But I'd like to take a Mail Bag moment of silence in respect for all those who lost lives, homes and loved ones this past week.
I managed to make it through with no damage—to my family or me. And I know I'm either lucky, blessed or both.
Anyway, I've received a few emails and PMs from readers in pursuit of Mail Bag Hall of Fame status. The past few Sacks, I've made mention of a few highly regarded readers that I consider Hall of Famers.
Now others want in the Hall. But it's not enough to just ask to be in the Hall. You've got to prove you're worthy. It's not enough to get my approval. There is a select criteria for entry into the fabled Mail Bag Hall of Fame.
Currently, nobody is officially in the Hall of Fame. But that will change in the coming year.
I'm thinking we'll have an induction twice a year (with five inductees per "class")…the beginning of August (the first week of Fall Camp) will mark the first class. August 6 to be exact because that's my birthday. Fitting, huh?
And early February (the day after National Signing Day) will see another batch inducted.
The first rule of the Mail Bag HOF is, you DO talk about the Mail Bag HOF.
There are a lot of other rules, but really, I'll be picking candidates for the first class inducted this August for various random reasons—consistency, humor, knowledge, awesomeness, dislike of Legge, bribes, favors, running into me one night in downtown Athens and simply asking…should be fun. And there will be t-shirts!
With all that said, ladies and gentlemen you already know what it is, let's get it poppin'.
thedogfather asks: What do you think is the ideal degree (or degrees) for a college head coach to have? Bachelor degrees are the minimum and the most common, but what area would you prefer their Bachelor's be in? Just for reference...Dave Perno (Marketing Education), Mark Fox (Physical Education), Derek Dooley (Juris Doctor), Brad Stevens (Economics), Urban Meyer (Psychology), Les Miles (Economics...shocking), Nick Saban (Business...not so shocking)...I can't find Mark Richt's or Manny Diaz's.
First of all…great question dogfather. Quite frankly, many coaches go through school with one goal in mind—get through this with a degree and get to the next level. I've seen more than enough coaches with random degrees that justifies me saying that.
But I had never thought to look up a coach's degree and then try to match his coaching style…for some of the guys you listed, this works in brilliant fashion.
Think about it: Urban Meyer as a psychology major. Fitting. He did have quotes like this:
"I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win."
"It was a bad deal. And it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and our football team.
All third-person nonsense aside, I'll hand it to the guy—his teams were always ready to play. Florida's coach and best player (Tim Tebow) seemed to be on the same level of thought at all times. And the Gators went on arguably the greatest four-year run of all time because of all the motivation, concentration and preparation.
Nick Saban (business): Is it any surprise Saban comes from a business background? His oversigning practices prove he understands meeting the bottom line. Also, he has shown how to get the most from his investments, and also the uncanny ability to cut ties with underperforming assets before they drag the "company" down.
Brad Stevens (Economics): His sabermetrics brand of basketball is all about calculating percentages—and capitalizing on positive matchups.
Derek Dooley (secondary degree: Juris Doctor): Perfect having the word doctor involved here, since he's been placing band-aids all over Knoxville since his arrival.
Damn, dogfather—this little study we're doing is starting to represent something real. Don't worry; I've already contacted the patent office. And I included your name. We'll be rich! We're going to write a book about this, and not one with big colorful pictures like the ones Legge reads before bed at night.
Honestly though, if I had to peg a preferred educational track for a coach to take…I'd say go the teaching route in undergrad (so you can coach high school if you can't hack it in the college ranks). I'd take Social Studies or History. That's just me. And then I'd advise a Master's Degree in Sports Administration…that way you can work in sports information or potentially as athletic director on any level.
I think this line of schoolin' would leave a coach with the most options moving forward. I like options. I'm balanced like that.
SuwaneeDawg03 asks: Thank you for your weekly thoughts and musings. I don't know how you stay so humble with Dean Legge worshipping the paper you type on.
I hear you man. If Dean asks me to autograph one more copy of a Dawg Post magazine, I'll fume. I know he's just putting them on Ebay to supplement his slush fund.
What can you tell us about the NCST PG, Ryan Harrow, and our chances at signing him to be our starting PG in the 2012-13 season?
I think Georgia has a legit shot here…the only hitch—when a player hits the market at this time of year, there are usually a great many teams getting in on the chase.
Georgia's "home-state" appeal is a nice angle (even though Harrow only lived in Marietta for two years)…but when schools like Kentucky get in the mix, it can be difficult to land a kid.
I have a good friend that works in Charlotte. He's in sports media, so he's knows a little something about Harrow.
He told me Harrow is giving all the right lip service about seriously considering Georgia. But he also said there seems to be a lot of "bigger, more traditional" programs that will be tough to beat out.
I think Harrow is (obviously) undersized. But Georgia must get a point guard for the 2012-13 season (when Ware and Robinson will be gone).
With Kevin Ware suddenly back on the market, Fox needs to pull one of the two.
Do you foresee Muschump being a tougher disciplinarian than his predecessor Urban Crier?
I say he'll play the game like most coaches do. He'll get by with what he can and if the public perception demands it (Jenkins) he'll lay the hammer down.
I wouldn't expect some kind of iron fist rule or anything. Muschamp really had no choice with Jenkins, so the "New Sheriff in town" was an easy angle for Florida homers—er, I meant Florida writers—to take.
The NCAA finally sent a letter to the Tressel and the Buckeyes this week. Even Kirk Herbstreit is saying that Tressel could be ousted and Pryor could have already played his last game at THE OSU. How do you see the situation playing out?
Slowly. Exhaustingly. Dumbfoundingly stupid leisurely. I think those last three words don't make a recognized sentence. Whatever.
It's probably going to take the NCAA a long time to get around to making a decision on all this. And by getting around, I mean investigating and all that.
I said right here in the Mail Bag weeks ago I thought the Vest should have been fired. If he were anybody else, he would already be gone. But winning has a way of creating a comfy parachute for just these occasions.
At this point, nothing would surprise me (Tressel let go; Pryor ineligible, etc.). But I don't expect to hear anything in the near future.
This may be a touchy thing to ask but that is what the Mail Sack is all about. Can you expound on how the Dawg Post faithful view a certain Scout reporter who loves the jort wearing Gators?
I think the Dawg Post faithful have been quite clear on this issue…they've been about as receptive as I was to the movie Black Swan. Talk about feeling awkward for two hours!
Anyway, I won't comment on all that fuzz. But I will say…I've never gone to another Scout site and posted anything about the University of Georgia—for or against. We'll just leave it at that.
blackbulldawg asks: 1. I saw Chip Towers has a mail bag going at the AJC do you think he feels the heat from your large following?
Ah yes, I did see Chip's rendition of the Mail Bag. I like Chip. When I first started prowling around Butts-Mehre (back in the day; about three years ago) he was one of the first writers to actually speak to me as if he were actually interested in what I was doing.
He is actually the inspiration for the Jim versus Dwight wars I sparked between Dean and I. Chip started calling me Jim (from the Office) because of my hair and propensity to always have the "What trick does he have up his sleeve" grin.
In saying that, I must add that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Chip starting a Mail Bag is an example of something I like to call "Pageiarism." The definition of pageiarism is as follows: -noun, pay-juh-riz-uh m, something used or represented from any original form of Fletch.
I think there is plenty of room for two Mail Bags…who knows, maybe Chip and I could tag-team a stack of questions together in the near future. His may be better. But mine will always have been first…sounds like something you would say to your ex-girlfriend from junior year in high school. What? Too much? OK. But I'm not editing it out. It's staying.
2. Who do you think gets the start next to rambo at safety?
The more I think about Jakar Hamilton and Shawn Williams at safety, the more I realize Sanders Commings is probably the best fit here. I just see that as the best move at this time (even though I am deeply infatuated with Commings' length, size and ball skills at corner. I guess Supertramp sang it best in ‘Give A Little Bit…"there's so much that we need to share." Yeah, I just went Sanders "Supertramp" Commings. Let's keep it moving).
3. What is your list of things we need to do to win our first two games?
Well, for the Boise State game, I don't see the offense having too much trouble scoring points. I also said this for the Liberty Bowl, but I digress…I think the game will come down to stopping the esteemed Broncos' offensive attack. And here's how to start (you know, since I'm such a football expert and all)…Boise's offense looks complicated. I'll give it that. But the plays are actually fairly simple. I know there is a lot of hype centering on trick plays, but truthfully, Boise is successful using relatively simple plays for the most part. The trick is, the Broncos employ a ton of different formations and shift quite frequently. This is why the offense looks so convoluted or confusing.
The quarterback—Moore—had a huge year last season. But his arm strength is average at best. He makes plays because of execution and creating hesitation. He's not exactly Matt Stafford-slinging it all around out there. If Georgia's defensive backs can make plays on the ball and stay focused through all the shifts and looks, I think there are a few turnovers to be had.
I'm not sure if you wanted me to get too technical about this…but that's the way I see it.
As for South Carolina—I suggest a hard hat and a workman-like attitude. It's the SEC opener, with control of the East on the line. That's a "mentally and physically tough enough" test of top shelf or well liquor connotation. Winner drinks all.
4. From what you have seen so far who would be the starting tailback minus crowell?
I have no faith in Ealey being around tomorrow. Much less for next season.
5. Do you think we get Keith Marshall on signing day?
I think Georgia has a great shot with Marshall…and when it comes to 5-star playmakers, a great shot is all you can ask for at this stage in the game.
If Richt doesn't end up with Marshall, I'd expect him to say the Bulldogs were his runner-up choice. That's how close I think it will be.
6. Who do pick to win the SECe race ?
Looking at South Carolina's offense (despite having a quarterback that can read a bartender's tendencies quicker than an opposing linebacker), it's hard not to pick the Gamecocks.
But South Carolina has some work to do defensively.
Georgia is looking like a viable option—but there is some doubt created because of the past two years.
Florida is supremely talented…but is amid change in the most important area—structurally.
So yeah—three team race. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida. But you already knew that. Let me get back to you on this. At this moment though, I'm leaning towards the ‘Cocks. I know, right? Speaking of which, the naming possibilities for my Mail Bag would be endless if I covered the ‘Cocks. I'll leave it at that. (ducking...scanning the room...ducking again).
As always thanks for all you do
Thanks for playing along. I over-budgeted this week, so there are no door prizes. Sorry.
14dawgs47 asks: 1) What is your opp. on why Georgia struggles with consistancy recruiting WR. We have great facilities, great QB's and we play in the best confernce
It has to do with the style of high school football customarily played in the state of Georgia. Not many teams use a pass-heavy attack. Thus, you see more running backs, tight ends and run-blocking offensive linemen coming out of the state of Georgia.
Since most of the state runs the ball, receivers are at a minimum because the best athletes grow up playing other positions of need within the system.
Hence, Georgia routinely seeks players from out of state (Green, Massaquoi, Brown, Wooten, etc). And when you're going into other states looking for players, you can expect to be hit or miss. Mostly miss.
That's the short of it. The long of it is the same hypothesis, just more drawn out.
2) How do u see our TE's playing out does Aurther ever get a real shot.
Yes, I expect Arthur Lynch to contribute in 2011. He's too impressive physically to ignore. He's going to be a beast in the run game, short yardage situations and on the goal line.
But he's also got that "Everybody calls me a blocker so I want to catch passes to prove to them I'm an all-around threat" chip on his shoulder. Color me impressed.
I bet coach Lilly feels like the coolest eight grade boy at a middle school dance. He's standing there in khakis and a way-too-big button up shirt untucked just weighing his options. By the end of the night, he will have danced with the hottest chick (Charles) a dozen times. He'll go to the safe bet on occasions (White). He'll mix it up with a niche artsy girl during rap songs (Lynch). And he'll even grant a dance or two to the new girl who just transferred in last week (Rome).
Yep. You guessed it. I just woke up from another word-induced coma. Let's move on…
3) Have you ever thought of writing a book I think you could be the next Lewis Grizzard.
I'm flattered…and to tell you the truth, I think about writing a book at least twice a day. I'd love to get in on that action in the future. For the time being though, Dean keeps me busy chasing this and that. Like Grizzard said, "If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes."
gadawgluver asks: Fletch - How is your crystal ball?
It's big…and it's deep. And I don't like the sound of this lead-in. My crystal ball tells me prognostication is in my future.
1) How many games will UGA win next year?
Yup. My ball never fails me.
I'll set the over-under at nine. Right now, I'm playing it safe and taking a push.
2) Who will be our highest drafted player or players next year?
3) Who will start the first game at nose on defense (assuming all are healthy, etc.)
Sticking with my boy John Jenkins. But Kwame has done his thing this spring.
4) Where is AJ Greene going?
I'm going to say Cincinnati. But if I were the Carolina shot callers, I would take Green, Peterson or MD. No chance I'd draft a quarterback that wasn't a sure bet with that first overall pick. No way.
5) Who will start the first play of the first game at back?
Isaiah Crowell. And he'll keep his gold teeth in, too.
6) I think we may have a legit backup at quarterback this year, your thoughts?
Hutson Mason has come a long way. He just looks more confident in every area—on the field, talking to the media, interacting on the sideline, etc. I think it would be wise to try to get him a redshirt season somewhere along the way, but LeMay probably needs a year to marinate the most at this point.
Either way, at least it's not do or die with Murray this season. There are some legit options developing behind him.
7) With our players bulked up for the spring game, how big are they going to be with 4 or 5 more months to go....e.g., can the defensive nose guard get bigger, he is a very large kid now?
No, Kwame can't get any bigger. He's about right, in terms of where he needs to be.
I've been told the routine is changing just a bit. The past few months were all about regaining control, enforcing accountability and working dudes beyond what was probably physically possible (extended groins or hammys anyone?).
I think the team is still going to work out with the same accountability—100 percent attendance, nutrition keeping pace, etc. But I don't think Joe T is going to be as insane about blowing muscles up moving forward.
I think the team got the hard work wake-up call it needed. But a littered injury list won't work heading into fall camp. It's time to work smart. It's time to get back into explosion. It's time to get back to winning battles five yards at a time. Knocking out 30-rep sets of squats is fine when delivering a message in February. But now is the time to get down to football-specific training.
The players are blown up swole. Now it's time to hone the craft. I'll label the past four months "The Hard Work Gut Check." The next four months simply need to be called "Explosive."
8) Who is our next football recruit? Is it too early to guess?
How about Leonard Floyd? Oh wait…that one panned out, didn't it? OK. Let's see…I'm going to say Ricky Parks or John Atkins. Parks should be making his decision soon and has Georgia in his top three. Atkins is said to be a strong Georgia lean who was rumored to be close to committing weeks ago. Ronnie Milsap says...Any Day Now.
By the way, does anybody else giggle just a little bit when Milsap belts out the chorus to "Stranger In My House"…? "There's a stranger in my house, somebody here that I can't see…"
You know…Ronnie Milsap is blind. I'm thinking…yeah Ronnie, you've got a damn good point here. And some people say country music is too literal. Pssh!
By the way…Ronnie Milsap went to Young Harris College. I'm just sayin'. Hey, Dean who is the most popular country music singer that went to Coker? That's what I thought. Even if you could trump my Milsap play, I've got Trisha Yearwood (YHC '84) to come back over the top with.
That means I've got Smokey Mountain Rain and She's In Love With The Boy to throw at you. Read ‘em and weep, brother!
9) What will be our basketball record next season?
I'll put the over-under at 17. And for the moment, I'm taking the under. They're going to be young.
10) I have vibes that Ray Drew will play some next year? Do you think he is a factor by the end of the year?
He has no choice but to play. There is absolutely no depth at outside linebacker. So Ray is going to play early and often. He may even start.
11) How many yards will Crowell gain? (If he learns to block, stays healthy and just a pie in the sky dream case, what is he capable of)
I've got him for 249 attempts, 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns. Wait…why do these stats look so familiar? Google them…
MrBigDAWG asks: Fletch, this one may take a little research on your part. If we break it down by position can you rank the players girl friends / wives as to eye candy rating? Then, can you rate the top three overall?
Wow, this is an extremely intrusive question—almost of creepy proportions. Which means this is perfect for the Mail Bag!
I was tempted to use Facebook for my research, but I stopped short of cyber-stalking.
Here's the deal…I'm not going to get into specifics here. My knowledge on this subject is rather limited. But I do know a few things: Quarterback is always going to win this contest.
It just comes with the territory. Here's a con for the starting QB: having to always face the media—every practice, workout, game, kitten saved, etc. Here's the pro: leading the pack in this type of "eye-candy" discussion.
Here's a few sleepers for you though—the linemen rack in Athens. It's true. They're called the big uglies on Saturday. Apparently they transform into lovable teddy bears when they hit the streets. It's true.
And tight ends do well, too, which may surprise some as well.
Anyway, possessing pro potential is crucial here. A.J. Green and and Matt Stafford prove this to be true.
Let's move on before we have to register on some kind of list for expressing such creepy thoughts…
I know your love interest would rank at the top, but give us a few comments in what she sees in you.
Oh man…I'm not entirely sure why she's still hanging around. I'm out of shape and past my prime. But I can tell a mean story here or there. I've got that going for me at least.
I asked the Minionette to make her first appearance in the Sack to describe her feelings for me. She responded: "How long do I have? When is my deadline?" I took this to mean there wasn't enough time for her to fully convey her deep range of emotion toward me.
At least that's my take on it.
You got it. And maybe we should take a break from each other for a little while. You know, just to let things get back to normal for a bit.
38243824 asks: who if your favorite interview in both categories, coaching and playing? why? blurring of absolutes is ok.
My favorite coach to interview is/was Pete Herrmann. Great guy. Loves to discuss the game. We still talk to this day.
True story: I wrote a column about Pete when I worked at the Red & Black way, way, way back in the day (2008). That afternoon, I got a call from a random number.
"Fletch?"…"Yeah"…"This is Pete"…"Pete?"…"Yeah. Just wanted to tell you I appreciate what you wrote about me today. It means a lot. You didn't have to do that."
We've kept in touch ever since.
Three years later, in an ironic twist of "Just how bleeping small is this floating rock we live on," Pete now coaches at YHC…a mere mile from the house I grew up in.
Anyway…currently my favorite football coaches to talk to are Lilly and Coach O. They're both easy going and approachable. They both seem to want to talk about anything—not just football.
Players would be: Bacarri Rambo (talks about anything), Christian Robinson (walking sound byte), Aron White (sometimes talks too much in a fun way), Aaron Murray (yep), Brandon Boykin (puts up with my obscure questions about steak dinner bets I need help with)…there are probably more. Also, I like talking to DeAngelo Tyson. He is probably the most genuine person on the team.
You know, it may be time to dust off "Fletch's Interview Hall of Fame," once again. There are some new candidates for the Rennie Curran platinum penthouse.
begger asks: Ryan Harrow: What are our chances with him? Have you spoken with him? Come on ugly, you may not be as attractive as all these pretty new reporters posting these days, but you can still get them on hustle and personality
I'm close to putting my resume on Craig's List. It's tough for a guy like me—you're right though…I can still hustle and hope to squeek by on the strength of my Ronnie Milsap references and lack of fear from authoritative figures (I'm glaring at you Lord Legge).
As for Harrow, he's going to give Georgia a shot. Like I said earlier, there are a lot of coaches inquiring about the kid. Now that Ware is back on the market (he's becoming the Liz Taylor of in-state kids this year. He's finalizing his second divorce already) Fox needs to get one or the other.
Having talked to a few people, I think Georgia has a better shot with Ware. Like I said last week, the UCF pledge stunned me. Ware opening back up is calming my fears of this whole world hitting an irrational stretch.
No1DawgFan asks: Fletch, for the 2011 season you can have 1 player from any past Georgia team play in 2011. Said player is magically transported from their time to ours. So yes they are in their prime. The catch? You cant pick Hershel or AJ!
I've already contacted Doc about borrowing his Delorean to make this happen.
So…I'm tempted to say Champ Bailey. Georgia is shallow at corner and they could use Champ's skills at receiver.
But…I'm going to actually break this down by real needs. On offense, Georgia is short on tackles. The Bulldogs are in good shape at every other position (outside of maybe receiver). So, if I were to pick an offensive star of the past, I'd take Jon Stinchcomb.
He could play on the left side, which would move Cordy Glenn to the right and relegate Anderson and Harmon to back-up status (which would help some of you sleep easier at night).
Now, defensively…I think a safety or outside linebacker would be in order.
After much thought (and believe me, I gave this a lot of thought), I think I would choose Sean Jones or Thomas Davis to take over opposite Rambo.
I'm leaning toward Davis because I think he would compliment Rambo moreso than Jones. But I really loved watching Jones play, so I think…no, wait…yeah, I'm going to take Sean Jones. There's just something about him.
Now, throwing all the logic and needs out of it…I'd take Champ. And just to throw this out there…if I could pick one player for an opposing team to play against Georgia this season—I'd take Tennessee quarterback Jim Bob Cooter (Wes "G-6" Muilenberg's hero).
BlackDeathD asks: With the success Bama has with oversigning, do you feel it gives them a much bigger advantage over UGA?
Yes, I do.
Do you see the practice of using medical shirts, pushing players to transfer ect to thin out the weakest link then reload heavy with recruits every year will cause the NCAA to react one day or is this practice the business of the program?
It's hard to say. I know, I know—I'm giving the old "gray area" answer. The scholarships are on a one-year basis for both the player and team's protection.
Sure, Nick Saban can push an underperforming player out. But what happens if the NCAA steps in to protect the players and says ‘ships must be honored all four years?
What if the player gets homesick? What if the player's mother or father gets sick?
So, there is a chance for programs to take advantage of players…but there is also the potential for a player to leave a program hanging as well.
I can see both sides of the coin. Some may not think it is not right, but this is a business. If the coach after CMR, used these practices and we were winning championships would the UGA fans really care?
I would bet winning would help sweep the tactic under the rug. Yes.
Would the instate coaches care as long as the kid was allowed to finish school with a medical RS, or at Georgia St. What if you did not force the kid off the team, but instead said kid you will never play here, but I will help you transfer to a school you will play at it is your option? or kid that injury is bad and you are falling behind in the depth chart I can work it were you can take a medical shirt and still get your degree it is your option?
Would this allow UGA to be more aggressive when offering kids? If this practice to here to stay, then why not?
Well, yeah Georgia would be able to restock and reload. But this is all about each coach as a professional and as a man.
Look, I don't like the oversigning practice. But let's face it—Nick Saban does not earn over $4 million a year to graduate kids from Alabama. I know that's not popular to say. And I know these schools like to use the graduation rate and all that to emphasize the "student" part of student-athlete.
But Saban gets paid to win football games. Period.
And he's going to do everything in his power to do that. Is that how I would run a program? I'm not entirely sure.
Coach Richt has made it clear that he cares about his players growing into men and making something of themselves. He genuinely wants every kid he signs as a high school player to come to Georgia, grow as a person and earn a degree.
That's his prerogative.
That doesn't mean Richt wants to win less than Saban. And it doesn't necessarily mean Saban is a bad person compared to Richt.
It's two different approaches, which both have shown to be successful the past decade (Saban's route just a tad bit more gleaming).
I don't think I could tell a 19-year-old kid he no longer had a place on the team. But I've never had the pressure of the SEC and winning and rabid fans and tree poisoners weighing heavily on every one of my waking moments.
I hate to bring political issues into this…but you know that person who says, "I don't support (insert controversial topic), and I would never (perform the controversial topic). But I think it's not my business to tell somebody what to or not to do"…?
I'm gonna take that stance with the oversigning issue…
And since I've now mentioned an ambiguous "non-football serious issue", I think I need to get out of here before the conversation gets too dangerous…
Turn the lights out boys, the party's over. We outta here baby. Thank y'all for coming.