2017-04-15T00:05:53-04:00Being a Georgia fan IS pain, highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Frankly, I don’t want to talk about it. Rotation 1: Balance Beam - 48.500 Sabrina Vega - 9.65Hayley Sanders - 9.7375Morgan Reynolds - 9.65Ashlyn Broussard - 9.6375Vivi Babalis - 9.825Rachel Schick - 9.0125 You see scores out to 4 decimal points in the national meet because there are 6 judges for this meet. The highest and lowest score are dropped, and then the remaining 4 scores are averaged. (This is as opposed to every other meet, where only two scores end up being averaged, regardless of how many total judges there are.) After the first 3 ladies went, it was clear our night was already over. But wait, it doesn’t get better. (Well, it does, but only for 1 event.) Rotation 2: Bye Rotation 3: Floor - 49.225 Morgan Reynolds - 9.85Beth Roberts - 9.825Vivi Babalis - 9.8125Rachel Dickson - 9.1275Sydney Snead - 9.85Gigi Marino - 9.8875 Rotation 4: Vault - 48.9125 Morgan Reynolds - 9.7875Gigi Marino - 9.75Beth Roberts - 9.7625Ashlyn Broussard - 9.825Lauren Johnson - 9.7375Sydney Snead - 9.7875 Rotation 5: Bye Rotation 6: Bars - 49.1625 Morgan Reynolds - 9.80Hayley Sanders - 9.80Lauren Johnson - 9.3125Sydney Snead - 9.7625Rachel Dickson - 9.90Rachel Schick - 9.90 Conclusion: Georgia Gym Dogs - 195.800 (6th out of 6 in Session II, 12th out of 12 in the entire national semifinals) There are only two words for this meet: unmitigated disaster. This was a complete failure at every level, from the coaches to the gymnasts to the damn student managers helping to set up the damn apparatus for each event. Most specifically, these seniors failed to lead this team tonight. We had a slow start on beam in our first two performances, but senior Morgan Reynolds had a chance to pull it back in the 3rd performance slot. Instead, she balance-checked her way to a 9.65. Same for Ashlyn Broussard and Rachel Schick, who actually fell in the anchor position. There’s no way to sugarcoat it after a performance like this, and I’m not going to try: these seniors failed to step it up on the biggest stage, and in fact wilted under the pressure. That might seem harsh, but we’re the Georgia Damn Gym Dogs, dammit. We should never be putting up a friggin’ score in the 195’s, let alone at the goddamn national championship meet for a chance to make the Super Six. This is the worst score we’ve put up at nationals since the Jay Clark era (2011), and the first time we’ve ever finished in 12th place at nationals. I don’t want to hear excuses for a poor performance like this, because there are no excuses for this stinker. We did have some mitigating circumstances, however, that were always going to hamper us. Most notably, the injuries to our best performers. Sydney Snead has a chronic back injury that might keep her out of all-around for the rest of her career. And Rachel Dickson rolled her ankle at the exact worst time (the first postseason meet), so she wasn’t able to perform in all-around for us, either. And one of our best bars performers, Natalie Vaculik, was out for virtually the entire year with an injury. And finally, I don’t know why Sabrina Vega didn’t perform on floor today, but I suspect there was an injury there, as well. (There’s no way Beth Roberts gets the start instead of Vega any other way.) In spite of this terrible, horrible, no good day, however, there is hope for the future. Freshman Rachel Dickson toughed it out on bars and floor (though she had a nasty-looking fall on floor), and her 9.90 on bars earned her second-team All America status. (Senior Rachel Schick also earned second-team All America recognition for her 9.90 on bars.) And we’ve seen our underclassmen consistently outperform their upperclassmen this year... Snead, Dickson, and Vega have all been bright spots for us this season. With another year of experience under their belts, hopefully they can continue to improve and take this team higher next year. Not only that, but we have a fantastic freshman class coming to Athens in 2017. I’ll have [...]
Junior All-SEC F Yante Maten announced today that he plans to go through the NBA draft process, but will not hire an agent to leave open the option of returning to school.
Maten will be able to participate in the NBA Draft Combine, in Chicago in early May, as well as be able to work out for individual teams. Of course, by not hiring an agent, how he pays for travel to and from these events is on him. But this does allow the 6’8 Michigan native a chance to let NBA teams take a closer look at him, as well as get feedback on areas they’d like him to improve should he opt to return to Georgia for his senior season.
Maten will have to announce his intentions before May 24th, that is if he chooses to come back (if he opts to stay in the draft, he can declare that at any time between now and then, or just sign with an agent, which would have the same impact).
NBAdraft.net shows Maten as a second round selection in the 2018 draft, while other websites don’t include him in mock drafts for 2017 or 2018. So there is a strong chance he chooses to return. At 6’8, life in an NBA front court will be difficult as players get taller, longer, quicker, and stronger. But some of his best performances have come against NBA caliber competition, like 30 pts and 13 rebounds against Kansas back in November, and quality performances in his three healthy games against Kentucky over the last two years.
In other men’s hoops news, guard Teshaun Hightower, who committed to the Dawgs back in January, has signed his Letter of Intent to be here this fall. Hightower will join Tyree Crump and Turtle Jackson in the battle to replace minutes left open with All-SEC G JJ Frazier graduating, and be a part of a solid incoming class that includes 6’10 combo F Nic Claxton, son of former big man Charles Claxton, and 6’8 F Rayshaun Hammonds, rated among the top 50 recruits in the 2017 class. Mark Fox still has at least one more spot available for a recruit this spring, if not two should Maten ultimately elect to go pro, with the always interesting graduate transfer market also capable of filling any open scholarships on the roster.
2017-04-13T08:00:01-04:00The Masters is over and done, but the PGA Tour season moves on. Matter of fact, they took a right out of Magnolia Lane for ‘bout 20 miles, another right onto 278 South, then drove ‘til the road ran out. Tournament: RBC Heritage, April 13-16 Course: Harbour Town Golf Links, 7,099 yards, par 71 (Hilton Head Island, SC) Purse: $6,500,000 Defending Champion: Brendan Grace. The South African had been playing very good golf for a couple of years, and finally got his first PGA Tour title after a final round 66 to win by 2 strokes. Technically, 2015 winner Jim Furyk will be defending his title as well, since he missed last year with a wrist injury. Fun Fact: These guys have their own ceremonial tee shot to start the tournament. The defending champ lines up beside a cannon overlooking Calibogue Sound, and they hit a single shot as the cannon fires simultaneously. Quirky. This year they will have a moment of silence and a second cannon shot to remember the inaugural tourney champion, Arnold Palmer. Television: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Former 'Dawgs in the Field (Five): Harris English, Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner, Brian Harman, Chris Kirk. Everyone has a golf hangover from last week’s thrilling conclusion to the Masters. Long-suffering Spaniard Sergio Garcia held onto the Saturday night lead through 9 holes Sunday, gave it up after 11, made an incredible par on 13, and a beautiful eagle on 15 to tie, lost it on 16, tied on 17, and won it on the first playoff hole. Good on you, El Nino.. congrats on your first major title. As you may have read, only 2 former ‘Dawgs made the cut (I believe that tied for most or 2nd most of any program alums) and Russell Henley got himself an invite back to next years Masters thanks to his top 12 finish (T11) and $233,200 for his efforts. Kevin Kisner’s T43 still made for a $40,700 check. Per the hangover mentioned above... well, we all know that it is best treated with hair of the dawg that bit you (or scale of the dragon that burned you) and this week is a the perfect cure. A lovely traditional golf course, a laid back atmosphere, wonderful backdrop of Hilton Head Island and the Sound, and some great folks who know how to treat golfers and fans alike. Oh, and there is alcohol aplenty if you really do want to try that hangover cure (we don’t condone, we don’t discourage, we simply report the facts). This week, five former hacks of UGA Men’s Golf Team Chris Haack will put peg to ground and try to capture this wonderful little nugget of the PGA Tour season. The field is full, but you can imagine many top pros stay home dealing with whatever demons or success Augusta National created for them. There are definitely good players entered, and plenty of the top 50 and 100 in the world rankings. Speaking of Bulldogs in Augusta, the current UGA Men’s squad competed April 1-2 in the Augusta Invitational (Forest Hills, not Augusta National course) and finished 8th. Speaking of finishing 8th, sophomore Tye Waller finished 8th individually. The men’s team is off until next week, when they compete in the SEC Championships held on St. Simon’s Island. Speaking of UGA golf teams (I love typing “Speaking of”, it makes me think I’ve woven segues where there were none), the UGA Women’s squad just won the Liz Murphey Collegiate, a match play competition. They came in first in pool play, then won the quarters and semis on day two, before defeating Alabama in the championship 3 1⁄2 to 1 1/2. They too, have a week off until the Women’s SEC Championship in Birmingham. So instead of a Bloody Mary, turn your TV on over to CBS to catch former ‘Dawgs battling it out on the South Carolina coast. Or drink your Bloody Mary as you watch. And as always... GO ‘DAWGS!!! [...]
If you read this article by Jason Butt in the Macon Telegraph yesterday, you could be forgiven for exhibiting a little irrational enthusiasm. After all, a list of the position groups which had to improve through spring practice for Georgia to excel in 2017 would be suspect if it didn't have the offensive line right there at the top. So the continued assurances that the guys up front are clearing holes and helping occasionally break big plays probably should get you a little excited.
This is of course where we all remind each other that it is, after all, just spring practice.
It's also worth noting is that the defense of lineman most likely to put a stop to any such offense of it's also worth noting is that the defense of lineman most likely to put a stop to any offensive line success, Trenton Thompson, is not participating in spring practice. Remember, hope is that feeling you have before you know better. Skepticism is that feeling that keeps you from being disappointed in September.
But the thing is, there are actually logical reasons to believe that the Georgia offensive line could be much improved this season. There's the return of contributors like Lamont Galliard, Dyshon Sims, and Isaiah Wynn. There the fact that potential Earth-movers like Pat Allen and Ben Cleveland appear to be actually moving into the rotation.
And there’s the simple fact that we're entering year two as shareholders of Chaney, Pittman & Co. Perhaps, just perhaps, there have been fewer blank stares and blown assignments than this time last year. And that Jacob Eason should be in position to get the offense out of bad looks this year that they charged straight into in 2016. And a healthy Nick Chubb who can turn the occasional 2 yarder into 22. Etc., etc., etc.
None of which is to say that this group is going to confuse anyone for the 1980s Washington Redskins moving the pile for John Riggins. It is to say, do you really think this offensive line could get worse with a year of experience and a number of talented, experienced players?
For my part, I believe Georgia is substantially better up front in 2017 than in 2016, but I recognize that is also a fairly low bar, historically speaking. If they're just a little better, then the record at the end of this season may not be that much better than last. But with a veteran defense and almost every skill position player on offense returning, if the offensive line makes a leap forward, well........how about we try not to put ourselves in a position to be let down just yet, agreed? Until later....
Kirby Smart and Company are working their way through spring practice, and will play the annual G Day spring game on Saturday, April 22nd. The game will commence at 2:00 pm, will be free for all attendees, and is expected to be televised on CSS.
It will be interesting to those of us concerned with position battles, which midyear enrollees look sharp, and which players are in better shape than they were in January.
That’s an admittedly small segment of the general human population. Heck, I'm betting Ludacris won't even be there this year.
All of which got me thinking: how can we make this thing a little more interesting? There’s always gambling, the true degenerate’s way to make even the most blasé sporting event have a little spice. But it's pretty hard to do that with a spring game because the action is so controlled (read, “rigged”), there's no way of knowing which players will really participate and which will sit until they actually take the field, and the play calling is, shall we say, experimental.
So while I would discourage you from betting on the G Day Game, I would like to encourage the coaching staff to make it interesting for the participants. Coach Richt liked for the winning team’s postgame meal to be steak and lobster while the losers ate beanie weenies. That's great, but I think we can do better. So here are a few more ideas to get a little more out of he participants in the annual Red and Black scrimmage:
2) Loser has to sit through an Of Montreal reunion show with Gladys Varner, an 87 year old great-grandmother from Talbotton who has absolutely no interest in or knowledge of Of Montreal. Then dinner afterward. Because Gladys is going to have questions.
3) Winning head coach gets to eat lunch at the Varsity while the losing offensive line watches and enjoys a salad. Just one, shared among them. With light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. And one crouton.
4) Losing head coach has to donate 10% of his salary to whatever project Greg McGarity expects you and I to pay for via whatever donation he expects us to make in addition to the Hartman Fund donation we already made.
5) Winning team gets a “get out of speed trap free” card from the Bishop police department.*
*Offer good only on days ending in “q.”
6) Losing head coach has to drive back from Jacksonville next October rather than flying. In an orange ‘74 Plymouth Duster with no A/C and an iffy transmission. Like Top Gear, South Georgia edition.
Im sure there are other ways to make this King a little more interesting. Feel free to include yours in the comments, and...
Day two in Augusta begins with Charlie Hoffman out front and everyone else trying to claw their way back into it. Hoffman's 65 on Thursday was not far off the day one record at the Masters, and it staked him to a four stroke lead going into Friday.
The course was not particularly kind to Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday. Russell Henley continues to play some of his best golf in a while, going out early and carding a 71 (-1). That is good enough to put the Macon native in a tie for fourth with Phil Mickelson and others.
Kevin Kisner and Bubba Watson said at +2 tied for 26th. That's still inside the cutline, but certainly not guaranteed a spot on Saturday. Hudson Swafford finished at +5 in the opening round and has a good bit of work to do if he wants to return to the course tomorrow as a participant rather than a spectator.
Swafford is the only ‘Dawg teeing off in the really early groups today, having left the clubhouse at 8:11 this morning. Watson will hit the links at 10:56 this morning and Henley at 11:07. Kisner drew a 12:46 PM tee time. While the back nine was kind to several golfers yesterday afternoon, it remains to be seen if that somewhat anomalous result will hold.
After a stormy start to the week the skies should be clear this morning as the Masters tees off in earnest in Augusta.
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will hit the ceremonial first tee shot at 7:40 am, continuing a tradition which for many years included the great Arnold Palmer.
Russell Henley, who slid into the field with a win last week in Houston, will be in the first group out (8:00 am). Henley shot a final round 65 to punch his fourth career ticket to Augusta.
Kevin Kisner will go off at 9:28 am, looking to build on a solid early 2017 season. Hudson Swafford will tee off at 11:18. The 2011 UGA graduate earned his first PGA Tour win in January, and is now looking to make his first cut in a major in his first start at Augusta National.
And at 2:03 pm Bubba Watson will go looking for his third green jacket. The most decorated Bulldog in the field has missed his last two cuts at the club next to the one where they hold the dances, but the Masters has a way of rejuvenating some guys. So who knows?
Television coverage on CBS will run from 3:00 to 7:30 this evening, but you can watch the livestream beginning at 9:00 am on CBSSports.com. You can also get coverage, scoring, course information, and much more on the exceptional Masters app and at the Masters website.
If, like me, you consider today one of the high holidays if the sporting calendar, we invite you to join us in watching this most spectacular day of golf, and cheering on the Red and Black golfers in the field. Until later....
2017-04-05T08:00:02-04:00You’ve all seen the course on TV. I’m fortunate enough to have walked the grounds many times. Here’s what I say about the most iconic holes in golf. A course review. For Augusta National. While every one of us wants to play it, we already know the holes by heart. Because The Masters is the most watched golf tournament on TV in the world, has been for quite some time, and will be probably for the eternity of television. So why would anyone care about my take, when they’ve seen it hundreds of times? I don’t know either, but MaconDawg is a site editor made from Old Testament cloth, and he demands sacrifice. Here’s how I “imagine” my golf game when applied to these hallowed grounds: #1, Tea Olive, par 4, 445 yards.Not exactly a Donald Ross “warm handshake” to welcome you to the Masters, but it isn’t the hardest hole either. Avoid the right bunker, and the trees left, oh and the greenside bunkers. Edges of the greens have mounds and slick as heck. The Tea Olives must be on the far right where patrons can’t go. This has “5” written all over it. #2, Pink Dogwood, par 5, 575 yards.The dogwoods are in the trees on the left. I’d try a draw off the right fairway bunker, would probably block it right instead, and have to pitch down the bottom of the hill. A receptive green, but not very deep. I’m thinking I par this one depending on if I can get out of the trees. #3 Flowering Peach, par 4, 350 yards.Pros take 5 iron off the tee, but I would stick with hybrid or 3 wood. Uphill dogleg right to elevated green. I see me chunking my wedge and having to pitch onto the elevated green, and probably 3-whacking it. Double bogey. #4, Flowering Crabapple, par 3, 240 yards.I’m 3 over and you give me a 240 yard par 3? I try to choke down a 3 wood, because short won’t do it if the pin is up top. There is shrubbery lurking all around, so no telling how I screw this one up. The Sunday pin lower left would give me a triple, but I think I double-bogey this one. #5, Magolia, par 4, 455 yards.I try the same driver draw off the tee as #2, but double-cross into the fairway bunkers or worse. Green and surrounding area is fairly flat, so I think I can escape with a 5. #6, Juniper, par 3, 180 yards.Tee is way elevated, but green is too. No way I hit this green, so I’m pitching onto the putting surface. The tiers on this green are seriously crazy. Putting uphill is so slow you have to have a hip turn, and downhill is slicker than your bathtub. Putting is my weakness - triple bogey 6. #7, Pampas, par 4, 450 yards. Straight-away to an elevated green. Extremely tight fairway. So I’m hitting a recovery shot short of the green. Whoa - this green is elevated more than I thought. A crisp wedge with some spin is called for. I’d pay money for a 2 putt. A benevolent bogey. #8, Yellow Jasmine, par 5, 570 yardsWhereas #2 was downhill, this par 5 is payback. Long uphill, dogleg right off the tee, dogleg left to the green. Which you can’t see until you’re about 350 yards in. I’m hitting driver, 3 wood, and probably still have 100+ left just because it’s uphill. The green is very, very deep, but not wide, and mounds on every stinking side. I saw 2 eagles here in ‘86, but I ain’t doing that. I’ll walk away with 6 even with no water and no penalty. #9, Carolina Cherry, par 4, 460 yards.Downhill off the tee, slight dogleg left. You’re trying to see how far down the hill you can get it, otherwise it’s a downhill lie to an elevated green going away from you right to left. Hitting this green seems impossible. Oh, and the false front rolls your ball back down the fairway like 30 yards. Above the hole is death. I’ll take double and consider myself lucky. #10, Camellia, par 4, 495 yards.Holy crap this is a big hole! Wide as anything, so you can cut, draw, pull, push, whatever you want and probably still hit off grass.[...]