Archive for March, 2010

It’s football time in Athens! (Well, the appetizers)

Sorry. There will be no Hairy Dawg or Dawg Walk for the start of spring football. But a new defensive coordinator and a quarterback battle will supply enough interest.

Sorry. No Hairy Dawg or Dawg Walk for the start of spring football. But a new defensive coordinator and a quarterback battle is pretty interesting.

ATHENS — It’s still 184 days until Georgia opens the football season. So here’s your first in a series of appetizers: Day 1 of spring drills.

I know. There’s no scoreboard in spring football (unless you count the G-Day game, which amounts to something just above a passing skeleton drill). Certainly, there’s no bragging rights up for grabs — not against Florida or Alabama or Tennessee or Auburn or Georgia Tech.

But there’s something about spring football in Athens this season that makes it seem more interesting than any other in the 20-plus years I’ve lived here.

Maybe it’s the fact coach Mark Richt finally hired a new defensive coordinator, which considering his loyalty and friendship with Willie Martinez

What do you believe is the most important issue in spring football for Georgia (understanding that all are important).

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Is Kennesaw State our shining light for tournament?

It was celebration time in Macon Wednesday when Kennesaw State beat Lipscomb. That's guard Spencer Dixon on top of the pile.

It was celebration time in Macon Wednesday when Kennesaw State beat Lipscomb. That's guard Spencer Dixon on top of the pile.

With Georgia Tech leaving us wondering as to whether it’s an NCAA Tournament team, and Georgia needing a series of upsets in the SEC tourney to gain admittance to the national party, is it possible that Kennesaw State will be our shining light?

In case you missed it — and we acknowledge that Atlantic Sun basketball is not widely dissected in these parts — your Kennesaw State Owls (seeded eighth) dumped mighty Lipscomb (seeded first), 72-69, in the first round of the A-Sun Conference tournament Wednesday in Macon.

Two more wins and the Owls are in the NCAA tournament. Forget records. Forget RPIs. Forget bracketologists. How sweet would that be?

Clark Freeman wrote a nicetonybook feature on Kennesaw State in Wednesday’s AJC.  Here’s your primer: This was the first season the Owls  were even eligible for the conference tournament, and they qualified. They stepped …

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Trade deadline passes, no help on the way for Thrashers

Slava Kozlov was hoping to follow his Russian comrade, Ilya Kovalchuk, out of town. Didn't happen.

Slava Kozlov was hoping to follow his Russian comrade, Ilya Kovalchuk, out of town. Didn't happen.

In hopes of sending a strong message to the hockey fans of Atlanta that the Thrashers have not given up on this season, here is what general manager Don Waddell did before Wednesday’s trade deadline:

♦ Acquired a fourth-line left winger named Clarke MacArthur from Buffalo. MacArthur was a team-worst minus-14 on the Sabres, who are one of the most responsible defensive teams in the league. He has scored 13 goals. Given he ranked 10th among Buffalo forwards in ice time, I’m guessing the Sabres weren’t overly concerned about losing him.

♦ Did not acquire any scoring help following the trading of Ilya Kovalchuk. Well, unless you count MacArthur’s 13 goals. Come to think of it, that actually places him sixth among the current Thrashers. For all we know, he’ll be the new triggerman on the power play.

♦ Held onto forward Slava Kozlov, despite the fact that the veteran has been a …

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More Joe Johnson rumors (and your LeBron dream jersey)

A Hawks fan wanted to pass along this dream.

A Hawks fan wanted to pass along this dream, just in case Joe Johnson leaves in free agency.

When Joe Johnson rejected a four-year, $60 million contract extension with the Hawks before the season, he sent a message that he wanted to test unrestricted free agency and was uncertain about his desire to stay in Atlanta. Even if Johnson said all of the right things — “My sole focus right now is on this team and what we’re trying to accomplish this season.” — impending free agency of the team’s best player can feed into potential rumors and distractions.

So here we go. Johnson-to-Chicago rumors have flowed all season. And now comes a report that the New York Knicks — starting to believe their chances of landing LeBron James are fading — may look to Johnson as a backup choice. The New York Post reported, “Team sources indicated

Joe Johnson in the final year of his contract, sparking increasing rumors about his possible exit.

Joe Johnson in the final year of his contract, sparking increasing rumors about his possible exit.

[coach Mike] D’Antoni would be very pleased to add …

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Georgia Tech tumbles again, and the story is getting old

Don't look now, Moe Miller, but your team is no lock for the NCAA tournament.

Don't look now, Moe Miller, but your team is no lock for the NCAA tournament.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Most of us looked at the names and assumed much better. Most of us looked at the size and the quickness, the mix of young players and veterans, the star potential of Derrick Favors, the returning talents of Gani Lawal, and we didn’t bother to wonder if this team would reach the NCAA tournament. The only question was: How high is the ceiling?

Well, it’s March. Forget the ceiling. The biggest concern for Georgia Tech right now is the team’s proximity to the floor. It’s the same as it was a month ago. That’s a problem.

The Jackets have gone though this season without significant injuries to wreck the lineup. They’ve gone without anything that could be construed as a major incident that would disrupt team chemistry — unless you count coach Paul Hewitt momentarily going postal on Twitter. But still, they’re erratic. Still, they turn the ball over. Still they look great on offense …

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We’re live from a Georgia Tech road game (uh oh)

Georgia Tech can all but lock up an NCAA tournament spot tonight.

A win at Clemson tonight would all but secure an NCAA tournament spot for Georgia Tech.

CLEMSON, S.C. – Comedian Lewis Black is on the sign out front of the Littlejohn Coliseum. Unfortunately, he is not expected to be in attendance tonight when Georgia Tech visits Clemson.

Too bad. I figured if the Jackets lose tonight, Black could’ve provided some needed comic relief for coach Paul Hewitt, whose team is sitting on or near the NCAA tournament bubble.

We can’t be certain where exactly Tech fits in the tournament picture. The fact the Jackets are looking for only their second road victory in eight tries in the ACC doesn’t help. I checked bracket projections on three different websites and nobody is in agreement on how desperate the situation is.

Would a split in the last two ACC games and a first-round loss in the conference tournament get the Jackets in? Or do they need to go 2-0 or win their first-round ACC game?

Bracketography.com projects Tech as the No. 12 seed in  …

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Countdown: Tiger hot, Russia not and Braves’ Digi-Blog-ett

The Count could do a Triple Lutz like nobody's business.

The Count never medaled.

The Count always has loved the Winter Olympics, even though Transylvania was seldom very high in the medal count.  Despite several developmental programs, vampires just never seemed to do well in short track speed skating and the downhill. But hey, the cape dazzled the judges in men’s figure skating. Kicked some French butt there. Anyway, it’s a good thing The Count isn’t Russian. The President there has gone off his rock-ski. Ah, to be Communist and dominating the capitalistic pigs again. Those were the days, eh, Medvedev? Four years to Sochi. Or are those Games now on eBay? Time to count down . . .

10. Can they still take away their  Lada?

Medvedev searches for Russian bobsled team members.

Russia gets started early on Olympic training camp.

It won’t go down as one 0f the greatest Winter Olympics ever. But to hear Russia president Dmitry Medvedev, you’d think it was just north of Chernobyl. The Russian President went bonkers after the country won only three gold medals and finishing 11th in the …

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