Although, the last time I met up with David in Atlanta, I saw Ludacris and Jesse Jackson, valet parked my car and had a drink at the wrong hotel, went on a 15-game winning streak in shuffleboard in a random establishment, bummed a ride at the end of the night with two Georgia Tech students and ended up asleep on a pullout couch covered up with cushions and towels. And I still don't remember the score of the Braves-Phillies game I supposedly attended earlier that day.
Dave: Listen, Sally, it's not my fault that two Shirley Temples causes you to black out or that a standard hotel hand towel covers the bulk of your important parts or that Jesse Jackson turns up in some really unexpected places. I think I saw him filling up a '72 Dodge at an Exxon in Trenton, New Jersey last week.
Nevertheless, I'm thrilled to be back on the UGA beat for at least a few days. Baseball's great and all, but the season's been over for six weeks, contract talks with Jimmy Rollins are at a standstill and Ryan Howard is giving me the silent treatment ever since I accidentally set his jock strap on fire. Seriously, who knew those things were so flammable?
Fletcher: I just knew the Phillies were gonna steamroll their way to another World Series title. And they didn't even make it out of the divisional series. Same goes for the Yankees. If Major League Baseball got some sense and installed a BCS system, these inferior October Classics would be eliminated...
Dave: Hey, you can't knock baseball. No, there's no band at halftime. But I got to watch a guy run on the field and dive into the tube they use to roll up the tarp during a rain delay. And sure, the exquisitely appointed coeds have been replaced by fat guys named Sal wearing Chase Utley jerseys with cheese whiz dripped down the front, but they're just as belligerently drunk as any SEC fan. And unlike at Sanford Stadium, the Phillies finish cooking the free hot dogs they hand out in the fifth inning. Though, I must admit, they taste a bit gamey.
Fletcher: Sal sounds like a guy Tony Stewart and I could go on a road trip with, but get this Hale: Daryl Hall sang the national anthem at the Georgia-Florida game! And I was there. Instant footnote moment for the biography you'll write about me one day. Sure, I was in the press box (which was sealed tight with windows) and could barely hear his perfect pitch and spot on delivery. And yeah, I was born five years after 'Maneater' probably changed your life. So it wasn't as big a deal as I initially thought.
In the wake of Hall's performance, I was left wondering... Where was Oates? I like to think he was asked first, but said I Can't Go For That (No Can Do).
Dave: I went to see Conan O'Brien years ago and him and Andy did a "Behind the Music"-style skit where they played Hall & Oates. All I could find online was 10 seconds of it, but it's gold…
Anyway, the skit ends with the following exchange in a doctor's office waiting room:
CONAN: "Hey Oates, can I ask you something"
ANDY: "Sure, Hall. Anything."
CONAN: "Oates, what's your first name?"
Ah, just terrific. I also tried to find a clip of Hall & Oates performing a tribute to Alan Colmes on "The Daily Show," but that, too, was unavailable. Sometimes I wonder why I bother looking for anything other than porn on the Internet.
Fletcher: ... ... ... ... ... ... Sorry, I was just clearing my Internet history files.
Hey, one last thing before we pull this out of control vehicle back toward a route traveling toward relevance... Wayne Knight, or Newman as you Seinfeld nuts know him, had to make another public statement this week disclaiming reports that he spent time as the Georgia football mascot while at school in Athens. The mascot rumor makes sense -- he was essentially Dr. Hammond's puppet in Jurassic Park and Michael Jordan's talisman in Space Jam.
Dave: "I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm a US postal worker and my mail truck was just ambushed by a band of backwoods mail-hating survivalists."
With all that said… Ladies and gentlemen you already know what it is… Let's get it poppin'.
gadawgs98021 asks: What's your take on the recruiting coordinator leaving the Gaytors. You think he ends up at OSU and will that help us with recruits?
Fletcher: Normally my response to these hirings, firings, dismissals and resignations is that it never really hurts or helps one program or another as much as people think in the moments directly following.
But from all accounts, Mark Pantoni was a hard worker, a good guy and a great fit with the Gators. It's not exactly hard to recruit at Florida – it's kinda like having an Easter egg hunt in a chicken coup down there.
Losing Pantoni will hurt. But the Gators will still sign a top-notch class in 2012 and will recruit well moving forward.
Who you got this Saturday and do we cover the spread? In your opinion when we beat lswho do you think we get any votes for the NCG. 2 loses to 2 top 10 teams then beat the #1 team.
Dave: Let's dispense with the latter half of the question first. Georgia is currently 14th in the BCS with six two-loss teams, five one-loss teams and two undefeated teams ahead of them. Now, you could make the case that they vault ahead of Alabama, Arkansas and Oregon based on the fact that the Dawgs beat LSU and those guys didn't, but the overall resume still doesn't favor Georgia.
And, of course, there's the major problem of a one-sided head-to-head loss to Boise State, so there's virtually no way UGA could jump them in the polls, too.
So, best-case scenario, this is a repeat of 2007, when UGA has a close loss to South Carolina as their biggest obstacle toward a reasonable argument for a national title shot. And, once again, they could end up blowing out a non-auto bid conference team in the Sugar Bowl for a stellar finish to the season.
Of course, to get to that point, they'll need to beat LSU, and that's going to be a tough road.
I don't necessarily buy into the logic that Georgia hasn't played anyone this year, so therefore they aren't as good as advertised. The schedule was manageable, but they pretty much manhandled Mississippi State, Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech and gave South Carolina a close game when UGA was still finding its stride and the Gamecocks still had Marcus Lattimore.
But the problem is, that schedule also hasn't offered UGA a chance to see a team like LSU, and I just don't see how any amount of game tape can quite prepare you for what the Tigers are going to bring to the table.
Right now, the spread is 14, and I'd probably be happy to lay the points and take the Tigers.
But if you check with my bookie, he'll be happy to tell you that my insight isn't usually very valuable.
PIGGSKIN asks: I am interested to know what OL that we already have on campus seem poised to contribute next year. I am sure that if there were any new news on KHouston...we would have heard it. Is Austin Long ready to contribute? I was really looking forward to him playing, but his rehab has taken a long time. Do you see him being the player that he was poised to be out of HS? Who do you think takes over at C for BJones next year? Other than Theus, who do you think we may bring in that could contribute next year on the OL?
Dean Legge: Bring in? Nobody outside of Theus. But they've got David Andrews, Watts Dantzler and Hunter and Austin Long. I think people should be reasonable about their expectations with Austin for the time being. He's had a lot of injuries – back injuries and so forth. Those three guys haven't played much and they'll play a fair amount next year. I would say.
David Andrews will be the center. That's four guys that will play some next year that haven't played much at all to this point. Kenarious Gates could be a tackle with Watts and Theus – a three-man rotation there. Or Gates could be a guard with Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee rotating. There's a lot more flexibility next year. That's a good thing for them.
blackbulldawg asks: Fletch, 1. You said a couple of games ago that you would elaborate why you thought that UGA matched up better against LSU than any of the two other teams? As always thanks for what you do.
Fletcher: As always, thanks for playing along. And for your question…
I've felt like LSU was a better matchup for Georgia than Alabama for some time – years probably (I didn't even consider Arkansas in recent weeks. #posers).
My reasoning has a lot to do with the Tigers style of play. The run-oriented, play-action, smash-mouth style plays right into the hands of this version of the Todd Grantham defense. But I know what you're saying... That style sounds a lot like Alabama's.
Let's dig further. I think the Bulldogs are big enough on the defensive line to match up with LSU's offensive line. And if Georgia can stop the run, I don't think quarterback Jordan Jefferson is good enough to win a game without a dominant rushing attack or the defense taking care of the turnover battle.
LSU's depth (on both sides of the ball) is immense. But particularly at tailback, the Tigers have a lot of weapons to throw out there. At least four running backs are good enough to see meaningful playing time.
But none are as good as Alabama's Trent Richardson. That's why I think Georgia has a better chance against LSU than it would have playing Alabama. Richardson would be the best player on the field (similar to what Marcus Lattimore was in September against the Dogs). Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron (in my opinion) is better and more reliable than Jefferson. I know LSU won in Tuscaloosa and what I'm saying doesn't make much sense in keeping with the outcome of this year's Game of the Century. There's just something about Jefferson that makes me hesitate when picking LSU against a worthy opponent compared to Alabama.
That and I think Alabama's kickers screwed us out seeing Saban vs. Richt in the Dome.
hpdog asks: any updates on how a couple of Redshirt Freshman are doing in development this Fall? : Sterling Bailey, Zack Debell, Rome, and Bowman? Thanks
Dean: There's no way for us to know the answer to that. Sorry. No clue.
Fletcher: Georgia has cut the media off from interviews with redshirt freshmen. It's hard to tell what's going on with any of those guys.
ShadyDale asks: Any UGA prospects out of GISA this year?
Fletcher: I hear there's a killer tennis player out of Tallulah Falls that's got a lockdown return game.
Although, he may have trouble adjusting and making friends his first year or two on campus.
Michael asks: Should Georgia fans bring Crown Royal or Jim Beam to the Georgia Dome for the football game, and is the over a safe bet?
Dave: Here's a quick explanation of proper whiskey choices for Saturday's game…
Scotch -- For when you're trying to seem sophisticated to impress the ladies. Glenlivet, Glenfiddich… any Glen will do.
Jack Daniels -- For ensuring you get into fistfight with some LSU fans and require bail money later.
Evan Williams -- For when you need something classy to go with your six pack of PBR or to disinfect a bullet wound.
Jim Beam – For when you want to switch from microbrews, ostensibly so you'll be better at arguing.
(Note: If you're a 99-pound female, Yahoo! Answers recommends stopping after four shots.)
Jameson -- When only the aromatic blend of spices in Irish whiskey can get the smell of corn dogs out of your nostrils.
Canadian Club -- For when you're looking for a liquor that mixes well with Fresca, Country Time lemonade and Sunny D.
Makers Mark -- For breakfast. On pancakes or waffles. With bacon.
Crown Royal -- For when you want to taunt Fletcher until he does a half-dozen shots and ends up weeping like a baby and not wearing pants.
Fletcher: We've been over this Hale -- I didn't have anything to eat that day. I was vulnerable...
oilslyck asks: Why does the OL stay in the "freeze" position when they catch the other team jumping off-sides. I don't really think that it affects the Ref's decision, and if you get a free play - why don't you make the most of it!!!! Plus, someday it will get the QB killed!!!
Fletcher: You're right… While Murray and Ben Jones seem to be on the same page with snapping the ball with a defender offsides, it's as if Mr. Freeze instructs the rest of the offense for this occasion in practice. I'd snap the ball, have the line protect and tell Malcolm Mitchell to run as fast and far as his little heart desires.
Instead… Everybody chills.
graydog25 asks: With the possibility of us beating LSU in the secc game and a lot of analyst alluding to the slight chance they could be looking ahead to the nc game, is that just a scape goat to keep the spotlight on LSU and solidify their position in the nc game, because I don't see how in the world you can look ahead when you will have over a month to prepare for the big game, sure there is a risk of injury, but imo looking ahead is game planning and mental preparation in which there should absolutely be no excuse for LSU to do that with so much time to heal and prepare for more than likely, a team they have already beat,
imo LSU will probably win if I bet with my head, I think it will be close and we definitely can win the game, I just want to end any excuses in case we do win because there should be none and I get sick of hearing that
Ah, crap, I've completely whiffed on this question because I was looking ahead to the next one...
gunter2011 asks: Honey Badger vs. our ST.... who wins it? He's super quick.
Fletcher: Honey Badger – or Tyrann Mathieu as Michael Bennett calls him (the wide receivers refused to call Mathieu by the "Honey Badger" nickname this week) – is good. Real good. And have you seen his hair? Honey Badger don't care. Anyway – there has been a tremendous amount of buildup for this furious little cornerback this week (and most of the season, for that matter). But let's look at the stats before we take all the press and publicity to heart.
Mathieu averages 13.7 yards per punt return. That's second in the conference (behind Arkansas receiver Joe Adams). But Mathieu only has one touchdown from his punt returns – last week against Arkansas.
So, while he's plenty tenacious at returning punts, he's averaging a score for every 22 returns.
While Georgia does rank 11th in the conference in punting (34.6 yards net per), I think fifth-year senior Drew Butler will be able to angle punts or get enough hang time to negate the Honey Badger's nastiness.
Although, they do say nothing can stop the Honey Badger from eating when it's hungry. If Butler slips up, Mathieu will say, ‘Thanks for the treat, stupid.'
Can our O-Line (tackles in particular) contain the speed rush of LSU? If so how do they do that?
I have Butler vs. Badger in Georgia's favor and the opposite for that particular battle in the trenches.
We have a load of defensive studs, can they step up to stop LSU's 4 RB system? Lol
Fletcher: It's time to break out those seventh grade Algebra books… Professor Page is about to delve into another highly scientific, finely-tuned collegiate formula (sure to go wrong). Alabama leads the nation in rush defense – only allowing 74.9 yards per game.
This is variable A.
LSU ran for 148 yards on the Crimson Tide in the 9-6 pitching dual back in early November.
This is variable Z.
Z – A = 73.1.
So… LSU's Z was 73.1 yards more than Alabama's A. This difference is known as variable D.
Now… Georgia's rush defense is allowing 94.8 yards per game. This variable is G.
Taking G and adding D = 167.9.
My diligent observations lead me to believe that LSU will rush for 168 yards against Georgia. My results are highly respected in certain fields – those of which are not known to the masses.
suwaneeDawg03 asks: Will there be any former alums used as guest speakers to the team this week or right before the game?
Fletcher: This is a good question. I didn't hear about any former players speaking at practice this past week, but I bet there will be quite a few former players in attendance this weekend.
If I had to pick five that I thought were sure-bets to show:
Thomas Brown – on staff.
D.J. Shockley – his last two games in the Dome at UGA: 26 of 45, 389, five TDs.
Andre 3000 – OK, so he didn't actually go to Georgia.
Boss Bailey – not a leap to be on this list.
George Foster – that dude loves his Bulldogs. Tweets prove it.
And two that I can guarantee won't be in the Georgia Dome:
Do you think there was one single person who expected UGA to be playing in the Dome on night of September 10?
Our defensive strength is against the rush. Their offensive strength is their rushing offense. I think our line and LB's can handle them. Who do you think wins this battle?
Fletcher: The formula says 168 yards – I've had my modus operandi questioned in the past. And sure, I've been wrong before. But only when I didn't want to be right.
Dean: What are you even talking about?
Fletcher: Let's move on...
dunkaroos8 asks: Of our defensive starters right now, how many of them do you see making a big impact at the next level?
Fletcher: Hmmm… Well… It would be too easy to just say yes or no to each player on defense. Let's rank Georgia's current defensive players in terms of talent, potential and professional appeal.
10. Mike Gilliard – Dude is always around the ball. Needs to add size.
9. DeAngelo Tyson – Good size. Good heart. Steady player.
8. John Jenkins – Great size. Still developing.
7. Shawn Williams – Tackler. Gentleman. Playmaker.
6. Abry Jones – Underrated.
5. Sanders Commings – Has the body to play in the league for a decade.
4. Bacarri Rambo – I told you so.
3. Brandon Boykin – I have a feeling Hale is gonna wax poetic about this one soon.
2. Alec Ogletree – Brick killed a guy!
1. Jarvis Jones – Could use another year in college. Or not.
Will Boykin be a better corner than Asher Allen in the NFL?
Dave: Asher has started 17 games in the past two seasons, and that's no small feat. But when he left Georgia, it was a decision made more of need than preparation.
Still, there was obvious talent there, and he ended up going in the third round of the 2009 draft. His rookie year was a bit hit-or-miss, but he's been decent in each of the past two seasons on a particularly bad team.
Boykin, however, has a chance to be something special. At the very least, I think Boykin will arrive more prepared for the NFL than Allen was, if for no other reason than he has four seasons of experience under his belt and two years playing under a DC with an NFL background.
But Boykin's raw athleticism is well ahead of even Allen's. He's skilled as a returner, has tremendous leaping ability, above average speed and he's a smart kid.
It's tough to predict Pro Bowls for anyone, because the jump from college to the NFL is a big one. But Boykin's got the talent to make it happen, and I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he ends up going about 40-50 picks ahead of where Allen was drafted and has a more immediate impact.
Nostradawgus asks: Given we are going to roll out two true freshmen at punter and place kicker for 2012, and given the fickle nature of kickers as we have seen from the two AA level kickers we have now, are there any walk-ons currently in Athens who are viable to compete for the jobs in 2012?
Fletcher: I'm not hearing any names at the moment. I wouldn't be too concerned with Marshall Morgan. He comes from a long line of players who were guided by coach Tim Conrad.
As for Collin Barber – I'm not sure. Wes M. saw him in action earlier this season, but Barber never attempted a punt.
thedogfather asks: How soon is too soon for Mark Richt to start recruiting Gerald Robinson Jr.? It was a joke when Leslie was talking about playing football, but for someone like Robinson it should be a serious consideration.
Fletcher: Dean and I were counting wins and losses for this year's basketball team earlier this week. We charted out the entire remaining schedule before tipoff of the Colorado game. Dean had the team winning 18 games. I had it winning 16. If you remember, I set the over-under for this squad at 16.5 at the beginning of the season.
For the record, Dean had Georgia beating Colorado on his mock schedule. Steak dinner, here I come.
What, surely you didn't think Dean and I weren't going to add something to the competition to up the stakes, did you? Or steaks, I should say…
Dean: What are you even talking about?
Fletcher: You know… Let's move on. For your steak... Er, sake.
dawgfan12388 asks: Are we the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best team LSU has faced this year? And how do we match up compared to the others? Does Orson Charles present the biggest match up advantage we have in the game?
Dave: Here's how I'd rank LSU's opponents, from worst to best: 13. Northwestern State -- Because they're actually from the Southeast.
11. Western Kentucky -- Because it's one of my top four favorite directions in Kentucky.
10. Kentucky -- Because I think I still have a tab open at McCarthy's in Lexington.
9. Tennessee -- Because wigs are 50% off this weekend only at the Wig Sphere.
7. Mississippi State -- Because I got a fevah, and the only prescription, is more cow bell.
6. Florida -- Because Urban Meyer is denying reports that he's already agreed that Florida should be No. 5.
5. Auburn -- Because of Bo Jackson. Seriously, I love Bo. In high school, my buddy Raj had a fake Alabama ID that said his name was Beaux Jackson. Good times.
3. Georgia -- Because Orson Charles is a hell of a matchup advantage.
2. Oregon -- Because 27 points remains the most anyone has scored against LSU this season.
1. Alabama -- Because if they had a decent kicker they'd be playing in the SEC championship game right now.
Will our receivers be able to have any success with their size advantage? Should we feed Charles and Bennett? Claiborne 6'0, Mathieu 5'9 -- MM and TK 6'1, Bennett and Conley 6'3, Marlon Brown 6'5 I'm worried they'll be really physical and experienced, nullifying Conley and TK and hindering MM.
Fletcher: The vertical passing game that offensive coordinator Mike Bobo likes to employ might not work this weekend due to the LSU pass rush and the potential for takeaways by the secondary.
I think I'm on the same page and paragraph as you… This could be a possession-type receiver's kind of game. Charles and Bennett fit that description.
I will add that Mitchell's speed and Conley's precision and King's experience could lead to a big play from a double move or pump fake. Perhaps Murray could use LSU's aggression against them. In saying that, I think Charles will be Georgia's leading receiver Saturday.
At what positions are we more talented or deeper than them? I say QB, WR, TE, and LB...and Punter.
Fletcher: More talented: QB, TE, P. … Deeper: WR, TE, LB
Is this a preview of the 2012 SECCG?
Dean: I think that's a strong possibility.
trooperdawg980 asks: Back in 07 we were sitting third in the country. We lost to Tenn. that year which resulted in them playing in the SEC Championship game although we tied atop the SEC East. This is the point that the ESPN led media began their crusade against the dogs and the ridiculous thought of us playing for the MNC. As a result of their efforts that week we dropped from fourth to fifth in the rankings that week although both West Virginia and Missouri in front of us lost. I believe it was LSU, Oklahoma, and one other team I don't recall that by-passed us. With all that said, although the circumstance slightly differ, I find it incredible that the same media can now preach that what could be a MNC game with neither team being their conference champion is the only reasonable course. Hopefully, the Dawgs win Sat. putting three SEC teams in the BCS. I can only hope that this would bring about enough dissent to bring about serious talks of an 8-team playoff.
Fletcher: Every season provides more fodder for those arguing for a playoff.
Just me personally – I think LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the country and deserve to play again (ducking). I'll add that I would have enjoyed seeing UGA play Southern Cal in 2007.
A playoff needs to happen. I'm in a favor of a four-team tournament. But I'm sure the fifth team in that scenario will feel like healthy food in Hale's shopping cart – left out.
bpadgett09 asks: What type of contract will it take to keep Grantham past next year? Maybe 4-5 years, with closer to 1 million per year sound about right?
Fletcher: Bingo! You're right on both years and money… I personally think Grantham makes plenty (750K), but his contract only runs for one more season. So he does need an extension. And the way this unit has performed, he should get a raise.
I think something between 850K and a crisp $1 million per is in order.
Who will be your signing day suprise for UGA?
Fletcher: Tough to call right now… But I'll say Avery Young. He's scheduled to announce on signing day and he seems wide open at the moment.
EmotionalFescue asks: Get out your crystal ball...its prediction time!
Fletcher: Yes! I love predictions (sure to go wrong). But I think it only fair to invite Nostradawgus into this discussion… After all, the man can see the future and does love the Dogs…
Which Bulldogs will be All SEC 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teamers?
Fletcher: First: Jarvis Jones, Aaron Murray, Orson Charles … Second: Bacarri Rambo, Ben Jones, Abry Jones, … Third: Cordy Glenn, Brandon Boykin.
Nostradawgus: 1st - JJones, Rambo, Ben Jones … 2nd - Boykin, Tyson, Murray, Glenn, Charles
First SEC Coach fired in 2012?
Nostradawgus: Joker Phillips and Derek Dooley will fight for that honor. I like Joker to crap out first by a nose.
Will Grantham get a contract extension this year?
Fletcher: Yes. After Richt's.
Nostradawgus: The care and feeding of Grantham by McGarity will determine the fortunes of our team for the foreseeable future. We need to lock them all up on that side of the ball. I hope we don't find some way to screw it up. Things are just going too well right now.
Also, who is your celebrity crush? One totally obvious and the other another off-the-radar.
Fletcher: Totally obvious: Justin Bieber. … Kidding… Brooklyn Decker wins all day long. I'd settle for Katy Perry, Anne Hathaway and/or Natalie Portman though.
Off-the-radar: My mom. She's the most beautiful woman in Georgia. Easy though, she's taken.
dawg4everWOOF asks: Do you think LSU will rush for over a hundred yards on our D?
Fletcher: Trust the formula… It says LSU will hit 168 yards.
I think this is the game Boykin will take one to the house on a kickoff return. Just watch i feel it.
Fletcher: We'll see…
Do you think LSU could be overlooking us since no matter what they're going to the NC.
Fletcher: Like Hale was saying earlier... Isaiah Crowell. ... Rematch game aside... Ah, I was distracted by the next question... What were we talking about?
could dawgpost make a prediction on the score and who ever gets the closer score gets a free month.
Fletcher: Nice thought… But I used up all my free handouts on the Fantasy League.
willbeezy asks: Fletch, which Murray shows up to play QB this weekend?
Fletcher: It's going to be Aaron – Josh has exhausted his eligibility and played defense anyway.
I kid… I assume you're splitting Murray into three categories:
Above average: Mississippi State, Tennessee.
Not as much: South Carolina, First 25 minutes of Florida, Kentucky.
Murray and this offense haven't faced anything near the defense that LSU has. But Murray has played excellent in seven games this season. He's played well enough to win 10 games this season. And he's really only hurt the team in one game this season. Murray shouldn't be causing any lack of sleep. The lack of a consistent rushing attack or stability at the tailback position should be the concern.
Speaking of which…
Also, why does Samuel seem to have a stiff hip when just running straight. Almost like he has something in his foot, he runs funky. What's up with that?
Fletcher: Ironically, he did have surgery on his foot four weeks ago. But he was running stiff well before the injury against Florida.
If Optimus Prime and Ving Rhames had a baby, it'd be Richard Samuel. And that'd be one stiff, nonflexible baby… That should probably play linebacker… Or stretch more… Please baby Richard Samuel, don't kill me.
gadawgluver asks: Do you think that A. Murry is a Heisman candiate next year?
Fletcher: He most likely will be, especially if he finishes strong in the next two games. It's impossible to deny his statistical argument to be a candidate. The team should be ranked fairly high going into next season, too.
Are you picking the dogs to win this time?
Fletcher: I've got LSU winning 24-10… (ducking).
Why did you guys not do a video after the tech game? Legge's thoughts or whatever?
Must have just missed them in the shuffle of content…
How much money will it take to keep Richt?
Fletcher: Money isn't the biggest issue with keeping Richt. He's just looking for stability and support. Years will be the most important thing for him. Tacking on an extra five to the two he's got left now should take care of it.
I enjoy the humor in your comments in this column very much...lol at times. The formula on how many yards IC would get was hysterical.
Fletcher: Thanks. I enjoy talking with all of you and trying to provide something that's different, informative and entertaining – all at the same time.
Speaking of which…
skeeter22 says: After reading a few of your better discussions (the ones that didn't take 3 Diet Cokes and a bathroom break to get through) I was wondering where you see yourself in say 20 years... professionally speaking. No sarcasm meant here (I imagine there are big bucks up the chain), but is working in the internet scouting field a long term plan or do you see yourself going the traditional (sports) writing path...and what is the pinnacle of each career? Hope this wasn't too personal...but you do have that Lewis Grizzard style of relating to us readers. I don't think this counts as sucking up because I qualified my question with a veiled insult at the beginning.
Fletcher: Thanks for the compliments… While I do think you're sucking up, this topic isn't too personal for me to discuss.
There's a short and long answer here. The abbreviated version is… There is no traditional path in sports journalism these days. The AJC had a sports staff with well over 50 people in 2004. Now? Less than 15.
Nobody told me that in J-school.
The long version of the story is… I had a lot of help and a great deal of luck to get where I am today.
In 2009, I was writing for the Red & Black and making just enough time to spend money downtown. My parents helped me out with less important things (rent, college expenses) while I put as much effort into "making connections" as I could.
I developed the nickname Sally among the sportswriter circle, but I became good friends with a guy named David Hale. He hooked me up with a freelance gig with the Macon Telegraph. That indirectly led me to a chance meeting with Dean Legge.
We randomly had a conversation about my hometown and I thought that was the end of it (Legge beat my team with a buzzer beating lay-up in the Mark Fox media classic that day. Still pissed).
Months later, Dean and I talked again. He needed some help in the buildup to signing day in Feb. and I had just graduated (Dec. 09). The next five months were pretty tough for me. I was working part-time with Dean and the Telegraph and making the same amount of money as a broke college student.
I applied for jobs that I prayed I wouldn't get. The worst was with the alumni relations department at a small college writing newsletters. Thankfully, I didn't get the job.
Anyway… In June of 2010, I interviewed at small daily newspaper. By this point, Dean felt good enough about me to offer me a full-time salary. And I've since picked up some extra work here and there that has helped supplement my income to a comfortable level.
So… Where will I be in 20 years? Hopefully covering a ball game somewhere or fretting because I've still got 15 questions left to complete my latest Mailbag. I'm not too worried about where I'll end up, as long as I'm credentialed to the next game. Most likely, I'll be pitching my biography idea… The Dean Legge Story: Thirst Knows No Season..
apple dog asks: Do you agree that as the teams on Tech's schedule see the triple option each year, it can only become easier to prepare for and therefore less effective?
Fletcher: I do. But it requires one important thing to stop it: Discipline and execution. OK, so two important things. And players that are better than theirs helps, too.
How many Emmys did Lou Holtz win for his work as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies?
Fletcher: Ah… Few people know about the versatility of Holtz. He was able to compile 249 wins at the college level, but only after starring as Daisy Moses, or Granny, on the Beverly Hillbillies in the 1960s.
Holtz was able to draw inspiration for his football teams from Granny's feisty personality… And he was also able to put some of the stops in his coaching career into perspective through the words of the old lady…
Holtz coached the New York Jets in 1976. Result: 3-11 – Holtz was clearly in over his head at the professional level. He only lasted a season and never returned.
Quote: "Elly May! Don't spit from a moving vehicle. Wait till it's stopped."
Notre Dame (1986-96): Result: 100-30-2 – Holtz led the Fighting Irish to the 1988 national championship and to a record nine consecutive bowl game appearances.
Quote: "Well, if there's one thing Jethro'd like better than fightin' it, it'd be eatin' it!"
South Carolina (1999-2004): Result: 33-37 – On the backend of his career, Holtz led the Gamecocks to an 8-4 record in 2000 and a 9-3 mark in 2001. He lost a combined 30 games in his other four seasons at the helm.
Quote: "How do you like yer possum, Lowell, fallin' off the bones tender or with a little fight left in it?"
I'm pretty sure some of that made sense.
Dean: What are you even talking about?
Dave: I spent roughly 36 straight hours pondering this question from a number of different angles (on my couch, at a bar, watching YouTube clips of old "Scooby Doo" episodes) but I was having trouble coming up with answers.
The solution, I decided, was to narrow down the options. All of the cartoon universe? That's too many possibilities. Instead, I tried to find a cartoon equivalent for each coach using only the greatest cartoon of all time: My Little Ponies! Wait, no, I mean "The Simpsons."
So, here are my choices...
Nick Saban is Mr. Burns. He makes a ton of money, he's evil, he's delusional about the outside world, other SEC residents are terrified of him and he treats his assistant coaches like they're Smithers.
Quote: Mr. Burns: Ironic, isn't it, Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election. And yet, if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That's democracy for you. Smithers: You are noble and poetic in defeat, sir.
Paul Johnson is Lionel Hutz. Prone to grandiose dialogue but falls apart in big moments and is grossly under-qualified for his job.
Quote: "Mr. Simpson, don't you worry. I saw an episode of Matlock in a bar last night. The sound was down, but I think I got the gist of it."
Les Miles is Homer. Continuously achieving success in spite of inarguably idiotic decision making. Frank Grimes offers the proper explanation: "What do you have to show for your lifetime of sloth and ignorance? Everything! A dream house! Two cars! A beautiful wife! A son who owns a factory! Fancy clothes and… lobsters for dinner! And do you deserve any of it? No!"
Quote: "Sometimes the only way you can feel good about yourself is by making someone else look bad. And I'm tired of making other people feel good about themselves!" Steve Spurrier is Disco Stu. A tribute to a bygone era that, while once reviled, now seems kind of quaint and harmless. Quote: "Did you know that disco record sales were up 400 percent for the year ending 1976? If these trends continues... aaay!"
Derek Dooley is Hans Moleman. Because seriously, it sucks to be Derek Dooley.
Quote: "I was saying Boo-urns."
James Franklin is Nelson. Tough talker, not afraid to mix it up with the big boys despite his limited means at Vandy.
Quote: "I didn't think he was going to do 'Moon River' but then - BAM! - second encore!"
Mark Richt is Ned Flanders. Clean-cut, devoutly religious, nicest guy in the world until he's pushed too far then temporarily becomes evil.
Quote: "Looks like Heaven is easier to get into than Arizona State."
Fletcher: And with that, we're hitting the back door and getting out of here... Many thanks to David Hale for playing along this week.
Turn out the lights boys, the party's over... We outta here baby... Thank y'all for coming.