Friday Five: Kirby Smart will have it easy, right?

A fistful of comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports.

While wondering: Is it just coincidence that Al Jazeera America shut down operations not long after implicating Peyton Manning in a PED story? Or does Manning have a reach that extends from Denver to the Middle East? Then why waste his power trying to bring down Roethlisberger when he can go after Assad?

Kirby Smart’s honeymoon

Smile, Kirby ,that big, bad Clemson won't be bothering you again soon. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

Smile, Kirby,that big, bad Clemson won’t be bothering you again soon. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

The best thing that new Georgia coach Kirby Smart has going for him in his first season? It’s not the promise of a new indoor practice facility, or even incoming quarterback Jacob Eason.

It’s the fact that Clemson no longer is a standing opponent on the Bulldogs schedule. He won’t have to face the Tigers and Deshaun Watson again in 2016-17, at least not until the college football playoffs (hey, I’m nothing if not an optimist).

And those who insist upon breaking down a schedule that doesn’t commence for eight months may say that Smart has a pretty gentle go of it for his first head coaching campaign. No Alabama, no LSU from the other side of the conference. And the Eastern Division isn’t exactly a death march.

All that and the new coach will get every benefit of the doubt from the welcoming Bulldog fan base – at least through September.

Trump talks tough on the NFL

Donald Trump stumps for more violence in football. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump stumps for more violence in football. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Clearly the job of President is not big enough for Donald Trump. He should drop that campaign right now and begin angling to become the next NFL Commissioner.

Please.

Earlier this week Trump used America’s most popular game as an analogy for the country at large.

And by golly, if he were commissioner, you’d actually be fined if you didn’t cause a concussion. And every player would be issued a trident and a sword. (OK, I made that part up).

“(Football’s) become soft and our country has become soft,” he told a gathering in Nevada.

More Trump:

“The whole game is all screwed up. You say, ‘Wow, what a tackle.’ Bing – flag.”

And a little bit more:

“It’s become weak and you know what? It’s going to affect the NFL. I don’t even watch it as much anymore. It’s going to affect the NFL. I don’t watch it. The referees, they want to all throw flags so their wives see them at home. ‘Oh, there’s my husband.’”

Never has a man more needed to be sent over the middle on a pass route against the Cincinnati Bengals defense (no, the helmet of hair won’t protect him). Just for a perspective check.

 Another reason children are better than us

Laces out, Dan: Blair Walsh misses the 27-yard field goal that cost Minnesota a 10-9 Wildcard playoff loss to Seattle. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Laces out, Dan: Blair Walsh misses the 27-yard field goal that cost Minnesota a 10-9 Wildcard playoff loss to Seattle. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Former Georgia kicker Blair Walsh had his Bill Buckner moment Sunday when he missed a kick that he’d make nine out of 10 times and his Vikings lost a home wild-card game to Seattle, 10-9. His 27-yarder squirted wide left and fans who had endured sub-zero temperatures were left further numbed.

He found solace days later in the first grade classroom of Northpoint Elementary in Blaine, Minn., where the kids were assigned to write letters of encouragement to the kicker. The teacher saw the opportunity to impart a lesson in empathy.

People are just nicer before they learn how to use social media.

Wrote first-grader Tasha Lee: “For Blair Walsh. Keep on trying. Puppys are cute.”

Another, as reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, came from little Sophia Doffin: “Dear Blair Walsh: I know that it can be hard to get through things that are sad. But you have to try and try again. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. One time I made a mistake when I was doing a cartwheel. I felt embarrassed. You can still help the Vikings win the Super Bowl next year.”

When you’re six years old, there’s always a next year.

For the record, Walsh, who later visited the class, told the Minnesota media that the adults haven’t been too rough on him, either.

“The fan base that’s not kind, I’m not worried about,” he said. “There have been so many more kind responses that I’ve received than negative, and that shows a lot about Minnesota Vikings fans.

“There’s a lot of true great Minnesotans when it comes to being Vikings fans, and they showed their true colors with the way they’ve treated me in a positive way. I’m not worried about the negative ones. I think they’re far outnumbered right now.”

And the good news is if he’s ever in Seattle, he should never have to pay for an over-priced coffee.

 

And for your reward, you get Cleveland?

Hue Jackson, back when he was wearing a whistle for the Oakland Raiders. (Getty Images)

Hue Jackson, back when he was wearing a whistle for the Oakland Raiders. (Getty Images)

As part of the Bobby Petrino Falcons regime, Hue Jackson wasn’t around long enough to make much of an impression in Atlanta.For that matter, Jackson has barely stayed anywhere long enough to leave fingerprints. Just 50 years old, he has held coaching positions with five college and six NFL teams. He has coached on two continents (a brief stint in London). He has done just about everything a man can with a whistle around his neck.

This week he was named head coach of the Cleveland Browns. I guess he voluntarily went. There was no report of a police investigation or a ransom demand.

Laboring as long as Jackson has only to get the Browns job is like working 25 years as a sous chef just to work the overnight  grill at Waffle House. It is putting half a life into doing bit parts, and you’re big break is a starring role in a Hallmark movie.

But he looked plenty happy at the press conference.

When every day is a bad hair day

 Jeremy Lin drives on the Hawks, in hair-raising fashion. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Jeremy Lin drives on the Hawks, in hair-raising fashion. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

As the Hawks were getting dusted in Charlotte Wednesday, their performance wasn’t the ugliest sight on the court.

The last I heard about Jeremy Lin, he was an earnest young guard, Harvard educated, serious about being a meaningful example to the youngsters.

And here the Hornets guard was running around the floor with his hair plastered straight up and high, making Dennis Schroder and his two-tone ‘do look Wall Street-broker conservative. He either chose the look or some rare tropical bird decided to perform a mating ritual on his head.

Apparently the whole “Lin-sanity” thing got to him, too. In a league of excess, Lin stands out, which is a real dubious accomplishment. It is impossible to take him seriously now.

There’s probably still hope for him. It’s intervention time. You bring the string trimmer and I’ll bring the power sander.

Reader Comments 0

34 comments
CedricM
CedricM

tennessee is overrated and usually chokes in big games---Ga can pull the upset. Florida will be way down with a bad offense again and losing a bunch of talent on D. The dogs should win the sec east and play alabama for the title, but kirby will likely get a beatdown from Nick.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@EndofThird  That's kind of what I see happening too but that would be a great year.  The SECCG would be a great learning experience for all of our many young players.  Instead of the "let's just move on" attitude of the previous regime Kirby would make sure they learned from it and built on it.  I don't think we'll keep seeing the same mistakes over and over and over and over and over again like we've grown accustomed to seeing.   

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan  so your not going to miss the; we still have a lot to play for speech.  ?

dawg fan
dawg fan

@FlatTire Words cannot begin to express how overjoyed I am that we don't have to listen to the same tired garbage we've been hearing for about the past decade now.  If Kirby never wins a single game that alone still makes it all worth it. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan  a new era and now we don't have a decent blog now to have a discussion anymore

dawg fan
dawg fan

@FlatTire Things will get popping once the season starts.  The excitement will be through the roof.  The possibilities are limitless.  We could be 12-0 or 0-12.  No one knows.  I love it.  We're pioneering a new frontier instead of plowing the same ground we've been plowing for 10 freaking years.  Thank God and greyhound that Mark Richt is gone!!!

UGA75
UGA75

Kirby did a different job hiring his coaches than I thought he might. It is possible his offensive staff might be better than a lot of people are giving him credit for. The Line coach is a solid winner and the WR coach is an amazing recruiter. The real test is how many, if any, of the Kids KS pulls out of Alabama. 

I was a Richt fan, I am a Smart fan, pretty much sink or swim I'm a Dawg for life. I am not now, nor will I ever be a McGuillicudy (some folks misspell it McGarity) fan. If you look at the total picture as Coach Richt said, everyone is pretty much where GOD wants them.

I have had a rail and tar and feathers for McG...... whenever the UGA president uses his own words to fire him for the job he's done. He is (prior to Kirby) zero for hires in the rest of the UGA athletic program, he sure as hell isn't winning at 70% in his hires. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!! 

dawg fan
dawg fan

The bar for Kirby is not nearly as high as the bitter Richt fans want everyone to believe.  As long as we don't embarrass ourselves like we routinely did under Richt I'll be happy.  It wasn't just the losses.  It was the way we lost them.  The Richt fans will never get that through their thick heads.       

Dawgilama
Dawgilama

@dawg fan 10 wins  and  at least an SEC east  division title  is the  bar thats  been set. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Dawgilama Oh I agree.  That's why it was time for Richt to go.  No SEC East title in 3 years despite the fact that our competition consisted of a Mizzouri team that couldn't beat Indiana and a Florida team that got demolished 41-7 in it's bowl game.  Throw in all the MULTIPLE embarrassing blowout losses we've had to endure EVERY YEAR for the past 7-8 seasons and it was definitely time for the choke artist to take a hike.  It looks like we're on the same page.

DawgNole
DawgNole

Co-sign on Linn.

Hard to believe any "educated" person would actually want to look like that.

He must be shooting up Drano.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket @DawgNole

Not nearly as edumacated as he thought he was. And as distasteful as his hairdo is, it looks almost "normal" compared to that greasy bird perched atop Linn's dome. 

HootyGoot
HootyGoot

Nothing about playing Tennessee, Florida, and Auburn is easy. This is the SEC! Kirby's played here and Kirby's coached here and had a great mentor. He should do good if recruiting is good.

CedricM
CedricM

Kirby should get 2-3 years to win an SEC title---it will take that long to build up the roster to compete with alabama. With a good defense, kirby should dominate the weak sec east on a yearly basis.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Not likely, Florida and Tennessee are on the rise and Smart won't ever be on the same level as Alabama as long as Saban is there

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

Um, he'll go 9-3 his first season( hey CMR could of done that)...Then the bitchin will start... That's what McGarity gets for listening to reporters..

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TrueFan1

He may or may not go 9-3.

In any event, the pathetic thing is that you hope he goes 3-9.

"TrueFan" my a*s.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TrueFan1 TrueFan should pull for 2 teams....doubles your chance of success or failure?.....was anyone CrimsonTiger this year?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You're spot on with that "doubles" assessment. Your emotions can go from the penthouse to the outhouse and back real quickly when both teams are playing.

AlbanyPhil
AlbanyPhil

Blair Walsh did that routinely at UGA, no shocker that it happened Sunday.

96JB
96JB

I hope he gets the 15 years Richt got, with the last 3-4 years really being questionable as far as success. Mark got to the point where the 8-9 wins a year that were/should be slam dunks on the talent alone were giving him trouble. I don't wish Mark any ill will and I'm excited about his chance at Miami, but the Dawgs needed a fresh face. I'm happy for Kirby. All I'll say about Honeymoons is Saban lost to Louisana Monroe his first year at Bama. 4 NC later, nobody panicked.

OH:IO
OH:IO

I wonder if Humer makes the same $$ for Friday 5 and  Chip does for 10@10?