There I said it. I admit it. I'm not even ashamed.
"Listen man, I can get you in on this," I told him. "I can offer you half of my steak dinner. This is a good opportunity for both of us."
"Is that right? I don't know," he said. "I don't think I can help you."
I know it sounds it bad, but hear me out…you guys have been along on this same ride with me before. There is talk of a steak dinner bet drifting about…the rumors are true. Dean and I have a bet on which team will win G-Day. I've aligned myself with the Red Team, captained by Ben Jones and Christian Robinson. "We" go by the extremely unofficial title of #TeamJonesRobinson.
"Our" team mentality is strength and toughness; we want to mix it up and get nasty. We have been blatantly attacked on Twitter by Dean Legge. We will not stand for this.
On the other side of the battleground, Dean has endorsed the Black Team, or Team211 as the Twitter tags refer to them as. And in case anybody missed it, I was maliciously attacked on the Dawg Post G-Day preview by Dean and Dijana, as she somehow worked herself into the bet.
Once again, Dean has taken the safer bet. He chose the team with the star starting quarterback, inherently giving him better chances. I scoff at his move. He thinks he's playing chess to my checkers. That's fine—KING ME is how I respond to all his smack talk.
I'm not scared.
But I did ask Boykin to throw the game just to cover myself.
"I'll try my best not to do that for you," Boykin said.
Thanks Brandon. Thanks a lot. But seriously, this new set-up has given me a reason to really get into G-Day. And I want all of you to remember tomorrow as things are playing out…the Red Team must win. I need to eat. And the steak won't be from Chili's this time. I promise you that.
With all that said, ladies and gentlemen you already know what it is, let's get it poppin'.
BernieDawg asks: How has Chris Conley's spring been going? Do you have any initial indication as to whether he will avoid the redshirt and work into the WR rotation?
I haven't been able to personally see much of practice…but I did see Conley working with the punt return team on Thursday. Now, I saw him muff a few, which reminded me that he should be gearing up his high school prom. He should be fumbling with a garter instead a football (I meant that in a completely non-sexual way).
Anyway, I think a redshirt would be good, but with the numbers at wideout, it may not be possible. I expect Malcolm Mitchell to play right away, but I'm not sure if Sanford Seay or JSW will be ready to play. Conley may play some next year.
BlackDeathD asks: How hungry is this team?
I'd say pretty hungry…
and I saw some Ohio St fans comparing their troubles to AJ Green's troubles last year. Have that gotten into Charlie Sheen's stash?
I don't want to get preachy this early in the Mail Bag…Oh, you want me to get preachy? OK, well…
First all of, the Ohio State "Tat 5" traded numerous items for tats. This was a repeated offense, and supposedly occurred after the players have been "re-educated" on the subject of compliance.
Also, Tressel was warned via email and did nothing. He contacted people he thought could tell the players to stop…but he didn't report the violation. I probably wouldn't have either, but that's fine as long as you don't get caught. Also, until reporters FOI'd Tressel's emails, he claimed he knew nothing of the violations. Oops...that was a lie.
On the other hand, faulty reporting (which I know nothing about) led NCAA investigators into the ins-and-outs of A.J. Green's bank account. The jersey money deposit showed up, and A.J. told them what happened. He was contacted by a runner via facebook. He needed money for a spring break trip. And who wants to keep an Independence Bowl jersey anyway?
What A.J. did was wrong. But there was no cover-up, no repeat violation…and also, A.J. served his time, effectively tanking the 2010 season from the get-go. Meanwhile, the "Tat 5" played in the Sugar Bowl, a move in which I find despicable on the NCAA's part.
What I take from the average weak defense by any Ohio State fan: Just like most people who hate or like President Obama or President Bush…people only believe what they want to believe. And they only listen to viewpoints that agree with what they want to believe. Therefore, they're never wrong in conversation and they never learn one thing to the contrary.
I'm telling you boys, sports fandom is very similar to partisan politics. Surround yourself with people like you…and only listen to people like you…and keep on keeping on…ignorance is bliss. But so is calling people who think differently than you ignorant.
lawdawg96 asks: Looking at the two G-Day game rosters, do any of our captains have a future as a GM? Is Ben Jones a draft master? Or did Aaron Murray and Double B get some late round steals?
Begrudingly, I'll hand it to Aaron and Boykin—they got a few gems late in the draft. Wideout Taylor Bradbury and running back Brandon Harton split the Walk-on MVP award for the spring. And yes, I misspelled Bradberry's name on purpose.
So, that proves Team211's ability to do research and find those late draft steals.
"We're similar to a Super Bowl champion caliber team, I would say," Boykin said. …"And (#TeamJonesRobison) helped us by not picking too good to start off."
Whatever. I'm over it. Let's move on.
What's the line in the game? I'm thinking Red, -3.5. My 401k depends on it.
The line has shifted to Red Team at -4. Of course, Dean and I are straight up, no handicap. I'm fine with that. I've got confidence in my team. Seriously…why is Dean already carrying steak sauce around with him? Why does he even need steak sauce? It ruins the steak…it ruins the steak, Dean!!!!
SuwaneeDawg03 asks: What's with the 'Mail Bag'? What happened to the S(t)ack? While I'm at it, I hope I am getting my questions in early enough so you won't overlook one of your faithful followers this week.
I must pause here and provide a moment of silence for our friend SuwaneeDawg03. Last week, his streak of asking a question in each and every single Mail Bag was snapped…but not by his own doing. Somehow in the midst of the extremely simple act of copy and pasting questions from the Interwebs to Word, I overlooked his question.
By the time the error was realized (by SuwaneeDawg no less), the damage had been done. Officially, SD03 has asked a question for every Mail Bag. I know it. He knows it. We now all know it. But, technically, he hasn't appeared in every Mail Bag. This is my fault, and I've offered to meet him at Raisin' Canes on Baxter Street to amend this terrible mistake.
Luckily he declined—it's tax season, yo! I'm broke.
1. Have you heard any rumors of CMF losing one of his bigs due to academics? We have offered several big men in the last few weeks is why I ask.
It would be unfair for me to comment on the grades of either. I've never talked to Dixon (again, his cell phone would give Eric Rudolph a run for his money…and that's probably cash neither could find. Also on the Eric Rudolph All-Stars: The Zodiac Killer, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh Jr., Deep Throat, Bigfoot, The person who was supposed to be checking Georgia football player's driving license validity from 2008-10).
I have talked to Byron Samuels a few times. He coached Florveus at Hillsborough CC. He never mentioned to me John would be iffy, but I never thought to ask either.
2. With Trey and Travis both gone, how many spots are open for the 2011-12 season?
It looks like Fox can give out up to three more ‘ships if he sees fit (this is assuming Bucklin and Nolte are on a tentative basis). I still wouldn't Vincent Williams this though (taking a player just for the sake of saying you did).
3. Grantham was quoted as saying Geathers has looked so good in the spring that he wants to put Geathers and Jenkins on the field at the same time. His confidence in Geathers has really grown since the season ended. That would be one heck of a D line for Lattimore to try and run up the middle against.
Yes…I agree. Geathers & Jenkins…together, stopping running backs and breaking down carnival rides!
4. Will the G-Day game feature any former players as coaches?
I haven't heard that…but I'm not discounting that former players will be crawling all over Athens. I know Rennie Curran will be back in town. Also, there is an alumni flag football game before G-Day.
From UGA release: Approximately 74 former football lettermen, team managers, coaches and trainers, spanning across five decades, will divide into two teams and participate in the friendly competition. Some notables returning to play on the Red Team include Mikey Henderson and Thomas Flowers, while Amp Arnold, Jevaris Johnson, Burt Jones and Fred Gibson will be playing for the Black Team.
Plus, there is a QB skills competition at halftime, featuring Matt Stafford, D.J. Shockley, Matt Stafford, David Greene, Matt Stafford, Eric Zeier…and Matt Stafford.
They changed the format for teams but are they still rewarding the winning team with steak and lobster?
Yes, the winning team gets steak and lobster…the losing team gets beanie weenies…and no, I didn't make that last part up. The losing team really eats beanie weenies.
aname asks: how has this spring camp been compared to past spring camps. I know that question is a little generic but I'm sure you can come up with something.
I'll be honest, the practices have been much the same. There is still a lot of tackling, throwing, catching, running, etc. going on…Except for one major detail. Richt implemented this points system so he could keep track of who won each day. He pitted the defense versus the offense, invoking some serious competition in the process.
Adjusting the G-Day team selection was the culmination of this train of thought…speaking of which…
blackbulldawg asks: 1. What are your thoughts on this draft G-day good or bad idea?
I think it's a great idea…Look, I enjoyed the first few G-Day's I attended. But the past few years, the whole thing has really grown stale to me. The offense always looks flat. Players who will never play in the fall always look like superstars.
It got to where I was typically just hoping nobody got hurt more than anything else.
Now, there is a little competition going into it. The players seem to have an edge to them. Richt and the coaches seem to be excited about it, in a different way than in previous years. And Dean and I, once again, want to kill each other—which is always great.
There are a few cons: Ben Jones won't be snapping to Aaron Murray—which is just weird. And the full first team defense won't be together, so we won't be able to truly gauge what Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree will look like behind Tyson, Geathers and Jones. Wait a second…maybe Coach Richt set this whole thing up on purpose…that master of puppets Richt…and he would have gotten away with it, if not for me and blackbulldawg!
2. How has Jarvis Jones looked so far this spring?
Jones has had a great spring. He has that alpha-factor when he walks in a room. Either you immediately know you need to talk to him, or you ask somebody, ‘Who is that guy.' He just carries himself so well.
3. What is actually wrong with Dallas Lee I keep hearing Asthma like symptoms whatever that means?
Georgia won't say. He's been out at every practice, but he hasn't done anything. I think it would be less confusing if UGA would release what's up, but they're staying quiet on that front.
4. Have you heard anything on Cornbread has been pretty quiet since he committed?
He'll be in Athens this weekend for G-Day—the first time he'll ever see a game-like atmosphere inside Sanford Stadium…wait…is that…no, surely not…wait, it's Rodney Garner…here in the Mail Bag for the very first time…Take it away Rodney…
"Of course he says he's working really, really hard. That's what he's saying. He says he is. He was about 361 when he was here the other week. He's a big man. He says he's running. He says he's doing all that. He says all the right things. I'm going to (Gulf Coast CC) next week…"
Thanks Rodney. Don't kill me.
As of right now, Georgia is trying to get Jenkins enrolled early, attempting to bring him in for Maymester instead of the customary early June enrollment. I'll keep you posted.
5. Who do you think will be the better qb after Murray's gone Hudson or Lemay?
One word…Christian LeMay.
6. I know you loved Belin but can CKO hold his own on as far as teaching the basic fundamentals like Belin?
I think Coach O will be fine here…I'll direct you to my answer about Coach O further down in the Mail Bag. He makes an appearance, but only had time to answer one question. Read his extended answer below.
Thanks again for all you do
Thanks for playing along.
DickVanDawg asks: How has the forgotten man Wooten looking?
Woot kind of has gone missing, hasn't he? I've heard he's done fine. There's been more transfer rumors regarding Woot than on a private high school basketball coach's voicemail.
Maybe that last line could use some work…I digress.
Woot is in a good position for significant playing time next fall. That's why I always dismissed the rumors of his leaving almost immediately. Now, it's all up to him. Just because I point out there is time and targets and catches to be had doesn't mean Malcolm Mitchell or Chris Conley or Michael Bennett won't surge ahead and grab (get it!) the opportunity themselves.
The key with Woot is saying healthy and staying consistent. He has a niche—his speed and quickness. If he can perform for a full fall camp, he should find his way into the slot more often in 2011.
dunkaroos8 asks: 1) What are the key reasons why Christian Robinson is our co defensive captain? It sure wasn't because of his play last year.
Because of this:
"If you don't have the right attitude, if you're a me guy, you can't have that," Robinson said. "I think the guys we have right now are the guys that are going to do it right. You don't have to worry about having off-the-field issues and things like that. The guys that are here, that are going to stay here, that are doing the right things, you don't have to worry about that. If they do, they know the consequences."
"We're brothers," Robinson said. "That's the main thing right now. We're not a bunch of individuals, we're a bunch of brothers that are out there playing a game, trying to play for the guy next to him."
"I think the guys that are here and that are playing right now that coach Grantham has trust in are those guys that stayed positive and kept working," Robinson said.
"That's one of his assets is his leadership qualities," Grantham said. "His ability to make the calls, his ability to communicate with the other linebackers. Those are the things that are his assets. He's got to do those things for us to move forward to be the kind of defense we've got to be. So, I'm expecting big things out of him from the leadership standpoint, from the communication standpoint.
You do realize that Robinson routinely played both "Mike" and "Mo" last season—hence, he was all over the damn place in both practice and in games. And now, he's got two seasons of playing "Mike" all the time. He's making all the reads. He's making all the calls. He's…the captain.
2) Eminem is the best rapper alive and one of the greatest to ever live. True or False?
I would say false and true. I think Em is definitely one of the greatest to ever live—based on commercial success and my own taste.
But, between Wayne and Jay, I think there is enough competition out there to dispute if Em is the best currently living. And if somebody can dispute your claim, then it means you're not the fabled "Best Rapper Alive."
I'll add this…I still remember running up my driveway after getting off the bus in sixth grade to watch TRL. When ‘My Name Is' came out, I'd never heard anything like that. It was such a unique form of expression (parents would probably disagree). It was great stuff—especially for a sixth grade boy who still laughed at fart jokes.
Now, I sometimes wonder just what in the hell Eminem is so damn mad about…but given his history and background, he's certainly used his struggles to make great albums. Sometimes it gets to be a little too much angst for me though.
gadawgluver asks: How good is Nemanja Djurisic ? How many more will the BB team sign or how many more could they sign?
On Djurisic…I feel like underwear at Woodstock…just plain useless. I've never seen the guy. Never talked to the guy. I've watched a few highlights, but that doesn't mean much.
I'm told he could be an inside-outside threat…but that's the extent of my knowledge—just being told.
Like I said earlier, I think Fox could sign two or three more. I doubt he takes that many kids though. I could see him potentially pulling Ware in and then calling it quits.
How are the players talking about this spring practice, any one name been talked about a lot?
Jarvis Jones has been talked about quite a bit…but if you're looking for players "trending up," I'd give the edge on defense to Kwame Geathers. On offense, Michael Bennett and Arthur Lynch have been the talked about guys.
Geathers and Bennett will be important, since they both play a position that isn't stockpiled with depth. And I think Lynch is a good sleeper pick to make an impact this season.
How much better will our defense be in the second year under Grantham?
I think the defense will take a positive step this year. There are a lot of things working in Grantham's favor…Jenkins and Geathers should help the defensive line play more consistent against the run. The linebackers look explosive, though there is a lack of proven depth behind the starters.
And the secondary is in good shape (as long as a safety steps up opposite Rambo).
I think the defense will be this team's strength.
Will Jenkins play before Geathers?
Everyone (including myself) has anointed Jenkins as the starter. But Geathers did exactly what he needed to this spring. He stayed healthy. He worked on using his hands more effectively to shed blocks, according to Rodney Garner. He is in great shape. And keep in mind, Geathers is technically younger than Jenkins; he's only a redshirt sophomore.
I'm going to stick with Jenkins—but I think a much improved Geathers is important. You've got to have depth.
Has our new athletic facilities helped recruiting?
There is no other answer here—yes, they have. There is no way the facilities could not have helped. The place looks great. It's state of the art. Players, past and present, have been put on a pedestal, and I think recruits have taken notice.
You can see in quotes from write-ups after visits that the facilities have helped.
Has Fox's contract been signed, and if no when will we have him locked up?
The contract has not been signed yet. Currently, I'm not sure of the timetable, but I don't think there is as much of a rush as was initially reported. It may still happen tomorrow, but after talking to Fox a week ago, he seems happy with where he is. He said Greg McGarity is a person he enjoys working for. And he didn't seem overly concerned with finalizing things right away. He said all this with McGarity about five feet away from him, so those two seem to be on the same page.
begger asks: With all these recent big man offers (which you're getting scooped on by the way), is Dixon or Florveus in danger of not qualifying?
Again, I won't comment on the kids grades because it wouldn't be fair given my limited contact. I have not heard anything specific about anybody not qualifying. But I did get scooped when Cady Lalanne didn't make it.
Now, you're right: I have been getting scooped. But I'm not too concerned. None of these recruiting scoops have happened in my own sandbox. I was on top of the Florvous deal, but he's from Florida. Nemanja Djurisic is from up North…and I'd never head of the guy until some website in Arizona broke the story…which makes no sense to begin with if you think about it.
I'm not losing sleep at night…but then again, I don't sleep well anyway.
jca239 asks: I have read a little about the OL Coach, but almost nothing about the LB Coach. Give me some information about how the players feel about the jobs their new coaches are doing. I really want to see these two new guys get the best out of the players this year.
Well, in my opinion…wait…what is that? Why, it's coach Kirk Olivadotti cruising into the Mail Bag…Ladies and gents, give up for Coach O!...
"Obviously class work, that's what the players are here for. And football is also what they're here for. They have two huge things being a college student and making good decisions and all that kind of stuff. You do have to help them through that because you know these are still young men that are finding their way through…I'm lucky because the group that I have, they're good people…Coach Grantham wants things a certain way, and the expectation of these guys has not changed one bit. It's high expectations for them, and they understand what they've got to do. The No. 1 goal—if you don't know what to do, show me hustle and we'll figure the rest of it out. We're getting to the point where we know what to do. If we put that with great effort, we'll be good."
Thanks Coach O…by the way…here's a little story about Coach O from my own personal experience. I was interviewing him this week, and like most of my interviews, I was asking obscure questions that most reporters had no use for the answers Coach O was giving me. You guys have read my long, extended features—I'm not always trying to figure out who the back-up's back-up is at Mo like most beat guys are (nothing wrong with that, it's just not what I get paid to do).
Anyway, I gave way to other reporter's questions and backed out of the circle of humans looking for another opportunity. 10 minutes later, Coach O came up to me and said, "Hey, did you get a chance to ask me everything you wanted to?" We then had a wonderful chat, talking about all kinds of random football "stuff" and various topics ranging from Southern living to his wife and children.
Do you know how many times a coach has done that for me? That's right—ZERO. So props to Coach O. He bought the Minion's loyalty with his awesomeness.
And, since CMR became the "UGA Spring Game Commissioner" this year, do any other schools pick teams for spring games the way UGA is this year or is 1 versus 2 typical elsewhere?
Most teams go ones versus twos…I think Miami has gone ones on ones in the past. But I can't think of any specific schools that let captains pick teams like this…I'm sure it has happened before, and Richt said he had tried to do this in the past, but his assistants didn't like the idea.
No, thank you.
MrBigDAWG asks: Alright Fletch here is the scenario. You and Dean are professional athletes. You can pick any sport you want. Pick for Dean as well. His can't be basketball though. Tell me why you and him are all pro in your respective sports. What is your strengths and weaknesses? Last but not least, who is your alls biggest fan and why? It can be anyone in history. Thanks
Interesting question, to say the least…
Dean would certainly be a professional tennis player. He actually played tennis in college, and was quite good, I'm told. Actually, he's the one who told me, but I'm pretty confident he was good. I mean, think about it; individual sports were made for Dean—he's selfish, competitive and when he smells blood, he goes for the throat. His weakness would certainly be his arrogance, as he would give his competition little to no credit as a legit threat to beat him. He'd also probably be kind of like John McEnroe—a little whiny and "always right" when arguing with officials.
Currently, to say Dean has lost a step would be an understatement. But I think he could still rope a backhand down the line on a good day.
Dean's biggest fan would be his mother, who is also an avid tennis player. I could see her words of encouragement pushing Dean to all-time heights.
As for me, I'd like to say basketball. But I'll be real here…I guess I'd pick baseball. I was a career .301 hitter in high school. I hit leadoff and was a decent outfielder. I got good jumps on the ball. I wasn't a world-beater by any means though because I spent about 10 percent of the effort on baseball in the offseason that I did for basketball. I regret that.
My biggest fan would certainly be my dad, who always would stand next to the fence by the on-deck circle and tell us funny jokes or call us names usually involving cuss words as we got ready to hit. He also walked out and grabbed my one and only home run ball my senior year, a beach ball type pitch I pulled over the right field wall (yeah, I'm left-handed, get over it).
As I was standing in the on-deck circle the at-bat before I hit my home run, my dad said ‘If you hit a home run, I'll walk my ass out there and go get the ball for you.' I proceded to pull a fastball off the fence for a stand up double. I avoided my dad for the next two innings because I didn't want to hear it. We're like that, always messing with each other. He was kind of like our team dad. He had a little running joke or funny nickname with just about every player on the team. Kept us going, since we were a .500 club. We won a few. Lost a few. Laughed a bunch.
Anyway, so I get back up in the on-deck circle later in the game, and he said, ‘You're never going to hit a home run, are you?' We had a big laugh because I'd hit about three or four balls off the wall that season. At the plate, first pitch in and I smacked that thing way over the right field wall.
I remember rounding second base and thinking out loud, "Yeah…take that (word I can't print)."
And the old man walked his ass out there and picked that ball up for me.
Excuse me, it's gotten rather dusty here in my apartment. I'm gonna need a minute.
Turn the lights out boys, the party's over. We outta here baby. Thank y'all for coming.