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.
By now you've heard the news that Nevada coach Mark Fox will be taking over as the new head basketball coach at the University of Georgia. You may never have heard of Mark Fox. But believe you me, this looks like a very good hire, for a variety of reasons:
- Consistency. Fox has never won fewer than 21 games in a season during his 5 year tenure at Nevada. Take a moment and think about how you would view University of Georgia basketball five years hence if the 'Dawgs were to string together even three 20 win campaigns in that span. It would be a quantum leap forward for a program that hasn't really been able to string two good seasons together for a while. I truly believe that consistency is the first step to turning around this program. Let's just get to the point where fans can reasonably hope for good things at the start of each season. That alone would do a lot to change the mojo around the Stege. I glean from Fox's consistency that he can implement his system, still execute it once people have seen it, and go out and get players to fill it. After Dennis Felton's random recruiting and game management that sometimes seemed like surrealist theater, this makes me giddy.
- Tournament experience. As much as Anthony Grant gets credit for his tournament work at Virginia Commonwealth, Fox has him beat hands down. He's taken the WAC Wolves to the Big Dance 3 times in 5 seasons, advancing to the 2nd round twice. He's notched upset wins against Texas and Creighton. In short, he's a guy who's been where we want to go.
- Pedigree. He coached under current LSU coach Trent Johnson at Nevada, then took over when Johnson left for Stanford. Johnson has done quite well at LSU, and he and Fox play an up tempo style that appeals to recruits and won't remind us of the patented Dennis Felton "stand around 'till the shot clock hits :02 then chunk up a 30 footer" offense.
- Age. Fox is 40, which means that he could be with us for the duration if he wins and doesn't Tubby us. This program needs the kind of continuity that Mark Richt has brought to the football program.
Take note of the fact that most of us had never even heard of Mark Fox before yesterday. That illustrates precisely why we hired the Parker firm to assist with this search: to help take the blinders off. Paul Westerdawg has a great collection of Fox's accomplishments and credentials. Once you've read it, I think you'll agree that it would have been hard to do a lot better. Kyle pointed out earlier this week that we don't necessarily need our program's Billy Donovan. Our own Lon Kruger, a guy who could get us back on an ascending trajectory, would be a win. Damon may however have gotten "the guy" in spite of it all.
The only real downsides I see for Fox are a) that his record at Nevada was a good bit better with Trent Johnson's players than his own, and b) he's a Kansas native who's never coached east of the Mississippi, and really doesn't seem to have a lot of experience recruiting the southeast. But I think the distinction between Fox's players and Johnson's is sort of illusory, since Fox is credited with doing a lot of the recruiting for Nevada as an assistant. And I would kill for a basketball program that considers consecutive 21 win seasons "down". I also think he'll acclimate well to the southeast, and has been hired in plenty of time to get his footing to recruit for 2010 and especially 2011.
In nonsports related news, I have become a big fan of the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. On this week's episode, one of the characters shared his Murtaugh List, named after Danny Glover's character in the Lethal Weapon movies. As you'll recall, Murtaugh and Mel Gibson's character Riggs would get involved in all sorts of trouble, and Glover's world weary Roger Murtaugh would often remark "I'm too old for this s***." Ergo, the Murtaugh List encompasses those things you've gotten too old to do at your particular age.
I don't have such a list, but it's not a bad idea in theory. One could even have a University of Georgia-themed list. For example, I think at 35 you are probably:
a) too old to show up for a University of Georgia football game in body paint;
b) too old for pregame keg stands;
c) too old to go to an out-of-state away game without even packing a bag.
What am I missing?
And in totally nonsports related news, I just learned this morning that not only does Jimmy Fallon from Saturday Night Live have a late night talkshow, the house band for said show is The Roots. This is now the only thing that could conceivably induce me to watch a late night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon. If, however, Chris Katan's Mr. Peepers character gets a show, that's going on the DVR. It'll be like watching Jimmy Kimmel, but less annoying. I'll be back tomorrow with some recruiting coverage, until then . . .