It's college football's offseason. That's not my problem. It's not your problem. It's our problem. And collective problems call for collective solutions.
Thus we present Free Form Friday. Until further notice, I'll spend Fridays posting a vaguely organized compendium of non-sequiturs, pop culture observations and college sports miscellany which you may discuss in the comments, or ignore in favor of your own topics. Think of it as your weekend open comment thread.
I am probably more excited about G-Day than I have been since at least 2006. When you have a lot of positions up in the air, it just makes for good drama. I'll be back with more on the game tomorrow morning, but as a sampler, the guys I'm most looking forward to seeing are: Carlton Thomas, Logan Gray, Sanders Commings and Deangelo Tyson.
Thomas truly is electrifying with the ball in his hands. I've seen it. I believe it. My only regret is that he won't get to return any kicks. The coaches have had great things to say about Logan since he returned to fulltime QB duties, and I'd like to see if he'll get the chance to take off and run with it. If you haven't seen Sanders Commings, you'll be a bit surprised. The guy has cornerback agility with safety size. Once he figures out what to do and gains some consistency, he'll be something special. Deangelo Tyson has put in some serious conditioning work and shed his somewhat doughy freshman physique, to the point that I wasn't sure who he was when spring practice started. I can't wait to see how he does against the first string O-Line. Until I'm certain Kade Weston and Jeff Owens are100% healthy, I'm pinning a lot of my hopes for next year's defensive line on the young man from Statesboro.
In case you missed it, new basketball coach Mark Fox ran through a short practice with his new players earlier this week. Everyone who's not already announced they'd be transferring is reported to have participated. I would assume that included Trey Thompkins. Thompkins was Freshman All-SEC last season despite playing on a team that drifted from inconsistent to dysfunctional to downright dismal as the year went on. Thompkins has the chance to be the star of next year's squad, and reminds me of the athletic big men who flourished under Fox and Trent Johnson at Nevada. Though there have been some rumblings, I really hope he stays in Athens.
Speaking of dysfunctional situations, it occurred to me the other night that if Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin were a movie character, he'd be Fogel from Superbad. Because if you tell enough people that you're a 25 year old Hawaiian organ donor named McLovin, eventually some of them will believe you, despite all empirical evidence to the contrary (or a total lack of evidence). I suppose this makes Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton either a liquor store clerk or an incompetent police officer, though I'm not sure which.
It's Masters week, which is all the excuse cable networks need to show Caddyshack on heavy rotation. I've watched it three times in the past week. And I'm not complaining one bit, because Caddyshack is among my favorite sports movies of all time. My number one would have to be Bull Durham. Because Crash was right about astroturf and Susan Sontag, among other things. If anybody knows of a better sports movie than Bull Durham, I'd love to know what it is.
Speaking of people who hate astroturf and believe in long, slow wet kisses that last for three days, on Wednesday Orson Swindle noted the annual release of the SEC helmet schedule, and the impending Georgia/Oklahoma State matchup on opening weekend.
It's worth pointing out that despite all the talk about our 2008 slate, 2009 may be just as difficult, especially in the early going. Obviously the opener in Stillwater is dangerous. But we also have to travel to Arkansas to face a Razorback squad that should be improved under Bobby Petrino in year 2 (though I haven't actually consulted Year2 on that prediction). And face an LSU team that brings back a ton of talent (just like every season). We follow that bruising matchup with a trip to Neyland Stadium. Every one of those first six games is worrisome in its own special way, especially for an avowed pessimist like me.
On the plus side I can't wait to get the Arizona State Sun Devils in Athens. I think it will be a better matchup that some, because as disappointing as ASU's 2008 may have been, they return some players, especially on defense.
Speaking of devils, this place hasn't had nearly enough Drive-By Truckers lately. That ends now, with this performance live from the 40 Watt in 2004:
Whether you're playing cards out in the woods or hanging out at G-Day this weekend, have a good one, and . . .