Daily Archives: March 26, 2019

“… the trip to Georgia might be out of reach, to put it politely…”

Georgia faces Arkansas State in the third game of the 2019 season.  If you don’t know much about the Red Wolves, or at least not as much as you’d like to, Bill Connelly’s got you covered with his 2019 preview of that program.

The selfish tl;dr version?  Bill projects Arkansas State as an eight-win team that’s a tick more than a 32-point underdog with a 3% win expectation against the Dawgs.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium Initiative

I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but a number of Coach Dooley’s former players have been organizing an effort to have the football field named in his honor.  This was emailed to me and I’m reprinting it here in its entirety:

Please pass this attached information along to all of your club members if you would like to help ensure that this initiative gets approved…and soon! At the end of Tim Callaway’s note are the names and addresses of 4 key leaders who need to be encouraged via a letter writing campaign to make this happen.

 

Blessings,

Stuart Mosher

UGA Football ’64, ’65, ’66, ‘67

 

I have been in contact with many others who are much more influential than I. A lot is going on behind the scenes, but it has become evident that there are certain powers that are not convinced that this is a big deal on the state level. We as players are up in arms but it is not getting as much attention as we would like. People who I have spoken to have agreed that a LETTER  WRITING CAMPAIGN is a good idea. Emails can be deleted, but paper requires attention.

 

If you want to help, pls send letters to the following. I suggest one page briefly stating your UGA experience, Coach Dooley’s impact on you, your post playing accomplishments and the need/ obligation for UGA and the State to honor his impact on both.  Those such as Lawhorne who have written eloquently on the subject should attach those documents.

 

There are only 70 addresses here. Please send this to friends, family, teammates to join in. We cannot use the G Club to do this for us since the club is part of the Athletic department. We want this, and to get it, we have got to do the work. It is the start of the 4th quarter, and we have to start driving–the clock is literally ticking, please act now.

 

Addresses below. Suggest letters addressed to the President with copies to everyone else.

 

Dr Jere Morehead

Office of the President

University of Georgia

Administration Building

220 S. Jackson St.

Athens, Ga 30602-1661

 

Don Waters

Chairman, Board of Regents

Waters Capital Partners, LLC

200 E Julian Street, Ste 100

Savannah, Ga 31401

 

Gov. Brian Kemp

Office of the Governor

Ste, 203

206Washington Street

State Capitol

Atlanta, Ga. 30334

 

Greg Mc Garity

Director of Athletics, UGA

1 Selig Circle

Athens, Ga 30602

 

If you want to do something, this is it. You have to be heard. Please enlist non-players also.

 

Thanks, Tim Callaway, 67, 68, 69

2017 AJC Op-Ed Letter by Tommy Lawhorne                                      

A Modest Proposal

On September 4, 1932, Vincent Joseph Dooley inhaled his first breath in Mobile, Alabama, where he lived his childhood years.   A good athlete, he was awarded a football scholarship to Auburn University where he played quarterback for Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan. On the Plains, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in history, but he managed to overcome that unfortunate academic experience. He has been bestowed with many, many awards and honors through the years. Vince Dooley served as head football coach at the University of Georgia from 1964 to 1988. He was also Athletic Director in Athens from 1979 to 2004. His football teams won six SEC championships and a national championship in 1980, when he was selected as National Coach of the Year. Five times he was SEC Coach of the Year.  He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame, and UGA Circle of Honor. In 2011, the Georgia Historical Society selected Coach as Trustee. He has won the Amos Alonzo Stag Award and the James J. Corbett Memorial Award, given by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. His community service has been sustained and conscientious, with yeoman efforts rendered for the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, Heart Fund and Georgia Easter Seals Society.  The above list highlights only a few of his honors and achievements.

A coach is essentially a teacher, and there are many of us who are most grateful our lives intersected with Vincent J. Dooley in Athens. From the outset the relationship was very vertical and coach’s posture was all business: tough, laconic, strict and fair. He was held in such reverence that I, for one, was hesitant to talk to him or look him in the eye, if I were alone.  It is interesting and intuitive that the difference in ages 32 and 18 is more than the difference between 84 and 70.  He emphasized, of course, the fundamentals of blocking and tackling, as well as the synergy of team. Immediately before every game, he would review several principles or rules, and he always concluded with, “We are all for one and one for all.” During my senior year, I remember walking onto the plane in transit to Lexington and seeing Coach Dooley reading a history anthology; I mused then that few college football coaches would be reading a history text before a big game. He was and is a cut above.  In his personal life, he has been a devoted husband and father, and a man of faith–though he would never wear his religion on his sleeve. He and his wife Barbara (a character herself) have parented four alliteratively named progeny: Derek, Deanna, Daniel, and Denise.

As the years have progressed, he has taught us how to grow old and how to ‘retire.’ Coach has many and varied interests. Heck, he still arises daily at 6:00 a.m. for exercise and often audits university classes. How many college coaches are horticultural experts or Civil War scholars? Vince Dooley is an exceptional man; indeed, intellectually curious, he is a Renaissance man who

has authored several acclaimed books.  Naturally, at age 84, Coach Dooley has endured a few routine health issues and recovered from all with aplomb.  This man exudes character.  I have seen him blame himself for a below par showing of a Georgia team, stop and give an autograph to a shabbily dressed kid, or walk into a noisy room of players–immediately there is absolute silence.  Goethe wrote, “Talents are nurtured in solitude; character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.” Each game Coach Dooley’s work was displayed publicly in full view of 90,000 cheering or jeering spectators, radio broadcasts, and television cameras.  Daily he quietly displayed his character to his colleagues and players.

Winning is an almost sacred tenet in football, but some losses are inherently inevitable. Coach Dooley emphasized winning with grace and losing with dignity.   One of his favorite aphorisms was, “Games are won and lost on third down.”  Yet, this coach has taught us more than the subtleties of football; this coach has taught us about about life.   As his players have scattered into various walks of life to pursue different goals, we have forgotten our assignments on a Split-60 defense against a Pro-I formation with the ball on the hashmark in the fourth quarter, with a 10-3 lead.  Yet, we shall forever remember those intangible lessons instilled in us: hard work, perseverance, “third effort,” sanctity of the team.   There are hundreds of us who cherish our times on the gridiron with Coach Dooley; and, I daresay, there are hundreds of thousands of Georgia fans who are proud Vince Dooley was there in Athens as our coach for a quarter of a century. The nexus of our relationship in those early years was intense reverence, akin to fear, which has now evolved into a more powerful four-letter emotion–love.  Indeed, we love you, Coach…and Happy Birthday!

Many area universities have honored iconic coaches with the naming of athletic venues: Vaught-Hemingway, Jordan-Hare, Bryant-Denny, Williams-Brice, Neyland. There are numerous precedents. In fact, in April, 1988, the Georgia Board of Regents named Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field. This is a wonderful recognition of Georgia Tech’s great football coach Bobby Dodd, whose record (22 years, 165-64-8, .713) is not quite as good as Dooley’s (25 years, 201-77-10, .715).  The time has come to honor Coach Dooley by naming the field on the UGA campus ‘Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.’  Doing so would properly honor his immeasurable contributions to the University of Georgia.

Tommy Lawhorne, the author, is a vascular surgeon who practices in Columbus, Georgia. He played football for UGA in 1964-67 and was defensive co-captain in 1967. He was valedictorian of the 1968 graduating class and received his medical education at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has served as a member of the UGA Athletic Board and UGA Foundation.

Huckaby: Time to name field at Sanford Stadium in honor of Vince Dooley

 

 

By Darrell Huckaby

Posted Mar 10, 2019 at 10:00 AM

 

Familiarity breeds contempt. Or it doesn’t.

Enter Vincent Joseph Dooley.

He was my boyhood hero. He came to Athens in 1964 to become the head football coach at UGA. I was 12 — prime time for worshipping athletic heroes. Coach Dooley took my beloved Bulldogs from the depths of despair — 3 wins, 3 wins and 4 wins over the three years preceding his arrival — to a 7-3-1 season and a win over All America Donny Anderson and the Texas Tech Red Raiders in his inaugural campaign. Georgia beat Florida that year. First time in five tries. Georgia beat Georgia Tech that year. First time in four tries. Instant nirvana Between the Hedges.

Two years later, Dooley’s Dogs would win the SEC title for the first time since 1959: a seven-year drought. The 1966 championship season included wins over Florida, Auburn and a third-straight win over the Enemy from North Avenue. Georgia would go on to defeat SMU in the Cotton Bowl and finish fourth in the land.

Dooley would continue to coach my beloved Georgia Bulldogs for another 22 seasons — 25 in all. His teams would win 201 games against only 77 losses with 10 ties. His teams would win the Southeastern Conference — where it just means more — six times, including three in a row from 1980-82. In 1980, the Dogs were the “undisputed and untied, undefeated and undenied champions of college football.” Yes, the inimitable Dan Magill coined that phrase.

Dooley brought Georgia to a sustained position of national prominence in college football they hadn’t enjoyed since Wally Butts was the coach during and just after World War II. And when Dooley decided it was time to step down as head football coach, he remained as athletic director for 15 more years, building Georgia into one of the top all-around programs in the nation. He always lead with grace, dignity, integrity and honor.

I admired Dooley from afar for a long, long time and appreciated his efforts on behalf of my alma mater. And then I got to know him on a much more personal level. The adage referenced at the top of my column to the contrary, the more I got to know Dooley, the more my respect for the man grew.

Over the past five years, he and I have travelled together across most of Europe. Sometimes our mutual friend, Gary Hill, joined us. Sometimes our wives, Barbara and Lisa, have been along — making life on the road quite interesting. But we have spent many days, traveled thousands of miles and visited remarkable historical sites, such as Hitler’s Wolf Lair and the horrible death camp at Auschwitz all alone — just the two of us.

You learn an awful lot about a man when you travel with him in close quarters over a long period of time. 24/7 is a lot of time to spend together. It could be easy to grow weary of a companion and to have his faults and annoyances easily exposed.

Except not with Dooley. He is the same person day after day after day. He is a gentleman, through and through — polite to each and every person he encounters, no matter the capacity. He is a brilliant conversationalist, and one of the most well-rounded and intelligent people I know. He loves to talk about three things primarily — his family, flowers and history. He doesn’t talk about football much, unless prompted, but can call upon his near eidetic memory to regale an audience of one or of hundreds with story after story of players and games and seasons past.

Dooley always beats me to breakfast in the morning, sets a strong and steady pace all day and after I turn in, stays up late into the night reading and learning about what we had seen that day or would see on the morrow.

And he never stops being an ambassador for the University of Georgia. He is recognized all over the world. We have had people stop us from Normandy to Warsaw to Amman, Jordan, and he is always happy to pose for pictures, sign an autograph, hug a neck and give a “Go Dawgs” to everyone he meets.

All that to say that Dooley is truly the most remarkable man I have ever spent time with. He continues to represent our institution with warmth and grace and to bring glory to old Georgia. And it is way past time his accomplishments and contributions were recognized in a proper and permanent way.

On Sept. 4, Dooley will turn 87. On Sept 21, Georgia will host Notre Dame in Sanford Stadium. Yeah, that Notre Dame. Sugar Bowl. New Orleans, Jan. 1, 1981. Georgia 17. Irish 10.

That needs to be the first game played on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. We don’t need to wait any longer. It needs to be done now. Not posthumously in another generation.

Get behind this. Please. We can make it happen.

If nothing else, were this to become a reality, it would piss off Michael Adams to no end.  There’s something to be said for that.

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Filed under Georgia Football

TFW you’re winning hearts and minds

If anyone with the NCAA thinks that going to Congress to get an antitrust exemption is going to be a walk in the proverbial park, I would advise him or her to watch this clip with Rep. Mark Walker explaining his recently introduced “Student-Athlete Equity Act”.

That’s a conservative Congressman attacking amateurism on Fox News, without any substantive pushback.  Notice also that Walker takes pains to avoid sounding like someone trying to impose rules on the schools and the NCAA.

Again, a proactive organization would sense the ground is shifting under its feet and plan accordingly, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about.

(h/t)

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

A tale of two takes

Chip Towers, feeling all scold-y about the recent arrests, skirts oh so close to the “Kirby Smart has lost control” edge and then pulls up.

The easy thing to do would be to climb up on top of my soap box and express my outrage over two Georgia football players getting arrested for allegedly fighting in a bar. I’m not going to do that. Football players fighting in bars has been going on since there has been football and bars.

But I’m also not going to give the Bulldogs a pass for whatever happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning at The Cloud Bar. It shouldn’t have happened and can’t happen again.

Coach Kirby Smart has a problem on his hands, and he needs to get in front of it quickly. I have no idea what he said to his players after they completed their first full-contact practice of the spring Saturday afternoon on Woodruff Practice Fields, but either he didn’t tell them “be careful tonight, stay out of the bars and stay out of trouble,” or he did and they ignored him.

Either scenario is not good.

The facts are what they are. Georgia, which is expected to be a Top 5 team when the 2019 season opens in five months, has had the more player arrests so far (four) than it has had spring practices (three). And that’s assuming that there are no more arrests as a result of Saturday night’s incident. Athens-Clarke County detectives are continuing their investigation by interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage of what they described as a “chaotic scene” at this popular downtown Athens bar.

As it is, the current rate would give the Bulldogs 16 arrests by December.

I’m not sure if Chip knows something there with his own private Fulmer Cup count that the rest of us don’t, or if he was just on a rhetorical roll.  In any event, he finishes by throwing his hands up, because ultimately, short of locking down his kids every night, there’s only so much Kirby Smart can do with teenage knuckleheads.

So I’m not going to stand up here today and point to Georgia as an out of control program that lacks leadership. Smart’s dealing with what appears to be a couple of rough-housing misdemeanors and some irresponsible citizenry at the moment. But it’s only March, and there’s a long way to go to get to that Aug. 31st opener at Vanderbilt.

I suspect the Bulldogs’ coach is about ready the kibosh on the jail-log trend for 2019. I know I am.

Internally or externally, this needs to get handled.

Well, I guess that settles that.

Seth Emerson ($$), meanwhile, buries the righteous indignation in favor of… well, reality.

But there’s a limit to what can be done when players are out and about, and they can’t be expected to stay locked in their dorm room or apartment every waking hour. People have to live and let off steam. But they should be expected to do so in a civil and law-abiding manner. Whether or not you think it was right to arrest someone for what happened outside the Cloud bar, clearly something happened to escalate the situation. And there’s something to be said for the idea that Georgia football players, given the scrutiny they are under, should know to avoid any potentially bad situations.

Still, let’s put it bluntly: This will keep happening, and it would under the most disciplined program…

This doesn’t excuse it. Smart has probably already blistered his players privately within the last few days. It could also be worth examining whether anything could be done within the team from an educational perspective.

Beyond that, though, you have to give young people the room to make their own mistakes and learn. I’ve covered this program long enough to meet plenty of players who ran into trouble but eventually grew into responsible adults. I’ve met a few players who needed to be dismissed. And I’ve covered this program long enough to remember periods that were much worse than this.

Just ask Kirk Herbstreit.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

I heard you. Now shut up.

Andy Staples thinks Feleipe Franks summoned up his inner Tim Tebow in last year’s Florida-South Carolina game.  No, really.

But Franks also heard the in-person assessments of his performance at The Swamp. Those boos wormed their way into his earholes until, finally, he decided to silence them. That moment came on third-and-3 from the South Carolina 10-yard line on Nov. 10. The play was QB Power, and the 6’6″, 243-pound Franks barreled his way into the end zone. As he rose from the ground, he ran toward the stands and put his right index finger to his facemask. The message was clear

This wasn’t the first time a Florida quarterback had shushed a crowd. In 2007, Tim Tebow briefly quieted the crowd at LSU’s Tiger Stadium by pretending his hand was a phone after a touchdown. That week, LSU pranksters had circulated Tebow’s number, and he’d gotten some calls. But the purple and gold masses didn’t stay quiet long. Ultimately, LSU won that game. Still, that’s an interaction between a player and a hostile road crowd. How often do players shush their own team’s fans? Here’s a better question. How often do they do it twice? Because in that South Carolina game, Franks shushed The Swamp again after scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 4:09 remaining to seal a 35–31 win that required two comebacks from at least 14 down.

I mean, beating a Will Muschamp-coached team that went on to finish 7-6 in your home stadium is clearly the stuff of legends.

If getting pissed off at Gator fans was all it took to elevate your game, there would be a lot more legendary SEC quarterbacks than there are.

I keep looking at Florida’s roster and then matching that up with the general impression the national media has of the team’s outlook for 2019 and have this general sense of disconnect.  What am I missing?

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

I wanna rock and roll all night, and college football every day.

Just fucking shoot me. Right now.

College football attendance is at its lowest point in 22 years, and a 34-year-old Virginia Tech administrator has an idea how to goose it.

KISS.

Yes, KISS, the face-painted classic rock band that is on yet another farewell tour fronted by 69-year-old lead singer Gene Simmons.

Brad Wurthman went to his first KISS show at age 11. He was hooked by the music, the pyrotechnics, and — lately as VT’s senior associate athletic director for external relations — the entire presentation.

“I joke with people, ‘This is how I got into the marketing side,'” Wurthman said. “I wasn’t an athlete. For me, at least, the fundamental [way] how you run an event is the way KISS runs a show.”

Wurthman went to describe the anticipation built by the band’s introduction hype video on the jumbotron — KISS walking from dressing room to stage — and the same old songs that are the foundation of classic rock radio.

Yeah, they rock the house. They could also lead a morning athletic department staff meeting.

“It is,” Wurthman concluded, “quintessential sports marketing.”

That’s not even the saddest thing about Dennis Dodd’s article.  Sadder is that there isn’t a single mention, even a half-hearted one, about upgrading scheduling to attract and retain fans.

The saddest thing of all, though, is the air of resignation.

“The reality is that the national attendance numbers are going to continue to go down,” Bulls AD Mike Kelly said, “mainly due to the comparative social and leisure experiences that can now be had outside the football stadium even if those experiences still center around the game itself.”

The issue doesn’t end with students.

“We’re competing more than ever before against the television product we helped create,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “There’s no line at the restroom, the beer is always cold [at home]. You don’t have to invest 8 hours going to the stadium. There’s no parking fees. You don’t have to pay seat license, and on your 70-inch TV it’s a pretty good viewing experience.”

That’s the sound of a man who knows Mickey’s footing the bills now.  And that’s why this is the future of live attendance:

Another is stadium renovation. There is a push to build smaller stadiums in order to create a premium — higher demand — ticket.

That explains USC, which fell off in attendance by more than 17,000 in 2018. The school is in the middle of a renovation that drops capacity from 93,000 to 77,500.

It’s easier to be fan friendly when there are less fans to be friendly with.

Here’s your clueless epitaph, college football game day experience.

“When you look at the work we put in, it’s remarkable to me how slow our industry is to put change on the overall game day experience,” Martin said.

The work they put in… jeebus.

“[Professional sports] just had the changeover sooner than we did,” Wurthman said. “We lost sight of the fact it’s supposed to be a sense of camaraderie. Saturdays are supposed to be an escape.”

One of Wurthman’s great regrets is that his 17-month-old son won’t get to experience how it all started for him.

KISS — it’s hard to rock n’ roll all night, never mind party every day — has a retirement looming.

“As a band, they had it figured out,” he said. “It wasn’t about selling records. It was after the show they sold records [because of the audience experience].

“We try to sell records first.”

Like I said, just shoot me now.

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Filed under College Football

Supply and demand, baby.

Shot.

Chaser.

You shouldn’t underestimate our appetite for live sports.  Rest assured the conferences and the NCAA don’t.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA