Saying goodbye to my friend, Haywood Harris

 Cleaning out the notebook from the SEC Meetings from Destin:

 1. We lost Haywood Harris yesterday: First of all, Haywood was my friend and he died yesterday in Knoxville at the age of 80. Secondly, he had been a constant and steadying  voice in the sports information department at Tennessee since he was hired in 1961. In fact, Haywood was the last UT employee hired by General Robert Neyland before Neyland passed away in 1962.

Whenever Haywood found out that I was coming to Knoxville, he would always call and ask me to come by his office. He retired in 2000 but kept an office to work part time as the resident historian for Tennessee athletics. We would catch up on what was going on around the SEC and he would ask me to tape a segment for radio show “The Locker Room” which ran on Tennessee game days for 49 consecutive seasons.

Haywood was funny. He was smart. But he never told you how smart he was. He didn’t have to.

Haywood was one of those people didn’t just work for his alma mater. He WAS Tennessee. We’re going to miss him—a lot.

 

2. When it comes to Mark Richt, some of you out there need a reality check: Kudos to the AJC’s Tim Tucker for going right to the source—President Michael Adams and AD Damon Evans—and putting to rest this ridiculous notion that Richt is even in the same universe as a coaching hot seat. Tim had to ask the question because that is what good reporters do.

I’ve tried to be politically correct on this issue and realize there are passions at work here. So let me just put it in language that is a little more to the point: If you think that Richt, who has won 90 games in nine years in the toughest college football environment in the world, is on some kind of hot seat then you are living in an alternative universe that is completely divorced from reality.

Yes, Georgia had a disappointing season in 2009. Changes were made. Very soon it will be time to play another season. Then Richt will evaluate the program again and Richt will be evaluated again. Period. End of discussion.

 

3. Dooley will be his own man, and that’s good for Tennessee: New Tennessee coach Derek Dooley made one thing clear when he met with the media in Destin. He’s not Lane Kiffin. But at the same time he’s not about to slam the coach who had a cup of coffee (not decaf)  before he went scurrying back to Southern Cal. But Dooley recognized his style is different than Kiffin’s.  That fact, in the long run, will be good for Tennessee.

Someone asked Dooley is he purposely was trying to be the anti-Kiffin. The short answer is no. The former lawyer, who was tutored by his Hall of Fame father (Vince) and Nick Saban, is very comfortable with who he is.

“I know (my style) was quite a bit different from my predecessor,” said Dooley. “I wasn’t trying to make headlines. Our program needed somebody to get their arms around it and our players needed somebody to get their arms around them.

“Because at the end of the day a headline in February is not going to help you win games. It’s just not my style.”

 

4. Now coaching for the Lake Burton Bears, Nick Saban: The coach of the 2009 national champions insisted this week that Alabama is going to be his last coaching stop. The Crimson Tide went 12-0 during the regular season in 2008, went 14-0 in 2009, and will be preseason No. 1 in most polls when the 2010 season begins.

There has always been speculation that Saban will someday return to the NFL, where he had a disappointing two years as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. But in my last few meetings with Saban he seems very comfortable in the lifestyle he has in Tuscaloosa. It doesn’t hurt that his getaway home in Lake Burton is not that far away.

“It is always a difficult decision to leave any place and it is a decision I am never going to make again,” said Saban. “I am where I am. If they get a football team at Lake Burton, I might go there. Otherwise I am where I am.”

I know I’m a college guy and I look at the world through those glasses. But what pro job—money aside—can match what you have at Alabama or Texas? Just asking.

 

5. Ryan Mallett started throwing his week: Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said that his quarterback Ryan Mallet will start throwing this week after his recovery from off-season foot surgery. That surgery kept him from participating in spring practice drills.

Mallett, a rising junior, threw for 3,624 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, his first in Petrino’s offensive system. He is expected to have a monster season in 2010 and put the Hogs into contention in the SEC West. They get Alabama early (Sept 25) in Fayetteville.

Petrino said that Mallett has two issues to deal with as he gets ready for this season.

No. 1: Mallett’s throwing mechanics have to stay solid. “He has to make sure of his footwork. Sometimes his feet are not under him properly, which makes the ball tend to sail,” Petrino said.

No. 2: Mallett has to learn to trust his offensive line. “He has to get to the point where he trusts our protection 100 percent of the time. At times last year we weren’t protecting him well enough and when that happens you lose your downfield vision,” Petrino said.

My CBS colleague Gary Danielson recently told me that he believes that Mallett could be the single biggest impact player in the SEC this fall. In other words, Mallett could be good enough to lift his entire team and put them in a position to win the SEC West.

 

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Our “Talkin’ Football” show on CSS has been picked up for the entire summer. Starting tonight a new show will air every Thursday night at 6 p.m.  until the start of the season. Bob Neal will be back to lead the discussion with Mark Schlabach, Brady Ackerman and yours truly. Please check us out.

234 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
2:40 pm

Ah, I was waiting for the coup de grace. There it is. LOL

Reptiles Rule

June 3rd, 2010
2:44 pm

Correction…I’m NOT attempting to get into it with you today. And Tide Rising, with all due respect, I don’t think this person is funny OR clever. He probably wishes he had the intelligence of a carrot peel. But I’m glad that someone finds it humorous. I can tell you this, there’s nothing funny to the rest of us about what Saban is building at Alabama. In some ways, I see Florida as the only hope against total crimson domination. You know, kind of like the old Soviet red menace and the cold war….

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
2:49 pm

“I don’t think this person is funny OR clever.”

Awe, poor baby.

“He probably wishes he had the intelligence of a carrot peel.”

Nice comeback, Carrot Top.

“I see Florida as the only hope against total crimson domination. ”

Yeah, cause LSU, Auburn etc could never beat Bama…..LOL

“I’m NOT attempting to get into it with you today”

Then quit accusing me of things I never did and shut up.

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
2:50 pm

“carrot peel”

I didn’t know carrots could peel. Bananas do but carrots?

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
2:52 pm

Relax, my fellow Gator fan. Saban is not God, Alabama is not invincible, Gump is not a real threat to blog gentility, and no one is looting the Food King. All is well.

Reptiles Rule

June 3rd, 2010
2:52 pm

Did somebody say something?? Didn’t think so.

Tide Rising

June 3rd, 2010
2:53 pm

Beast,

Carrot peal. That was funny also.

Forrest doesn’t tick me off. If he did I would throw down the gauntlett and tell him to come up to the derby bar and grill on Hammond Drive tonight at 9 o’clock and call me ma’am to my face as opposed to hiding from behind a keyboard. I would be the big fella wearing the crimson cap with the A on the front. Calling folks ma’am is his other calling card and I had forgotten about that.

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
2:53 pm

“Did somebody say something?? Didn’t think so”

LOL! You’re really not good at keeping your word are you?

Oh I’m still waiting on your proof that I stole your blog handle.

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
2:55 pm

“Forrest doesn’t tick me off. If he did I would throw down the gauntlett and tell him to come up to the derby bar and grill on Hammond Drive tonight at 9 o’clock and call me ma’am to my face as opposed to hiding from behind a keyboard.”

But Tide, I don’t hang out in gay bars like you do. Besides, if I came up to meet you anywhere I’d be well prepared…..

Know what I mean?

“I would be the big fella wearing the crimson cap with the A on the front.”

Atlanta Braves? You gals did steal the Braves “A.”

“Calling folks ma’am is his other calling card and I had forgotten about that.”

Among many other things…..

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
2:57 pm

“Gump is not a real threat to blog gentility”

No one ever said I was a threat.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
2:58 pm

“But Tide, I don’t hang out in gay bars like you do. Besides, if I came up to meet you anywhere I’d be well prepared…..”

. .. with a condom, no doubt. *giggle*

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
2:58 pm

“Carrot peal. That was funny also. ”

Yeah, as in funny stupid bad comeback.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
2:59 pm

“. .. with a condom, no doubt. *giggle*”

Yeah, for Tide’s hot girlfriends.

Reptiles Rule

June 3rd, 2010
2:59 pm

Agreed Atlanta Gator, guess it’s all in good fun. Saw your earlier post with the “checklists” and have to agree that this season will be fun to watch. Alot of new talent and I think Urban’s got a new lease on life. Brantley will not be Tebow but he won’t have to be if he utilizes the talent around him. The recruiting class was unreal and I think you are seeing alot of the recruiting on the defensive line in response to what happened against Alabama last year, speaking of Bama. Looking forward to a season without the pressure or hopefully, the drama. I’ll go with your 10-2 and return engagement in the Dome with the Red Elephants.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
2:59 pm

I was being hyperbolic for humorous effect.

Tide Rising

June 3rd, 2010
3:02 pm

Forrest,

Just wanted to know if you would like to call me ma’am up close and personal. That’s all. You know where I’ll be.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
3:04 pm

RR—-

The Gators have reloaded, but they will be very young. Brantley is a better pure passer than Tebow, and it’s time for our running backs to do their jobs again. Remember the defense in 2007? Remember what a difference a year’s experience made? I would be happy to see the Gators win the East and be competitive with the Tide. The Gators’ next big push will be 2011.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:06 pm

“Just wanted to know if you would like to call me ma’am up close and personal. ”

Tide, I’d have no problem calling you ma’am to your face. In fact, I’d bring you a dress to put on so you can show everyone just how womanly you can be.

“You know where I’ll be.”

Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTJMerul33E

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:06 pm

“Yeah, for Tide’s hot girlfriends.”

. . . but I thought the Tidester was gay. Hmm.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:07 pm

“I would be happy to see the Gators win the East and be competitive with the Tide”

Well gee, considering you gals compete with such powerhouses as Kentucky, Vandy, TN and SC……oh yeah, UGAY is there too. Forgot about them.

Hey UGAYers, is your team out of jail yet?

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:08 pm

“. . . but I thought the Tidester was gay. Hmm.”

Yep, and gays have hot girlfriends…..GIRL FRIENDS! As in, girls who are hot and are friends……

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
3:09 pm

Gump—

It’s always important to manage expectations, something that they have never learned in either Athens or Tuscaloosa.

Reptiles Rule

June 3rd, 2010
3:09 pm

Tide rising…now you know that guy isn’t gonna be driving his 18 wheeler all the way from Cali just to get his butt kicked in some bar….

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:11 pm

“Yep, and gays have hot girlfriends…..GIRL FRIENDS! As in, girls who are hot and are friends……”

. . . but I’ve never been much on fag hags.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:12 pm

“Just wanted to know if you would like to call me ma’am up close and personal. That’s all. You know where I’ll be.”

I’ll be there. You’ll know me by my Auburn – 2004 People’s Choice National Champs T-shirt and lack of hygiene. Order me a patty melt will ya?

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:13 pm

“Tide rising…now you know that guy isn’t gonna be driving his 18 wheeler all the way from Cali just to get his butt kicked in some bar….”

Reptiles Rule, 20 mins ago you were crying about me being mean to you. 20 mins later here you are throwing out insults.

You’re either bi-polar or just plain retarded.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:13 pm

“. . . but I’ve never been much on fag hags.”

That’s because you were the one bent over the pool table….

Just sayin….

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:14 pm

“driving his 18 wheeler”

Well, I did drive your sister… She’s the size of an 18 wheeler. Maybe bigger.

Reptiles Rule

June 3rd, 2010
3:16 pm

Did somebody say something? Didn’t think so.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:16 pm

GOODY!!!!!! SOMEONE IS STEALING MY BLOG HANDLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reptiles Rules????????

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:16 pm

Reptiles Rule

Why are you stealing my blog handle?

dawggoneit

June 3rd, 2010
3:17 pm

Hey Patrick, don’t get excited! I think he said kicked, not licked.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:17 pm

“That’s because you were the one bent over the pool table….

Just sayin….”

. . . but, my, you do seem to be a little preoccupied with the whole “gay” thing, don’t you?

Tide Rising

June 3rd, 2010
3:19 pm

Forrest,

See ya then. I’ll be waiting in the upper deck of the parking lot 9 sharp. BTW, the patty melts there are pretty good so I’ll order you one to go. Have to admit I did like the comment about the lack of hygiene to go with the people’s choice t-shirt.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:19 pm

“. . . but, my, you do seem to be a little preoccupied with the whole “gay” thing, don’t you?”

Are you the one stealing my blog handle?

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:20 pm

Speaking of STEALING, I seen some big dang rolls of copper wire at a construction site near Wire Road, time to go to work!

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:20 pm

Tide Rising

Sorry ma’am, that honor goes to the troglodyte that stole my blog handle.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:20 pm

I lick my own anus. MMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
3:21 pm

Well, I can see we’re not going to talk football today.

Reptiles Rule

June 3rd, 2010
3:22 pm

Did somebody say something? These voices won’t leave. I don’t understand why the voices in my head won’t leave. Timmy, is that you?

dawggoneit

June 3rd, 2010
3:23 pm

Now, why would anyone want to steal your handle?? Thats like trying to steal Rosie O’Donnell for your date. Or stealing Sarah Palin’s handwritten (literally) speeches. I know THAT will hit a nerve! LOL

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:23 pm

Atlanta Gator

Sure, let’s talk about football. Whacha want to talk about first?

Gen Neyland

June 3rd, 2010
3:24 pm

A) Commissioner Slive has tendered a job offer to Ump Jim Joyce following last nights blown call that would have recorded another perfect game. Said Slive, “Jim is just what we’ve needed to round out a herd of blind Zebras for all the big games in the SEC.”

B) I hear tell St. Peter had been looking for a good man to run things on the front end. See ya later, Haywood.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:24 pm

“Are you the one stealing my blog handle?”

. . . but that would not be my leitmotif, Aubie.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:24 pm

“I know THAT will hit a nerve! LOL”

Depends on what nerve on Rossie O’Donnel you hit. I mean, she’s what, the size of a bama grads ego?

Reptiles Rule

June 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

That’s it. I’m out.

Tide Rising

June 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

Atlanta Gator,

Nice to see you back. I think we’ve done better about managing expectations at Bama since the Shula era. Most Bama folks understand that no one will ever truly dominate the sec again the way bear did or the way Spurrier did in the 90s. I think its okay to have expectations of putting together a few great classes and running off great 2-4 year streaks of dominance like when LSU won 11 games or more for 3 straight years under Miles. USC had a fantastic streak and even then that streak of dominance came to a crashing end last year and was punctuated by Stanford pounding the men of Troy. All programs will ebb and flow and for now we’re riding high but it won’t last forever. Yeah. I think most of us understand that now.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

“. . . but that would not be my leitmotif, Aubie.”

But then again, you admitted to licking…………gross.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

“That’s it. I’m out.”

…of your mind.

Tide Rising

June 3rd, 2010
3:26 pm

I’m out. See you guys later.