Archive for April, 2009

Pros and cons of playing 2 QBs

I thought it was interesting that in the ajc.com poll on whether UGA should consider playing two quarterbacks this season, 63 percent of the folks responding said yes.

On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer. The more real game experience your backup quarterback gets, the better off you’ll be if your starter goes down for some reason. And it’ll be a plus the following season when your senior starter has graduated. We all remember all too well what it’s like to enter a season with no experienced QB.

But it’s not that cut-and-dried. While D.J. Shockley went on to become a UGA hero when he finally became the starter in his senior season, the not-quite-but-sort-of dual quarterback system that Mark Richt used during the time Shockley was backing up David Greene didn’t work all that smoothly.

Initially there was some minor controversy among fans as to which QB should be starting, with a vocal minority lobbying for Shockley. Noises from the Shockley camp about him possibly …

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A weekend worth barking about

Football may have entered the official off season, but UGA athletes were still competing in a serious way this weekend, mostly at an elite level.

Of course, the Gym Dogs sent Suzanne Yoculan off into retirement with a fifth consecutive national championship, with resident Olympian Courtney Kupets wining the all-around, bars, beam and floor titles and setting a career record with nine individual NCAA titles. Already proclaimed the best college gymnast ever by her coach, who’s known quite a few exceptional ones, Kupets is one of four finalists for this year’s Honda Award, presented annually to the nation’s top gymnast. She’s already won the AAI national senior gymnast of the year award.

Meanwhile, at Foley Field in Athens the Diamond Dogs weren’t able to sweep Arkansas, thanks to an exceptional one-hitter pitched Sunday by the Hogs’ Brett Eibner, but they took two out of three in the series and sit atop the overall SEC standings with a two-game lead.

But wait, as the TV pitchmen …

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Late Night With Matthew Stafford

Stafford (Athens Banner-Herald)

Matthew Stafford (Athens Banner-Herald)

In case you missed it, Matthew Stafford was on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” Thursday night. Unfortunately, this led to me having to sit through possibly the unfunniest monologue in late-night talk show memory. 

But anyway, Stafford did well in his appearance. Asked if it’s true Detroit is going to pick him first in next week’s NFL draft, he demurred, “I don’t know. We’ll see. Hopefully. That’d be nice.” As for the prospect of signing for more than $30 million, Stafford said, “That’d be a nice little pay day.”

The segment ended with Stafford playing “football skeet” with Fallon, who threw plates in the air and had Stafford throw footballs at them. He smashed the plate three out of four times.

Maybe come Christmas he can go on a much better talk show and join Dave Letterman and Jay Thomas in throwing footballs at the meatball on top of the “Late Show” tree on CBS.

VIDEO: You can see Stafford throwing at the plates …

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Championships, not gossip, are Yoculan’s legacy

Normally, a college coach getting ready to retire after a career that has seen her bring nine NCAA national championships (including the last four in a row), 21 regional championships and 16 SEC championships to her school would be beloved.

Not so UGA’s Suzanne Yoculan.

Despite her building the University of Georgia’s gymnastics program from an afterthought into a perennial national powerhouse that is second only to the football team in paid attendance, Yoculan remains controversial. And we’re not talking about her prickly relationship with other gymnastics coaches around the country because of her Spurrier-like outspoken nature. Georgia fans don’t mind a bit if folks in Alabama or Utah or Gainesville get ulcers at the mention of Suzanne Superior and her Gym Dogs.

No, it’s Yoculan’s messy personal life that has alienated many in the Bulldog Nation. Which is a shame, because she’s been one of UGA’s greatest athletic assets for more than a quarter century. 

You may not like how …

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Defense gets G-Day game ball

As a fan experience, a glorious spring Saturday in Athens watching football at Sanford Stadium could hardly have been better. The Redcoat band played, some familiar names from the past took the field for the alumni flag football game before the annual G-Day scrimmage, and with 42,000 fans and ESPN on hand it was a bit more of an event than your usual spring game.

OK, it would have been nice to see some more points scored, and probably if the Dawgs’ receiving corps hadn’t been afflicted with a case of the dropsies, that would have happened. Joe Cox, Logan Gray and Aaron Murray all had some very nice passes end up among the day’s six drops. On at least a couple of those, it looked as if the receivers lost concentration or short-armed it because they were anticipating being hit. The drop near the goal line by Israel Troupe was particularly disappointing for the Black team, as Gray had delivered a perfectly thrown ball.

And despite the occasional spurt, the running game never …

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Another follicly challenged guy named Mark?

Whether Damon Evans has labored mightily and brought forth a mouse in the hiring of Georgia’s new basketball coach remains to be seen. Sure, Mark Fox, announced today as the choice, has a winning record and has taken teams to the NCAA tournament, but he wasn’t even a tiny blip on the up-and-coming coaches radar. Still, he might prove to be a winner here and a great recruiter, despite apparently having no connections in the South. Time will tell. But it is safe to say that, in terms of generating excitement and galvanizing the fan base, Evans’ first big hire as UGA’s athletics director is a resounding flop. After making noises about paying whatever it took to lure a big name to Athens, he’s fallen well short of that. “Mark who?” isn’t the kind of reaction that will sell many tickets at Stegeman Coliseum. 

One thing the Bulldog Nation has gotten excited about is the performance so far this season of the Diamond Dogs, with an example being the advance sellout of all three games …

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