Archive for January, 2010

Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins first-round NFL draft picks?

How much did former UGA defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens help themselves at the Senior Bowl?

So much that they possibly could become late first-round picks in this year’s NFL draft, according to Russ Lande, a former NFL scout who evaluates players for Sporting News.

Both Owens and Atkins were identified by Lande “and his team of former NFL scouts” among seven players who helped their draft stock at the Senior Bowl.

Writing in today’s edition of  Sporting News Today, Lande said Atkins’ strong performance will move him into the second round of the draft and, if sustained in spring workouts, could get him into the bottom of the first round. Owens, Lande writes, was considered “a likely third- or fourth-round pick” before the Senior Bowl practices and game but is now seen “as a definite second-rounder, with a good chance to move into the first round.”

It was a week of good reviews for Atkins and Owens in Mobile. A few days ago, Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano — …

Continue reading Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins first-round NFL draft picks? »

Stanford reportedly hires Willie Martinez

Some news of note from the West Coast this morning:

Willie Martinez, fired eight weeks ago as Georgia’s defensive coordinator, has been hired as an assistant coach at Stanford, according to CardinalReport.com, a website that covers the Stanford program.

Martinez will coach Stanford’s defensive backs, the report states.  Stanford has not announced the hire.

Stanford’s head coach is Jim Harbaugh, the former NFL quarterback.

Cardinal Report offered this assessment of Martinez via a Twitter post: “Great hire for Harbaugh.”

Martinez coached the defensive backs at Georgia for the past nine years and also was defensive coordinator for the past five.  After drawing much fire from UGA fans as the Bulldogs’ defense struggled the past two seasons, Martinez was fired by Mark Richt on Dec. 2.

Stanford had an 8-5 record last season -– same as Georgia.

Put it this way: There are certainly worse places for a fired coach to land than Palo Alto, Calif.

Continue reading Stanford reportedly hires Willie Martinez »

A big month in Bulldog Nation

It’s been an interesting month in Bulldog Nation, I’d say.  So before moving on to February, let’s revisit January.

THE MONTH’S TOP FIVE UGA SPORTS STORIES:

1. The defensive coordinator search: For some reason –- maybe the Internet/information age in which we live, or maybe the widespread exasperation with two years of declining defense -– Mark Richt’s search for a defensive coordinator drew more attention than any assistant-coach hiring I can recall.  Kirby Smart’s rejection of the job roiled Bulldog Nation, which was calmed four days later by the hiring of Todd Grantham.

2. Big basketball upsets: Entering the month, the Bulldogs had not beaten a ranked opponent in men’s basketball in almost three years. But they beat two this month, first Georgia Tech and then Tennessee. The second came in front of a   sellout crowd, of all things, in Stegeman Coliseum.

3. Lady Dogs over Lady Vols: Georgia’s women’s basketball team upset No. 3-ranked Tennessee in Stegeman Coliseum, …

Continue reading A big month in Bulldog Nation »

Relax, Fox’s deal has huge buyout

Amid the celebrations of Georgia’s basketball upsets of Georgia Tech and Tennessee this month, some of you asked: What’s the buyout in Mark Fox’s contract?

The question, of course, conveyed concern that a Basketball School might swoop in before too long and try to hire Fox away from UGA.

The answer, you’ll be glad to know if you don’t already, is that Fox’s contract carries a large buyout.

An unusually large buyout.

The contract would require Fox to pay UGA $2 million within 45 days if he resigns at any time before the six-year deal expires on March 15, 2015.

The buyout, negotiated when Fox was hired last spring, reflected UGA’s desire to make it as difficult as possible for a successful coach to leave. And Fox’s willing acceptance of the unusually large buyout clause backed up his statements that he saw Georgia as a place where he and his family would put down roots.

In addition to the buyout, Fox’s 27-page contract also includes a $600,000 “longevity bonus”  that the coach …

Continue reading Relax, Fox’s deal has huge buyout »

Emptying the UGA notebook, from Travis Jones to ‘The Hit Man’ to Travis Leslie

– Add to the long list of Super Bowl XLIV connections to Georgia: Former UGA player Travis Jones, roundly rumored recently as a candidate for a spot on the Bulldogs’  coaching staff, is New Orleans’ assistant defensive line coach. Jones is in his second season with the Saints  after previously coaching under Nick Saban with LSU and the Miami Dolphins.  Jones’  coaching career began in 1997 as a graduate assistant at UGA, where he played on the defensive line (1990-94).  A lot of Bulldogs fans would love to see him fill the UGA staff’s remaining opening for a linebackers coach (he worked with the outside linebackers in Miami for a couple of years, by the way.)

– Happy to hear that ex-Dog Sundiata Gaines, after working under a couple of 10-day contracts, has been signed for the rest of the season by the Utah Jazz.

– His nickname preceded him to Athens: “The Hit Man.”  Safety Jakar Hamilton enrolled at UGA this month from Georgia Military College and joined off-season …

Continue reading Emptying the UGA notebook, from Travis Jones to ‘The Hit Man’ to Travis Leslie »

Dogs’ much-improved Travis Leslie is SEC Player of the Week

No player better personifies the progress of Georgia’s  basketball team than sophomore Travis Leslie, who today was named the SEC Player of the Week for his performance in Saturday’s win over Tennessee.

Leslie, who sat out the final five games of his freshman season last year to focus on academics, had 19 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals against the No. 8 Vols.  He had four dynamic dunks in the game, including  a behind-the-head jam that electrified the crowd.

“Travis has really improved, not just from his freshman year to now but really throughout this season,” UGA coach Mark Fox said this morning. “I think for us one of the things we have really tried to work with Travis on is that, [although] he was a great athlete and there is no denying that,  I talked with Travis about trying to become a basketball player who was a great athlete as opposed to an athlete who played basketball

“So he has worked on some very fundamental things, and he really continues …

Continue reading Dogs’ much-improved Travis Leslie is SEC Player of the Week »

See Mark Richt’s trick shot (UPDATED)

Mark Fox, the top tweeter in the SEC according to one Website’s ranking, sent out the word via Twitter late Saturday morning:

“So game day trick shot by our walk-ons hit a new high today –- Coach Richt the star of the show!!”

Fox, Georgia’s basketball coach, linked to video of Mark Richt, Georgia’s football coach, banking a one-handed behind-the-back shot through the net in Stegeman Coliseum.

“One-for-one,” Richt said as he triumphantly left the court.

Here’s the video of Richt’s improbable shot on YouTube. Enjoy.

UPDATE: By late Sunday night, Richt’s shot had been viewed more than 14,000 times on YouTube.

If you follow Fox on Twitter, you know that trick shots are quite popular among Georgia’s walk-ons.

By the way, Fox  tweeted Friday  night that Saturday’s  5 p.m. game against No. 8 Tennessee at Stegeman Coliseum was sold out except for the final student tickets that were available starting at mid-afternoon.

UPDATE: As you know, Georgia upset the Vols on Saturday in …

Continue reading See Mark Richt’s trick shot (UPDATED) »

Grantham: Dogs can be better than Florida, Texas, Southern Cal

Athens – I’m pretty sure Georgia fans are going to love these words from Todd Grantham, the Bulldogs’ new defensive coordinator:

“Over the last 11 years [in the NFL], I have evaluated a lot of players from this state –- not only players of the University of Georgia but players that have played everywhere else, too,” Grantham said today.  “And I have always believed -– and I believe to this day – that if we took the best players in the state of Georgia and within a five-hour radius of our school, if they come to the University of Georgia, then we can win the SEC championship and compete for a national title. And I think you can be better than Florida, you can be better than Texas, and you can be better than Southern Cal – if those players came to the University of Georgia. So that’s what excited me about coming here.”

Grantham’s hiring a week ago has been well received by Georgia fans, who probably will like it even more after hearing the intense new guy in town talk …

Continue reading Grantham: Dogs can be better than Florida, Texas, Southern Cal »

Grantham: Garner will remain D-line coach

Athens — New Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said today that Rodney Garner, the only holdover from the Bulldogs’ previous defensive staff, will coach the nose tackle and defensive end positions.

“As we move forward, that would be what he would do,” Grantham said.

Garner coached defensive tackles in Georgia’s former 4-3 defense, but the team will convert to a 3-4 — three down linemen and four linebackers rather than vice versa — under Grantham. Garner also is Georgia’s recruiting coordinator.

Grantham spoke highly of Garner, whom he had not met until this week.

“I think Rodney is a very passionate guy,” Grantham said. “He’s been here at the University of Georgia and they’ve had success, and I think if you look at where he has been before, they’ve had success there. I think Rodney has value, and I look forward to working with him and letting him help our defense. I really look forward to that.”

With the hiring of Grantham from the Dallas Cowboys as defensive …

Continue reading Grantham: Garner will remain D-line coach »

A $250,000 raise for turning down the Dogs

Here’s the rest of the story on John Chavis‘ decision to remain at LSU rather than becoming Georgia’s defensive coordinator:

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports today that the LSU Board of Supervisors next week will be asked to approve a new three-year, $700,000-per-year deal for Chavis, who is entering his second year as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.  That represents  a $250,000-per-year raise from Chavis’ $450,000 salary last year.

When LSU announced on Dec. 31 that Chavis would remain at the school despite being pursued by Georgia, LSU made it clear he’d get a sizeable raise.   How sizeable was not disclosed at the time. Turns out, the raise comes to a whopping 55 percent.

The $700,000 salary does not include postseason bonuses, according to the Advocate.

The rising market for coordinator salaries in college football did not start with Georgia’s search for Willie Martinez’s replacement. But the search, which ended with Grantham becoming the third highest paid …

Continue reading A $250,000 raise for turning down the Dogs »

Three UGA players undergo surgery (updated)

Athens – For starters, a quick medical report:

Three Georgia football players have undergone surgery in the past week.

Offensive lineman Justin Anderson and fullback Fred Munzenmaier both underwent shoulder surgeries. They will be limited in spring practice but full speed by pre-season camp in August, UGA said.

Defensive end Jeremy Longo had knee surgery. He will miss all of spring practice but is expected to be fine by August, UGA said.

—————————-

I’m working today on a story about how Georgia’s defensive players are dealing with their uncertain “new world” — the new 3-4 scheme, the new coaches, etc. (UPDATE: The full story is posted here.)

The players haven’t yet met the newly hired coaches -– defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and defensive-backs coach Scott Lakatos -– but are looking forward to doing so at a defensive-team meeting on Friday.

“I think it’s a little bit of both . . .  excitement and nerves,” Abry Jones said. “Players are excited that we finally got a …

Continue reading Three UGA players undergo surgery (updated) »

Big buyout ties Grantham to Dogs

Georgia obviously doesn’t want to be looking for a new defensive coordinator again anytime soon.

UGA’s three-year, $750,000-per-year deal with newly hired Todd Grantham would make it expensive for him to leave for anything other than a head-coaching job.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed by Grantham and UGA officials —  a copy of which was obtained Tuesday by the AJC under the state’s Open Records Act — Grantham would owe Georgia more than $1 million if he were to resign within the next year for any reason other than to become an NFL or NCAA Division I head coach.

While he would be allowed to leave without penalty for such a head-coaching job, he would owe Georgia 75 percent of the amount remaining on his contract if he were to leave before Feb. 1, 2011, for any other reason, such as to take another coordinator job.

For example, if he were to resign in January 2011, he’d owe Georgia 75 percent of the approximately $1.5 million that would remain on his contract …

Continue reading Big buyout ties Grantham to Dogs »

Notes on coaching hires . . .

– Interesting that Mark Richt’s two hires so far for his defensive staff –- Todd Grantham and Scott Lakatos – are people he had never met before the process began.

– In fact, he didn’t meet Lakatos –- a good friend of Grantham’s -– until this past weekend.

– Grantham isn’t the highest paid defensive coordinator in college football, but he’s the highest paid who isn’t the head coach’s father (Monte Kiffin) or the head-coach-in-waiting (Will Muschamp).

– Hiring Grantham, who has been in the NFL for the past 11 years, and Lakatos, who has spent his entire career in the Northeast, certainly affirmed a desire for new sets of eyes and ideas.

– Lakatos on the adjustment to a new recruiting territory: “I’m from the Northeast, and the jobs I’ve had have been pretty much in [that]  region, but the jobs . . . have had a lot of exposure to different communities. I’ve recruited in Florida, Louisiana; I’ve been in California, junior colleges, Kansas, Oklahoma. . . . From an …

Continue reading Notes on coaching hires . . . »

Lakatos ‘mystery’ unraveled; UPDATED with contract info

(Updated 3:30 p.m.)

Georgia’s football program continued to rebuild its defensive staff  today, hiring a veteran assistant coach who will be making a major geographic shift in his career.

Scott Lakatos, hired as Georgia’s defensive-backs coach, has been on the staff at seven other colleges, all in his native Northeast.  He was the secondary coach at Connecticut the past six seasons and previously worked at Rutgers, Maine, New Haven, Syracuse, Boston University and Western Connecticut State, his alma mater.

So, you ask, what was the connection that led him from the Northeast to UGA?

“I’m sure there was a little bit of a mystery for everybody to figure that out,” Lakatos said this afternoon.

The answer: a long friendship with Todd Grantham, hired Friday as the Bulldogs’ new defensive coordinator.

Lakatos said he and Grantham have been good friends for  more than 15 years, meeting when Lakatos was a graduate assistant at Syracuse and Grantham a young coach at Virginia …

Continue reading Lakatos ‘mystery’ unraveled; UPDATED with contract info »

Grantham on Vikings’ late TD: ‘What goes around comes around’

(Updated 8 p.m.)

So what did Todd Grantham, Georgia’s new defensive coordinator, think about the Minnesota Vikings running up the score Sunday on the Dallas Cowboys?

Grantham, Dallas’ defensive line coach until its season ended with the playoff loss to Minnesota,  was asked in a postgame interview posted on the Cowboys’  Website  about the Vikings throwing a fourth-down touchdown pass with less than two minutes to play and a 27-3 lead.  An interviewer told Grantham he could be unguarded in his comments since the Vikings are not on Georgia’s schedule next season.

“No, they’re not,” Grantham said. “I wish they were, though.”

He continued: “I really can’t answer why they would do it because I’m not in their head. But I do know what goes around comes around, and they play the Cowboys next year.”

A few other notes:

– Word is that Connecticut’s defensive backs coach, Scott Lakatos, is a candidate for a job on the Georgia coaching  staff.  (UConnReport.com says he interviewed …

Continue reading Grantham on Vikings’ late TD: ‘What goes around comes around’ »

From Atlanta lawyer to Vols coach

Just occurred to me that I might have done the first interview with Derek Dooley, football coach. In early February 1996, I talked with him about his decision to leave his Atlanta law practice at age 27 to take an unpaid position as a graduate assistant on Jim Donnan’s UGA  staff. With Dooley very much in the news this weekend as the new head coach at Tennessee, I thought some of you might be interested in the story of the start of his coaching career.

Here’s my  story from Feb. 7, 1996:

Athens — Derek Dooley understands, far better than most, how ugly the coaching profession can be.

Vince Dooley’s youngest son knows all about the stress, the lack of privacy, the loss of family time. He remembers “being 10 years old, thinking your dad can do no wrong, and reading in the newspaper what a terrible coach he is.” And that was tame compared with what he’d hear from the kids at school after a Georgia loss. His mother always told him: “Whatever you do, don’t coach.”

He grew up …

Continue reading From Atlanta lawyer to Vols coach »

Grantham: Dogs will go to 3-4 defense; he’ll coach linebackers

A few  notes from new UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s just-completed conference call with the media:

– Georgia’s base defense will switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 — three linemen and four linebackers, rather than vice versa.

“We’ll be a 3-4 structure,” Grantham said, “which basically means in your base defense you have two outside ‘backers, three D linemen, two inside ‘backers.  . . . We are more  of an aggressive style 3-4. We’re going to attack  blockers up front, and we’re going to rush the passer. Our outside ‘backers are going  to be what we call edge-setters. They’re going to be aggressive; they’re going to be coming;  they’re going to be solid [against] the run but we’re  going to develop  those guys as pass rushers. The inside ‘backers … they’re going to be downhill guys to the ball.

“But in saying that, we’re still going to be multiple. We’re always going to. . . have the ability to match personnel. . . . The other thing is,  when you coach in pro …

Continue reading Grantham: Dogs will go to 3-4 defense; he’ll coach linebackers »

UGA hires Grantham for $750,000 per year

(Updated 7 p.m.)

Athens –  He last coached on the college level in 1998. He’ll make more money than Georgia has ever paid an assistant coach. He’ll change the Bulldogs’ defensive alignment to a 3-4.

He is Todd Grantham, and he is the answer to the question that dogged Georgia fans for 43 days: Who would coach Mark Richt hire as defensive coordinator?

“We have our man,” Richt said Friday as he named Grantham, the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line coach, to fill the job that had been open since the Dec. 2 firing of Willie Martinez.

Grantham was known to have been on Richt’s radar for weeks, but at least three other candidates declined the job before it was offered to him. On Thursday night, Grantham accepted the same deal that Alabama defensive coordinator and former Georgia player Kirby Smart rejected three days earlier: a three-year, $750,000-per-year contract.

That salary will make Grantham the third highest-paid defensive coordinator in college football, behind only USC’s …

Continue reading UGA hires Grantham for $750,000 per year »

So is Grantham the guy?

All indications  continued to point Wednesday toward Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Todd Grantham as Mark Richt’s latest target for Georgia’s defensive-coordinator job.

What remained uncertain is whether Grantham would accept the job, and when he would feel free to do so.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Georgia keeps running into complications in its search.  The complication with Grantham -– beyond his decision about whether to return to college football after 11 years of building a strong reputation as an NFL assistant –  is that his current team is still playing.  Would the  Cowboys tolerate a potentially distracting announcement –- or even potentially distracting negotiations –- as they prepare for Sunday’s playoff game at Minnesota?

Grantham hasn’t commented publicly on the Georgia job. Georgia also had no comment Wednesday, reiterating Richt’s refrain that he won’t comment until he has his guy.

But it does appear that Georgia has zeroed in one another …

Continue reading So is Grantham the guy? »

Dogs’ Fox tweets to top of the SEC

OK, this doesn’t quite rank up there with, say, the Naismith Coach of the Year Award.

But congratulations, anyway, to Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox, who has been named the SEC’s “Twitterer of the Year” by the website DigitalHoopsBlast.com, which analyzed how all of the league’s coaches use Twitter to communicate with fans and prospective recruits.

The Website praised the “authentic voice” of Fox’s tweets, which obviously are posted by the coach himself, not an aide.

Some recent Fox tweets:

Jan. 1: “Reminder to self . . . Turn the cellphone off on new year’s eve next yr”

Jan. 7: “Play @KY on Sat – former Cat Mark Pope on my staff. He left med school 2 join us & now I know why. I’ve been sick for a week and he can’t help me.”

Jan. 8: “It’s freezing and miserable outside, which reaffirms the 2nd reason I can’t stand hockey. Reason #1: no one scores in double figures.”

Yesterday: “Just saw a list of underclassman FBer’s going out early . . …

Continue reading Dogs’ Fox tweets to top of the SEC »

Cowboys’ Grantham next target in DC search?

Athens – Hello from Butts-Mehre, where Kirby Smart won’t be coming to work.

All’s quiet here, by the way. No press conference or anything like that is in the works, if you’re wondering.

But on the day after Smart turned down Georgia’s defensive-coordinator job, Mark Richt presumably is about the business of pursuing the next candidate.

And let’s say — in the absence of any new credible rumors at the moment — that’s Todd Grantham, the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive-line coach who is known to have been on Richt’s radar for weeks.

In a search that has been full of complications, Grantham presents another. The Cowboys are in the NFL playoffs, preparing for a game Sunday against Minnesota, and will play a couple more games after that if they keep winning.   Would the Cowboys let Grantham talk about and even accept (although obviously not begin) another job during the playoffs, risking potential distraction? How would a further delay affect UGA’s recruiting, especially with the final …

Continue reading Cowboys’ Grantham next target in DC search? »

Smart explains decision to reject UGA (updated)

Athens — Kirby Smart won’t be coming to Georgia as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator,  deciding after two days of deliberation to remain in the same job at Alabama.

Smart, a former Georgia player, explained his decision in written comments provided by Alabama:

“I think it was pretty well known that there was an opportunity to return to my alma mater as defensive coordinator,” Smart said.  ”I wouldn’t even have considered discussing the position with any other school, but when it is a place I’ve spent some of my best years and had some great memories, I thought it was something I should discuss with my family and figure out what was best.

“After thinking about all the factors over the last couple days, we are going to stay at the University of Alabama. We love it in Tuscaloosa, have made some great friends here and I think we are building something special here at Alabama with Coach [Nick] Saban. I have learned so much in the time I’ve spent with Coach Saban, and every year …

Continue reading Smart explains decision to reject UGA (updated) »

Richt on DC hire: ‘I’ll let you know when it happens, I promise.’

As Georgia appeared on the verge of hiring a new defensive coordinator, the Bulldogs’ best defensive player, Rennie Curran, announced on a teleconference late Sunday afternoon that he is leaving school early for the NFL.  Which provided an opportunity, of course, to ask Mark Richt about Kirby Smart.

“I’ll tell you what I’ve been saying all along: that I’m not going to make any comments on the [DC] search until I get my guy,” Richt said.

And is getting his guy  imminent?

“I’ll let you know when it happens, I promise,” Richt said.

Earlier Sunday, ESPN.com reported that Smart — the Alabama defensive coordinator — had not decided whether to accept a UGA offer of a multi-year contract at $700,000-plus per year and that Alabama had told him it would “do everything necessary to keep him.”

While basically silent on Smart,  Richt had a lot to say  about Curran, the junior linebacker who announced the end of his UGA career.

“Rennie has been nothing but awesome for Georgia since the …

Continue reading Richt on DC hire: ‘I’ll let you know when it happens, I promise.’ »

Curran says he’ll leave UGA for NFL draft

(Updated 6 p.m.)

As Bulldog Nation awaited word Sunday on whether Kirby Smart will be Georgia’s next defensive coordinator, the team’s best defensive player announced  he is leaving school early for pro football.

In what he called the “toughest decision I’ve had to make in my life,” junior linebacker Rennie Curran said he will forgo his final season of college eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL draft.

His decision came as Georgia appeared on the verge of hiring a defensive coordinator to replace Willie Martinez, fired on Dec. 2.

Smart, Alabama’s defensive coordinator and a former Georgia player, has been considering a lucrative multi-year offer to take over the UGA defense but has not made his decision known.

“I’ll tell you what I’ve been saying all along: that I’m not going to make any comments on the search until I get my guy,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said late Sunday afternoon.

And is he about to get his guy?

“I’ll let you know when it happens, I promise,” Richt …

Continue reading Curran says he’ll leave UGA for NFL draft »

Smart weighs return to UGA

(Updated 9:30 p.m.)

Kirby Smart, the defensive coordinator of newly crowned national champion Alabama, apparently is considering a return to Georgia, his alma mater, for the same job but considerably more money.

Smart, seen as a leading candidate for the UGA position since the Dec. 2 firing of Willie Martinez,  was weighing a formal  offer on Saturday but “has neither signed it nor made a decision regarding the opening,” according to the Tuscaloosa News, which cited “multiple sources.”

Smart has been publicly coy about his interest in the job but left the door open during a press conference in California two days before the national-championship game. He could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Georgia had no comment on the matter other than to say that no announcement of a hire was scheduled. Associate athletics director Claude Felton said he had not heard from coach Mark Richt all day and that no announcement was expected through Saturday night. Felton said Richt had …

Continue reading Smart weighs return to UGA »

Was Saban sending a message to Smart?

Just listened to audio of Nick Saban’s final press conference in Pasadena today before he and the national champions flew back to Alabama.

Thought you’d be interested in Saban’s comments pertaining to assistant coaches making lateral career moves.

You could certainly interpret the remarks as pointed advice to Kirby Smart that he shouldn’t leave the defensive-coordinator job at Alabama for the same job at Georgia.

Said Saban:

“I’m always happy and interested for our coaches to be able to advance professionally, especially if it is a professional advancement in terms of a guy being a coordinator who can go be a head coach in a situation where he has a chance to be successful. . . .

“I’m not pleased when guys make lateral moves because it’s a little bit human nature to think, like my dad used to say, the grass is always greener on top of the septic tank. You always think it’s better someplace else. You kind of let your ego get involved, and you make moves that you shouldn’t make …

Continue reading Was Saban sending a message to Smart? »

Unranked in final polls for first time since . . .

So how long had it been since Georgia ended the season unranked in either the Associated Press or coaches’ final poll, as happened today?

The last time it happened was . . . 1996.

This season, victories over Georgia Tech in the regular-season finale and Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl did not catapult the Dogs into the Top 25 of  the final AP or coaches’ polls, which were released this morning.

The last time Georgia was unranked in either final poll was Jim Donnan’s first season as coach, when the Dogs went 5-6 in ‘96.

Since then, Georgia had been ranked in the final AP poll every year and in the final coaches’ poll every year except one (the exception being 2006, when the Dogs were unranked in the final coaches’ poll but 23rd in the final AP poll).

Before this season, Georgia had been ranked in the top 10 of the final coaches’ poll six of the previous seven seasons.

In today’s rankings, the Dogs were in the “also receiving votes” category of both polls. They received …

Continue reading Unranked in final polls for first time since . . . »

Smart? Grantham? The beat goes on

Updated 10:05 p.m.

So tonight we find out who is college football’s national champion, and soon we should find out who is Georgia’s new defensive coordinator.

There’s always a possibility of a Mark Fox-type hire, meaning a hire who doesn’t get mentioned in the rumor mill until the deal is done.   But if that’s not the case, then the recent course of the process suggests that one or more of the remaining candidates have been sort of busy lately.

Kirby Smart has been busy preparing Alabama’s defense for tonight’s national championship game. Todd Grantham has been busy preparing the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line for Saturday’s NFL playoff game against Philadelphia.

Smart has acknowledged talking with Mark Richt, although he said Tuesday they hadn’t talked “much” and that “he’s not offered me anything.”  If that’s the case -– and of course it might be semantics – you’d think they’d have a lot to talk about in the next couple of days.

There was a report this afternoon by a …

Continue reading Smart? Grantham? The beat goes on »

News and notes, with Smart and Grantham updates

(UPDATED 11:55 A.M. and 6:30 P.M.)

A few quick notes:

– So it has been a pretty good five weeks or so for UGA sports fans -– wins over Georgia Tech in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, and a bowl blowout of  Texas A&M.

– The enduring sounds of rivalry: the “Just Like Football” chant late in Georgia’s basketball victory over Tech last night and the “I Run This State” play-on-words from the football victory.

– OK, here’s the latest word from Kirby Smart.  Reporting from Newport Beach, Calif., where Alabama is preparing for tomorrow night’s BCS national-title game, ESPN’s Chris Low says Smart didn’t completely shut the door on the UGA defensive-coordinator job Tuesday. Here’s what Smart, Alabama’s DC and a former Georgia player, said at a BCS media session:

“I haven’t really talked to Mark [Richt]  much. To say I said ‘no’ to Mark … he’s not offered me anything. So that’s not really accurate. To be honest, with this game coming up, I haven’t …

Continue reading News and notes, with Smart and Grantham updates »

Reshad Jones makes his move; Curran next?

(UPDATE: As expected, Reshad Jones formally announced this afternoon that he is leaving UGA early for the NFL draft. Click here for the full story from his press conference.)

Georgia junior safety Reshad Jones, who was on the verge of entering the NFL draft a year ago, will do so this time and forgo his senior season at UGA, he confirmed late Monday night.

Although he changed his mind on the draft decision a couple of times last year, he indicated he is firm in his choice this time.

“I know I’m ready,” he said.

He said he made the decision after consulting with his family.

Jones will formally announce his decision to enter the draft at a news conference in Athens this afternoon. UGA says  to expect no word today from junior linebacker Rennie Curran, who is deciding whether to join Jones in the draft.

The NFL deadline for eligible underclassmen to enter the draft is Jan. 15, but  Curran has  indicated he  might prefer to make an announcement before spring-semester classes …

Continue reading Reshad Jones makes his move; Curran next? »