Archive for May, 2010

Phil Steele Summary For Dawgs Due Today

The Senator linked to Pat Forde’s twitter feed earlier this week, where Pat Forde released Phil Steele’s pre-season Top 25 (Poor form, Mr. Forde). 

Well, Steele has us listed at #20.  He is scheduled to release #20 on his website sometime today.  Click on the link, and see why he has us there. 

Have  a good Memorial Day weekend everyone.  See you Tuesday.

UPDATE:  I apparently can’t tell my left from right today.  He has UGA at 19, not 20.  So we will be tomorrow. 

Things are already getting better…Go Dawgs!

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Truck Stops

We’ve all accidently-or purposefully-dined at an establishment like this.

Somewhere In Kentucky

Somewhere in Kentucky – It was a truck stop. The sign in front didn’t say it was a truck stop, but it was a truck stop. 

The fact there were a lot of trucks parked outside was my first clue. My second was that inside the restaurant there sat a lot of men wearing caps, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. 

Truck drivers will, in fact, wear caps, smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. 

It was raining. I was trying to get from Lexington to Memphis. 

To travel by air between those two cities you have to connect through Cincinnati. Or maybe it was Salt Lake City. 

It was lunch time. Eat right, say the lifestyle police, or you die. 

OK, I’ll have the steamed vegetable plate, bottled water and yogurt for dessert so I can live to be a 112-year-old Russian. 

The waitress’s name was Irene. She was pleasant. 

“What’s it going to be, Hon?” she asked me. 

To be honest, there weren’t many choices. There was no steamed vegetable plate or bottled water or yogurt on the menu. 

About the only thing that wasn’t fried was the iced tea. I suppose liver and onions was the healthiest choice, but I ordered the chopped sirloin. I don’t eat raw fish, steamed vegetables or liver. 

A chopped sirloin steak once was known as a hamburger steak. I saw a huge neon sign in Nashville recently advertising, “pre-owned vehicles.” They were once known as used cars. 

Irene brought my chopped sirloin. It had a fried onion ring on top. I also had french fried potatoes and two white bread rolls, like you used to get all the time before it was decided white bread would send you to an early grave. 

“Hope you enjoy it, Hon,” said Irene. 

I did. The last time I had a hamburger steak this greasy and good was at Steve Smith’s Truck Stop back home in Moreland. It cost $1.25. This was only $4.95 over 30 years later. 

As I ate I looked around. Randy Travis was playing on the jukebox. There were several families wearing the colors of a high school football team they were on their way to see play in the state finals in Louisville. 

Some of the families were black. Others were white. The waitresses had pushed several tables together so they could eat as a group. 

The mothers, I noticed, actually were allowing their children to eat those white rolls. 

The truck driver sitting nearest to me was smoking an unfiltered Camel cigarette between bites of liver and onions. 

I left Irene a little extra for her pleasantness and then went to the register. A rather stout young woman stood behind it . 

“Evuh thang aw-rite?” she asked me. Peterbilt’s don’t rumble that low when they are cranked on cold mornings. 

“It was fine,” I said to her, realizing I wouldn’t have dared told her otherwise if it hadn’t been. She took my money and then she gave me my change. 

“Now you keep the rough side off the pavement and let the smooth side slide,” is what she said to me as I walked out. 

Later, after I had time to think about it, I decided that is truck for, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” 

Fearing for my life, I only ate one of those two white rolls. If I had it to do over again, I would have eaten them both.


The Flawed Morality of ESPN, Pt. II

I have chronicaled the flawed morality compass of the World Wide Leader before. 

Here they go again, and it really grinds my gears… 

Last night, I turned ESPN over to the end of the Celtics-Magic game.  I don’t typically follow the NBA, but its the playoffs and the Braves had the day off. 

I hear Jeff Van Gundy, brother of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, providing color commentary.

So, how come Herbie can’t do his picks with Corso on the games he is calling later that evening, but Jeff Van Gundy is expected to provide objective commentary and anaylsis for a team his brother is coaching?


PS: This is not a knock on Jeff Van Gundy.  I am not saying he isn’t objective, and the few times I’ve heard him I think he does a good job.  But it’s the principle. 

What’s Your Selling Point?

Heard an entertaining story this morning at breakfast about Coach Kirby Smart. It appears that last week he was driving through south GA headed to Rochelle to visit with Nick Marshall when a trooper pulled him over for doing 85 in a 55 outside of Cordele.

The trooper, being a big Bulldog fan and a fan of college football in general, recognized Kirby immediately. The Bama gear probably helped, but what really sealed the deal was the fact that he recognized Kirby from his playing days in the SW corner of the state. Apparently they had played high school ball against one another.

Long story short, Smart asked if the guy could help him out. The trooper told him he wasn’t sure, since 85 in a 55 would qualify him as a super speeder. He asked if Kirby was headed to visit Nick Marshall, to which Smart said he was. Thinking fast, the trooper said he’d help CKS out if he’d do one thing. He asked Kirby to get out of the vehicle, so he did. Kirby was led to the patrol car and was ordered to look into the camera and say “Go Dawgs!” The story I was told was that Smart even gave a few barks.

I wish we could find this on video, but that will probably never surface. However, it is troopers like this guy who make me proud to be a Dawg. If it were me in Florida, I’d pay the ticket before ever giving the Gator chomp. Thanks for selling out Kirby, you made my day. I hope CTG wouldn’t do the same.

Go Dawgs!


Gators win SEC All Sports Trophy

According to Gator homer Pat Dooley, Florida has won the SEC All Sports Trophy.  UGA finished 2nd.  Thankfully a successful run by UGA’s women’s sports, the Dawgs were able to finish that high. 

Disappointing seasons by UGA’s football, baseball, and gymnastics teams (typically leading athletic programs at UGA) kept UGA from making the final score more competitive against the Gators. 



The most accurate preseason prognosticator has the LSU Tigers predicted to finish #26 in the nation in 2010.    

If this were to hold true, rumblings about Les Miles would reach a roaring level.  One would then have to believe LSU would be looking for a new football coach in 2011.


Braves Review and Preview

Where are the Braves and what have you done with them?

After having a two week hiatus due to work responsibilities from reporting on the Braves, and the tone this week is much more happier than it was then. 

After nine consecutive defeats, the Braves came home and swept the lowly Astros. 

The Braves then hit the road and lost consecutive series against the Nationals and Phillies the first week of May.  Any shred of hope fizzled away. 

A resounding sweep of the Brewers turned just another terrible road trip into a winning one (5-4), and at that point that was something to hang onto.  Then, like a switch, the Braves won 7 out of their last 10.  Only the Dodgers and Tampa Bay have been better of the last 10 games 

There was some fight in these Braves after all.  Suddenly, the offense woke up.  Backups Eric Hinske and Brooks Conrad have made the most of their opportunities.  Jason Heyward came back from injury, and Brain McCain decided to wear glasses again.  Troy Glaus has been one of the best bats in baseball since in May. 

Great moment, and second Grand Slam in just a week and a half

Even with the gross lack of production from Chipper, Yunel and McLouth, the Braves have been the best team in the National Leauge offensively the month of May.  This is a stark improvement from how the Braves fared in April, only doing better than Houston and Pittsburgh offensively.  Like we all thought, the only place they could go was up. 

Bobby Cox finally has his lineup where he wants it.  I have said for a month that Prado should be batting leadoff.  He has been the only one on the team other than Heyward who has consistently hit from Opening Day.  After weeks of being on a tear, Bobby finally moved Heyward up in the order. I don’t understand why Chipper is still batting in the 3 hole and not the J-Hey kid, but this line up is producing either way.  Yunel is going to get it turned around also. 

 The Braves have a key divisional series against the Marlins this week, and then hopefully another easy series against the Pirates this weekend.  That is key, because on Memorial Day the Phillies roll into the Ted.  After that, the month of June gets tough.  There is a West Coast swing and then two and half weeks of Interleague play.  The Braves have a tough draw against the A.L., so the Braves need to take care of business now while the gettin’s good. 

T he football magazines are starting to come out, and the cool mornings of Autumn will be here before we know it.  But the boys in Blue and Red are starting to give us fans some hope. 


Depth and Talent Won’t Be A Problem For Wide Recievers in 2010

There is a lot of talk about the lack of depth at the wide receiver position.  In 2010, this won’t be an issue. 

I think UGA’s receiving unit is the most talented AND deepest than most years in Coach Richt’s tenure.  Throw in two All-SEC tight ends and two very good running backs, and the eligible receivers on this 2010 team could stack up against any year’s personnel. 

How many talented receivers does a team need to be successful?  Think about it:  in 2004, who were the top receivers?

Player Yards Rec. TD POS
Reggie Brown 860 53 6 WR
Fred Gibson 801 49 7 WR
Leonard Pope 482 25 6 TE
Sean Bailey 224 14 3 WR
Thomas Brown 150 16 0 TB

Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown were the only two “receivers” that made a significant impact that season.  The great Leonard Pope was also a major contributor. 

In 2005, the great SEC Championship season, the top contributors in the receiving game were: 

Player Yards Rec. TD POS  
Leonard Pope 541 39 4 TE  
Bryan McClendon 529 35 6 WR  
Mohamed Massaquoi 505 38 2 WR  
Sean Bailey 364 16 4 WR  
Martrez Milner 291 14 2 TE  
Kenneth Harris 216 11 1 WR  

The top receivers that year were true freshman (and my personal favorite Bulldog in recent years) Massaquoi and Bryan McClendon.  Now no disrespect, but Bryan McClendon is not an elite top level WR.  The most Sean Bailey did in 2005 was in the SEC Championship Game, which accounted for 20% of his yardage for the season and half of his touchdown totals.  Take away those numbers from that one game, and his 2005 wasn’t spectacular.  Joe T. III had as many receiving touchdowns as Kenneth Harris in 2005.  In 2005, the receiving group was not strong, and was only made stronger by the exceptional play of D.J. Shockley. 

In 2006, Massaquoi went through a sophomore slump and Martrez Milner was the leading receiver.

The best offensive year recently was in 2008, with the emergence of A.J. Green and the rebound of Mohamed Massaquoi.  Knowshon and Stafford were fully developed.  Stafford threw for 3,459 yards and 25 TDs. 

Player Yards Rec. TD POS
A.J. Green 963 56 8 WR
Mohomed Massaquoi 920 58 8 WR
Michael Moore 451 29 2 WR
Knowshon Moreno 392 33 2 RB
Kris Durham 199 13 1 WR
Domiko Goodman 130 11 1 WR
Kenneth Harris 116 11 1 WR

In 2008 even when the passing game is at its best, only a few wide receivers have made a significant impact.  Around 1/3 of Mike Moore’s production in 2008 was from the Capital One Bowl.  Now there is A.J. Green and Massaquoi, two NFL players, but beyond that there was not much capable talent.  It should be noted that in 2008 has been the only year of Richt’s tenure where the tight end position didn’t figure much into the offense. 

This year the depth at receiver should look something like this:

A.J. Green
Tavarres King
Kris Durham
Rontavious Wooten
Israel Troupe
Marlon Brown
Any Freshman; TBD

We have six receivers that make up a unit that could be as talented as any group listed above.  The talent level is going to be an issue.  Add the tight ends and running backs into the mix, and there won’t be a lack of weapons for Aaron Murray.  As history as taught us, we only need a couple of receivers to make significant contributions.

Let’s compare our depth to that of 2005, not including Marlon Brown who should make an impact, and Israel Troupe, who showed last season that if given the opportunity to play, he will make the most of it.

     2010         2005 Advantage
A.J. Green Bryan McClendon 2010
Tavarres King Massaquoi 2005
Kris Durham Sean Bailey push
Rontavious Wooten Kenneth Harris 2010
Orson Charles Leonard Pope push
Aaron White Martrez Milner 2010

UGA’s offense was rolling the end of last season, and that was without A.J. Green.  A.J. and Washaun Ealy didn’t really play much together last season.  The fully healthy corps mixed with a fully healthy running game will be a lethal combination.  When A.J. went down with his shoulder injury, the offense didn’t skip a beat.  The receiving depth is not the reason the Dawgs lost to Kentucky.  If any unit, despite its depth, gets riddled with injury, there could be problems.   Remember in 2007, there was talk of using Shaun Chapas at tailback because injuries to Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin left Knowshon as the only viable tailback?

With a solid ground game, and a powerful offensive line, and a the best top to bottom receiving unit in many years, the only people Aaron Murray and Mike Bobo should blame for not having great passing numbers in 2010 are themselves.

Go Dawgs!


All stats from ESPN’s Georgia page

Thornton Signing “Knocks the Lid Off the Program!”

When Mark Richt took over the football program at UGA, he kept refering to a lid that had been placed on the program that prevented UGA from winning a SEC title in 20 years.  In 2002, with Richt’s leadership, that lid was busted!

In 2003, a similar lid was placed on the UGA basketball program when UGA was sanctioned by violations under former coach Jim Harrick.  Top Georgia recruits, especially in the metro Atlanta area, failed to consider UGA as a possible destination.  Dennis Felton was brought in to try and improve the situation, but his hard-nosed techniques didn’t relate well to the recruits or the fan base for that matter and the program was left in a “piss poor” state.

Enter Mark Fox!  While UGA still finished last in the SEC East as projected, Fox brought hope to UGA.  He implemented his triangle offense that was more up tempo.  The team competed for 40 minutes every night, and the fan base bought in.  The last three home games against Florida and Kentucky were sellouts, and you could feel the intesity back at Stegman Coleseum.

Fox achieved another victory yesterday with the signing of foward of Marcus Thornton out of Westlake HS in Atlanta.  Thornton’s signing is without a doubt the biggest in the program since Trey Thompkins and also kicks start the momentum needed in recruiting for a program that has the ability the compete among the top 10 programs in America simply because its proximity to the metro Atlanta area.’s Dean Legge had an excellent column on just this subject yesterday. 

So stand up and cheer Dawg fans!  Because the UGA basketball program is about to take off!

Below are some highlights of new UGA signee Marcus Thornton!


TGT Weekly BBQ Review

I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed with Chris Brame’s answer when asked about his favorite bbq joint. However, he was accurate in his analysis of the bbq sandwich at 5 Star Day. So, as bad as it pains me to do a bbq review on a place that is not really a bbq joint, in honor of Chris Brame’s favorite sandwich I will take a stab.

It’s been nearly a decade since I have last eaten at 5 Star Day in downtown Athens. In fact, my relationship with 5 Star Day was quite strange. During my early days in Athens, I had a good friend who was a cowboy from southeast Georgia. This guy was a rodeo king, to say the least. His influence is a big part of why Texas country is the only music I listen to (besides Buffett of course.) We had this thing called Buffett Tuesdays, but that’s for another day. Anyway, this cowboy’s favorite restaurant in Athens was 5 Star Day. For one semester, we ate 5 Star Day in downtown Athens once a week. He moved on, and after he did I never ate there again. I guess when I moved into the fraternity house I didn’t make it downtown to eat as much, since we had a cook (God bless Frank). But, from what I can recall, 5 Star Day was worth the trip. I did have the bbq sandwich Chris Brame loves so much on numerous occasions, so while I may not be the most qualified to write this review, I’ll give it my best shot.

5 Star Day Café: Located in beautiful downtown Athens, 5 Star Day is kind of a retro-gourmet-soul food restaurant. It has the Athens feel, if you know what I mean. The atmosphere was very relaxing, as I’m guessing it still is. The last time I visited, it was very towny, to make up a word; a good mix of locals, college kids, and weirdo’s. But it was a great local eatery. The food was always outstanding. I remember they had these fried green tomatoes that were delicious. I always had them as my side. I branched out sometimes and tried a few different meals that were soul food specials, but my favorite was the Carolina bbq sandwich.

The sandwich: As Brame says, this sucker is huge. If a bbq sandwich can get too big, this one does it. They had this mega bun that was the size of a mini-basketball, and the pork fell out of all sides. If I recall correctly, it was a very moist bbq, and the bottom bun always fell apart. That’s not a bad thing at all, and if you’ve ever had it you’ll know what I’m talking about. Carolina bbq isn’t my personal favorite, but they do a good job of it here. I’m not a huge fan of mustard, so I prefer a more tomato based bbq sauce than mustard-based that you find in the Carolinas. However, in this sandwich, the sauce wasn’t overwhelming, so I liked it. The sheer portion size was enough to have my heart. As a 18-19 year old, eating a pound of pork was more of a challenge than a mistake, as it would be considered now. I am guessing that they slow cooked this pork, because it was always very tender, and very good. It wasn’t the chipped bbq you find some places, and it wasn’t sliced. It was somewhere in between. You didn’t have to add sauce to it; between the moisture and the Carolina sauce they added it was plenty moist.

Essentially, eating the bbq sandwich at 5 Star Day is a unique experience. You don’t go to this little café with the soul intent of having bbq, but if you’re in the area and are grabbing lunch and find yourself in the mood for some pork, then you order it. Eating bbq from 5 Star Day is a long way from Fresh Air in Jackson, but you have to understand that principal going in. If you’re looking for a unique Athens café and want to branch out from the norm, then I would definitely recommend it. One thing is certain: if you leave hungry, it’s your own fault. Even if you’re not a huge bbq fan, you should visit 5 Star Day next time you get a chance, if for nothing else than their fried green tomatoes. Everybody needs a little bit of soul, and you’ll get it here.