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Free Form Friday Is Walking Backwards And Rubbing The Rabbit's Foot. Just In Case.

It has really been an upside down few weeks hasn't it? Athletic Directors behaving badly, SEC head coaches resigning out of the blue right before the start of the season, bar fights in Knoxville, UGA players getting popped for alcohol consumption actually no that shouldn't surprise anyone forget I brought it up.

Heck, I awoke this morning to news that a significant earthquake had shaken Washington D.C., which is about as weird an occurrence as you'll hear of. In fact I understand that the tremor touched off a heated debate among seismologists, who are still arguing over whether it was George Bush's fault or Barack Obama's.

As Kyle already noted, Mark Richt is doing away with two-a-day practices, a bad idea if you're a Bear Bryant disciple who believes that winning teams are forged from blood and shards of broken bone. I too am a bit leary of anything that smacks of decreased toughness, especially for a squad that has been quietly criticized by some (and loudly by others) for a lack of toughness in recent years.

But I think the notion that  two-a-days build toughness is as illusory as the notion that toughness can't be built without them. I never played college football, a fact which I freely acknowledge often during our TMI recruiting coverage here. But I did play four years of varsity high school football in a pocket of south Georgia where even the gnats are at risk for heat stroke. I endured two-a-days and even three-a-days, memorably at a Nazarene campground outside Adrien, Georgia that (at the time) seemed like the least Godly place on Earth during late July afternoons.

What I learned from that experience is that it is just as easy to go through the motions and generally submit one's application for the Mope-Ass of the Month Club twice in a 24 hour period as it is to do it once. The number of practices this preseason will be the same NCAA mandated count. If anything, more recovery time between practices may cut down on injuries, because fatigued players are just more likely to get hurt. Truth be told, Mark Richt has never been a big proponent of multiple grueling practices on the same day. He'd basically unofficially done away with them before. This just makes it official, at least until the first time the players drag to such a degree that he threatens to bring two-a-days back if they don't step it up. The big question will be whether, when the Bulldogs do hit the practice field, our coaches expect and require a 100%, all-out effort. Mental toughness isn't built by dragging out to the practice field one more time on one afternoon. It's built by going hard every single play, and as sanford222view noted on Kyle's post, by staying away from the beaches and bars during May, June and July.

I mentioned yesterday that there are a lot of blue chip prospects in Athens today for the annual Dawg Night camp. Add to yesterday's list Valdosta standouts Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell, and Colquitt County offensive tackle XZavier Ward. With the addition of those guys, it's not a stretch to say that this year's camp is bringing the most talent yet to the Classic City. While a lot of the elite prospects in town for the weekend will go elsewhere, getting the best players around on campus in the first place is a critical component of getting them to think seriously about playing between the hedges. While I don't know that there will be any public commitments this weekend, I expect one or two might come out between now and midweek next week. Stay tuned.

Maybe Dawg Night will bring good news. I do know that the first fall practice of the season is a mere 14 days away and that's never bad. It does mean however that if we're going to take tankertoad up on his idea of exorcising the bad mojo of UGA football, we may be running out of time. But that's OK because we've not been idle. Kyle and I have been working behind the scenes to see what our options are to turn around the curse.

Last week I drove down and talked to a root worker living in a shack on Ossabaw Island, who tells me she can deliver a large, Orson Charles ass-proof crystal football in January if I can get her a drop Joe Paterno's blood and a lock of Erk Russell's hair. Since JoePa is clearly a zombie, I guess that means we're pretty much screwed. So for now, I suppose superstition ain't the way:

And that's the funkiest song ever written. At least by Jeff Beck. Feel free to leave your suggestions for athletic department hex removal in the comments. Until later . . .


Go 'Dawgs!!!