Archive for January, 2010

Can Tech win basketball, football titles in same year?

D'Andre Bell and Georgia Tech may be jumping for joy a lot this season. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

D'Andre Bell and Georgia Tech may be jumping for joy a lot this season. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I’m heading out to Athens in the morning to chat with Georgia coach Mark Fox,  who might be the most impressive 8-8 coach in the nation right now.  But then I’ve generally been less jaded than most — I know, hard to believe — about the potential of Georgia basketball.

Yes, I believe Fox can turn the Bulldogs into a consistently winning program. Florida and Tennessee obliterate all of the it-can’t-be-done-here arguments in the SEC.

But it you think I’m crazy for even pondering the concept of a successful Georgia basketball program, here’s something even more out there: Georgia Tech has a good chance to win the ACC  championship this year.

OK. Now call me crazy.

Seriously, we’ve all seen the upside and downside of the Jackets this season. Sometimes we’ve seen it during consecutive possessions. But after three conference wins in the last four games over Duke, North Carolina and …

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NFL mock drafts say Falcons going defense (maybe Kindle)

Is Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle the answer for the Falcons' defensive problems?

Is Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle the answer for the Falcons' defensive problems?

With the 19th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons will select . . .  somebody on defense.

That is the consensus, as four mock drafts — including that of ESPN’s Mel Kiper, which was released Wednesday (requires subscription) — have the Falcons taking four different defensive players. Kiper, whose draft is listed below, projects the Falcons will select Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle:

The Falcons could use some help at OLB, and Kindle’s continued improvement throughout the season is appealing. He’s not quite in the class of [former Texas linebacker] Brian Orakpo, but he’s a similar type of player, and has also proven to be very physical.

Kiper has 21 underclassmen going in the first round, including Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan (sixth to Seattle) and running back Jonathan Dwyer (28th to San Diego). Morgan and Dwyer both will be gone in the first round according to two other …

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Braves need to make a run at Johnny Damon

How much better would Braves' lineup be with Johnny Damon?

How much better would Braves' lineup be with Johnny Damon?

So I listened to Braves general manager Frank Wren on 790 The Zone Wednesday  morning, hearing him touch on many of the same themes he said two weeks ago when I spoke to him about the team’s offseason moves,  and he concluded, “I think we’re better.”

I don’t agree. Most don’t agree. When  a team adds Billy Wagner, Troy Glaus and Melky Cabrera and subtracts Javier Vazquez, Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, the math doesn’t work out.

If Wren really wants to convince people the Braves will be better this season, here’s an idea: sign Johnny Damon.

Barring any significant move, this team has three significant questions going into the season: Leadoff hitter (Nate McLouth), cleanup hitter (Glaus) and closer (Wagner). McLouth looked average for most of last season. Glaus and Wagner represent medical roulette.

I haven’t written much on Damon in

Should the Braves sign Johnny Damon?

  • Yes. They need a …

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Georgia Tech’s win may finally establish direction

Derrick Favors had his best game of the season, with 17 poiints, 14 rebounds and three blocks. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Derrick Favors had his best game of the season, with 17 poiints, 14 rebounds and three blocks. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Everybody was looking for direction, but in the past four games all Georgia Tech had given us was a spinning compass. Lose to Georgia, beat Duke. Lose to Virginia, win at North Carolina.

Next home game: Dramamine to the first 2,500 in attendance?

Well, maybe the Jackets finally established some general direction Tuesday night. With an opportunity to fall flat again, they didn’t. Yes, there were turnovers. There were missed shots. There were just enough of those what-are-you-thinking kind of moments that left you wondering if this season would be one long tease.

But in the end, Tech won. Again. Over a ranked team. Again.

Seldom does a Tuesday night game against Clemson in mid-January stir the masses. But the 66-64 win over the Tigers at Alexander Memorial Coliseum wasn’t without some historical significance. It was the first time Tech won consecutive games against …

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Braves’ new alliance: Glavine and … Schuerholz?

Glavine1Tom Glavine and John Schuerholz: Together again.

Tom Glavine and Frank Wren? Notsomuch, yet.

I’m not sure if there ever has been an athlete as revered as  Glavine who had, not one, but two unceremonious exits from the same franchise. First came the ugly negotiations with the Braves in the winter of 2002, leading to him signing with the New York Mets. Then came the absurdity of last June when

Tom Glavine agrees it's best for all parties that he and the Braves make amends. And kudos to John Schuerholz (below) for making this happen.

Tom Glavine agrees it's best for all parties that he and the Braves make amends. And kudos to John Schuerholz (below) for making this happen.

Wren blindsided Glavine (and everybody else) by releasing him after a rehab stint without ever warning him that he had changed his mind and now considered his return from surgery little more than a tryout.

Kudos to Schuerholz for some bridge building.

He wasn’t comfortable with how the Glavine matter was handled last summer. It was he, not Wren, who publicly apologized for the tone and manner of the pitcher’s release. Now it’s Schuerholz, not Wren, …

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Countdown’s first I-hate-him poll: Brooking, D-Hall, other?

The Count held a grudge against his dentist

The Count hates capped teeth.

The Count held a grudge once. His dentist mixed up his patients. So the Count goes in for a routine cleaning and comes out with freshly capped teeth. Freshly FLAT capped teeth. Not funny. You know what it’s like for a vampire to go out on a Friday night and struggle just to give a hickey? He’s a vampire! Anyway, the Count started thinking about grudges this week after gauging the hatred of Atlanta sports fans toward one Keith Brooking. And he started wondering: Gee, whom do fans hate most? And then he wondered: Wait, is it whom or who? We count down . . .



10. Polls results so far: Is Brooking a tool? Yes (2,126), No (508).

Keith Brooking seems to upset people. (Dallas Morning News photo)

Keith Brooking upsets people here. (Dallas Morning News photo)

So I put up a blog the other day, musing (again) at Keith Brooking’s sudden emotional TNT tendencies this season. I made the mistake of saying he was justified in calling Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings “classless” for throwing a meaningless, …

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Oh look, Chan Gailey may get hired — again

Chan Gailey's biggest problem at Tech: He went 0-6 vs. Georgia.

Chan Gailey's biggest problem at Tech: He went 0-6 vs. Georgia. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The current national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent. Want to cut that in half in a week? Hire Chan Gailey’s agent.

Gailey is a fine man and apparently considered a fine football coach. I say apparently because the only thing more surprising than the number of jobs he loses is the number of jobs he gets. The former Georgia Tech head coach is on the verge of being named coach of the Buffalo Bills, according to both FoxSports.com and the Buffalo News.

This would be Gailey’s sixth head coaching job. The previous five, chronologically: Troy State, Birmingham Fire (World League), Samford, Dallas Cowboys, Georgia Tech.

Gailey is a resume on wheels. Since leaving Florida as a graduate assistant in 1975, he has been employed by 11 teams/schools in 33 years: Troy State, Air Force, Troy State (again), Denver (NFL), Birmingham (WLAF), Samford, Pittsburgh (NFL), Dallas (NFL), Miami (NFL), Georgia Tech …

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NFL playoffs show it’s all about QB (and Colts win it all

There's a reason Joe Flacco is going home and Peyton Manning will win another Super Bowl.

Joe Flacco is going home. Peyton Manning will win another Super Bowl. (Baltimore Sun)

If these NFL playoffs have reaffirmed anything, it’s that teams go as their quarterback goes. I suppose you could make that case in most regular season games as well, but there’s something about the pressure of the post-season stage that brings out the best — and worst — in every quarterback.

I’ve arranged the eight quarterbacks from the weekend’s playoff games by efficiency rating. Take a look:

Quarterback         Team                C-A       Yds     TD-Int    Rtg. (Result)

Brett Favre            Minnesota        15-24      234     4-0       134.4 (Won)

Drew Brees           New Orleans     23-32      247     3-0      125.4 (Won)

Peyton Manning    Indianapolis       30-44      246     2-1       87.9 (Won)

Phillip Rivers         San Diego         27-40     298     …

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Brooking has a point — Vikings were ‘classless’

Keith Brooking led Dallas in words before and after the game. (Dallas Morning News photo)

Keith Brooking hasn't been shy with his words. (Dallas Morning News)

OK. I promise this will be the last time I blog about the new human firecracker that is Keith Brooking, given we’ve traveled down this road a few times before. But I gotta tell you — this “pod” Brooking is growing on me. And now I’m starting to wonder: If Brooking was this demonstrative and as great an emotional leader in his last few seasons with the Falcons as he is now with the Dallas Cowboys, would the Falcons have tried a little harder to keep him?

The Minnesota Vikings drilled the Cowboys Sunday. I

Do you agree with Keith Brooking?

  • Yes. The Vikings were classless.
  • No. Anything goes in the playoffs.

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suppose Brooking shares some of the blame for that, but the entire Dallas defense seemed helpless against Brett Favre. It’s just that nobody reacted quite like Brooking. Before the game, he gave  his usual pre-game peptalk. Late in the game, he took exception to …

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Too many college juniors making mistake by turning pro

Brian VanGorder, who has coached in both college and the NFL, said adjusting to the speed of the pro game can be difficult for a junior. (AJC photo/Curtis Compton)

Brian VanGorder said adjusting to the speed of the NFL can be difficult for a college junior. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

When the Falcons selected Matt Ryan with the third pick of the draft two years ago, any gamble associated with taking a quarterback that early was somewhat minimized by the development they had seen him make during his senior season at Boston College.

As general manager Thomas Dimitroff said, “He is a perfect example of a guy who stayed in [school], got more work and matured at a level where we were happy with.”

On the flip side we have Jevan Snead. He is the captain of this year’s, “What Are You Thinking?” class of juniors.

Unprecedented numbers of juniors have declared themselves eligible for the draft. Snead didn’t improve as a junior at Mississippi. He regressed. He threw as many interceptions as touchdowns: 20. In his final college game, the Cotton Bowl, he went 13-for-23 with zero TDs and three interceptions. Talk to some scouts and you’re left …

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