Well, I certainly didn’t expect the last item on my wish list for the 2011 Dogs to be addressed quite that quickly.
If nothing else, the news Thursday that Dave Van Halanger is being replaced by Joe Tereshinski Jr. as Georgia’s director of strength and conditioning has produced an interesting fan debate about whether Mark Richt is taking the right approach in trying to get his program back on track.
A lot of fans were underwhelmed by the choice of Tereshinksi and reports that Vince Dooley’s old conditioning coach, John Kasay, will return from retirement to assist Coach T. Their concern is that this staff shuffle won’t really address the problem of Georgia’s s&c program apparently having fallen behind the times. The belief in this camp is that the Dogs need a fresh approach and cutting-edge methods. There’s even been speculation this really is an interim move until someone else becomes available (which to my mind would seem a strange strategy on Richt’s part — why reshuffle twice?).
Others have hailed the Tereshinski-Kasay option as a return to the kind of no-excuses hard work that characterized conditioning in the days of Erk Russell and the lean, mean Junkyard Dawgs.
As UGA kicking great Rex Robinson put it: “Most fans expected an infusion of new blood. What Coach Mark Richt has done instead is withdraw what can only be described as ‘cord blood’ to this football program. How many times has the DawgNation screamed for the days of Erk Russell. The old school approach to winning football. Hard work, toughness and a junkyard mentality. Well here you go Dawg fans.”
Indications are that the Tereshinski way will differ radically from the way Van Halanger handled things. As former player David Pollack told Bulldogs Blog, Van Halanger and Tereshinski are “polar opposites.”
He described Van Halanger as “one of the sweetest human beings you’ll ever meet” and “a father-figure guy.”
As for Coach T., Pollack said, “you can go to him anytime you want to, but he might have a switch waiting for you. He’s very, very old school. … I don’t think there’s anyone that ever pushed me harder than Coach T. Just old school, hard work, you’re going to do things the hard way.”
And who’s to say that old-school Tereshinski won’t embrace whatever the latest developments are in the field? Reportedly, another hire will be added to the strength and conditioning staff, and that might well mean some fresh ideas added to the mix. Old dogs do learn new tricks.
Bottom line: The Dogs of late have been getting whipped in the fourth quarter with regularity and that’s not what characterized Georgia football in the days when Tereshinski and Kasay were players.
It remains to be seen if the players, too often coddled in the Richt regime, will buy into Coach T’s old-school approach, but Pollack seemed optimistic in that regard when he Tweeted that Tereshinski will be a “great fit 4 young kids who think they know it all.”
UPDATE: Check out Tim Tucker’s report on Tereshinki’s conference call, in which he talks about his plans, using the latest technology, the advantage he’ll have over an outsider and his thoughts on what’s needed most: “The whole culture we’re going with is, we’re going to prepare this team for the fourth quarter. Georgia used to be known that in the fourth quarter, they won. . . . We’re going to press and challenge these kids every day to overcome. They’re going to have to overcome.”
ROCK, MEET HARD PLACE
As a Dogs fan, it’s tough to choose sides in this year’s SEC championship. I mean, Nick Fairley vs. the Prince of Darkness?
My first inclination is to pull for South Carolina for various reasons that include the whole Cam Newton NCAA farce, Fairley’s dirty play and the way Gene Chizik handled it and a natural tendency to want the underdog to win that game. I don’t really like Steve Spurrier, but I do respect him. Not so, Chizik.
On the other hand, it probably is to Georgia’s advantage for the Tigers to win, since a loss might well drop them out of the BCS championship, which could mean only one SEC team making it into the BCS. That, in turn, likely would knock everyone down a peg in the bowls and put the Dogs in Birmingham instead of Memphis.
So I’m torn. I expect Auburn will win, but I don’t really enjoy the prospect.
How about you?
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