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

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:27 pm

“Most Bama folks understand that no one will ever truly dominate the sec again the way bear did”

Then why do you gals fire every coach you hire within 3 years or so if they don’t become the new Bear?

“USC had a fantastic streak……..of cheating”

FYT

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
3:30 pm

Gen Neyland—-

A herd of blind Zebras? Now, that’s funny.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:32 pm

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

. . . but that’s not really your wittiest response, is it? Come on, you can do better, ma’am.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
3:33 pm

Greetings, Tide Rising.

Just teasing, you big old snufflelumpagus.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:34 pm

“. . . but that’s not really your wittiest response, is it? Come on, you can do better, ma’am.”

Wasn’t meant as a comeback. I truly feel sorry for you and your anus endeavors, ma’am.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
3:36 pm

Tide Rising—-

The ebb and flow of college football seems to be a little stronger for the Best Team Money Can Buy. If I had that much money invested in the Trojans, I would be embarrassed by their record.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:39 pm

“Wasn’t meant as a comeback. I truly feel sorry for you and your anus endeavors, ma’am.”

. . . but there you go again with the whole “gay” thing. Seems to be a bit of a peculiar fascination for you, doesn’t it, ma’am?

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:41 pm

“. . . but there you go again with the whole “gay” thing. Seems to be a bit of a peculiar fascination for you, doesn’t it, ma’am?”

Whatever you say, anus!

dawggoneit

June 3rd, 2010
3:43 pm

Ever notice how you never see Patrick Sulley/ Wish Auburn was playing Florida/Gators are incapable of going undefeated/Forrest Gump/Richard Simmons… at the same time??

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
3:43 pm

“Whatever you say, anus!”

. . . but, sadly, that’s not very funny. More on the juvenile side, ma’am.

kgator79

June 3rd, 2010
3:52 pm

Atlanta Gator….

Why do you think the Gators will be very young? I keep hearing this from national media and scratch my head because when you look at the projected starting lineups UF will field 11 seniors, 8 juniors, 3 sophomores, 2 freshmen. 19 out of 24 starting positions fielded of seniors and juniors is not very young. With 17 of those 24 actually being starters in the past either full time or have started multiple games.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:53 pm

“. . . but, sadly, that’s not very funny. More on the juvenile side, ma’am.”

Ok, anus.

Forrest Gump is the most famous bama grad

June 3rd, 2010
3:53 pm

“Ever notice how you never see Patrick Sulley/ Wish Auburn was playing Florida/Gators are incapable of going undefeated/Forrest Gump/Richard Simmons… at the same time??”

Dern yo, you should get a degree in criminal justice! You’z one smart lady!

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:02 pm

kgator79—-

One of the things that made the Gators defense so good the past two years was not only the depth of talent, bu the depth of experience. They will not have the interchangeable first and second-string defense as they have for the past two seasons. I’m also concerned about the receiver corps. Without the run option of Tebow, it’s time for a couple of WRs and a TE to step up and start catching Brantley’s deep passes.

dawggoneit

June 3rd, 2010
4:03 pm

Sorry everybody, didn’t mean to get caught up in all this silly stuff but this guy can really “suck you” into his conversations. My apologies to those trying to keep it real and have a good evening.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
4:05 pm

“Ok, anus.”

. . . but repeating it isn’t going to make it any less puerile.

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:05 pm

I wonder if Urban will retire before the end of the season.

You can dish it out . . .

June 3rd, 2010
4:05 pm

. . . ma’am. LOL

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:07 pm

All this talk about sphincters made me think that this blog was about Proctology. I don’t even want to ask how it all started.

The Dawgs should run the table this year with one to two losses. I think FL will lose to Bama and FSU.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:08 pm

dawgdroll—-

Not terribly likely, unless he runs out of the anti-spasmodic for his esophagus.

= )

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:10 pm

@ Atlanta Gator

Well, there were two to three different people talking about anuses. Someone even mentioned that they lick their own anus which is really morbid. Now I know dogs and cats lick their own buttholes but people?

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:10 pm

dawgdroll—-

Bama, maybe, but we are likely to play them twice. FSU? Do they still play Division I football in Tallahassee?

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:13 pm

@ Atlanta Gator

Well, if you guys lose to Bama twice that would be really bad. The last team to get beat by another team twice in the SEC was Tennessee. As for FSU, yeah according to ESPN they are back. ESPN also said that Ohio State is the most awesome team in the land. But that was Kurt Herbstreet………

As we all know, Kurt has nothing to do with Ohio State……

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:14 pm

@ dawgdroll—-

Let’s go easy on the anus licking. Dogs can, people can’t. That’s why we use toilet paper. Anything else is, uh, recreational for those of a different, uh, orientation. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. LOL

Now, back to college football. Please.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:15 pm

The Gators lost to Alabama twice in 1999; they beat Auburn twice in 2000.

DP

June 3rd, 2010
4:16 pm

Why does the AJC let one or two idiots posting under stupid handles turn these blogs into their personal battleground? Not exactly smart business in my view.

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:18 pm

@ Atlanta Gator

Like I said, the last SEC team to lose to one team twice in one season was Tennessee. Enough with the anus talk.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:18 pm

We’ll see how Herbstreit changes his tune now that ESPN has the big SEC contract, and the Big Ten is off doing their own network. I doubt management wants Kirk to bite the hand that feeds him.

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:19 pm

@ DP

It’s a free blog. As far as business, the AJC is hemorrhaging readership and if you want to blame anyone for hurting business, go over to the opinion column and read some of Cynthia Tuckers blogs. She is a big cause of dropped subscriptions.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:21 pm

DP—-

Excellent question. An even better question: Why would one adult spend so much time talking about body functions and offbeat sexual practices?

Just sayin’.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:23 pm

dawgdroll—-

Does Cynthia still work here? I knew there was a reason I don’t subscribe to the hard-copy anymore. LOL

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:25 pm

Yes, Cynthia still works there. Her blogs are really bad as well as her judgment. She actually wrote about how not one democrat signed onto the Iraq War. Bloggers posted numerous comments that contradicted her statement. She then wrote that those comments were made up.

My point is that most of these “journalists” are nothing more than propaganda queens.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:32 pm

@dawgdroll—

While I tend to agree with you, I do try to keep my politics off Mr. College Football’s blog. Not every sports fans agrees with my worldview, and we Georgia-resident Gators don’t need to add any fuel to the fire.

What’s the word on the Dawgs’ passing game for 2010?

GStateBen

June 3rd, 2010
4:34 pm

Tony,

Any thoughts on talkin’ a little Georgia State football on the CSS program? It’s likely that several of our games will land there this Fall.

Enjoy your work as always.

Go Panthers!!

npgator

June 3rd, 2010
4:35 pm

Mark Schlabach = Angry Bulldog!

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:35 pm

Heck if I know.

dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
4:36 pm

No one gives a crap about Georgia State football.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
4:37 pm

@dawgdroll—-

An honest answer, but not exactly one burdened with insight. LOL

jumbeauxtiger

June 3rd, 2010
4:57 pm

I guess my earlier question to Tony got answered with the games announced today.

Having lived in Augusta for years, I think it’s safe to say it’s gonna be very hot on Sept 11 in Columbia.

Dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
5:18 pm

@ Atlanta Gator

It is what it is. Our problem is at QB. The corp or receivers is the least of our worries right now.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
5:20 pm

@dawgdroll—-

And what’s the preliminary verdict on the new Dawg QB?

Beast from the East

June 3rd, 2010
5:23 pm

Atlanta Gator,
If you want to know about Murray, go to YouTube. That’s where Richt sent everyone a few weeks back. I almost died laughing when I heard that! I know it’s the way of the world now, but I had never heard of a coach sending the fans to a website to fire them up. I guess I’m just getting old!

GStateBen

June 3rd, 2010
5:31 pm

Dawgroll, feel free to come on down to http://www.PantherTalk.com. I beg to differ.

It’s easy to be a Dawg fan. Real fans are Panther fans. We are Atlanta’s team.

Atlanta Gator

June 3rd, 2010
5:39 pm

Any insight on topic, Beast? Will UGA have its passing game together or not?

Dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
5:47 pm

@ GStateBen

Is that so? And here I thought for all these years GT was Atlanta’s college team. Whodathunkit?

You shouldn’t get your hopes up too high.

Dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
5:47 pm

@ Atlanta Gator

Realistically, the QB situation is not good. I’ll leave it at that.

Dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
5:50 pm

@ GStateBen

I just checked out GS football schedule and you guys play one ranked team all season. The rest of your schedule is made up of really bad football programs. But hey, at least you have Bill Curry leading some sort of football camp. Maybe he can teach you some secrets in how to beat Bama. LOL

Gridiron Gator

June 3rd, 2010
5:57 pm

Atlanta Gator…I think most Dawgs desperately want to believe Murray’s gonna be OK but you know what they say about freshmen…the best thing is that they become sophomores. There’s little experience at the most critical position and really no fallback for the Bulldogs, wouldn’t be surprised to see them go real real heavy on the running game. But sooner or later, they’re gonna have to start putting it up and that could well be a problem. I see an 8-4 regular season if they can win all their home games.

Beast from the East

June 3rd, 2010
6:01 pm

Atlanta Gator,
I hear mixed opinions. The kid Murray does appear to be capable but some have labeled him as a “gunslinger”. He has arguably the best WR in the country and a pretty good tight end. Their line is supposed to be much improved and should have a good running game. I think they’ll be pretty solid offensively if Murray just doesn’t make too many freshman mistakes.
Our offensive questions are WR and RB. I think we’ll get good QB and o-line play. Need those RB’s & WR’s to step up and we could have a great year.
Gonna be fun to watch!

Dawgdroll

June 3rd, 2010
6:04 pm

Does anyone know where I can find a good honest report on all SEC teams?

ESPN requires that you pay for their opinion.
CNNSI is pointless.