In a perfect world — meaning: in a world where college games didn’t last four hours, leaving me 20 minutes to write a print column after doing a five-hour live chat — I’d have sung the praises of Carlton Thomas in this little submission. But his name isn’t in there, for a rather basic reason:
I forgot to mention him.
Carlton Thomas made maybe the biggest play of Georgia’s victory over South Carolina, and it was a pure hustle play, and what makes this so embarrassing is that I pretty much wrote about hustle. Which makes me the biggest idiot in the history of sports writing. (Don’t tell me. You knew that already, didn’t you?)
I wrote about DeAngelo Tyson blocking the extra point. I got Rennie Curran in there — I never forget Rennie Curran, who’s unforgettable — for deflecting Stephen Garcia’s final pass. But I left out Carlton Thomas. And here’s what I’d have written if I’d had five more minutes to think about it and one more column inch with which to work. (Please insert this paragraph, in your mind’s eye, right after the one about DeAngelo Tyson’s block.)
“And then there came another want-it-more moment, a moment of pure hustle that saved a play and a drive and three ultimately essential points. It came after Cox was all but obliterated on a blindside sack by Stephon Gilmore and the ball flew 10 yards backward and there ensued the scramble of all scrambles for possession and darned if Carlton Thomas, the backup tailback, didn’t outright three Gamecocks. That wasn’t a play born of precision. That was a recovery driven by desire, and it was part and parcel of this impassioned Georgia performance.”
Here’s Chris Low of ESPN.com writing about, of all things, Georgia’s hustle. Pithy quote from Rennie Curran on DeAngelo Tyson’s post-interception blocked PAT:
“It’s all about your attitude. We could have hung our heads low after that interception. Nobody had that attitude. Nobody pointed any fingers. We went out there and kept a good attitude and kept it positive. We blocked that extra point, which was the difference in the game.”
And another good one, this from Georgia’s head ball coach:
“There was a special energy. I don’t know why. Maybe there was a special sense of urgency of not going 0-2, knowing we’re at home, knowing it was the SEC. There were so many things riding on it, and for whatever reason, I think our boys had as much heart and fire, wire to wire, that I’ve ever seen.”
And here, just to show that one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor (Paul Simon reference), is Joseph Person — to me he’s Joe, and a very fine writer — of the Columbia State on the Gamecocks’ reaction to Tyson’s block. From Carolina special teams coordinator Shane Beamer (son of Frank):
“Extra points should never be blocked. Regardless of penetration, a kick that short should never be blocked.”
Writing for SI.com, Stewart Mandel says the victory could do wonders for Georgia’s psyche. And I tried to suggest the same thing myself. Provided I didn’t forget that, too.
In Sporting News Today, Matt Hayes calls Georgia Tech overrated at No. 14 in the new Associated Press poll. Me, I think the Jackets are still about four spots underrated, but I’m a big fat homer, as we all know.
Back to SI.com’s Mandel: He believes Tech fans shouldn’t be daunted by Josh Nesbitt throwing 11 incompletions in 14 attempts against Clemson. Because Nesbitt completed the one pass he needed. Me, I might be a tad daunted, but I’m just a big fat pessimist, as we all know.
It’s always to hoot to read out-of-town papers after a big loss. Here, from the Oklahoman, is Berry Tramel’s account of Oklahoma State’s billion dollar flop against Houston. The Sports Illustrated jinx is mentioned prominently, you should know.
And here, from David Climer of the Tennesseean, is an entry sure to get the author sued. Because Climer calls Lane Kiffin “a bit smug.” (Just kidding about the legal action. I’m not sure at this point that it’d be possible to libel Lane Kiffin.)
Oh, and you might have noticed that Kiffin’s team lost to UCLA. Not to say I told you so, but … well, here you go.
A year ago we were incredulous that the Falcons won their first game because we weren’t entirely sure they’d win a game. Now they beat Miami to go 1-0 and it seemed almost … boring. But Peter King of SI.com makes a salient point: The Falcons’ D, over which there’d been much hand-wringing (yes, in this space among others) defended the heck out of the Dolphins’ vaunted Wildcat.
And here, from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, is an odd little item. The headline: “If Dolphins struggle against [Matt] Ryan, what about top QBs?” (So much for us around here thinking this Ryan guy might be pretty decent.)
The Falcons play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Carolina quarterback is Jake Delhomme. He’s terrible. But he is, as Charles Chandler of the Charlotte Observer notes, getting better. In Delhomme’s last start of last season (an epic playoff loss to Arizona), he made six turnovers. In Sunday’s 38-10 loss to Philadelphia, he only made five! And coach John Fox is sticking with him!