Football! Basketball! Baseball! A Monday sampler …

  Athens – OK, before we start another week, let’s clean out an overfull notebook from last week. . . .

  – UGA President Michael Adams sat in on interviews with five candidates for the basketball coaching job and said he was extremely impressed with Mark Fox.  But Adams stressed that the hiring decision was purely athletics director Damon Evans’. “What I did was sit back and listen,” Adams said. “Damon conducted the interviews. I don’t think I asked any candidate more than two or three questions.” Adams said he was there to show the importance the institution places on the job.  ”I felt it was my role in this process to demonstrate the university’s commitment to basketball,” Adams said. “It’s why we built the [practice] facility we built, why we were willing to pay what it took to hire the right coach.”

  – There was no quibbling over salary when Evans made his offer to Fox.  “Six years at $1.3 million is not bad, is it?” Evans said. “I thought about hiring myself as the basketball coach.”

  – One criticism of the hire is that Fox has no experience coaching – or, more to the point, recruiting – in the Southeast.  Evans’ response:  “Guys move all over and do great jobs. I think if [Connecticut’s] Jim Calhoun came down South to coach, he’d do just fine.”

  – I asked Fox on Friday for three things Georgia fans would be interested to know about him. The first three he mentioned were in Saturday’s paper. Fox then added a fourth, which I’ll pass along here: “I’m very close with Tex Winter,” the long-time college and pro coach who wrote the book (literally) on the triangle offense.  “When I was an assistant at Kansas State [where Winter coached decades earlier], his son still lived in Manhattan [Kan.], and he’d come back every year to visit. The first year, I said, ‘Coach, I want to talk to you about the triangle.’  So he threw me the book and said, ‘OK, I’ll talk to you in a year. Read the book!’  So he came back the next year, and we sat there for about 10 hours. It was supposed to be a breakfast meeting, and it ended up being all day. We have maintained a phenomenal relationship. He came to Nevada on a couple of occasions to watch our team and watch tape with us. He has been very generous with his genius.”  Winter, now 87, is a consultant with the LA Lakers.

  – The first thing Georgia’s basketball players did when they got got the news that Fox was their new coach? Googled him, of course.

  – Things were hopping around the UGA athletics complex on Friday, and Mark Richt was showing up everywhere. He was spotted at the basketball press conference, at the men’s tennis match vs. Auburn and at the baseball game vs. LSU.  He still found time for football practice.

  – How big has Georgia baseball become?  Well, a couple of hours before Saturday’s sold-out game vs. LSU, I saw tailgaters and scalpers near Foley Field.

  – One complaint Richt repeatedly has had about spring football practice: defensive players dropping balls that should be interceptions.  “We had four balls hit our hands on defense [in Friday’s practice]. Absolutely should have been four picks. And we got zero,” Richt said. “If four balls hit our hands on defense in a game and we catch them, we’re going to win.  . .  The defense has got to take as serious an attitude toward ball security as the offense.”

  – Wondering if Georgia will redshirt freshman QBs Aaron Murray and/or Zach Mettenberger in the fall? There will be no answer soon.  Richt says he’s very pleased with how both have performed this spring, but “I’m not going to be in a rush right now to say either one would be redshirted or not.  When it gets closer to the moment of truth, we’ve just got to decide. . . . I don’t know if it’ll be a tough decision or not, because I don’t know what will happen in the meantime.”

  – By all accounts, the defense dominated the early part of Saturday’s closed scrimmage. “But toward  the end . . .  we let some third-down-and-longs kind of kill us,” linebacker Rennie Curran said.  “It only takes a couple of guys to kill the whole entire defense. So we just got to have everybody on the same page — make sure everybody is executing.” The breakdowns apparently came after some starters were out. “When starters get out, there can’t be any dropoff in production,” Curran said. “We’re all going to the same place at the end of the year.”

  – Now, what’s on your mind at the start of this week?

39 comments Add your comment

82dawg

April 6th, 2009
7:21 am

The defense still sounds like a problem. Soft Willie has go tto go.

[...] Chip Towers of the AJC has a Monday morning Georgia sports sampler. [...]

H.T.

April 6th, 2009
8:01 am

if the defense doesnt get better this season then willie has to go. if CMR doesnt have the balls to do it then he may have to go to.

oasis

April 6th, 2009
8:07 am

I would be more concerned about throwing four balls into the hands of the defense than about the defense dropping them. Who threw these passes?

Fools Gold

April 6th, 2009
8:31 am

The whole sports program is fools gold. LSU is the king in SEC baseball. It was another west conference beatdown this past weekend. UGA is overrated in all sports. UGA had to hire a firm to help land a who? Mark Fox LMAO ! BTW mutt fans get ready for a lean year in football too. Defense is a joke along with a vanilla and inconsistent offense.

[...] Chip Towers of the AJC has a Monday morning Georgia sports sampler. [...]

tdawg

April 6th, 2009
9:55 am

Chip, any news on the staff that Fox is looking at and do they have any AAU/GSHA connections for recruiting?

AltamahaDawg

April 6th, 2009
10:00 am

I dont know how some of you even wake up on a monday morning! Nothing is ever right, and you never have anything good to say.

Cameron

April 6th, 2009
10:01 am

Fools Gold:

You are going to lament us for hiring a descendant of the coach of LSU. Are you serious? Right after you talk about LSU being king. Not very credible.

All of you so-called UGA fans, why don’t you try encouraging the team and sticking by it. You know nothing about football, or go apply for the job. Willie Martinez IS NOT the problem. Injuries, penalties, and depth were the problem. Get off Willie’s back and get educated.

Kevin

April 6th, 2009
10:07 am

Fools Gold…ever been to Baton Rouge? LMAO. I went to a pretty decent football game there last year. Wasn’t such a west conference beatdown.

UGA overrated? You must be kidding. Gymnastics #1, Men’s golf #1, tennis Men #3, Women #2, swimming Women-#2, Men #12, softball #4, equestrian #1. Baseball #1, I forget, who was in the World Series final last year?

Blindog

April 6th, 2009
10:14 am

You neysayers kill me! Support our new coach, give him a chance to prove himself. Be a ture fan and stop with the negative commits!Non-blievers shut your pie holes and go support Ga Tech.

dan

April 6th, 2009
10:24 am

Hey folks,

Sometimes the best players aren’t the ones that are highly recruited. That Fred Munzenmaier is a GOOD football player. He’s as good as Chapas IMO and has the potential to be as good as Brannan Southerland( who Bobo refused to use the last two seasons, idiot). A lot of these prospects are chosen on their POTENTIAL not necessarily on their actual accomplishments. That’s not to say that it’s flawed thinking because some atheletes peak in high school while others hit their stride in college. But sometimes these college programs miss the mark when they focus on potential over talent. And if you’re a white boy running back or receiver most of these programs won’t even look at you! My buddy Paul Freeman rushed for over 2,000 yards at Brookwood, won a state championship, and was Gwinnett County’s all time single season rusher until a few years ago. And not ONE Div-I school offered him a scholarship. Not ONE! Jeff Franqouer was a GREAT football player in high school; winning two state titles in football, and only Clemson offered him a scholarship. These are the kind of players that can win you championships. Hopefully Richt can find a way to utlize some of these players this year.

BugKiller

April 6th, 2009
10:54 am

Just like Bobby Bowden, Mark Richt is going to have to be forced to fire the incompetent and thoroughly mediocre coordinator on his staff, because he won’t do it himself.

Bobby Bowden refused to fire his son, and Mark Richt refuses to fire his best friend former college roommate, and both are or were very wrong to put personal relationships ahead of what is best for the team.

Martinez has failed to make the defense better any year he’s been the defensive coordinator. In fact, under his incompetent and mediocre coaching, the defense has gotten progressively worse, EVERY YEAR.

At any other program run by a coach who wants to win more than protect his friendship, Martinez would have been fired after the abortion that was the Tech game.

Like last year, the offense will be more than okay.

But watch, we WILL lose to Okie State. We will lose to LSU. We will lose to Florida. And well will lose to Tech.

And then, out of South Carolina, ASU, and even Tennessee, will come one more loss.

5 losses before the bowl.

Then Adams will step in if his puppet Evans doesn’t, and fire Martinez.

larryhmunsonthe3rd

April 6th, 2009
11:59 am

please fire willie

Diamond Dawg

April 6th, 2009
12:02 pm

Players dropping balls right in their hands is not a coaching problem. Sounds like they were where they were supposed to be just didn’t finish the drill. National Championship teams catch them balls. Remember its still very early bulldog nation! Go Dawgs!! Everybody make sure your at the G day game also

GT76

April 6th, 2009
12:19 pm

When you throw em to our defense we will catch them!

We will beat you again with an inferior recruiting class because we do well what Dan at 10:24 said. Johnson has a knack for recruiting potential and coaching up a player.

This time last year the DAWGS were lauding their prospects of winning the national championship. This year they are running scared about Willie and the lack of defense and still making excuses about last season (injuries, penalties, depth). Sounds like a 4-5 loss season to me.

DawgSinceBirth

April 6th, 2009
12:24 pm

Thanks KEVIN for your comments!!!! And “Fools Gold,” you’re not even
the BEST team (baseball) in your division (that would be Arkansas)….go back to whatever it is you do…leave the sports to
people who actually KNOW what they are talking about!

Go Dawgs!

DawgSinceBirth

April 6th, 2009
12:25 pm

“FOOLS GOLD”…Sounds like a JEALOUSY issue….!!!!

shawn

April 6th, 2009
12:25 pm

Give Willie one more year and go from there. This past year was his only “bad defense”. He was hurt some by injuries, but I don’t suspect that was the main problem. I think he became somewhat predictable and complacent. Every other coach in the SEC knows exactly what the defense is going to do in any given situation, no suprises & no pressure; and yes sometimes you have to blitz linebackers. I am tired of hearing we need to get pressure with four guys. That would be great if you could, but guess what, we can’t; not many can. You can not rely on that strategy, its not going to happen; 4 vs. 6 or more dosn’t equal pressure.
There absolutely has been a renewed energy and shift towards fundamentals this spring and hopefully it continues into fall practice and the season.

DawgSinceBirth

April 6th, 2009
12:27 pm

FOOLS GOLD…..sounds like a JEALOUSY thing to me!

LSU

April 6th, 2009
12:36 pm

DawgSince and Kevin

Your so called baseball team let the 2nd best team in the West take 2 out of 3 against the might bullbitches! LOL Dumb@ss UGA fans!

Ardawg

April 6th, 2009
12:43 pm

Chip,
I have a difficult time understanding why I have to go to other websites for news about UGA baseball. AJC is heavy on Richt and all things football and now Fox and all things basketball. Don’t get me wrong I love those stories too. But for christsakes, Perno’s program is #1 in the country. Even if they were not, why the slighting of coverage??

Don

April 6th, 2009
12:43 pm

I don’t expect objectivity from the big-talking Dawg faithful on this blog — but I would like to see it from this newspaper that I have subscribed to for around 25 years. Tim, you make a good observation about the good crowds at this weekend’s UGA – LSU baseball games — but it takes an electron microscope to find the score of yesterday’s game (LSU 7, UGA 5) and that LSU took 2 of the 3 games. It is a running joke at my house –Georgia WINS and it’s front page headlines –Dawgs lose and get out the magnifying glass. Look at the AJC sports webpage this morning– all about football and what we’re gonna do next fall and in the next millenium. The number one story of the weekend: the No. 1 baseball team dropped a home series to the No. 3 team — is nowhere to be found. The Atlanta area is full of fans and alumni of all 12 SEC schools. Why not cover the conference like you all are the regional / national newspaper you claim to be?

uga_b

April 6th, 2009
12:49 pm

Chip, have you heard anything about the format of the G-Day game? I realize we are having the flag football game beforehand, but is the actual game going to be more like a real game than it has in the past year. I love the tickle punt coverage and we are banged up; I just want to give the folks watching ESPN more than a glorified pass skeleton.

dawg fan

April 6th, 2009
12:53 pm

The AJC is a newspaper for the Atlanta area (Georgia Tech) and Georgia fans. If you want a newspaper that provides a national slant try the USA Today. Better yet if you think so much of other states (LSU, Arkansas, Etc. ) teams greyhound runs east west north and south. Better yet try to find your home teams blog.

LMAO @ GT

April 6th, 2009
12:54 pm

Laughing at all the GT fans posting on the blog. UGA is a superior program. Go DAWGS!
And Ardawg, you’re right about the lack of AJC coverage on Baseball.

historydawg

April 6th, 2009
12:59 pm

Don, when did objectivity become a reality in journalism? I missed that. If anything, the AJC makes a good habit of ignoring all of UGA’s successful athletic teams, because of whining from people like you. Gymnastics, tennis, golf, swimming, etc. etc.–all tops in the nation (see post above for current rankings). Rarely do these make headlines. Why look beyond Athens, if you want to find elite programs in these sports? The fact is that the AJC rarely looks at all. Not featuring UGA baseball–win or lose–seems fairly normal.

Don

April 6th, 2009
1:18 pm

Yes, historydawg, I agree the AJC should cover all those Spring sports better. Frankly, I fear your women gymnasts more than the men’s basketball, baseball, and track teams combined. BTW, you left out that highly regarded UGA equestrian team. Thank goodness croquet isn’t an NCAA sport –Georgia would really kick butt in that.

Jeff Grady

April 6th, 2009
2:30 pm

Rating the sports programs nationaly: Based on your prediction for 2009 combined football, basketball, and baseball, rate top college sports programs: Give 7 bonus points for winning the NCAA Championship in Basketball (now in progress) and baseball, (not for football, since the champsionship is not won on the field); 25 points for finishing tops in the Rivals poll, 24 for 2d, on down to 1 point for finishing 25th.
My prediction for my team for 2009 : UNC 79 points total: football – 12 (12-place Rivals finish; basketball- 32 (Natl’ Champs 25 plus 7) ; baseball – 32 (national champs 25 plus 7)
-32

Jeff Grady

April 6th, 2009
2:48 pm

Excuse me! My total for UNC should have been 76, not 79. I took math at NC State

Bo Williams

April 6th, 2009
2:53 pm

Come on SEC fans who think the SEC is the Sports Conference:

prediction for UGA for 09: 40 total points (20 each for football and baseball, none for basketball)

puppydawg

April 6th, 2009
3:54 pm

Hey Fool, do you lick the boogers off of your fingers before you type your mindless babble?

puppydawg

April 6th, 2009
4:02 pm

GT76, “…running scared…”? Are you serious? The only thing scary about your school is your women.

Crimedog

April 6th, 2009
4:18 pm

The Georgia spring flag football game will feature Burt Reynolds coaching the Bulldog Alumni against the Clarke County Prison Guards.

K-Town Dawg

April 6th, 2009
6:32 pm

LMAO puppydawg

Cuz

April 6th, 2009
6:43 pm

Fire Willie took three comments to show up. I guess weekend hangovers are to blame.

Lighten up, it is springtime in Augusta. The windchill today was not so much fun though. Tiger hit his first tee shot on Sunday in the pines on the right, his second found the rough on the left. Nice to know he is being politically correct and playing to the right and the left.

Bo Williams

April 6th, 2009
7:07 pm

LSU is only school in SEC that will have big three sports teams finish in final NCAA rankings.

Reg Mackworthy

April 6th, 2009
10:03 pm

I agree with the folks who hope to see more AJC coverage of the UGA baseball team. I assume maybe the coverage will pick up once spring football practice is over.

Tommy

April 7th, 2009
12:06 am

I also hope we will get full baseball coverage.

Agree, the return to fundamentals in Spring football seems encouraging. I am also disappointed with last years defense but lets not go overboard with practice.

Bad news about Durham needing surgery for his shoulder which will end his season. Too much weight lifting?!