My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 1 SEC Notes: Fields, Thornton, Dooley & More

Dalton defensive end Jalen Fields, Georgia’s first commitment from the class of 2010, won’t be in Athens when the rest of the incoming freshmen arrive this month.

Fields did not qualify academically, head coach Mark Richt confirmed Tuesday, and will play the upcoming season elsewhere. Richt said he wasn’t sure where Fields would play, although he didn’t rule out the possibility of a season at Georgia Military College.

Of the 16 other freshmen signed by Georgia in February, only receiver Lonnie Outlaw has also failed to qualify, Richt said. Before committing, Outlaw had been set to attend GMC with plans to transfer to Georgia in a year or two.

“I’ll just say, there’s no surprises in this bunch,” Richt said of the group’s academic issues.


If there’s one topic first-year Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has talked enough about this spring, it’s about his parents.

Dooley’s father, Vince Dooley, was the longtime head coach at Georgia, and since the son was hired at Tennessee, all most fans want to know is what colors dad will be wearing when the Bulldogs and Volunteers face off on Oct. 9.

“It’s amazing to me how interested everybody is in my mom and dad and what they’re going to wear,” Derek Dooley said.

At a Tennessee fan event in Atlanta this spring, Dooley’s mother, Barbara, showed up sporting Volunteers colors, spurring plenty of talk among fans and reporters. The Tennessee faithful love it. The Georgia fans, not so much.

“I had to remind her that the event is not for her,” Derek Dooley said. “She’s developed a little bit of an icon status in Tennessee, and I’ve had to ban her from the state.”

Not that Dooley has much authority over his mother. Despite his rules, she’s made a habit of offering public comments.

“She violated the media policy,” Derek Dooley said. “(My) power can only go so far. She thinks it’s funny. She’s not going to think that when we’re having some bad years.”


During his news conference with reporters Tuesday, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was asked if, from a quarterback’s perspective, he was a tough coach to play for.

“If you play well, I’d say I’m pretty easy to play for,” Spurrier said, earning chuckles from the media contingent. “If you don’t play very well, and there’s another player with pretty close ability, then I believe in bringing in the next guy.”

That might be the case with starting quarterback Stephen Garcia this season after the junior earned scorn from his coach during the spring. With true freshman Connor Shaw waiting in the wings, Spurrier said the pressure is on his incumbent to maintain the job by taking a big step forward on the field and off it.

“Spring practice was – I wouldn’t say it was a lot different than most of his spring practices,” Spurrier said. “There may be a point that he’s playing the best he can, and we’re expecting too much from him. But if that’s the case, we’ve got to get the next guy ready to play because the way (Garcia) has performed so far, we’re going to be limited.”

Spurrier said he still believes Garcia can blossom into the type of quarterback he wants, but if not, Shaw could quickly become part of the starting lineup.

“You don’t have to worry about (Shaw’s) commitment level -- it’s strong,” Spurrier said. “He’s a good passer. He can run a bit. He’s definitely the back-up right now, and he’ll compete for the starting assignment.”


Bad seasons happen, and Damon Evans is chalking up Georgia’s dreadful performance on the baseball diamond in 2010 to simply an off year. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a bit of pressure on coach David Perno to turn things around in short order.

“He’s had success, and there’s no reason for me to believe he won’t have success again,” Evans said of Perno. “I look for Dave to have a good year next year.”

Georgia finished 16-37 in 2010 with a league-worst 5-23 record in SEC play – both low points during Perno’s tenure. And while Evans said Perno would have the opportunity to turn things around in 2011, decisions on the rest of the Perno’s staff remained up in the air.


Mark Fox isn’t expecting his top recruit to need much time to adjust to the rigors of the SEC.

Fox said the 6-foot-7 Marcus Thornton, who signed with Georgia last month after de-committing from Clemson, did a good job of adding strength and weight during his senior season at Westlake High School and should be physically ready for the college game from Day 1.

“I watched Marcus play a ton last summer, but he’s a different player today than he was a year ago,” Fox said. “Physically he’s ready to make the transition from high school to the SEC. A lot of guys have to get stronger and put on weight. He’s ready to step in and contribute and get after it. We’re really excited to have him.”


Richt recently dubbed the team’s approach to in-state recruiting as pursuing “The Dream Team” of top players in the state of Georgia. It’s a concept Richt likes, but he said the moniker alone won’t be enough to convince every in-state recruit that the Bulldogs are serious about landing them.

“Some think it’s pretty cool, and some don’t think much about it at all,” Richt said.

While the philosophy was meant to re-emphasize Georgia’s commitment to landing the best players close to home, Richt said he didn’t believe it would come at the expense of selling the program to any out-of-state players.

“We didn’t say it was a national thing,” Richt said. “We’ve always said that any player that we offer out of our state, we think he’s a very special guy. I think if you looked at our overall roster, they’re usually around two-thirds Georgia overall, and usually around 50-50 in the starting lineup in-state vs. out-of-state.”


Richt said that cornerback Sanders Commings and receiver Israel Troupe, who had both discussed playing amateur baseball this spring, had talked over the situation with their position coaches and decided against the endeavor.

No comments: