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

14TH--ON THE WAY

June 3rd, 2010
8:55 am

Talking Football–SWEET!

Sunny Purdue

June 3rd, 2010
9:04 am

Mark Schlabach – sour

Gator Mike

June 3rd, 2010
9:07 am

Tony, great article. i look forward to Talkin Football once again.
I also totally agree with you about UGA Coach Richt.
Go Gators!

KR

June 3rd, 2010
9:08 am

1. My condolences to the Harris and UT families.
2. I would have been completely shocked if Evans and Adams DIDN’T voice complete support of Mark Richt at this point, Turning up the heat on a seat is not done in public.
3. Friends who worked with Dooley in his lawyer days say he is very thorough and analytical. Not something that could be said of his UT predecessor.
4. Honestly, why would Saban want to go anywhere else? As an Auburn graduate, I was trained to hate all things University of Alabama related, but let’s get real. Any other job in college would be a lateral move at best.
5. I see Mallett’s talent, but haven’t seen him deliver up to his potential yet. We’ll see how this year goes.

Beast from the East

June 3rd, 2010
9:09 am

Richt isn’t on the hot seat…yet. Another performance like last year and he will be. Hopefully, that’s not the case.

I agree that Saban will most likely retire at Bama. He tried the pro game and realized it wasn’t for him. The only question is when will he retire. Making that kind of money tends to keep you working longer. He may not need it, but it sure is hard to walk away from.

Dooley is the opposite of Kiffin. No telling what kind of product he will be able to put on the field, but he’s an upgrade over Lame. Hell, who wouldn’t be?

Mallet will most likely put up some good numbers but Arkansas will NOT win the west. I think it will come down to Bama or Auburn. Arkansas has no defense. You have to have solid defensive play to win consistently in the SEC.

Big Al

June 3rd, 2010
9:10 am

I like Mark R. but Tony when you only win 2 of 10 from your biggest rival something has to change—does Shula and Auburn sound familiar—just saying. Best of luck to CMR.

Dink

June 3rd, 2010
9:11 am

RIP Mr. Harris. A class act and a devoted fan, Harris never missed a UT game in 48 years until health issues sidelined him. He will be missed by all.

DP

June 3rd, 2010
9:16 am

Tony, no need to lecture everybody on the nonsense about Mark Richt ever being on the hot seat. Talk to your “good friend” Paul Finebaum and other yellow journalists who make a living writing and yapping about such nonsense. Why would you have somebody with standards as low as Finebaum’s on your TV show? The “mainstream” press should shut out the worst of the talk radio/blogger crowd who says and writes stuff just to get a reaction (come to think of it, some AJC sports columnists have gone in that direction at times, unfortunately).

And I’m an Alabama alumn/fan by the way. Finebaum is currently an Alabama cheerleader but I’ve seen him change his spots plenty of times over the years.

With regard to Saban, I’ve always felt Alabama would be his last job. If you look at his history, all his moves up through LSU were normal moves up the coaching ladder; they weren’t Larry Brown style job hopping because he became restless and wore out his welcome. He then made the move to the NFL and like a lot of college coaches realized it was a mistake. The Alabama job was open so he was able to rectify the mistake. At Alabama he will be paid among the top few college coaches, the fan base is passionate, football is the biggest thing in the state and he is able to recruit against anybody in the country and win championships. By this fall there will be a statue of Saban outside Bryant-Denny along with the other coaches who have won national championships at Alabama. As Tony says, where would he go to get a better deal and have a better chance of winning? He has rebuilt the Alabama program and the team is virtually entirely players he recruited. He has never been in a position as he is now where he can just reload every year. Why would he take on another rebuilding job as he approaches 60 years of age?

Yet another....

June 3rd, 2010
9:19 am

Mr. College Football = Mr. SEC

5IML

June 3rd, 2010
9:21 am

Richt is the best coach UGA has ever had. Like the elder Dooley, he will eventually recruit a once-in-a-generation athlete and win a NC. Then all of the current hot seat talk will seem so silly.

Saban will coach at Bama for another five to seven years before retiring with a least one more NC and two more SECCs. He will then be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Arkansas will finish third in the West.

From 11-3 to 14-0

June 3rd, 2010
9:26 am

Joshua Nesbitt could be the single biggest impact player in the ACC this fall.
Nesbitt could be good enough to lift his entire team and put them in a position to win the National Championship.

Tech Fan Since 1950

June 3rd, 2010
9:33 am

There really are a lot of smart head football coaches around the land who are choosing Georgia as a second home. Lake Burton and Rabun County are the best, but you’ve got to love Lake Oconee too where several coaches hang out. Makes one want to retire sooner rather than later after “toe meets leather”.

BAMA1

June 3rd, 2010
9:34 am

Richt is a good man, and I hope he has a good year for the dawgs. But I sure was glad to hear Nick is happy at Bama. I know there will be alot of Dawgs pulling for bama against florida during the regular season.

Best of Atlanta

June 3rd, 2010
9:35 am

————————————
…NESBITT for HEISMAN…
————————————

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

June 3rd, 2010
9:43 am

From 11-3, what makes you think anyone cares what your opinion of a second rate football player in a third rate conference on a fourth rate team is? We don’t. My prayers go out to you Tony on the loss of your friend

5IML

June 3rd, 2010
9:44 am

Starring,

I think you meant “third rate team in a fourth rate conference.”

BAMA1

June 3rd, 2010
9:45 am

I tell you one thing that is cool about Saban….He doesn’t drink at all. He said he never was a big drinker but thought that as his kids were getting to be teenagers, he thought it would set a bad example. He was offered a drink w/ two of his LSU friends after the Nat’l Championship game in the hotel, and declined. I know everyone doesn’t drink, but I just thought that showed he really does have some character. I know I’d of sucked up that glass of whiskey, ate the ice, and told em to pour another.

Alphare

June 3rd, 2010
9:46 am

Tony,

what’s CSS plan for televising some live college games? That channel is HD now, it’d be nice if it carries some SEC and Tech games.

BAMA1

June 3rd, 2010
9:46 am

Condolences to the UT family, and u too Mr. Tony

Grover Gill

June 3rd, 2010
9:47 am

Tony, DP hit the nail on Finebaum all the way around.

Dan

June 3rd, 2010
9:52 am

Apparantly, Starring cares enough to scroll through the postings, read one, think of something witty to say, come up blank (shocker!), then post a column a squirrel could come up with. Congratulations.

14TH--ON THE WAY

June 3rd, 2010
9:54 am

Yet Another–Mr. College Football=Mr. SEC

If you didn’t know by now — The SEC IS College Football!

Starring Kam Fong as SHREVEPORT goofass

June 3rd, 2010
9:56 am

..What makes you think anyone cares about an unranked 8-5 team beating an unranked 6-7 Texas A&M.

Jeff

June 3rd, 2010
9:59 am

Richt hot-seaters = Obama “birthers”

In other words, GET A LIFE!

[...] which his AJ-C colleague had the following to say, also this morning: … I’ve tried to be politically correct on this issue and realize there [...]

Fast Eddie

June 3rd, 2010
10:04 am

Big Al, Richt’s record against his biggest rival (I assume you mean the Gators) can’t be 2-10 as he has been at UGA only 9 years. Of course, you probably will be correct with that 2-10 record about Nov. 1, 2010.

Fast Eddie

June 3rd, 2010
10:05 am

Correction on my last post. Richt’s record will be only 2-8 by 11/1/10 as that will account for the 10 times they have played.

Jimbo-Muschamp Inc.

June 3rd, 2010
10:13 am

Good ole Bobby Bowden was’nt on the hot seat either.

……………….But we found out different.

GeneralNeyland96

June 3rd, 2010
10:15 am

Tony,

Thank you for the kind words about Mr. Harris….Tennessee is very fortunate to have some “larger than life” characters (The General, Pat, Peyton, John Ward) in our history…If they make up the face of UT, then Haywood Harris would surely be the soul.

Rest in peace…our prayers are with Haywood’s family.

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
10:15 am

“Like the elder Dooley, he will eventually recruit a once-in-a-generation athlete and win a NC.”

Don’t hold your breath on that one. That’s the same obsession Bama fans have with Bear Bryant.

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
10:16 am

“Richt hot-seaters = Obama “birthers”

Yeah, but Richt can actually show his birth certificate.

UT96

June 3rd, 2010
10:17 am

Bana1. that’s cool about Saban not drinking. Question, how does Saban interact with Bama fans. Is he approachable, stand-offish?

Mikey in the SAV

June 3rd, 2010
10:17 am

Richt on the hot seat ? Every coach is on the hot seat. The mentality is just win and win right now or else we can find another one.
Does it make sense? about as much sense as the BS BCS system.

UT96

June 3rd, 2010
10:17 am

sorry, typo, Bama1

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
10:18 am

“I think it will come down to Bama or Auburn.”

If Auburn gets a defense then yes it will be. Arkansas has no defense, LSU is in a weird place right now, Ole Miss is……, Miss St should be a decent team…..

Gators are incapable of going undefeated

June 3rd, 2010
10:20 am

“Is he approachable, stand-offish?”

Have you been around bama fans? It’s like going to a giant trailer park full of chain smoking meth sellers. Most of them can’t pronounce simple words such as “nuclear”, “interesting” and “wasp.”

I bet Saban runs to the bus as soon as he leaves the locker room.

[...] Saying goodbye to my friend, Haywood Harris Leave a comment » Saying goodbye to my friend, Haywood Harris Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) 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 … http://blogs.ajc.com/barnhart-college-football/2010/06/03/saying-goodbye-to-my-friend-haywood-harris... [...]

14TH--ON THE WAY

June 3rd, 2010
10:25 am

Which is exactly the same crowd in Gainesville except wearing jorts.

[...] He would do well to win another soon.Now let’s change desks inside the AJC offices and see what Tony Barnhart makes of the situation:Kudos to the AJC’s Tim Tucker for going right to the source — President Michael Adams [...]

BAMA1

June 3rd, 2010
10:35 am

UT96, I honestly do not know. He seems to be alot “nicer” after winning the championship this year. But he is pretty wired, and just can’t sit still long. I think he just gets aggrevated with the media. But he did say “I know Alabama fans love me, but I also know it is a conditional love” meaning they will not love me long if i loose!
Gators are incapable of going undefeated…………. Not gonna fight with you. I don’t need to, last time I saw a Gator it was crying like a damn fool in Atlanta.

BAMA1

June 3rd, 2010
10:35 am

who wears jorts jorts?

Flo-Ri-Duh!

June 3rd, 2010
10:38 am

From 11-30 to 14-0:::: be serious – Tech will be lucky to win 8 games this year. They lost ALL of the talent they had on defense and don’t have a go to wide receiver. Bowl game – maybe.

Paul in RDU

June 3rd, 2010
10:48 am

There is an interesting comment about Saban in the N&O this morning from a kid who turned down UGA and UF to go to UNC. He didn’t even think about ALA, even though his father played for the Bear

“It just seemed like he didn’t have much invested in his players,” said Hurst, who picked UNC over Florida and Georgia. “Like the connection to his players is missing. I want to have a good relationship with my coaches.”

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/06/03/512801/indiana-brothers-connect-at-unc.html

the flats

June 3rd, 2010
10:53 am

GT wiil re-load, ….6′4″ Stephen Hill is the new go to wide reciever.

BAMA1

June 3rd, 2010
10:57 am

Paul in RDU: Good for them, I suppose we’ll be ok without them. What do you think? That’s why people have the opportunity to go where want to….one thing is for sure, they will not win a national championship at N.C.

Beast from the East

June 3rd, 2010
11:04 am

Gump,
Nice handle. Remember 2004. LOL!

Beast from the East

June 3rd, 2010
11:05 am

Tony,
Your boy Bradley seems to disagree with you on the Richt “hot seat” issue.

Dave

June 3rd, 2010
11:07 am

Tony I know you are an alum of GA. I do know a lot of other alums don’t appreciate Richt like you do. I suspect if Richt does not win an SEC championship in the next year or two or some less patient alums expect even a national championship they want him gone.
I am a SC alum it is my hope when Spurrier retires we get a shot at Mark Richt. I really can’t understand the amount of criticism Richt gets from some of you after doing so much in my view. I think Mark Richt is probably the classiest coach in the SEC and yes one of the best. Richt will be at the top of my wish list for SC when Spurrier retires. Some of you don’t deserve Richt at all maybe you would enjoy a Lane Kiffin more.

Dorsey Hill

June 3rd, 2010
11:10 am

“Richt hot-seaters = Obama “birthers”?

Both equally wrong yes, but I would have to say that the birthers are considerably dumber. Its hard to be dumb enough to believe that 2 birth announcements in 2 seperate papers in Hawaii the day after the President was born don’t resolve the issue conclusively. I mean you really have to focus on DUMB to ignore that.

The “hot seaters” on the other hand are betting that 2010 will be like 2009. While that won’t happen, a rational argument could be made that it could happen and whether I agree with it or not an sub-par year (less than 9 wins) would likely put CMR in a position where he is fighting for his job in 2011. Less than 7 wins and the ship might sink in 2010. I think that the hot-seaters think that is a real possibility. If you think UGA will lose to: USC, UF, Auburn, Arky, & Tech and perhaps drop one or two more vs. UK, UT, Miss St., & Colo. then they aren’t far off. The problem is that none of that will happen. We will win the East with no worse than a 6-2 conference record. The fact is that we were one bad officiating call vs. LSU and a couple of brain farts vs. UK from a 10 win season last year and we were in no sense a good football team. The 2010 team is much, much better. Just from a talent perspective there is only one team on the schedule that matches up: UF. This should mean that it would take a great deal of effort to lose any more than three games and 10-3 (perhaps 9-4 if you lose the bowl game) doesn’t get CMR fired. In fact, I wouldn’t think that the seat would even get warm if that happens.

Joe M

June 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

Tony,

Any chance what-so-ever you can talk your buddies at CBSCollegeSports (is that right?) to pick up “Talking Football” in a simulcast or maybe work out a rerun deal between the two networks for those of us who have providers that do not carry CSS?

I REALLY love and miss the show.