Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Countdonw 2010: 63 Days to Go

63: Bill Goldberg, Defensive Tackle/End #95 (1986 – 1989)

Before his days as a professional wrestler and television personality, Bill Goldberg was an excellent defensive lineman for University of Georgia Bulldogs. Goldberg, who hailed from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was recruited to Georgia during the final years of the Vince Dooley era.

A three year starter at Georgia, Bill Goldberg left a long list of accomplishments during his four years in Athens. He was a two time All-SEC selection and led Georgia in tackles in 1989. For his career, Goldberg had 348 total tackles (170 solo, 178 assists) which puts him 9th all-time in school history. He had 12 career sacks, good for 16th all time. Goldberg can be seen in action in the video below from the 1989 game against the Tennessee Volunteers:

Goldberg played in the Japan Bowl in 1990 and was drafted in the 11th round of the NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. Goldberg ended up playing in the NFL for 3 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, before injuries ended his career. Goldberg moved onto a career in wrestling. He was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
And while I never saw Goldberg play football in the Georgia Dome, I was there the night he defeated Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship, as seen below. I have been to Falcons games, Olympic basketball games, and bowl games at the Dome, but I never heard a crowd louder than it was on this night:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Public Figures Don't Make It Through This

This is not something I relish, and I'm not stating any personal opinions as to whether Damon should stay or go.

I'm just saying, from a PR perspective, I don't see how Damon Evans makes it through this, given the minor details already being disclosed from the police report.

Working in politics, I see a fair share of these incidents, in front of the media spotlight and behind the scenes. Some of them I've watch purely as a public observer, and some of them I have known the people involved and know the real truth (although I've never been apart of their issues and downfall).

There are times when people make it through these things (David Vitter, Mark Sanford, and John Ensign come to mind), and times when it becomes too much.

If you read this AJC article that gives just a few details of the incident report, this matter is becoming more damaging by the hour, and is inching to a point where there is no coming back. And, that's without actually reading everything in the police report, only what the AJC has chosen to discuss.

The one benefit that Damon does not have, unlike politicians, is a pseudo-autonomy where they must be persuaded to leave or walk out on their own accord. Damon is an employee of someone who will have to make a judgement call on whether this has reached the point of no return.

From that PR perspective, I think it is over for his tenure at UGA.

Overcoming this seems too much, and from the cases I've seen from the inside of the political realm, it really has the feeling of a spiraling downfall where there is no recovery, no matter how much redemption the person pledges (or even if they actually follow through with it).

Unfortunately in public relations, there are times when you cannot be sorry enough. It is just not possible.

Here's hoping I'm wrong...

The Countdown 2010: 64 Days to Go

64: Tommy Lyons, C #50 (1966-1970)

If this list strictly ranked Georgia football players on their achievements after their Red & Black playing days were over, Tommy Lyons would have a strong case for #1.

Lyons grew up in a Georgia Tech home in Atlanta during coach Bobby Dodd’s heyday. It was a given that when Dodd recruited him, Lyons would be a Jacket. But Tommy didn’t see it that way. He followed a childhood friend to Athens, and UGA was the beneficiary.

Lyons became an All-American center in 1969 and 1970, and graduated from the University in 1971. He used two post-graduate scholarships to attend medical school at the University of Colorado while starting 49 consecutive games for the Denver Broncos.

Today, he is the director of the Center for Women’s Care and Reproductive Surgery in Atlanta; and is recognized as a pioneer in endoscopic laser surgery.

In 1996, Dr. Lyons became only the second Georgia student-athlete to be honored with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, given to individuals who have developed significantly in their field of endeavor after top performances as NCAA athletes. He was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1987; and was named a member of UGA’s Circle of Honor in 1999.

As a three-year starter for the Red & Black, he helped lead the Bulldogs to the 1968 SEC Championship and was team captain in 1970.

Oh yeah… Dr. Lyons is an avid pianist and a licensed pilot.

So how’s your life going?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Yeah, that's right, I'm going there.

With no evidence whatsoever, I believe a conspiracy was constructed by Georgia Tech to frame Damon Evans.

It just so happens that this arrest took place in Atlanta, the same city as the North Avenue Trade School.

The arresting officer was probably a Bumble Bee grad, likely one of the failed engineers who became a business major.

Besides, the ATL police has a reputation for cover-ups.

This has NERDS written all over it.

We'll get our revenge, just wait. Watch your back Radakovich. You're next.

Pick your poison

*remember that humor is a healthy form of dealing with troubled situations

The Countdown 2010: 65 Days to Go

65: Dave Paddock, Quarterback (1912 – 1915)

New York native David Paddock had to fight just to make the Georgia football squad under coach Alex Cunningham. It was said that Paddock is the only player in Georgia history who circulated a petition to help him earn a spot on the football team. Following spring practice in 1912, Dave Paddock switched positions from halfback to quarterback, where he would eventually become a team captain and All-American. As the backup quarterback in 1912, Paddock played sparingly but ended up as Georgia’s starter following the Auburn game. In a game played in a slushy snow, Paddock and Bob McWhorter led the Georgia to a 12-6 victory over the Plainsmen. Paddock was also instrumental in the 20-0 victory over Georgia Tech.

Returning as a starter in 1913, Paddock and Bob McWhorter would lead a Georgia offense that would become the first Georgia team in 16 years to finish a season without being shutout. The season began with 108-0 shutout of Alabama Presbyterian. Paddock starred in Georgia’s 18-15 victory over Clemson, rushing for 165 yards on only 11 carries. Georgia finished the season 6-2. With the graduation of Bob McWhorter following the 1913 season, Paddock took a more important role in the Georgia offense the following season.

In 1914, Paddock was named to the All-American team by the New York Herald. During his senior season in 1915, he scored four touchdowns. His final touchdown came in his final game at Georgia, a 13-0 shutout of Clemson.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why all the sudden doubt in Aaron Murray?

When Aaron Murray committed to play football at The University of Georgia back in 2008, it was seen as a major victory for the program. The highly touted quarterback from Tampa's Plant High School had chosen the Bulldogs over his home state Florida Gators. Despite heavy recruitment from Urban Meyer and pressure from friends and family, Murray chose the Dawgs and later helped recruit teammate Orson Charles to come to Athens as well. During his senior season at Plant, Murray came back from a broken foot to lead his team to a state championship.

Mark Richt had already declared Joe Cox the starter by the time Murray enrolled early at Georgia for the spring semester in 2009. He played well in spring practice and had an impressive debut at G-Day. During the fall, he developed a shoulder injury that caused him some pain when throwing. After the debacle against Tennessee, many (including myself) thought it was time to give Murray a shot. But the injury ultimately proved to be too much and Murray remained on the sideline for the remainder of the season.

During spring practice this year, Murray continued to impress the coaches and appeared to have a lead on the starting job heading into G-Day. And suddenly it seems everyone's opinion of Murray changed.

Murray had the worst day of the three Georgia quarterbacks, including a bad interception that killed a nice drive. Combined with a great performance by fellow freshman Zach Mettenberger, suddenly Murray was no longer the favorite to be the starter in the minds of many fans. A few weeks later, Mettenberger was kicked off the team and Coach Richt named Murray #1 on the depth chart. By the reaction of many fans, you would have thought Joe Cox was coming back for another season.

All summer long, I have continued to hear questions about Aaron Murray. Yes, he is a freshman who has not played a down, so some of those questions are warranted. But why do people suddenly think that a player considered one the five best quarterback prospects in the 2009 class is suddenly not up for the job. I have heard questions about his height, his throwing arm, and his ability to handle the offense.

Yes he is a freshman, but a redshirt freshman that enrolled early and will have been on campus for nearly 20 months by the time he makes his first start. Arm strength has never appeared to be a problem in either of the G-Day games I have seen him play in and his film from high school supports it as well. He will have a veteran offensive line, two great running backs, and the best receiver in the country to throw to.

So unlike former freshman starters David Greene (who started during the team's first year in a new system under Richt) or Matt Stafford (who started as a true freshman on a team that struggled much of the season), Murray will not be relied upon to carry the team on offense. Georgia fans need to remember the excitement we had when he committed as opposed to questioning everything about him before he even takes the field.

The Countdown 2010: 66 Days to Go

66: Herb St. John, Guard #39 (1944 -1947)

Despite blocking for Georgia greats Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi, Georgia’s offensive lines during the 1940’s were considered by many to be below average. The exception was four time All-SEC offensive lineman Herb St. John. St. John came to Georgia from Jacksonville, Florida and was a four year starter on both the offensive and defensive line. Georgia would compile a 34-9-1 record during those four years, including an undefeated season (11-0) in 1946. St.John’s offensive line helped Charley Trippi account for 1,366 total yards on the ground and in the air. Trippi was awarded the Maxwell Trophy, St.John was named an All-American, and Georgia was declared National Champions by the Williams Poll.

Here are some highlights from Georgia’s 1946 victory over Alabama:

St. John played in multiple collegiate level All-Star games following the 1944 and 1946 seasons. He played two years of professional football before retiring from football. He went on to have a successful career as high school, winning 115 games over a 19 year career. He was inducted into the Georgia Circle of Honor in 2004.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 67 Days to Go

67) Theron Sapp, FB/LB #40 (1956-1958)

Theron Sapp, a Damn Good Dawg, is one of the true old school legends of UGA Football. The 'Drought-Breaker" as he would become known later in his career, was born in Dublin, GA and came to Athens from Macon's Lanier High School. He sat out his first year in 1954 due to a vertebrae injury that doctors told him would never allow him to play football again. His neck eventually healed and he became the starting fullback for Coach Wally Butts in 1957 and 1958, earning All-SEC and Team Captain honors during his senior season.

However, his greatest moment would come during his Junior season (1957) against the hated Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. As it has been well documented, Sapp recovered a fumble during the third quarter of play and then led the Bulldogs down the field, scoring the game's only TD as UGA ended a 8 year fun of futility against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia had not scored a touchdown against Tech since 1953 and the Bulldogs would defeat the Jackets again in 1958, 16-3, behind the legs and will of Sapp. His #40 was retired shortly after his collegiate playing career ended in March of 1959 before a 7 year NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.

At that point, Sapp was just the third player in UGA history to have his number retired and perhaps the greatest complement on his play and what it meant to UGA fans was summed up by Tech's own Bobby Dodd, "Walker won the national championship for Georgia (1980) and was awarded the Heisman trophy (1982) but to older Bulldogs who suffered through the 1950s, Sapp's breaking the drought was greater. He silenced eight years of bragging from Tech students and alumni. Breaking the drought was a remarkable achievement." Sapp finished his career with only 1,269 yards on 258 carries, but one carry on a cold November afternoon in Atlanta in all Bulldog fans needed to last a lifetime.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 68 Days to Go

Odell Thurman LB #33 (2003-2004)

We all know about the off-field troubles of Odell Thurman, but on field, he was a punishing middle linebacker that set the tone for Brian VanGorder's last two linebacker units at Georgia. A player that only notably contributed for two seasons, and was suspended for the first three games of 2004, made a large enough impact to land on this list at #68.

He was named an all-SEC player and was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 2004, and was selected 48th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005.

On a Junkyard Dawg defense full of big playmakers in 2003 and 2004, Thurman had a knack for making big plays of his own:

There isn't much more to say about Odell. Unfortunately, both his college and NFL careers could have been better. But he was an outstanding talent, and one mean middle linebacker.

As Uncle Dawg would say, "Oh hell, it's Odell."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 69 Days to Go

Randall Godfrey, LB #42 (1992-1995)

Randall Godfrey burst onto the scene as the SEC Freshman of the Year in 1992, Ray Goff's best season as Georgia's head coach (10-2). The Lowndes County High School product led the Bulldogs with 114 tackles that season, becoming the first true freshman to ever lead UGA in that category. He would go on to be named to the All-SEC team in 1993 and 1994 at middle linebacker.

Godfrey finished his career with 365 career tackles, 8th all-time in Georgia's history. His 231 primary career tackles makes him 3rd all-time on that list.

Injuries depleted this crop of Bulldogs in '95.

Godfrey was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1996 with the 49th overall pick. He played 12 seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys (4), Titans (3), Seahawks (1), Chargers (3) and Redskins (1), making All-Pro with the Titans in 2000. He also led the Cowboys in tackles in 1999.

Falling 10 classes short of his degree when drafted by the Cowboys, Godfrey recently returned to Athens to finish it, doing so in the fall of 2009.