Monday Mailbag

Dawg Post's Jonathan Branch tackles questions in another edition of the Dawg Post mailbag.

After a week off, I'm back with a fresh mailbag, and it comes at the start of a busy week for Georgia.

The football team resumes practice after a weeklong hiatus for spring break. (Side note: I enjoyed a few days in Cancun and shared the plane back with Richt and much of the coaching staff. Richt's wife Kathryn said they had a great few days south of the border.)

On Thursday, March 21, NFL scouts and coaches will be in Athens to watch Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and other potential draftees work out in Athens at Georgia's Pro Day.

On the diamond, the baseball team looks to break out of a losing funk. Perno's group has lost five of its last six after getting swept by Texas A&M in the conference-opener series. The Bulldogs, who are 1-4 in mid-week games this season, host Furman on Tuesday before Alabama comes to town for the weekend series.

All that comes on the heels of the men's basketball team's rapid exit from the SEC tournament. Even with SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Bulldogs finished with a disappointing 15-17 season, its third losing season in the Mark Fox's four years.

With all the happenings in Georgia athletics, let's dive into this week's edition of the mailbag.

Nostradawgus writes: Which correction happens first: the S&P 500, Head Coach of UGA Men's Baseball, or Head Coach of UGA Men's Basketball?

I know where you're headed with this, and it's a valid question these days. Some kind of change appears necessary in both the men's basketball and baseball programs—and the S&P, too. Georgia's men's basketball team has struggled the last two seasons and has shown little signs to make folks believe that will change over the long-term.

Georgia baseball has terribly underachieved with the classes David Perno has put together recently. Perno took his program to the pinnacle of the sport only a mere five years ago, but since then, the Bulldogs have made an NCAA regional just two out of four seasons. This year doesn't look to be any different than 2012 as Georgia currently sits at 8-12 with the brunt of the conference schedule still ahead.

However, with the way investing works and often how calculated and slow-moving changes are in college athletics, I will venture to bet, or invest rather, in the S&P 500.

Shawnyoungblood writes: Do you think that if (I hope it's just an if) we have any suspensions this year, there is a chance we will not have a clue that they are going down till our boys take the field in Death Valley on August 31st?

Georgia is not intentionally coy or mocking with how it approaches suspension news, in my opinon. Though I'll admit that the reluctance to confirm the suspensions of Rambo and Ogletree was puzzling last season, I don't think that's necessarily Georgia's mode of operandi.

There is, of course, the case of Ty Flournoy-Smith pending now. Mark Richt said he is handling Flournoy-Smith's punishment now and that it's being handled internally. With the spring ball still ongoing, I imagine Richt will wait a while before announcing a suspension if any are necessary, which doesn't appear to be the case currently.

gasdawg73 writes: For a last hurrah, Will Adams make y'all pee in a cup?

Touché, 73. While that's not likely, quite frankly it wouldn't surprise me a bit. If that's the case, I'd venture to say quite a few students may have to miss the season opener next season.

I picture Adams with his feet up, holding a glass of scotch with a cigar in-hand, grinning when he reads this.

He does read this, right?

AirForceDawg writes: JB, less than 5 months ago CMR said ... that he might take on responsibility for coaching UGA's placekickers and punters. Has he done that this Spring? If so, how has it worked out and how did he go about learning the kicking and punting fundamentals (e.g., did he consult w/ Minnesota Vikings Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer)? Last, has Blair Walsh helped Marshall Morgan hone his placekicking technique this offseason/Spring?

To add to his original declaration that he wanted to help out with special teams, Richt most again mentioned during bowl practices that he would spend more time learning the fundamentals of kicking and punting.

Realistically, Georgia needs the most work with its kickers. It's never had a major problem with punting, though coverage has been suspect in the past. Colin Barber did an adequate job last season and really grew up as the year went along.

Thus far, I can't say how well it's worked out. We haven't really had a chance to see any kicking and punting so far this spring. However, Richt is adamant about helping in that department. As for Walsh, I am not aware that he has helped out, but I would not doubt it. I'll look into that this week and hope to have more for you on the Porch. Stay tuned.

BigBandMan writes: JB -- When can we expect the formal announcement from the AD that Fox will be replaced -- And, if for some reason Fox is not released -- When can we expect the formal announcement of the AD being replaced?

BigBand, I wouldn't bank on Fox being replaced right now. There has not been an indication that a change at the top is imminent. There will probably be some sort of shakeup; that tends to happen after back-to-back losing seasons and rightfully so. But as of now, it appears Fox will be at Georgia for at least another season. Things could change after March, however, as coaching changes start to take place.

Either way, Georgia is in good shape with Greg McGarity. Overall, the athletic department is one of the top three in the SEC, with Alabama and Florida also in the top three. That's exactly where Georgia wants to be and should be.

The on-field/court success hasn't been where it belongs in some sports. There's no doubt about that, but McGarity is a great fit for the job.

Removing Fox will not instantly fix the basketball program; removing McGarity certainly will not fix the basketball program, either.

But Georgia has to figure out an answer to win in basketball more consistently.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side, but it doesn't hurt to evaluate your patches every now and then.

Pmerwin writes: What's Ryne Rankin looking like so far? I like this kids mentality even if he doesn't project as an elite athlete like some others.

Early indications are that he's very eager and attacks the ball. Coach Richt had to get on him for hitting the offensive players a little too hard when the team hadn't put on pads yet. Several players told me they had to tell him to take it down a notch. Apparently he showed plenty of intensity, which is what a good inside linebacker has to have. They strap on full pads this week, so we'll have a better indication by the end of this week. He has certainly caught some players' attention, but as they all say, ‘we'll see how it goes once the pads are on.'

With that, I'll unbuckle my chin strap. My work here is done.

Have a great week, and we'll see you back here—same time, same place—next week.


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