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, for the second interminable offseason in a row, 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.
Like the good Senator, I feel somewhat obliged, as a Georgia blogger, to say something about Brat-Gate. How much and what I should say are difficult to gauge. Really, if Mark Richt doesn't feel entirely comfortable at this point doing anything other than waiting for the authorities to figure out what to do, I don't think I am in a position to do much more.
Against my better judgment perhaps, I will say this. I have read the police report. And I have seen far worse happen among drinking college students on any given weekend in Athens. And in Milledgeville. And in Auburn. What can I say? As a college student with no responsibilities, the only things you need to travel are gas money and a toothbrush. In doing so you learn that 18-23 year olds make the gang from The Hangover look like senior citizens attending a square dancing convention. They do boorish, loutish things that when described in black and white (no pun intended) on a police report look really, really bad.
That being said, the conduct alleged is of the kind that demonstrates an incredible disregard and disrespect for others. It's the kind of conduct that has no place at the University of Georgia, nor among the University students who make up the football team. Had it been my wife the alleged perpetrators were talking to I have no doubt that I would have emerged from the van with a broken nose and a black eye, but I would have likely tried to make my point in forceful, nonverbal terms.
I am not sure however how the 25 year old alleged victim identified these young men as members of the football team. Because I'm fairly certain that not every muscular young black man in Athens is a member of the Georgia football team. The fact that they were dropped off at East Campus Village, where I assume a lot of football players still live, might be one reliable clue. I also don't quite understand why a former college linebacker would be cowering in fear in this situation. And I do understand what people of all walks of life often mean when they say "none of us were particularly drunk." That usually means somebody had been drinking enough that fisticuffs over smoked meat products are a real possibility. It's also usually drunk enough for someone to yell "Hey y'all, watch this!" and then take a trip to the emergency room. Or so I've heard.
My guess is that unless somebody comes forward with a better identification or some young brat aficionado comes forward and confesses, this thing will go down as item #8,629,532 on the list of dumb things athletes at the University of Georgia have done. It lacks the style of a good hog theft, and it's certainly more serious than exiting an alley. But at this point it really is a lot of sizzle and no sausage. Yeah, that pun was totally intended.
In actual football news, I couldn't help but notice that a theme is emerging on Georgia's defense in Spring Practice. All those things we've been complaining about for the past 2 seasons? The staff is trying to fix them. Coach Lakatos has the DB's attempting to intercept passes. Coach Belin wonders who taught our linebackers to tackle (Answer? Jon Dwyer and Monterio Hardesty!) And Coach Grantham intends to blitz opposing quarterbacks until they develop a nervous twitch.
Of course, as has been discussed here in the past, Willie Two Thumbs actually blitzed a good bit more than he got credit for. Often 50% of the time. The problem was that the blitzes never got there, perhaps because they were the same 7 blitz packages over and over again, so that even Catfish Crompton could pick them up.
However the thing that will be interesting will be the first time one of our defensive backs goes for a pick and instead gives up a long touchdown when he could have just knocked the ball away. That will happen, I assure you. It will also be interesting to see what happens when we run a blitz and clear space for a perfectly designed slant route that goes for 6. When you live by the sword you die by the sword. Of course, we weren't exactly swashbuckling our way to the Sugar Bowl with our previous defense, so I think I'm willing to take a flyer on Coach Grantham's system until further notice.
Mark Weiszer has a nice profile of Marlon Brown in today's Banner Herald that looks at how the rising sophomore dealt with the transition to bigtime football. Brown seems to have a good attitude about the process and Coach Bobo notes that he hasn't sulked about his limited role. Barring injury, that role won't be limited in 2010. Our lack of depth at wide receiver has been widely chronicled this spring, but I think there are two facets of this issue which have gone undercovered. One is that the depth we do have is high quality. I would take A.J. Green over any receiver playing college football in 2010, as long as he stays healthy. Kris Durham has tons of experience and was actually quite productive during 2008. Except, of course, when he was injured. Israel Troupe has more game experience than his receiving numbers would indicate, and Rantavious Wooten emerged as a big play threat in the second half of 2009.
Second, I expect that we will see a lot of 2 tight end sets this season which will make that receiver depth less important. While Mike Bobo at times seems almost phobic about becoming one dimensional, I think even he would have to concede that there's no good reason not to get Orson Charles, Aron White, Bruce Figgins and Artie Lynch on the field early and often. With a veteran offensive line and a pair of budding stars at tailback (and a new starter under center) we probably shouldn't empty the backfield. Ever. 4 receiver sets are also not likely to be a common occurrence.
I think I've finally hit fogey-hood in my musical tastes. I realized this the other night while watching American Idol and marveling at exactly how bad Usher's new single sounded, and how his performance was essentially just some moves he ripped off from Michael Jackson. Then Diddy topped that by performing, well, I'm not sure what it was other than a synth beat that he may or may not have found on an Enigma CD in the back of his closet. And his backing performers apparently bought their outfits at George Michael's yard sale. You can add violins and timpanis to it, but that doesn't make it classical, or a classic.
If you want to perform hip hop that sounds like it was ripped off from the bargain bin, at least go ahead and rip off a good song you can find in the bargain bin. Like Herbie Hancock's Cantaloupe Island. Example:
It's not plagarism. It's a tribute. There's a subtle difference, I'm just not sure exactly what it is. But it's jazzy and funky and the kids on my lawn probably wouldn't like it. Until tomorrow . . .