Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

One Thing Not Like The Other?

Y’all remember a while back when Suzanne Yoculan got in some trouble for a trip to New York City with some of her recently graduated gymnasts?

It was reported in January of 2005, so I can’t say I blame you if you don’t.

The gist of it is that Yoculan took six gymnasts on Don Leebern’s private jet on a two night trip to the Plaza in New York.  This was in the middle of Georgia’s probation for the Jim Harrick drama, so a normally secondary minor violation was treated much more harshly than a typical minor violation.

I suppose the purpose of the rule was  it could be perceived as a recruiting advantage.

“Hey, come to Georgia, and when you graduate, I’ll take you on an all-expenses paid trip to NYC on my boyfriend’s private jet,” or something like that, could be used in a recruiting pitch was the thinking, I suppose.

For the record, I love Jim Harbaugh.  But if taking former student athletes on a swanky trip to the Big Apple is a violation, how is taking your whole football team to a glorified free spring break trip not run afoul of the NCAA?  It’s not like they are in boot camp.  I highly doubt it resembles anything like Bear Bryant’s Junction Boys.

I saw on Sportscenter the other night they went to see the Tigers in Spring Training.  This is just a fun vacation, and oh wait, let’s run some ball drills.

How does that make sense?  How is that consistent?

Never mind, it’s the NCAA.


BBQ Thursday is Back: Sprayberry’s

I’ve been on a sabbatical recently.  I had good intentions of posting some thoughts on the signing class, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  By the time I got to a place to do a post, others more informed provided better written and more thought out analysis than I could have offered.

Plus, there just isn’t that much going on this time of the year.  Unless, of course, you want to talk about the terribly mediocre and disappointing basketball season, which I don’t.

Or I could talk about the Braves front office continued attempts to destroy the once proud franchise, but I don’t want to go there either.

But, life is starting to slow down a little bit, and I wanted to get back in the saddle.  To get out of this self-imposed exile, I decided to get back to our roots.

This blog was started some six and a half years ago, primarily to talk about UGA football.  We chose the name “The Grit Tree” to pay homage to Lewis Grizzard.  And a once-weekly feature of the blog was reviewing different barbecue joints across Georgia and, when travel allowed, in other states.  Lewis was fond of good pig pork, and so are we.


The barbecue reviews have gone the way of the dodo.  This is for two reasons:

  1. Honesty compels me to say we got lazy (I could lie and say that important things like raising a child and work have caused the distractions, but I use my precious daughter as an excuse to get out of too many things as it is, I won’t cast this burden on her), and
  2. Sadly, I haven’t been anywhere new.

When we started this feature, I traveled a lot around Georgia with my job, and each small town I visited I tried a new place.  I was new to the job, and everywhere I went it was the first time.  Well, I don’t hit the road as often as I did, and if I do, chances are I’ve already tried barbecue in the place where I am going.

But sometimes, circumstances bring you to a new place, or at least new to me.

Last spring I was driving on I-85 and saw signs for Sprayberry’s Barbecue, and being a Lewis Grizzard aficionado, I wanted to stop at his favorite barbecue joint.  But sometimes, traveling with a two year old doesn’t allow you to stop, even if it is for a worthy cause such as paying tribute to Lewis.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Peachtree City, and I had an evening to myself.  I knew I was close to Newnan, and fortunately was only 15 minutes away from a Sprayberry’s location.  My decision on where to dine became a no-brainer.

So, without further ado, my review of Sprayberry’s Barbecue…

I must start off by saying this isn’t the original Sprayberry’s, and after talking to the manager, was disappointed to learn the location I dined at was never even visited by Lewis Grizzard.  This one had the charm of any other restaurant, a stone’s throw off the interstate and next to a Wal-Mart, Applebees and Hooters.

Sprayberry's sign

A dubious way to start my meal…

I must first say this, before I go any further with my review:

If Sprayberry’s is good enough for Lewis Grizzard, then by God, it is good enough for me.

I looked over the menu, and I am glad I did.  When I go to a place to review it, I usually get the same thing each time to provide consistency in my review:  pulled pork, Brunswick stew, Sweet Tea.

But one particular menu item caught my eye:  The Lewis Grizzard Special.  Barbecue Sandwich, Brunswick stew, and onion rings.

Sprayberry's menue.JPG

Easy decision.

But, life doesn’t take me over that way often, and I had company, so I decided to splurge a little bit and branch out.  We ordered a half rack of baby back ribs as an appetizer.  If I was going to dine at Lewis Grizzard’s restaurant, I was going to get the full experience.

The ribs were amazing.  I prefer a dry rub on my ribs, and these were coated in vinegar sauce.  I can’t say I’ve had ribs with a vinegar sauce.  I’ve had sweet wet sauce, but not vinegar.  It could have been too much vinegar if that is not your thing, but I really enjoyed them.  Sorry, no picture.  We ate them pretty quick and they got gone in a hurry.  The ribs were fantastic; very tender.

Then the Lewis Grizzard Special came out.  It was a mountain of food.

Lewis Grizzard Special

Maybe I was expecting a near religious experience.  Maybe I had built it up too much in my mind where anything wouldn’t have been as good as I had expected it to be.  But it wasn’t that great.  The pork was just “eh”, and the stew was mushy.  The onion rings, much like the rest of the plate, just weren’t very flavorful.

It was serviceable.  I went home full.  But I went in expecting a 10, and I got a 5.

If I am in the area, I will go back.  I will try the original location, and try it a lunch time when people say barbecue restaurants are at their best.

Getting the ribs again would be worth it.

But if you go, and I suggest you do if you are a fan of Lewis Grizzard, go in knowing you are going for the experience and the opportunity to pay tribute to a fine American and not for the quality of the cue.


Sprayberry’s has two locations in Newnan.  Visit the website to see more info.

Braves, SMH

So, the Braves signed Jeff Francoeur today to a minor league contract. I had finally started believing kensingtondawg may be right, and that the massive sell off was the thing to do. And maybe it was. But signings like this and Kelly Johnson leave me shaking my head at decisions of upper management. To me, this is another dumb signing that has marred our beloved franchise for a number of years. I realize it’s just a minor league deal, but still……

I disagreed with the sell off initially. I had hoped to take another angle at rebuilding. However, folks that know more than I do say we are headed in the right direction, and that our farm system is the best in baseball. That remains to be seen, but time will tell. We certainly rid ourselves of some monster contracts, but also rid ourselves of some all star talent along the way. We won’t compete in the foreseeable future. That’s fine. But to waste spend money on players like Frenchy and KJ defies any and all logic. Which is the problem. It’s poor decisions that has plagued our franchise for a decade, and I fear that it will lead to “more of the same” moving forward. 

I hope I’m wrong. I also realize I’m simply using this space to vent. But I’m frustrated with the Braves, and I just want them to win. I want my son to have the same experience I had as a little boy. And I’m scared he won’t. Here’s to me overreacting and the brass actually having a clue. 


Where We Standing Heading Towards Signing Day

I’ve been working the phones plus checking out the subscription UGA sites.  Based on this information, this is where I believe UGA stands heading into National Signing Day on Wednesday.

2016 UGA Football Recruiting Prospects

QB Jacob Eason 5 star Lake Stevens (HS), WA-Already signed his letter of intent as his on campus at UGA.

DT Derrick Brown 5 star Lanier HS Buford, GA-The last couple of weeks it appeared Auburn was in the drivers seat to land Georgia’s top high school prospect.  However, UGA has a made a serious move the last few days.  Auburn and UGA are both confident Brown will sign with them on Wednesday.  Brown is a talent UGA has not had at defensive tackle since Jonathan Sullivan.  He is a NFL first rounder in the making.  The Dawgs need this one badly.

Ben Davis LB 5 star Gordo (HS), AL-Davis loves Kirby Smart there is no doubt about it. Yet, expecting the son of the Crimson Tide’s all time leading tackler to spurn Nick Saban is asking a little much.

Mecole Hardman Jr.5 star  ATH Elbert County HS Elberton, GA-Dawg fans were really nervous when Hardman’s favorite recruiter Jeremy Pruitt ended up at Alabama as defensive coordinator.  Plus, two weeks ago Hardman named Alabama his leader.  Don’t believe any of it.  New Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart has made Mecole feel right at home in Athens, and the nation’s #1 athlete is super close with elite QB signee Jacob Eason.  I will be shocked if Hardman inks anywhere else other than UGA.

Brian Burns 5 star DE American Heritage HS Plantation, FL-There is no doubt UGA has given Burns something to think about in his recruitment and it doesn’t hurt that two American Heritage alumni star for the Bulldogs on offense and special teams.  However, I expect Burns to sign with FSU.

Demetris Robertson 5 star ATH Savannah Christian Prep Savannah, GA-Recruiting insiders suggest this has been one of the strangest recruitment they have seen.  Robertson’s guardian has a lot of say here.  Early in his recruitment it appeared Demetris would head to Stanford, then the last month Notre Dame looked to be where the 5 star ATH would head.  Now it looks as if Robertson will take his recruitment past signing day and visit UGA next weekend.  The longer this goes on, the better it looks for UGA.    Robertson is a major need.  He could step at WR from Day 1 and star on a corps that is depleted in the depth department due to past signing day misses.  It could also free up Mecole Hardman to play CB which many believe is best for the Elberton star long term.

Issac Nauta 5 star TE IMG Academy Bradenton, FL-Signed letter of intent to UGA back on January 11.

Javon Wims 4 star WR JUCO-Today Wims let it be known that he would sign with UGA.  Wims is a very physical receiver that is expected to contribute immediately in 2016.  Good get for Kirby Smart.

Charlie Woerner 4 star ATH Rabun County HS Tiger, GA-Woerner committed to UGA back in July and will sign with the Dawgs Wednesday.  He is the nephew of UGA legend Scott Woerner and is expected to play wide receiver in Athens.

Lyndell Wilson 4 star ILB Carver HS Montgomery, AL-All weekend Wilson sent out tweets of himself covered head to toe in UGA gear.  But, UGA fans should not fooled.  Expect Wilson to sign with the Crimson Tide Wednesday.

Julian Rochester 4 star DT McEachern HS Powder Springs, GA-At 6’5 312 lbs. Rochester is just the type of defensive tackle Kirby Smart is looking for on his defensive line.  Rochester is already on campus signing his letter of intent back in January.

EJ Price 4 star OT Archer HS Lawrenceville, GA-Price was an early commit while later backing off.  I think UGA is in good spot here.  Southern Cal is making a strong push, but I don’t expect it to be enough.  Look for Price to be a Dawg on Wednesday.

Ben Cleveland 4 star OG Stephens County HS Toccoa, GA-Cleveland has been a Dawg since his sophomore of high school, and he made it official during the early signing period.

Chauncey Manac 4 star DE Clinch County HS Homerville, GA-Committed to UGA back on September 27, 2014.  He will sign with Georgia Wednesday.

Tyler Clark 4 star DT Sumter County HS Americus, GA-A current UGA commit, Clark opened up his recruitment slightly when Mark Richt was fired before reaffirming when visiting with Kirby Smart.

Cavin Ridley 4 star WR Deerfield Beach (HS), FL-A major coup for Smart to be able get Ridley to ink with UGA in the early signing period.

Machail Carter 4 star DT Jackson (HS), GA-Carter may be the most underrated player in the entire class.  He has tremendous potential and is a kid UGA needs come Wednesday.  It’s a two way battle between Bama and Georgia, and make no mistake the Tide is coming on STRONG. I still think Carter stays in-state and wears the silver britches.

Elijah Holyfield 4 star RB Woodward Academy College Park, GA-The son of boxing great Evander Holyfield.  The longtime UGA commit will sign Wednesday.

Jeawon Taylor 4 star S Park Crossing HS Montgomery, AL-Coming into the weekend it looked like UGA had a great shot to flip the Florida commit.  However, a great visit to Gainesville over the weekend has most recruiting analysts expecting Taylor to stay put.

Jaleel Laguins 4 star OLB Oconee County (HS) Watkinsville, GA-The current UGA committ has taken his visits since Mark Richt was fired back in December.  However, the 4 star OLB was in Athens this weekend, and I believe he will stay put and sign with Georgia Wednesday.

Jauan Williams 4 star OT Archbishop Carrol HS Washington, DC-New offensive line coach Sam Pittman has done an excellent job of giving Williams something to think about.  Yet, I would look for Williams to sign with FSU Wednesday.

Tyler Simmons 4 star WR Mceachern HS Powder Springs, GA-It is truly 50/50 at this time on whether the Dawgs flip the Alabama commit.  However, the momentum appears with UGA.  Right now, I like UGA to sign Tyler Simmons.








Smart to speak in Macon

For any fellow mid-staters, in case you missed it, Coach Smart will be speaking to the Macon TD Club on February 22 at the Methodist Children’s Home. For more information, visit their website. Should be good times. 


Rooting Interests

Tonight is the big night. One day we will experience what Clempson and Bama fans are experiencing in the desert right now. Until then, we’ve got to choose sides. 

I’ve long contended that Clemson was our sister school and that they are more SEC than SC, Vandy and Kentucky. They’re the land grant institution in the Palmetto State, have a similar alumni base, and are generally comparable to UGA. I normally don’t admit it, but today is as good a time as any. I’m a closet Clemson fan. They’re my “2nd” team. I pull for them every time they don’t play us. I long for the day when we renew the annual rivalry with our sisters to the east. It’s the perfect way to open a season. 

That said, I’m all in on Clemson today. IPTAY. Beat Bama. Go Tigers. You can find detailed analysis elsewhere. I’m just a fan today.  


  We’ve got some dear friends who are Clemson alumni. They’re in the desert and having a ball. We promised to share pictures, so here are a few. Happy watching. 


Hey there, Charlie

There are two blogs in Georgia that set the bar. Thanks to the Senator for hosting one of these. The other is not focused on all things UGA, but if you like southern culture and southern politics, then you’re familiar with Peach Pundit. 

Icarus, now known as Charlie Harper, has been my blogging role model for eight years. Charlie took a fork in the road and has taken his talents to a new home, I’ll miss what he and his gang did at Peach Pundit, but I’m certain this new venture will be even more fun for all of us. 

This post was to say “Thank You, Charlie” for the great times at PP, but also to encourage you to check out his new site. This is the time of year to talk Georgia politics, and Charlie is the best. 

Stay warm my friends. 




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