Daily Archives: September 1, 2016

Everybody loves Verne Lundquist.

This is the best explanation of how Uncle Verne became an SEC icon that I’ve ever read.

Yet for all its tradition, the SEC never had a single unifying “voice.” It had a cacophony of homers employed by the schools themselves. After a 2001 win over the University of Tennessee, Georgia’s legendary play-by-play man Larry Munson exclaimed, “My God Almighty … We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose!”

Verne, though he didn’t know it, was a perfect fit for the SEC. For Verne was the bridge between the local homer and the network play-by-play man. He had the stature and professionalism of the latter but the naked emotion of the former. Oh, bless his heart …

“I don’t want this to come across badly because I adore him,” said Gary Danielson. “But you know how you have your hometown guys do the local broadcast? … It doesn’t matter if those guys mispronounce a name or don’t exactly know the score all of the time. You say, ‘He’s our guy, and I like the way he calls a game, and, when he’s talking, I know it’s my game.’

“That happened to Verne four years ago,” Danielson continued. “He became their guy. Verne could feel it, too. Every time we’d go out to eat or have lunch in the afternoon, everyone wanted to be next to Verne. It was almost like Dick Vitale.”

That’s it.  I couldn’t care less that he butchers a name or gets a jersey number wrong now and then, because when it comes down to relaying the drama of a crucial point in a football game, he’s tremendous.  I hope there’s at least one more Moment for him to share with his audience this season.  Both he and we deserve it.

As a bonus, here’s a link to an AP interview with Lundquist.

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And your starting quarterback is…

the suspense is killing me.  (Not really.)  And still no direct quote from Smart, for that matter.

If you take this on its face, then the choice as to who got the reps with the ones this week turned out to be telling.

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UPDATE:  Marc Weiszer is reporting it’s official now.

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UPDATE #2:  Mark Schlabach reports that Eason is expected to play, too.

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There’s no “accident” in college football.

Gee, and here I thought that the Process never let anything slip between the cracks.

Wednesday was supposed to be the final day of the week in which Georgia had a portion of practice open to the media.

Instead, as reporters were heading to practice, information was relayed that the wrong time was given to be able to see what was going on.

“Late apologies from football but they gave us the incorrect start time by accident today,” a team representative wrote in a statement at 4:25 p.m. “The open period out at the practice fields has come and gone.”

The first period of practice was slated to be open.

Therefore, there are no updates Wednesday as to what occurred at practice.

Actually, I still don’t.

Hey, at least there was an apology.  The media wouldn’t get that much from the Coke bottle.

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Kirby Smart’s hopes and fears for the opener

Here’s what he told USA Today about that:

“Penalties and special teams would concern me because I think that’s always your fear in the first game is, I don’t mean undisciplined penalties, but just poor decisions and dumb timing efficiency penalties, you know getting in and out of the huddle, jumping offside, that kind of thing. And then the special teams is something every coach is concerned about in these games because you haven’t been able to simulate the live situations. There’s such great contact on those. So those are the two things that would concern me.

“But as far as what’s going to fire me up, the flipside of that is great special teams play, great effort, but also then defensive players running to the ball, getting lined up quick, and offensive players blocking on the perimeter and covering down and keeping people off our skill players. Effort-type stuff is what I’m looking for. I mean, I know we’re going to have some screw-ups, but I’m looking for the effort and toughness that we want to create here.”

He hasn’t said much about special teams in his first offseason, so it’s perhaps a bit surprising to see that as a major concern — not that I’m complaining.  It’s an area that most of us have had the feeling, at least as an on-again, off-again basis, never had quite the sense of urgency and sensible approach (remember Fabris and his challenge?) from the coaching staff that it had at other schools.  Knock yourself out, Shane Beamer.

I think what he’s really saying there is that if the players give the kind of effort and toughness he’s looking for, the coaches will take care of keeping the screw-ups to a minimum.  That’s why we keep reading about all these little details being address in preseason practices, like this one.

The play ends and Georgia’s defense huddles quickly. They break and run to the new line of scrimmage as quick as they can.

The coaches have a timer in hand to record how long it takes for the defense to line back up. It’s all designed to ensure Georgia can quickly recover and defend a potent offense that’s known to score points in bunch.

That’s been one of the drills the Bulldogs have been doing to prepare for North Carolina’s uptempo attack.

The Tar Heels do like to operate their offense at a fast pace but can go in and out of various tempos. But due to their ability to rush down the field when plays are connecting, Georgia knows it has to be sound defensively while getting each of the calls in correctly.

“It’s a hurry-up offense,” junior safety Dominick Sanders said. “We’re going to be sound. Energy-wise, we gotta be hyped up and ready to get back to the ball. If anything happens, get up, get back to the huddle, get the play call and keep going. It’s a fast team, a fast-ball team.”

I know the fan base is going to be looking first and foremost at Georgia’s backfield Saturday night, but it’s going to be very interesting to watch whether this attention to detail pays off.  It’s just as important as who lines up under center.

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Real old man football

If you’re one of those souls who occasionally channels Sylvester Croom’s offensive juggernauts and thinks of those days fondly, then tonight’s South Carolina-Vanderbilt game may represent your last, best chance for a 3-2 throwback this season — at least until one of those two plays Missouri.

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Thursday morning buffet

Rounding things up to fill the breakfast bar…

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Auburn's Cast of Thousands, College Football, Georgia Football, Heard About Harbaugh?, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, See You In Court, Stats Geek!

In Saban’s name, we pray, amen.

I’d like to think Eason’s got a wicked sense of humor.  It’s the romantic in me, I suppose.

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