Today’s is Herschel’s birthday.
Thank you, Mrs. Walker.
All things Georgia. All things Southern.
Today’s is Herschel’s birthday.
Thank you, Mrs. Walker.
If you are like me, you are going to spend this long holiday weekend with friends. A group of us always takes of MLK weekend spends the weekends in the mountains. Much fun had by all and it something we all look forward to each year.
And, if you are anything like me, Georgia football discussions just don’t take place August-December. It is a year round obsession. Even in uneventful times, thoughts on the schedule, depth chart and prognostications for the upcoming year are discussed ad nauseam. So with the big news happening the last week, I am sure we will have plenty to talk about.
So, here are some points you can discuss that have popped in my mind the last few days.
-Why isn’t Mike Bobo the highest paid offensive coordinator in the SEC?
-Why isn’t Bryan McClendon paid more? Both of these guys are the best recruiters on the staff, and in Bobo’s case, probably the best position coach and certainly has been the best coordinator for several years.
-Why does Georgia continually handicap itself with strict policies that clearly don’t work, while other teams in the SEC don’t restrict themselves like we do?
-Are Alabama fans, at this moment, discussing why their administration won’t pony up and pay their assistants market prices? Are they worried about winning games on Saturdays and beating Texas A&M and LSU?
The news of Josh Harvey-Clemons’ suspension yesterday brought these issues to light.
I think now the general consensus among the Georgia people is our drug policies, while admirable, are too stringent. Mike Slive needs to man up and make a uniform drug policy across the SEC. I’m not saying we are right or wrong, but I am saying that if JHC was at LSU, then this second offense would only have caused him to miss one game, the bowl game, and then he would still be able to play against Clemson and South Carolina. Because at LSU, a first offense requires no suspension. The same holds true for Alabama-no mandatory suspension until the second offense. Florida athletes are suspend 20% for the third offense.
I remember something Mike Adams used to say a lot. He always said that academically, he wanted to UGA to be as good as our peer institutions-UNC, Florida, Michigan, etc. These included having a medical school and an engineering school.
Athletically, I think we all want UGA to be listed among our “peer institutions.” LSU, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Ohio State.
We are close to being there. UGA has the talent, money, facilities, fan base, name brand, stadium, and I still like to think the coaching to be on par with these peer institutions.
But life in the SEC is difficult enough to win on Saturdays. Being handicapped by self-righteous policies is not going to help in anyway.
I don’t want to be dirty like Auburn to win. I think one day the chickens are going to come home and roost for the Tigers. I like and appreciate the way our programs are run, and I am confident that we are safe and not going to be found guily of any major transgressions or even be associate with anything dirty like Auburn is. But there are big picture things that go on, and we can’t have it both ways. We can’t complain about Clemson shredding our defense when the best safety on the team is sitting on the sidelines because strict policies our competitors don’t have.
Two final questions for your and your friends to discuss this long, holiday weekend:
If Georgia and Mark Richt have to part ways, and for the sake of argument we hire Gary Patterson or Kirby Smart, with the Athletic Association policies that are currently in place with regards to spending money and player punishment, will they be any more successful than the current regime?
Does it matter who the head coach in Athens is if the administration doesn’t offer the top-down level of support it takes to win?
Recently, work took me to San Antonio. I’ve been to San Antonio several times before, and wanted to get off the beaten path a little. I have normally just stayed along the Riverwalk, but after about a day that gets old. I wanted to venture out and try something more local.
I wanted to go to a place where I could drink a few beers, eat some ribs, and watch some of the NFL playoff games. After going to a sketchy bar called Texas T’s Pub, I decided to venture out. About Texas T’s: if you’ve seen Star Wars, think to the bar sceene where Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan meet Han Solo. Texas T’s reminded me of that. My friends and I were literally the only Gringos in the place, and I felt like at any moment someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and say the didn’t like me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lightsaber to defend myself. I guess it wasn’t so bad, I went back there before I left.
Anway, this place called The Granary was recommended to us, so we decided to give it a try. When I walked in, I was disappointed. I was expecting somewhere like Cooper Creek in Athens, a bar that brewed their own beer and served good ole Texas cue. What I found was a fancy, foodie hipster place. The menu reminded me of something like Speak Easy, with weird BBQ combinations. The menu said for an optiminal dining experience to order several dishes, so it was kind of tapas.
The hostess said it would be an hour and half wait. We didn’t really know where we were, and had walked a long way to get there, so at this point we were commited to stay and wait it out. I had a couple of funky beers. I am not a sophisticated beer person, I like my watered down piss beers. But I ordered some pale ale and it was pretty good. If you like funky Terripan beers, this place was for you.
We ordered appetizers of Grit Fritters and Texas Toast. The Texas Toast was awesome. It was so good, we got another order of it. It was served with some BBQ butter, but that was not necessary.
The 3 of us ordered the Pork Shank, Smoked Lamb Leg, and two Barbecue Boards. The smoked pork shank was served with lentil beans and was delicious. The smoked lamb had a lot of curry, and with the cous cous, it reminded me of an Indian dish. But as odd as these two dishes were, they were both awesome.
The Barbecue Board comes standard with baked beans, potato salad and bread. The meat on the Barbecue Boards change daily, but we were in luck. We got some pulled pork and ribs on ours. It came with one rib on each plate. This presented a logisitcal nightmare: 3 dudes, two ribs. Thankfully, the waiter recognzied our delimma and brought out an extra rib.
The pork and sides were good, nothing special that you couldn’t get here at home. The potato salad was served hot and was good…different, but good.
BUT, oh my goodness. The Rib. It was just one rib, but oh my goodness it was awesome. The best rib I have ever in my life tasted. It was a piece of art. The Mona Lisa, The David, and the rib at the Granary. I asked the waiter what made it so good. The dry rub they used had the usual ingredients-brown sugar, orageno, etc., but this had something special: coffee.
It was a long walk back to the hotel, but after eating all that food it was needed. The Granary is in the old Pearl district, and apparently this is the young trendy area of town. Lots of fancy, foodie places and loft apartments.
If you are ever in San Antonio and want to depart the Riverwalk, call the Granary and first ask for a reservation. But then ask if they have the ribs. If they do, you would do yourself a big favor to hop in a cab and ride over to Avenue A.
I am not surprised that Chris Wilson and Kirk Olivadotti are departing. I imagine either one of them are disappointed they weren’t named defensive coordinator, and when Grantham left I kind of thought that both of them would be moving on. Whenever you see a new coordinator come in, they usually want to hire their own guys. Except with Rodney Garner, but that ship has sailed.
I was glad to see Grantham depart, and indifferent to Lakatos’ departure. But while I am happy for Wilson and Olivadotti, I am disappointed they are leaving the Bulldogs. Their two units were the only areas of our defense during the past year that was not a complete dumpster fire or let down. Wilson did a fine job coaching up the defensive line, a big question mark going into the season. Olivadotti just coached up two of the leading tacklers in the SEC and two all-conference players.
It’s not like they are leaving for Directional State. Olivadotti is an NFL guy and Wilson is going to USC, another traditional program. So, Godspeed gentlemen.
Now, I am sure Coach Pruitt will hire more than capable assistants to come in. I get the sense the defensive coaching staff is going to go young and high energy. If I had any influence, and I don’t, I would suggest that Coaches Richt and Pruitt take a look at a former assistant: Warren Belin. Coach Belin is the perfect coach for us. He has been around in the SEC for a while and knows recruiting, has that NFL experience, and perhaps most paramount, is good with special teams. Quick-when was the last time UGA special teams was not a complete cluster?
Answer: 2010, Belin’s only year as a Bulldog. He coached up the kick off units and saw dramatic improvement under his guidance. Belin was the de facto special teams coordinator when he was on staff, and 2010 played the best of any year in recent memory (which, was also the losing year).
I doubt Coach Belin will come back, but here’s to dreaming.
Multiple outlets are reporting today that Jeremy Pruitt will be hired as Georgia’s new defensive coordinator. He’ll also coach Georgia’s secondary.
Before serving as Florida State defensive coordinator this past year, he coached the secondary at Alabama, being part of two national championship squads.
So there I was Sunday afternoon. Getting some much, much overdue outside yard work done, thinking it’s a nice quiet day, that nothing of consequence would happen in the Dawg Nation.
Then, I come inside, and thanks to the marvels of modern technology, we learn that today may as well be a belated Christmas for some of us in the Bulldog Nation. Not only is Todd Grantham leaving, but he’s been lured away by Public Enemy No. 1 to Falcons fans, Bobby Petrino.
You can’t blame Grantham for leaving. I mean, it is much easier to coach against most teams in the Almost Competitive Conference (The ACC) than the SEC.
Grantham had some good moments at Georgia – the defense was pretty stout in 2011 and was at that point when it wanted to in 2012. That’s the thing, though. There was talent here, but for various reasons, it didn’t materialize.
Fair or not, it is the job of the defensive staff to get results from its players. When the talent is there and it does not get the job done, that falls on the coaching. For whatever reason, Grantham’s defense stagnated. It’s for the best – for both Grantham and Georgia, that Grantham is going elsewhere.
While there could be some speed bumps defensively for the new defensive coordinator, Georgia should have no problem attracting a good field of candidates.
When you combine 10 starters returning next year and UGA’s resources, finding top of the line candidates should not be a problem. In other words, Greg McGarity should be opening up the wallet in a wide way.
As for candidates? Here are some very educated guesses.
1. Chris Wilson. Already on staff and is a big reason for the defensive line improvement this year, namely Ray Drew. Plus, he has defensive coordinator experience.
2. Wade Phillips. Ok, just kidding.
3. Mel Tucker. Experienced NFL coach has coached 3-4 defenses in the past and also has experience having coached under Nick Saban when he was at Michigan State.
4. Tim Kish. Assistant defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Oklahoma. Coached a pretty strong position group in a conference that has seen a good share of the spread, which is never a bad thing to have prepped against in the past.
5. Bob Shoop. Did a lot with less at Vandy as defensive coordinator. If Georgia wants him bad enough, they’ll throw money at him and convince him not to go to Penn State.
6. Manny Diaz. Was a hot name among defensive coordinators on the rise a few years ago, but was abruptly fired by Texas earlier this season. There’s some x-factor of hiring a guy who was canned midseason, but the question has to be asked if was Diaz or the overall program at Texas. As a sidenote, how crazy would having two guys named Manny Diaz coaching at UGA?
7. Randy Shannon. It’s hard to go wrong with a guy with head coaching experience. He has rebounded since being at the helm when Miami rock-bottomed, most recently being the linebackers coach at Arkansas.
8. Kirby Smart. I’m sure Georgia will call. But do you really want a guy who turned you down at the last minute last time by?