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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday Links (1/21)

I haven't had much to post so far this week, mostly because there hasn't been a chance to do much reporting. Nearly all of the football staff is on the recruiting trail at the moment, and as many of you have no doubt heard, Dennis Felton was in Washington for the Inauguration, thus no hoops practice.

Of course, just because there isn't much going on around campus doesn't mean there isn't news. I am reluctant, however, to post any great deal of speculation or rumors or simply reprint news from other sources. There are plenty of UGA message boards out there that deal in conjecture, and I'll admit, they're fun to read, but my hope has always been to hold this blog to similar standards as I hold my reporting for the newspaper to. I don't mind giving analysis of a situation, but I try to avoid guesswork. Hopefully I can toe that line as often as possible.

In any case, I offer that as pretext to today's links...

-- The rumors of Willie Martinez's departure for Miami have heated up with the news that Bill Young has accepted a job at Oklahoma State (and a nice raise to boot). The AJC has the only real news to come out of the UGA offices thus far, and that is that Mark Richt -- via the UGA athletics dept. -- says he has not been contacted by the Hurricanes. I've checked with UGA this morning, and Miami has still not made contact.

Martinez has not been kind enough to return phone calls, so any information beyond that is just a guess. Since many of you have asked, however, here's what I think is at play: For one, the Miami Herald's report that UM would be interested in Martinez doesn't offer much in the way of specifics. This could certainly be a bit of conjecture on the paper's part, and Martinez may not even be on -- let alone atop -- Miami's wishlist. In fact, it now looks like Randy Shannon may take on the job himself.

Moreover, Richt showed a great deal of loyalty to Martinez this year, and alma mater aside, you would have to believe Martinez would be inclined to repay that loyalty if at all possible. While money is clearly an issue in any job offer, Miami isn't exactly awash in cash (unlike Okie State, for example). I wouldn't expect any offer from the 'Canes would dwarf what Martinez is already making at UGA.

Of course, the lure of going back to your alma mater is always an appealing scenario, particularly on the heels of a season in which he was everyone's favorite whipping boy around Athens.

If Martinez does bolt for Miami, you would imagine that Rodney Garner would have to be considered for the role of D coordinator. Given the interest from Tennessee and Auburn this offseason, the promotion would seem to be a nice way of ensuring Garner sticks around for a few more years, while offering him a chance to bolster his resume for the next time a head-coaching job comes his way.

I would also add that, while many fans wouldn't shed any tears over Martinez's departure, I think his loss would be problematic. Georgia will have an awfully young secondary next year, even with Reshad Jones back in the fold, and a new DBs coach would simply add to the inexperience.

Georgia's players will be available Thursday, and I'll talk with several of them then about the situation as well as keep you posted on any additional details that may arise beforehand.

-- Kyle King has an interesting recommendation for whom Mark Richt should hire as Georgia's special teams coach. I'll just say that I think practice would certainly be a lot more interesting.

-- Dawgs Online has a nice look at how other top programs have lined up their schedules for their run to the 2010 BCS National Championship game.

-- Georgia Sports Blog isn't bothered by Dennis Felton's trip to DC. To be honest, neither am I. If any other coach chose to do this, it wouldn't be too big a deal. In fact, dozens of athletes from around the country made sure they were able to attend the festivities. Still, from an image standpoint, it doesn't look good for Felton, and his image was already about as bad among fans as it could be.

Still, the folks who think Felton should be canned now are probably barking up the wrong tree. Damon Evans has stated repeatedly that he'll let the entire season determine his analysis of the program, not just the first few games. Upon leaving the locker room after Sunday's loss, Evans' only words for reporters were "There's a lot of basketball yet to be played." I'd be shocked if a move is made before the season ends.

So the question then becomes, is there any way that Felton will be retained? If last year taught us anything, it's that the answer to that question is yes. Anything can happen. But having watched Georgia through 18 games, this team is not improving. Some games have been better than others, but there has been zero consistency, and when players are deeming their own effort against the biggest name in the SEC "soft" and others are openly admitting that guys aren't buying into the system, there is a real problem there that won't be turned around over night.

So given all that, perhaps Felton was in the perfect place Tuesday. Because if there is anything he and his program need right now, it's hope and change (and a point guard).

(As a side note, I share Jeff Schultz's dismay that the Boss never plays "Rosalita" anymore. That and "Incident on 57th Street" are my two favorites, and I've never heard them live.)

-- ESPN's Chris Low has a post ranking the top SEC recruiting classes so far, and he has Georgia as second in the East and sixth nationally. There's still plenty of time for Georgia to up its profile, however, and the departures of Asher, Matthew and Knowshon have freed up a few more scholarships. I've talked with Richt about the staff's approach to the final few weeks before signing day a few times, and he said this year has been unlike almost any other in the sheer number of guys still undecided this late in the game. It should be an exciting finish, that's for sure.

-- Brandon Wood (not Woods) finished his sentence for an October DUI arrest.

-- Both Georgia and Georgia Tech will begin the baseball season in the Top 25.

-- Corvey Irvin and Mo Massaquoi are both participating in Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

-- At least one NFL exec isn't high on Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez.

-- I link to this only because I came across it and couldn't figure how the name of the blog and the content of the story could coexist.

-- Up until now, I thought maybe Michigan fans had been a bit too hard on Rich Rodriguez. Apparently I was wrong.

-- This post does an excellent job of summing up what's wrong with Philadelphia sports fans. They did, however, forget to mention that McNabb caused the rift between Allen Iverson and Larry Brown, was responsible for the last three SEPTA strikes, and also perfers his cheese steaks from Geno's over Pat's. Now that's just unforgivable.

-- And finally, in celebration of the premier of "Lost," here's a bunch of links on the best show on television: What would happen if "Lost" met "Heroes"? Fans of Claire's character will be in for a long season. "Lost's" return marks a turning point for traditional TV programming. Here's an interview with Hurley and another with Ben.

6 comments:

Carter said...

David,

In the past few years it seems that UGA doesn't have much luck in January recruiting, but we do quite well up until the final month or so. As someone who is a close observer of the inner workings of the program, what do you attribute that to? I know a lot of the kids who wait until the last minute to commit are fickle attention whores. Does our recruiting pitch not appeal so much to these types, or are there other factors at work?

David Hale said...

UGA tends to target its top recruits and seal the deal pretty early. A lot of times, the guys waiting until the last minute are already leaning another direction anyway. This year might be a little different though, and Georgia still has a good shot at several of the bigger undecideds.

watcher16 said...

David,

Any way you could ask Richt when you next get a chance if he has any plans for a special teams coach? Thanks in advance!

-RDB

David Hale said...

Will do... hoping to track him down at some point in the next week. My guess, however, is that he probably won't do it. The staff can only have so many coaches, and I think he's relatively pleased with Fabris' work so far. The biggest problems of 08 on special teams were a result of all the injuries. There was no consistency as to who was playing on each unit cuz so many guys got hurt or were yanked from ST duty to replace an injured starter on offense/defense.

Pete said...

What did you think of the new episode of Lost last night?

David Hale said...

I really liked last night's two hours, though it definitely had a much different feel to it than past premiers.

My favorite lines:
"It's a compass."
"What's it do?"
"It points north, John."

and...

"... And there was this button we had to push every 108 minutes or else... well, I was never completely clear on that."

My only criticism -- and it's really more of a concern than a critique -- is that I don't want the show to become too unbelievable. I know that sounds silly given everything that's happened on the show up til now (and Hurley's story to his mother just underscored the ridiculousness of it all) but the beauty of the show to this point has been that they've been able to make a fantasy show seem realistic to some extent, and I'm a little worried that they may take a step too far past that line. But I've seen enough good stuff to trust the writers for now.