Bulldogs Blog

Ye Olde Mailbag

ATHENS - Let me start out by making an exciting announcement: At long last, I have ditched my Blackberry and upgraded to a real smart phone.

This means many things, not the least of which is that my photographs will no longer look like they were taken during the Civil War. Remember the shot of Bobby Bowden from spring practice? Or some of the equally grainy shots from the Outback Bowl and SEC championship? Ugh. Well, no more of those.

And now, like most people who upgrade, I have no idea how I ever lived without this. Quicker access to e-mail, the ability to post blogs from my phone, and of course, Words With Friends.

(Now a digression: Speaking of technology, condolences to my friend and colleague Gentry Estes, who had his tape recorder snatched on Wednesday night at UGA Day in Charlotte. Although it did result in a productive thread on his Dawgs247 message board.

“Bobo took it,” was the best response from a reader.)

(Digression No. 2: Politically, I see things going this way: President Obama comes out for same-sex marriage, and approval rating in Georgia goes from 40 percent to 30 percent.

But then President Obama then declares: "Mike Bobo sucks." And Mitt Romney immediately concedes any hope of winning Georgia.)

On to the mailbag:

If u could pick any team for UGA to have a home and away game with, who would it be?

- Bryan Hall

Interesting question. Firstly, I’ll take personal preferences out of the equation, or else I’d say Maryland (so I can visit the family) or Michigan (so I can visit the in-laws.)

Actually, wouldn’t a trip to Ann Arbor and the Big House be kind of neat? I also wouldn’t mind seeing some snow. So a Michigan-Georgia home-and-home would have to be high on my list.

Let me group it by conference:

ACC: Clemson, even though it’s already planned, because of proximity and the chance to make it a real rivalry. (Virginia Tech and Florida State are also intriguing, but Blacksburg is a haul, and Clemson-Georgia has such a rich history.)

Big 12: Texas. This is a no-brainer, because Austin has always struck me as a bigger version of Athens.

Big Ten: Michigan, for reasons stated above, although Wisconsin, Ohio State and Nebraska would be pretty cool too.

Big East: Boise State, although check back in an hour to see whether the membership of the Big East has changed again.

Pac-12: USC, because the opportunity to write about Lane Kiffin all week would be too much to pass up. The scenery is also nice, although Stanford, Oregon, California and Colorado all would be cool place to visits. (And I’ve already done Boulder, in 2010, but wouldn’t mind going back.)

Final choice: Texas. 

I have attempted for a number of years to get an answer to this question on various blogs to no avail..I'll try again: When a non-qualifier goes to a prep school, e.g., Hargrove Military or Valley Fork Military, etc, who pays for this, the school, his parents, boosters??? Never get an answer!

Also, suggest for first dance: "Always"...seems appropriate.and good luck!!

- James A. Mercer Jr.

Thanks for that … Although I have to ask if you mean “Always” by Atlantic Starr, or Irving Berlin, or who? There are a lot of choices. That said, I’ve already suggested the Atlantic Starr version – which I find to be a very nice tune despite its over-the-top corniness. Hey, sometimes that works. People attack “Field of Dreams” because it’s corny, but I don’t care, it still is one of my top 10 movies. There’s nothing wrong with a little sentimentality every now and then.

But I digress …

As for your prep school question, it definitely can’t be a booster or anyone connected to the university. But I can understand the confusion because the common phrase is that a college team “places” a player at a prep school or junior college.

Here’s the deal: The player or his family or guardian is still supposed to pay, just like in high school. His amateur status cannot be put in question. If he or his family can’t afford it, there are scholarships, or grants or student loans, just like the rest of us. When a team “places” a recruit at a prep school or junior college, a coach is just calling another coach, and saying: “Hey can this kid play for you, while we keep an eye on his progress, and if all goes well and he qualifies we’ll take him in a year or two.”

Are the new recruits given playbooks to review during the spring and summer before they get to UGA? I'm talking about the guys who haven't already enrolled. If not, are they able to do much of anything with the coaches or players to get ready for collegiate football prior to enrollment?

- MoGA

Recruits are allowed to receive playbooks once they sign. That’s an NCAA rule, but it also would not behoove a college to send playbooks to recruits who haven’t signed yet – because if they go somewhere else, you don’t want them carrying your secrets on to their new school.

You may recall that Keith Marshall got kudos from Mark Richt for studying his playbook at the first team meeting in January. My understanding is Marshall, since he enrolled in January, had to wait until then to get the playbook. Todd Gurley, on the other hand, may have received his as soon as Feb. 2.

Will be ever know what the philosophical training methods were that Coach Tereshenski employs compared to Van Halanger? Also, when you were covering the lamecocks, did you ever come across a Slic Ric on the Fighting Gamecocks Forum Message Boards

- Patrick Lowe

I think there’s been a lot written about Tereshinski’s approach: There was this piece I did last year, soon after he took over the strength and conditioning program, as well as this from his press conference this March with new hires John Thomas and Sherman Armstrong.

But in a nutshell, Tereshinski believes in trying to build up endurance, and be in a position to still have 100 percent strength in the fourth quarter. The path to getting there is not an exact science, or else everyone would be doing it. I am impressed that Tereshinski appears willing to try some cutting-edge techniques or new things, such as hiring a speed coach.

Slic Ric was around Columbia and the Gamecocks a lot, but for some reason I never personally ran into him. I was on the phone once with Dave Odom when he had to put the phone down because Slic Ric was taunting him. But that’s about it. On a side note, I’d say the moment I found out the Iron Sheikh was not really Arab, nor made of iron, was when I stopped believing in anything.

Probably too late for your mailbag, but since some people seem to care about such things: Word on the street (i.e., a Facebook friend who's in the group) is that the Redcoats are moving back to their previous location (aka, back to the North 10/15); they will no longer be in the West end zone, under the scoreboard. Have not confirmed this with leadership, but am guessing that, if they're telling the members, it's a go.

-Michael Brewer

Honestly I had not heard that, yea or nay, but next time I’m around someone who knows I will ask. In the meantime, I’ve obviously posted what you heard, so perhaps others can confirm.

Next Season's SEC Championship matchup and score.  Go.

- Trae Merchant

Oh, you had to put me on the spot. I hate you. But I’ll try:

Alabama vs. Georgia. Alabama 20, Georgia 13.

I’ll leave it like that, and stop from having to explain myself, assuming no one else out there submitted a question that would force my hand.

How many wins do you predict for the football team this fall? Do you expect a return trip to Atlanta?

- Bob Sacamano


I try to be careful about the prediction business, because I’m a beat writer and not a columnist. But I’ve been saying for awhile that the most likely scenario is the East playing out like it did last year: South Carolina beats Georgia head-to-head, but Georgia wins the division. (For the record, I’d pick UGA over the Gamecocks if the game were in Athens.) But that matchup is so far out this year, and we’re still waiting for the smoke to clear (so to speak) on the drug suspensions at Georgia. Still, I tend to think that if Georgia can survive the defensive suspensions the first four games, and the offensive line can at least be average, that should be enough to get the Bulldogs back to Atlanta.

Why Alabama over LSU? Because the most recent memory we have is of Alabama soundly beating LSU, so at the moment, while LSU has more returning talent, my knee-jerk reaction is to trust the coaching of Nick Saban over Les Miles.

But don’t rule out Arkansas. The John L. Smith hire, as pilloried as it was, may have been just the right thing for this year: The Razorbacks have top 10 talent, and by hiring Smith they do the least amount in terms of damaging continuity.

I read your blog and the Ledger-Enquirer articles every day or two to get an insider glimpse into the Bulldogs program.  As a Dawg fan in the northeast, there isn't much coverage locally of what's happening down south.  So my questions is, when you aren't writing the news, where do you go to get the news?  That is, what websites, newspapers, blogs, etc do YOU like to read to keep up on College Football?


- Chad in NYC

First off, thanks for reading, Chad. And I appreciate the question.

In this day and age, I follow Twitter almost around the clock, which is a source of a lot of my news. I follow the major college football and basketball writers, except for the ones that I think are self-glorifying jerks or right only 75 percent of the time. (Not mentioning any names. Maybe their last names rhyme with Bad. I don’t know.) And I follow several beat writers or columnists that cover each of the SEC teams. That’s pretty much how I follow SEC and college football-related information. (And I don’t just read the tweets, I follow their links.) I used to have various newspaper or blog sites bookmarked, but now everything goes through Twitter, which is a nice way of streamlining the process.

As for Georgia-related news, I don’t want to alienate anybody by saying which of my colleagues I read and don’t. But safe to say I keep abreast of what other people are writing, and I also follow the fan blogs to get a feel for the thinking of my audience.

Beyond all that, I also have a rolodex of people in the business I can talk to, whether it’s writers, coaches, former players, administrators, or whoever.

What are the chances Mason gets some burn on the road against Mizzou? Think he might get a start this year? Any Heisman talk?

- Parrish Walton

Well done.

Is it true that John Elway said Hutson Mason is a better prospect than Andrew Luck?

- Parrish Walton again

When an artist is at work, you just get out of the way.