Archive for the ‘UGA / SEC’ Category

To Braves, Hawks, Falcons, Thrashers: Good is for losers

Editor’s note: This is Terence Moore’s last column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Terence has decided to take a voluntary buyout, ending a stellar 24 years as a sports columnist. Terence sums up his time this way: “My objective was to get people to think, not to agree or disagree, just to get people to think.” We thank him for making all of us think and wish him the best as he moves on to new endeavors.

Can we talk? There’s a question I’ve asked myself for 13 years and counting, especially with the Hawks becoming the latest Atlanta team to operate as a tease.

That question: Will anybody around here join the Braves as the only professional sports franchise with a world championship? I mean, will the Braves even do it again? And the 1968 Atlanta Chiefs don’t count. Well, unless you’re a little goofy and consider the famously wobbly North American Soccer League something worth mentioning.

I’m referring to whether the Hawks, the Falcons, the Thrashers or the Braves can …

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Cox becoming Shockley for Bulldogs, with help from Shockley

There was D.J. Shockley, and now there is Joe Cox. They communicate often. As a matter of fact, Georgia’s last quarterback to start during his fifth and final season with the Bulldogs probably is calling or texting the current one right now.

Avoid this. Do that.

Whip the Gators, and don’t get stung again by You Know Who on the Flats.

“We talk maybe once a week,” said Shockley, a Falcons backup these days, but he still bleeds red and black. As a result, he is doing everything he can to turn Cox into his 2005 clone at Georgia.

Let’s pause to give those in the Bulldog Nation time to bark loudly for somebody to whom they owe much anyway. Shockley should have transferred early in his Georgia career to start elsewhere. Instead, he tossed the Bulldogs a gift by spending four seasons as David Greene’s backup.

Then came Shockley’s moment for the ages four years ago, when he completed 55 percent of his passes for 24 touchdowns and five interceptions. He led Georgia to an SEC title. He …

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So why not Tubby, and what’s taking so long to call him?

   Goodness knows, Damon Evans is splendid as the athletics director at the University of Georgia. He’s bright. He’s engaging. He’s also persistent. In other words, he knows what he’s doing. But I’m here to help.

  With Evans and his search committee having trouble closing the deal on a replacement for fired basketball coach Dennis Felton, I have a suggestion. In fact, I have two suggestions.

  They are suggestions I’ve mentioned before in this space, and are suggestions that would match everything that Evans needs to turn his basketball program from less than mediocre into consistently good. He wants somebody who can coach. He wants somebody who can recruit. He wants somebody who is into developing the “student” as well as the “athlete” in student-athlete. He wants somebody with charisma.

  All together now . . . Tubby Smith. Remember that guy? He’s the former Georgia coach who did wonderful things at Tulsa before doing the same during his two seasons with the Bulldogs. …

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UK basketball folks should step into Mr. Blank’s office

  Those in charge of Kentucky basketball say Big Blue followers need constant love from their leader beyond courtside.

  Wait a minute. Hasn’t that been the case forever around Lexington?

  Yep, and everybody knows it.

  So why did those Kentucky officials lose their minds two years ago and hire who they just fired? Billy Gillispie is a decent strategist but a private guy who’d rather hug his X’s and O’s. That translates into a nasty fit for a school whose basketball coach must become the Dalai Lama of the commonwealth while winning SEC and national championships.

  They got John Calipari, who relished his fans so much at Memphis that all of his practices were open to the public. Still, those Kentucky officials took Gillispie over Calipari the last time around before this one.

  Why?

  “It’s like when you were single, and you look at a pretty girl walking down the street, and it’s very enticing,” said Falcons owner Arthur Blank, an expert on hiring famously wrong …

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Time for UK folks and others to step into Mr. Blank’s office

   Those in charge of Kentucky basketball keep saying Big Blue fans need constant love from whomever becomes the next person to run their program.

  Wait a minute. Hasn’t that been the case forever around Lexington?

  Yep, and everybody knows it.

  So why did those Kentucky officials lose their minds two years ago and hire who they just fired? Billy Gillispie is a decent strategist but a private guy who’d rather hug his X’s and O’s. That translates into a nasty fit for a school whose basketball coach must become the Dalai Lama of the commonwealth while winning SEC and national championships.

  “It’s like when you were single, and you look at a pretty girl walking down the street, and it’s very enticing, because she’s very attractive, and she’s got this, that and the other thing,” said Falcons owner Arthur Blank,  an expert on getting a coaching hire famously wrong before getting it famously right. “Until you get to really know that pretty girl, you don’t know if she’s …

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Kiffin knocks Gators, so what’s the big deal?

Leave that man alone.

Well, this time.

The way things are going for Lane Kiffin, the self-inflicted tackling dummy during his first weeks as head football coach at the University of Tennessee, there will be a next time. There also will be a few more times after that.

As for this time, Kiffin was absolutely right to tell our Michael Carvell that he is done apologizing to Florida and everybody else over his erroneous comments about Gators coach Urban Meyer and his recruiting practices.

Remember? During a recruiting breakfast last month, Kiffin boasted to Tennessee supporters (note: Tennessee supporters) that Meyer tried to “cheat” and still didn’t get wide receiver prospect Nu’Keese Richardson. That’s because Richardson stiff-armed Florida down the stretch before sprinting to Tennessee.

It turns out that, contrary to what Kiffin told those Tennessee supporters (note: Tennessee supporters), Meyer didn’t violate an NCAA rule when he phoned Richardson during a recruiting trip to …

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The Obamas could bark for the Dogs

So there I was in the back room of an ESPN studio last week in southern California, chatting for nearly 30 minutes with the First Brother-In-Law. The more we talked, the more I kept hearing a bunch of barking in my head.

Georgia has an opening for a head basketball coach, you know.

“Yeah, I’ve heard,” said Craig Robinson, with wide eyes. In fact, he fits the profile of what the Bulldogs need to become relevant again in hoops. “Do I?” he said, with even wider eyes.

Robinson is the 46-year-old big brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, and his resume spans from his serving as a two-time Ivy League player of the year at Princeton to his working as a profitable banker on Wall Street. He’s also the miracle worker in his first season at Oregon State, where the Beavers just won seven games in the Pac-10 after managing zero last season.

Prior to Oregon State, Robinson spent the second of his two seasons at Brown taking the moribund Bears to a school-record 19 victories. And get this: …

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Why Johnny can’t shoot (free throws)

   The Hawks can’t make free throws. They are next to last in the NBA at 73 percent, and that is disgusting. First, it will kill them in the playoffs. Second, how can anybody not make free throws? Worse, their shooting consultant is Mark Price, the NBA’s all-time leader in foul-shooting percentage.

  This really bothers me.

  “Well, it definitely bothers me. No question about it,” said Price, chuckling to keep from sighing.

  Price sank 90 percent of his foul shots during his dozen NBA seasons, mostly with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before that, he was a splendid point guard at Georgia Tech, and speaking of the Yellow Jackets, they can’t make free throws, either. They are last in the ACC at 62 percent, which makes me wonder about the other two men’s programs in the area at the Division I level.

  Georgia State is last in the Colonial Athletic Association at 61 percent, and Georgia is 10th out of 12 teams in the SEC at 64 percent.

  What’s going on here? “During the past …

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