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Sprints // 05.15.09

Baseball Wrap. Here.

Dawg Fight. Far be it from C&F to come between Georgia fans, but that appears to be just what he did when he noted the election of Jim Donnan to the College Football Hall of Fame. The Mayor took the news well enough once he learned that Donnan was going in for his time at Marshall, but Donnan's comment that "we did some good things [at Georgia]" didn't go over so well.

What, precisely, are the "good things" Coach Donnan believes he did, and how do they overcome his having gone 2-3 against Auburn, 1-4 against Florida, 2-3 against Georgia Tech, and 1-4 against Tennessee? ...

What, specifically, did Coach Donnan get started? It wasn't the Red and Black's penchant for sending players to the N.F.L. (as evidenced by Coach Goff's 1992 Bulldog squad), or for failing to achieve greatly with vast quantities of talent (also as evidenced by Coach Goff's 1992 Bulldog squad). ...

I feel justified in saying that, aside from redshirting David Greene, Jim Donnan made few, if any, contributions to Georgia football which were both enduring and valuable. ... Jim Donnan was a bad hire from someplace else whose continued association with Georgia football in any way, shape, form, or fashion I consider unwelcome, and, frankly, I'd just as soon not have his name come up around here any more.

And that's just a portion of the harshest stuff. The Mayor also calls the 2000 loss to South Carolina "my single worst sports-related experience ever." C&F would like to be able to apologize -- but that would be disingenuous, as that game arguably turned me into a full-fledged Gamecock. (As for the Hall thing, South Carolina fans could soon relate to the Dawgs with word that Dave Odom will go into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.)

In any case, the Mayor's post at Dawg Sports drew a stern rebuke from DawgsOnline.

Georgia under Donnan won more games than they had over the previous five years, and the four-year stretch from 1997-2000 saw the most consistently successful stretch of Georgia football since the amazing run ended after 1983. After coming in on the tail end of four straight seasons with six or fewer wins, Donnan began a streak of 8+ win seasons and bowl appearances which continues to this day. More importantly, Donnan's recruiting efforts stocked the cupboard at many positions and provided a core of upperclassmen which would win two SEC East titles in Mark Richt's first three years.  ...

Donnan, since leaving Georgia, has been nothing but a gracious advocate for the Bulldogs and deferential to Mark Richt. ...

Donnan's detractors don't have to throw a party over his Hall of Fame election, but they could do with a little bit of the grace he's shown since he left campus.

Again, the entire post is worth a read.

I think it's fair to say this might be one of those cases where the truth is in the middle. Donnan did elevate the program, I suppose -- if you look at the lower base he was working from. Even DawgsOnline concedes that Donnan was dismissed because he fell short of expectations. But let's say Jimbo Fisher wins nine or 10 games a year when he takes over Florida State, and does so for four or five years. Do we label that progress and credit him for elevating the program? Or do we note that it's still not what the Seminoles were doing in the 1990s?

Georgia fans (and it is so hard to type these words) had every right to expect more from Donnan. That he did better than his predecessors is consolation to Dawg fans -- but very little consolation.

So does he have to sit in 37F now? Steve Spurrier has rarely zinged the Gators since he went to South Carolina. While obviously bitter about being viewed as "just another candidate" at Florida after Ron Zook's firing in 2004, Spurrier has been gracious to Florida -- partly out of respect for his alma mater (he will be the first to admit his loyalties are divided on every day except South Carolina vs. Florida) and partly because of his rule that he won't verbally knock a team he can't beat.

But the Ol' Ball Coach creeped close to that with his assessment of Urban Meyer's longevity.

"They still got that rumor going down there, Paul, that if he has one more big year, he might be the Notre Dame coach," Spurrier said.

After Finebaum said Notre Dame folks are convinced Meyer will be their next coach as early as next year, Spurrier referred to how he read about Meyer telling someone about "his dream job to coach at Notre Dame," something Meyer told a Miami radio station in December. "He had an opportunity 4-5 years ago, he didn't take it," Spurrier said. ...

"It'd be surprising if he left, but who knows?" Spurrier said. "He's accomplished so much. I left after 12 years because I just said 'Hey, I've done enough. Try something else.' He may get to the point where he needs to try something else. Who knows?"

A point added by one of the commenters at Swamp Things: One way or another, this year is Tim Tebow's last. Think about that and assume for a moment that we're all right about what Florida could do in 2009. If you've already won three national championships, what do you do for an encore?

Dan Mullen gets a bit carried away. Apparently looking to get as many visitors to his Spring Game as Alabama's legendary 2007 turnout, Mullen is asking the fans to come to Starkville next year, and bring others.

Later on, he would challenge those who didn't attend, and would also say that if everyone who did come brought two folks, there could be 93,000 in the stands.

There's just one tiny problem: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field seats 55,082.

Personnel issues. And the Valley Shook takes a look at the conference quarterback situation in 2009 and finds it (once again) muddled. In the opinion of your humble correspondent, Jordan Jefferson is as good a choice as anyone else to be No. 3, with Stephen Garcia and Joe Cox as the biggest wild cards. Still not sold on Ryan Mallett, but things can change.

Meanwhile, Jerry at The Joe Cribbs Car Wash is nervous about the future of Montez Billings, who was not a particularly good WR last year -- but was at Auburn and so is about the best returning wideout they have.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the first indication we've had from someone on the coaching staff that Billings might not be back this fall? Chizik mentioned that it was an academic issue--but the vibe I got at the time was that, as with McKenzie, Billings was expected to get things ironed out. ...

It's hard to say losing a player who didn't catch a touchdown pass last year and didn't break the 300-yard mark would be a devastating blow, but I don't think the potential loss of Billings should be underestimated, either: he's still the team's leading returning receiver, and in fact he's the only returning wide receiver who even cracked double digits in receptions.

Ole Miss might have some receivers you could borrow.

Thoughts and prayers. This time for Mark Herzlich: Reigning ACC defensive player of the year, now diagnosed with cancer.

Wind Sprints. The Andre Smith agent situation keeps getting stranger ... Sanctions against Southern Cal could come before the ends of our natural-born lives, according to Doc Saturday ... The Doctor also sees Alabama as a legit (if still underdog) threat to win the national championship ... Does Tommy Tuberville even know what a podcast is?