Archive for August, 2010

Aaron Murray will give Georgia what it has been missing

It's Aaron Murray's show now, and Georgia will go as he goes this season. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

It's Aaron Murray's show now, and Georgia will go as he goes this season. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

ATHENS – Success in game one of season one shouldn’t be used as much of a barometer because, fact is, Georgia shouldn’t lose its opener to Louisiana-Lafayette. Blow this, and it will be apparent the Bulldogs’ problems are much bigger than a freshman quarterback.

But it’s easy to come away with a good feeling about Aaron Murray. Maybe it’s the fact he is more head than arm. Maybe it’s because he frequently exchanges text messages and studies game tapes of David Greene, who seemed almost robotically perfect as a college quarterback. Maybe it was just the way Murray reacted when Zach Mettenberger, who figured to be the other half of Georgia’s starting quarterback battle, was kicked off the team in April for sexual battery.

“It was upsetting to me and I talked to Zach for a little bit about it the day it happened,” Murray said. “But it made me step up more in terms of knowing I had to …

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McGarity: It’s ‘unfair’ to give coach specific win mandate

New Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity says he won't tell Mark Richt he has to win "10 or 11" games.

New Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity says he won't tell Mark Richt he has to win "10 or 11" games.

New Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity is coming from a school (Florida) that won two BCS titles (2006, 2008) and two Final Fours (2006, 2007) in a span of three years. So the man is accustomed to success.

Amid media speculation that Mark Richt is feeling some heat for the Bulldogs’ disappointments of the last two seasons in the SEC, it seemed logical to ask him what his own expectations were of Georgia’s season. Without putting a number on it, McGarity said more than I expected. His expectations are high.

“We want to compete for championships,” he said. “There could be circumstances that lead you to not be in the hunt a certain year. But you want every sport at the university if Georgia to be in the conversation. In swimming, I think it’s safe to say Georgia’s in the hunt. You talk about tennis, softball, Georgia’s in the hunt. Football, I think Geogia’s in the …

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McDavid’s win is painful reminder of Atlanta Spirit’s birth

Here's David McDavid at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2003, when he looked to be the next Hawks and Thrashers owner.

Here's David McDavid at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2003, when he looked to be the next Hawks and Thrashers owner.

Two years ago, when would-be Hawks and Thrashers owner David McDavid kicked Turner Broadcasting System’’s butt in court, I asked him about the Atlanta Spirit group. It was like lighting a blowtorch.

“Do you know what a camel is? It’s a horse designed by a committee,” McDavid said in that December 2008 interview. “Those franchises are being run by a committee. They’re a camel. If I had taken over, nobody would be fighting, unless I was fighting with myself. … Does that guarantee anything? No. But I will always believe I would have done a better job.”

On Monday night, when Turner confirmed McDavid’s butt-kicking by surrendering out of court, I phoned McDavid again. This time, I only got his phone machine.

“This is Cutter Mac. You know what to do,” the recorded greeting said.

My guess is, he was out celebrating. I just wanted to ask a few questions. Also …

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Matt Ryan confident but admits he, offense could be better

Matt Ryan said he is concerned about the offense, but admits he'd like to have had more success in the preseason. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Matt Ryan said he is concerned about the offense, but admits he'd like to have had more success in the preseason. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Matt Ryan spent part of practice Monday as a blitzing linebacker on the scout team. Wow, seems a little premature to change his position already, doesn’t it?

“Maybe I missed my calling,” the Falcons’ quarterback cracked.

OK, nothing is over-analyzed more than NFL exhibition games. So this whole why-hasn’t-Matt-Ryan-been-better thing probably is overblown. But even Ryan, who was off target on several throws (13 for 26) in last Friday’’s game against Miami, admits that the offense could be operating more efficiently and he needs to be better.

“While we would’ve liked to have been a little more productive the other night, I still feel like we’re moving at a high level,” Ryan said after practice Monday. “We’re close. There are still a few things we’d like to tighten up.

“Personally, I needed to play better. I didn’t play well the …

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Braves may have an opportunity to trade Troy Glaus

It's possible the Braves could actually get something in trade for Troy Glaus.

It's possible the Braves could actually get something in trade for Troy Glaus.

Troy Glaus is tearing up Triple A, which really means only one thing: Troy Glaus can tear up Triple A.

He is hitting .385 (10-for-26) with two home runs in seven games for Gwinnett. How would he perform with the Braves back in the majors should he return when rosters expand? Possibly no different than he performed when he was dispatched by the Braves. He hit .237 in June, .182 in July and .208 in August.

Should the Braves trade Troy Glaus?

  • Yes. If they can get anything for him, do it.
  • No. He can still help the Braves this season.

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But the Braves may have an unexpected opportunity here: They actually may be able to get something for him.

Glaus is a free agent after this season and won’t likely be back with the team next year. But a few American League clubs apparently are interested in bringing him in for the final few weeks of the season, according to …

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McCann’s homer helps Braves overcome Florida and Lowe

Brian McCann capped a six-run Braves' rally against Florida with a ninth-inning home run . . .

Brian McCann capped a rally with a ninth-inning homer …

To a Braves’ season long-since devoid of any logic or certainly a blueprint, we add this from Sunday:

♦ Starting pitcher Derek Lowe getting mangled for five runs in the three innings but somehow escaping a loss, even if possibly confirming his postseason fate as a $60 million long reliever.

♦ A team, down 6-1 and held to three hits in the first seven innings,  rallying for three runs in the eighth (two coming when Florida’s first baseman dropped a throw for the would-be third out of

but Derek Lowe may have pitched his way out of a postseason start.

… but Derek Lowe struggled and could be in bullpen in playoffs.

the inning) and three in the ninth (an opposite field, game-tying, two-run homer by pinch hitter Matt Diaz, and a walk-off winner by Brian McCann that few were certain of when seen live).

♦ McCann’s homer? It originally was called a double but changed to a homer after umpires consulted video replay and  saw the ball bounce off the right-field wall, just above the yellow line. …

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We’re LIVE from Braves, as Lowe tries to make statement

If Derek Lowe wants to start in the postseason, he needs to win games like these.

If Derek Lowe wants to start games in the postseason, he needs to win games like these.

Welcome to the Braves’ series finale against the Florida Marlins.

It’s “Bark in The Park” day, so there are several dogs in the stadium, although I’m not sure at this time if Bob Wickman has been invited back to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

(Thank you. I’m here all game.)

The Braves, coming off  Saturday’s 12-3 win over the Marlins, will try to win consecutive games for the first time since winning four straight Aug. 15-18 (two over Los Angeles, two over Washington). That was followed by a 6-2 loss to the Nationals and a stretch of six losses in eight games before Saturday’s 12-3 win over Florida.

A few subplots in today’s game:

Derrek Lee suffered a strained in his right side Saturday night and is out of the lineup today (Eric Hinske starts at first). The injury is believed to be minor and Lee could be back Monday night against the New York Mets.

♦ If pitcher Derek Lowe (11-12, …

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Predicting Georgia Tech’s season: Fast start, tough finish

Demaryius Thomas, Jonathan Dwyer and Morgan Burnett helped lead Georgia Tech to the ACC championship, but they're all in the NFL now. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Demaryius Thomas, Jonathan Dwyer and Morgan Burnett helped lead Georgia Tech to the ACC championship, but they're all in the NFL now. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Here’s another sneak peek at a column that will appear in print in this Sunday’s special AJC College Football Section. The 34-page section will preview Georgia State, Georgia Tech and UGA seasons, the SEC and ACC, top games, Heisman candidates and more. Today, we look at Georgia Tech’s schedule, predicting the Yellow Jackets’ season, game by game. Previously posted: Mark Richt feels Georgia is poised for a bounce-back season.

Paul Johnson has won more games in his first two seasons than any Georgia Tech coach in history. It’s just the ending that he’s having trouble with. Despite going 20-7 with an ACC title, Johnson’s Yellow Jackets have been thumped in consecutive bowl games by LSU (38-3 in the Chick-fil-A) and Iowa (24-14 in the Orange).

Endings also could be the issue this season. With the way the schedule lays out, …

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Here’s your chance to ‘Sack Schultz!’ Just pick the winners

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A few weeks ago an editor informed me that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ajc.com were going to start a contest in which readers would have a chance to pick college football games against me.

Two questions immediately came to mind:

1) Do I need to buy the prizes?

2) Am I supposed to lose on purpose?

My financial analyst projects you have no hope to beat me, but you can still win by being the best of the rest.

My financial analyst predicts you have no hope to beat me. But you can still win by being second best.

Because, really: You’re going to pick college football games against me?

And what next? Perhaps a times-table contest against Stephen Hawking?

OK, seriously, here’s how it works:

The contest is called “Sack Schultz,” I suppose because they are words so often spoken in editorial meetings. This does not have any connection with my Weekend Predictions (which is scheduled to begin again next week, pending conditioning drills).

The “Sack Schultz” contest is pretty simple. Go to this website: ajc.com/go/sack-schultz. Register, providing your name, address and a …

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Richt believes Georgia is poised for a bounce-back season

Georgia coach Mark Richt believes the Dogs can avoid some of the problems that plagued recent teams. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Georgia coach Mark Richt believes the Dogs can avoid some of the problems that plagued recent teams. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Here’s a sneak peek at a column that will appear in print in this Sunday’s special AJC College Football Section. The 34-page section will preview Georgia State, Georgia Tech and UGA seasons, the SEC and ACC, top games, Heisman candidates and more.

Nine years ago, Mark Richt lost his first SEC game as a head coach (to South Carolina) and started 4-3 in a conference that generally doesn’t allow for long honeymoon periods, at least not outside of Vanderbilt.

It wasn’t the usual backdrop for what would happen in the next four years. Richt went 44-9 overall and 25-7 in the SEC. He won two conference titles at a school that hadn’t won one since 1982. He won a Sugar Bowl.

What has occurred since at Georgia is less a market correction than it is a changing landscape. Think of the SEC as a boulevard of resort hotels. Richt built what seemed like Xanadu in 2002. …

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