Crowell from Carver Columbus High School to bolster a running game that finished 10th in the SEC last year.

Crowell could be the starter from the get-go for the Bulldogs, but he won’t arrive on campus for a few months.

That gives Washaun Ealey and Caleb King along with Ken Malcome and Carlton Thomas time to make their move in the next 15 practices.

“I just want to see them compete,” Richt said. “I want to see them prove they can hold off the young pup coming in.”

Not very subtle there, is he.  I don’t remember a similar warning to the wide receivers when A. J. Green was coming in.  Either Richt is very confident about Crowell’s ability to step in and succeed immediately in the SEC as a true freshman, or he’s looking for a way to light a fire under his returning backs’ asses to get one of them to step up.

And in case you’re wondering if Richt is approaching this season with an appropriate level of focus, here’s your answer.

… What is certain is that the Bulldogs will not be allowed to ease into a 2011 season that opens in Atlanta against Boise State.

“That is absolutely a motivating factor every time we go into the weight room,” Richt said. “It will be a motivating factor in the spring and all summer long. It’s a motivating factor for me. I’m studying their film before spring even starts.”  [Emphasis added.]

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Filed under Georgia Football

Yeah, I’m mad.

As a partisan, my immediate reaction to the complete bullshit which emanated from last night’s Ohio State presser was a question:  what was Jim Tressel’s first thought upon hearing the news that A. J. Green had been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season?  “Suckers“?  “There but for the grace of God go I”?

We’ll never know.  But one thing’s for sure.  We know it wasn’t “I’d better come clean now.”

That’s not even the most offensive part of what we learned.  Tressel’s silence was wrong, but he had the sheer gall to top it by lobbying the NCAA to let his five players – players who would have been suspended for four 2010 regular season games had Tressel been truthful with his school and the NCAA about what he knew – remain eligible for the Sugar Bowl so that Ohio State would have the opportunity to lock in its ill-gotten gains.

And don’t forget those come-to-Jesus meetings with his five players where he extracted pledges from them to return for 2011 and face the music for their bad decisions.  Because they were told that was the right thing to do by a man who didn’t follow his own advice.

If I’m Mark Richt, I’m fuming right now.  It’s not just about having the basic integrity to conduct yourself the way you preach to your players.  It’s also about job security.  It’s hard to escape the feeling that Richt is a coach whose seat was made appreciably hotter because he and Green were honest.  Even the most zealously anti-Georgia football fan out there would concede that Georgia’s 2010 season wouldn’t have begun 1-4 had Green trotted out as a starter in the first four games.  Does anybody doubt that had he followed Tressel’s lead with the result that Georgia had won 10 games last year and Green’s problem emerged now, Richt would still be on firmer ground as to his continued employment in Athens than he is?

So now the ball is in the NCAA’s court.  That’s not a particularly comforting thought in this case.  Sure, the NCAA has a track record of looking unfavorably at people who lie to and mislead its investigators.  But this situation is more complicated than that.

The NCAA went fishing into A. J.’s dealings as a result of reading a TMZ piece about some parties in Miami.  Did their investigators stop when Green told them that he hadn’t attended any such parties?  Nope.  They went on to request his financial records.  The rest is history.

Compare that to how the Tatgate investigation was handled.  The matter comes to the attention of the NCAA as a result of dealings five Ohio State players had with a man under investigation by the federal government.  And upon receiving assurance from Jim Tressel that there was nothing else going on, the NCAA investigators packed up their bags and wished everyone a nice day.  Nothing to see there.  Good call, people.

Of course, the NCAA will say that’s Jim Tressel.  He’s a man of impeccable reputation.  (Even though he’s really not.)  On some level it was determined that he was entitled to more of a pass on his word than Green, despite the fact that at the time the worst incident on A. J.’s blotter was a bogus penalty for excessive celebration.

In other words, this was pretty much an epic fail of an investigation.  And one other consistent thing about the NCAA is that it doesn’t like to admit to making big mistakes.  Throw in that Tressel’s defense is going to be a variant of the “I didn’t know” approach that’s already proven to be hugely successful in warding off sanctions and you’ve got good reason to be pessimistic here, unless you’re an Ohio State fan.

This really sucks.

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UPDATE: Schlabach’s a little over the top with this column, but, damn, Gordon Gee confirms he’s a first class fool.

… Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee said he never considered firing Tressel.

“No, are you kidding me?” Gee said. “Let me be very clear. I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

Please, please keep telling me how school presidents have the intestinal fortitude and character to stand firmly against their coaches on important issues when it’s the right thing to do.

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UPDATE #2: Paul Myerberg makes an excellent point.

… That’s one slight difference between the penalties assessed to Tressel and Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, even if it’s a slight skewed comparison: two different sports, for one, but Pearl’s suspension — which covered the first half of the conference season — was assessed by the SEC, not the N.C.A.A. or the university.  [Emphasis added.]

What was that argument John Pennington pushed yesterday about the Big Ten holding the moral high ground?  He may want to reconsider.

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UPDATE #3: After you look at Brian Cook’s timeline, you’ll wonder why the NCAA gave Tressel the benefit of the doubt in the first place.  It sure beats me.

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UPDATE #4: No surprise here.

He’d rather wait and see if there’s any more lobbying to do.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, The NCAA