No ‘I’ In Team

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

What’s the Difference between a “Program” and a “Team”?

No matter what level sports, or what sport for that matter, the term “good program” gets thrown around as much as NIL.

The problem with this is just because a team is winning or performing well, doesn’t mean that it’s a good program.

Everybody knows what a good team looks like. Impressive stats, good players, and a lot of wins. But what does a good program look like? Is there a standard? Does it have something to do with Nick Saban’s “process”?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you stop hearing the term “program” past the college level. Nobody would say that the Atlanta Falcons are a good “program”. Good Team? So far. Good Organization? Yes. Good Franchise? Yes….most would say yes. It’s mainly college and high school sports entities that people talk about being a “program”.

To me, in order to be labeled as a “good program” it’s about development. Developing young men and women into great athletes, yes, but also developing the whole person.

Since sports fans are looking at how many NFL players that college programs produce, or how many recruiting “stars” come out of a high school program, it gets lost that MAYBE 5% of the teams will be making that jump to the next level. What happens to the other 95%?

That’s where a “good program” comes into play. There are so many programs and resources that are at the hands of the student-athletes now to prepare them for when that inevitable final pitch, last basket, or career ending snap is taken.

Most (not all) college athletic departments have put in incentives in place to prepare student-athletes after sports. One example of these is right here in our own back yard.

Georgia Southern Director of Athletics Jared Benko has put a great emphasis on the APEX program.  This is an outreach program that follows a curriculum through the career of the student-athlete that covers everything from financial literacy, teaching about taxes, job interview skills, and much more.

The student-athletes are also involved in community outreach, and sessions of needed skills that nobody thinks about like an emergency car care session to show athletes basic car maintenance, and emergency roadside tips.

This trickles down to the high school level too. Everybody wants to look at schools with a brand-new turf field, or a massive videoboard as good programs, and while that’s great, no discounting it at all, if you’re not invested in the people of your program, you’re just a good team…. if that.

Many times, at the high school level, some of these assets to the student athlete are open to all the students at the school and are spearheaded by coaches.

Take Southeast Bulloch for example. The last few years, Coaches Brent Osborne and Randy Lee have been building up the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) program at SEB that was dormant for over 20 years. Now up to about 65 members (many of them student-athletes for the Jackets), the FBLA hosts events for resume building, job interview skills, and other real-world experiences and skills that prepare the members and student-athletes in ways that many at other programs won’t have.

Don’t get me wrong, the “fancy” facilities don’t mean that a program is focusing more on the looks than the substance.

In addition to Randy Lee being RBs coach and Special teams coordinator for SEB Football, and Brent Osborne stepping away from on-field football coaching and moving to the broadcast booth this year, both Lee and Osborne are the Girls and Boys golf coaches for the Jackets and raised money to buy a state-of-the-art golf simulator for SEB golfers. Both can be done and are done well many places throughout the state.

So, what the heck does all this mean? It is just me going off on a soap box again? (maybe…) Just think next time you or you hear someone say, “man that’s a really good program”. Just think. Is it really a good program? Or is it just a good team?

Teachers Of Men

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I have lived in Glynn County my entire life.

I have a passion for football; that maybe my parents, wife, and close friends understand.

I was blessed as a youth to play high school football for a man that I idolize; recent Glynn County Sports Hall of Fame inductee John Willis.

Other than my father who turned 80 years old this week I consider John Willis the greatest influence in my life. The life lessons I learned playing for him prepared me for life. In my mind the things I learned from John Willis are bigger than football he helped develop me into a man.

As I look at the state of high school football in our community today, we are blessed to have three outstanding football coaches charged with developing men in our community.

Brandon Derrick/Frederica Academy: You talk about a coach who can take a little and turn it into a lot, then look no further than Derrick who has consistently developed winning teams at Frederica Academy.

With a State Championship in GISA and numerous region titles, Derrick takes teams that have low numbers and competes with schools with twice the number of players.

A trademark of Derrick football teams is tenacity. The Knights play with a mettle, spirit, and resolution that many of their opponents do not possess and late in ball games that shines through at clutch time.

The values that Derrick teaches will carry with these kids for the rest of their lives. Name me a more tenacious football team than the Frederica Knights? You have Brandon Derrick to thank for that.

Rocky Hidalgo/Glynn Academy: Coach Rock has been at Glynn Academy since 2014 and the fortunes of the program turned immediately.

By the end of the 2015 season Hidalgo had Glynn playing for a State Championship. A trademark of Hidalgo teams is that they are fundamentally sound, which speaks to discipline.

Discipline is a character trait this is seriously lacking among our youth today. Hidalgo teams are prepared down to every little detail.

All Glynn Academy teams I have witnessed are sound in all three phases of offense, defense, and special teams. If a game is tight then it is hard to bet against a Rocky Hidalgo team down the stretch.

Discipline is a trademark of Glynn Academy football and that is because of Rocky Hidalgo.

Garrett Grady/Brunswick High: You talk about a young dynamic coach who knows how to motivate his kids, look no further than Grady.

Grady is a grinder who has a work ethic that is second to none.

Since Grady was named the BHS coach in 2022, he has had the magic touch with the program. Community service, player exposure, everything Grady does he does at 100%.

The key character value I see at BHS currently under Grady is commitment. Grady is committed to these kids at BHS and the kids see that and are totally committed to him.

I’m a Pirate until I die, and Grady is the perfect man to head the BHS football program for years to come. There is a commitment to be great a BHS currently because of Garrett Grady.

Tenacity, discipline, and commitment. Strong core values. Values that are taught to young men on the football fields of Glynn County.

If you don’t think we are blessed on the head coaching front for high school football in Glynn County, then you are not paying attention.

Come out and enjoy a high school football game in Glynn County soon where you will see a collection of head football coaches that I would not want to trade for anyone.

Core values are being taught and all you must do is pay attention. For $10 you can see the hope of our future locally on Friday Nights. That is not a huge investment.

 

QB-0

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

There were moments during the Alabama-USF game when Nick Saban was in pure anguish. The sideline faces of Saban have always been a trip, even when his team is playing brilliantly but this was different.

These faces, or blank stares, were coming from a man who seemed numb. It felt like he was nonverbally asking the question: “How did The University of Alabama get here?” How?

How did Alabama — the most consecutively talented team in modern college football — get to a place where they don’t have a quarterback?

That’s a complicated question to answer. It’s not like Alabama didn’t create options through recruiting and the transfer portal. The Tide came into the season with five quarterbacks on the roster, each ranked among the top 160 as a recruit.

Among them Jalen Milroe, Tyler Buchner, Ty Simpson, Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan, someone would figure it out, right?

They are all from different places, having varying experience levels and with different styles of play. Everybody continued to just assume the great Saban would find one of them to lead this ultra-talented team back to the College Football Playoff. What evidence in the past has proven this assumption wrong?

It turns out, in the 2023 season- Alabama has a problem not even Saban can solve, even if he’s the greatest coach in college football history.

Sometimes coaches, even the great ones, hit a lull and that can lead to some uncomfortable moments on gameday. This isn’t to say Saban lost his touch or no longer knows the quarterback recruitment landscape. This could be a result of constant assistant turnover on his staff.

Whatever the root may be, the issue has become increasingly clear: there’s a disconnect between the players they are recruiting and the output delivered on the field. This seems to be an evaluation and developmental issue, which could mean bad years ahead for the longtime greats.

What production has Alabama put on the field recently. I’m not sure anyone could watch that and say something isn’t wrong. And it’s not a numbers issue. The Tide successfully signed a QB in a recruitment class and had players transfer in.

These aren’t the normal transition pains a program experiences when it transitions from a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to someone new. This is what it looks like to go from elite to bad.

We’re talking about the same coach and program that put a true freshman into the national championship game at halftime and let him fling it. It didn’t take Tua Tagovailoa long to show everyone he was a star.

What’s truly bizarre is why Milroe didn’t play at all in the USF game. Through all the agony coming through on the television, you’d think the Crimson Tide would have turned to the most experienced quarterback on the roster who surely could have made plays with his legs to win the game. Instead, it seemed like a prolonged experiment from Saban to see whether someone anyone could quarterback this team.

Talent, legendary coaching, incredible fans, intimidating stadium, the lore of being one of the best programs in college football history…None of it matters if you don’t have someone special taking the snaps.

Look at the entire SEC — the conference seems down because the quarterback play has been down. Look at all of the non conference games the SEC has lost this season.

In almost every single one, the team that beat the SEC squad had an advantage at quarterback.

Even the greatest coach of all time can’t solve the issue of not having a top-level quarterback, whether he is to blame or not.

It’s Good!

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It just a PAT right? Point after touchdown……easy peasy.

The team scores and the kicker comes in and tacks on another point.

Tuck Tucker, the kicker for the Glynn Academy Red Terrors, has hit 10 of them so far in this short season.

I was lucky enough to coach Tuck when he was 11 and 12 years old. I coach the kickers and QBs and he was our kicker on the 2019 State Championship Glynn County Broncos U-12 rec department team.

Head down, drive through Tuck! You lift your head, your running another lap! I don’t know if he was extremely coachable or hated running laps. Probably a little of both! Just a great kid with a great attitude.

Fast forward to today and while Tuck is kicking for the Red Terrors, he’s stepped into something much bigger. He has become a part of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to researching and finding cures and assisting children with pediatric cancers.

Alexandra “Alex” Scott was born in 1996, the second of 4 children in the Scott family. At the age of 1 she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly type of childhood cancer.

At the age of 4 Alex asked her parents if she could open a lemonade stand to help with the fight against the disease. Out of this wooden Lemonade stand, selling cups of lemonade with the proceeds going to Cancer research, grew the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that has raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research.

The Foundations motto is “Fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time.” The mission statement is “Our mission is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.”

You can donate by going to the Foundation site online or at the lemonade stand at the Red Terrors home games.

And while you’re on the website, look for Tucks page.

Just type in Tuck Tucker on the ALSF search bar. His page is KICK! Cancer with Tuck Tucker.

It reads the following, “Im holding a fundraiser to help Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation move one step closer to finding a cure for all children with cancer. Ill be dedicating my season to kids with cancer by turning my stats into life-saving research dollars”.

“Please make a donation of any amount toward my fundraising goal. The money you donate will pay for research to find better treatments and cures for childhood cancer. You can help kids and their families by providing desperately needed hope!”

The Foundation has funded more than ONE THOUSAND Medical Research Grants since 2005.

According to Dr. David Poplack, “The ALSF grant program is helping researchers throughout the country move closer to the day when a cure is a reality…”

The ALSF is the only childhood cancer research organization that has been given the National Cancer Institute peer-reviewed funder designation for rigorous selection of research grants.   That’s how donations are helping.

I’d love to say that Alex Scott is alive and well and working with the Foundation. She would be 27 years old now. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Pediatric cancer is a killer and it took Alex’s life in 2004 at the age of 8. Before she died, Alex had raised over a million dollars for cancer research and inspired all around her. And it all started with a front yard lemonade stand and a girl who cared. So does Tuck. Give if you can.

As I was talking to Tuck, our conversation naturally went to kicking and I asked the junior kicker about the season.

He said he had made 10 out of 12 PATS with one of those being a block.

Well, what about the first one that you missed I asked? He said he saw the rush and clanked it off the crossbar. I said yep, you raised your head……..I didn’t make him run a lap.

Power Surge

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I don’t know the journey the 2023 Braves will lead, but I now know the magnitude of their journey to this present moment.

They haven’t merely wrapped up the National League East. Their lineup is doing things baseball fans haven’t seen done in 50 years, 90 years, 100 years … or ever, for that matter, and that’s only now dawning on them.

There’s something funny about making history, you see. You don’t always recognize it when you’re in the middle of it, living and watching it, day in and day out.

There’s no perfect stat. There’s no perfect metric that reveals, unequivocally, the identity of the The Greatest Offense of All Time. So, if you’re even in the argument, alongside those ’27 Yankees, there’s no need to quibble about where to place the decimal points. We’re witnessing greatness, period.

Here’s an incredible difference between these Braves and those Yankees. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were twice as good at creating runs as the average hitter of that era, but they were part of a top-heavy lineup that didn’t have the depth of this Braves lineup, believe it or not the Braves are deeper and a higher utility team.

It doesn’t get much more old-school than home runs and stolen bases. And the triple digits in those categories are a reminder that the Braves can beat you one way on night one and a whole different way on night 2.

That 2019 Twins team that set the home run record the Braves are chasing, for most homers in a season (307). That team stole 28 bases all season. Ronald Acuna almost had that many himself by Memorial Day.

Even if they take their foot off the gas in the next few days, the Braves are almost a lock to lead the majors in homers by 50.  No team has even done that in 55 years.

Only two teams in history that stole 100 bases even reached 250 homers the same season: the 2019 Brewers  (250) and last year’s Yankees (254).

Hard to argue that this team isn’t special! The only two previous teams in history to bop 300 homers, the 2019 Twins and 2019 Yankees. They stole 83 bases combined. Acuña is on pace to steal 73 this year all by himself.

The Braves could have nine players with at least 20 homers! No team has ever done that.

The Braves could also have five players with at least 30 homers! Only the 2019 Twins have done that. And they just became the first team ever to have four men hit 35 or more.

They could lead the sport in slugging by 40 points! (They were at 43 through Sunday.) The only teams since 1900 to do that are the ’27 Yankees and 1953 Boys of Summer Dodgers.

I could spit out many more magic numbers for these Braves. But I’ve made my point. I never saw Ruth and Gehrig in 1927, but I’m watching Acuña and Olson here in 2023.

Now, there’s one more thing that needs to happen, one more thing they need to accomplish to make this season truly special, and historic.

The Braves just have to finish it. If October goes like the first six months of this season, they’ll be swirling around all these numbers for the rest of their lives.

If the Braves fail to win The World Series, they are just numbers that will be semi-forgotten.

Just Pretending?

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We have only played a few games in the 2023 college football season but I’m still left with questions.

Who are the real national title contenders? Let’s take a look at the top four teams and see what’s going on.

#1 Georgia: The Bulldogs have won two consecutive national championships and were undefeated last season. They have been ranked as the top team this year despite losing several key players from those teams.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett graduated and he’s on the LA Rams roster. The players drafted in the first round were defensive tackle Jalen Carter, tackle Broderick Jones and linebacker Nolan Smith.

Junior Carson Beck is the new QB this season and we have not learned much from the first three games. They opened SEC play against South Carolina at home. They went into halftime trailing the Gamecocks 14-3. The ‘other USC’ lost their season opener to North Carolina so they are not an elite team.

The Bulldogs shut them out in the second half and won, 24-14. The next game is against UAB so that will be an easy win. I want to see how they play against better competition but they do not play a ranked opponent until October 28, which is No. 25 Florida.

#2 Michigan: The Wolverines had an undefeated regular season in 2022 and went to the College Football Playoff. Michigan has played East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green so these are basically glorified preseason games.

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is the returning starter so they do have continuity at the most important position on the field. The next games are against bad teams, Rutgers and Nebraska. They don’t face a ranked team until No. 7 Penn State on November 11.

#3 Texas: The Longhorns made a big jump in the polls after they beat No. 3 Alabama 34-24 on the road.

Now we should put an asterisk next to this because it does not hold the same weight as it would have over the last decade. The Crimson Tide are struggling at quarterback and Jalen Milroe was benched after that game. Alabama struggled at USF, so I think the quality of this win will be diminished as the season progresses.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers cut the mullet in the offseason and put himself in the Heisman Trophy race after the Bama game.

Texas responded by sleepwalking the first three quarters at home against Wyoming. They started the fourth quarter tied at 10. They ended up winning 31-10.

They only have one more ranked team on the remaining schedule and that’s No. 16 Oklahoma. I think they might be the hardest team to evaluate because the Big 12 has expanded and they don’t have many good teams to play.

#4 Florida State: Going into last week I thought this was the best team in the nation. They started the season with a blowout win over No. 5 LSU, 45-24. The Tigers have played well after that so it’s a good win.

Senior quarterback Jordan Travis is a returning starter and he might be a first-round pick in the 2024 draft. He’s thrown 8 touchdowns with only 1 interception, so he takes care of the football.

The Seminoles struggled and barely beat Boston College, 31-29. The next opponent is Clemson but they have lost seven straight meetings.

FSU does have three more ranked opponents on their schedule; No. 18 Duke, No. 20 Miami and No. 25 Florida.

I’m looking forward to November so we can truly see who the real contenders are.

Tiers

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After a couple of weeks into the 2023 season. There are signs that the SEC may be down in football in 2023. There will be plenty of time to reverse that perception, but as of today here are my SEC Tier rankings so far for 2023.

TIER ONE:

1 – Georgia: Georgia is the gold standard in the SEC currently. Two cupcakes disposed of so far with SEC opener this week against South Carolina. If UGA drops a couple of games will the SEC even be represented in the College Football Playoff this season?

2 – LSU: The loss to FSU was awful, but who else goes into this spot right now? LSU is talented and should regroup in time for the Alabama game to be for the SEC West title.

Can Brian Kelly get it done in Baton Rouge? LSU’s history says yes, but Brian Kelly’s history says no. We’ll see soon.

3 – Alabama: Physically whipped on the fronts by Texas who may end up being great, but warning signs are there if you are an Alabama fan.

Don’t close the door on Nick Saban. This is still a very talented and proud football program which makes them dangerous for the rest of this season.

TIER TWO:

4 — Texas A&M: The loss to Miami puts Jimbo on the hot seat. No reason this talented roster should stink the way they do.

A&M has a $77 million dollar quandary on their hands. If Jimbo is fired, they must pay that huge buy-out. Alabama comes to College Station this fall.

5 – Tennessee: Is Joe Milton really that guy? A struggle with Austin Peay raised questions about the Vols as they head to Gainesville, which has been a house of horrors for Tennessee for a long time. Vols have lost 9 straight there and have not won there since 2003.

6- Ole Miss: Big Road win at Tulane, and Alabama coming up soon will tell us all we need to know about Ole Miss.

Ole Miss has an experienced OL and a solid run game with Lane calling the plays. Division play is ending after 2023 in the SEC. Ole Miss has never represented the West in Atlanta for the SEC title game. Now or never Rebs.

TIER THREE:

7 – Missouri: I like this defense. A team you don’t want to sleep on.

8 – Arkansas: Are you buying the Razorback hype? I’m not this team is about to get exposed in SEC play.

9 – Auburn: This is the lowest you’ll see this team in the power rankings right now. Moving forward Hugh Freeze will have Auburn in the elite status in 2024 and beyond.

10 – Kentucky:  N.C. State transfer Devin Leary is all the hype at quarterback. They are effective at what they do, which is to bore the hell out of you.

TIER FOUR:

11 – South Carolina: Expectations exceed talent and depth. 9 sacks surrendered against UNC is a huge warning sign going into SEC play.

12 – Mississippi State: This team has a lot of unknowns, which is why they land here in their traditional spot in rankings like these. Historic bottom feeder.

13 – Florida: Gators have a schedule that can get a coach fired. Florida has fired a lot of coaches lately.

Billy Napier can recruit Florida out of this, but he needs time.

Statement game against Tennessee this weekend. The Utah game was bad. This team looks talented on defense.

14 – Vanderbilt: Vandy’s destiny is here. It is their birthright. Hopefully one day they can climb out of here.

House Of Horrors

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Neither team is in the top 10. In fact, only one of them is ranked. There are no Heisman favorites playing. But make no mistake, Saturday’s Florida Gators-Tennessee Vols game at the Swamp is big. Always expect a sellout crowd.

Tennessee looks to win back-to-back games over Florida in the rivalry for the first time since 2003-2004 and to win in The Swamp for the first time since 2003.

The Vols are coming off an exciting 38-33 win over the Gators at Neyland Stadium a season ago, a victory that sparked the 11-win campaign.

Josh Heupel’s bunch looked out of sorts against Austin Peay last week, thus getting back on track and having proper communication is key as this matchup will be the first true road game of the season for the Big Orange.

It’s a massive game for both parties involved. The contest will be the ‘tempo setter’ for the Vols and the first challenge ahead of a grueling SEC schedule.

For the Gators, this is a critical rivalry game with Billy Napier, this is the biggest game in his coaching career. Both squads are trying to find themselves early in the season, but the game slows down for no one.

Florida is eager to make a statement under Napier. They want to show that they’re going to take a step forward in Napier’s second season. Beating Tennessee, especially after losing to the Vols last season, would certainly send a message that Florida is moving in the right direction under Napier.

For Tennessee, the Florida game is the first real obstacle in their quest for a SEC East division title. With Georgia looking like a good bet to run the table until their late November matchup with the Vols, Tennessee knows that a loss to Florida on Saturday in the Swamp will make winning an SEC East title significantly tougher, if not impossible.

Through two games, this typically high flying Tennessee offense—or more specifically the passing game element of that offense—hasn’t been racking up the explosive plays like fans are accustomed to seeing.

Heupel understands that there’s frustration about Tennessee’s performance on Saturday in a game that most expected would be well in hand by halftime.

The Vols are running the ball great at the moment, averaging 6.1 yards per carry on the season. The aforementioned SEC-worst 6.67 yards per passing attempt is holding the offense back.

Tennessee is converting just 32% on third down, which ranks 13th in the SEC. That’s also a concern but the Vols haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of defenses in the first two weeks.

Florida has potential to surprise people this season but could struggle to reach bowl eligibility.

I side more so with the latter. I am not a believer in Graham Mertz and don’t see Florida having a good pass rush.

The receiver’s youth won’t help Mertz, and shaky offensive line play will prevent Florida’s run game from reaching its potential. With that, the Swamp will impact The Vols offense. That should go without saying.

Gainesville is a house of horrors for Tennessee, no question about it. And if there is one must-win game for the Gators in 2023, it’s Tennessee.

With the game being in week three, Florida needs to set the tone for the rest of their season.

Florida 27    Tennessee 24

NFC South Week 1 Recap

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The NFL season kicked off yesterday. I’m going to take a look around the NFC South and see what we can take away from these performances.

Atlanta- 24 Carolina- 10: As a Falcons fan I’ve always been grateful to the Panthers. No matter how bad the Falcons are you can always count on one win against the guys from Charlotte.

I expected it to be a rough day for Bryce Young since he’s a rookie quarterback on a bad team making his debut. The first pick in the draft went 20-38 passing for 146 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. I expect him to get better as the season goes on.

I was curious how the Falcons backfield would look since they drafted Bijan Robinson with the 8th pick in the 2023 draft. Tyler Allgeier rushed for over one thousand yards last season as a rookie.  Allgeier rushed for 75 yards and two TD’s on 15 carries. Robinson had 10 carries for 56 yards and 6 receptions for 27 yards and a score.

“This was a super-fun first game for me,” Robinson said. “I just can’t wait to showcase what we’ve got going down the line.”

Desmond Ridder is not the franchise quarterback of the future. He was efficient passing the ball, completing 15 of 18 attempts. He only passed for 115 yards though. He does not throw the ball downfield so playmakers like Kyle Pitts or Drake London can excel. London had zero catches and only 1 target. Pitts caught 2 passes for 44 yards.

Tampa Bay- 20 Minnesota-17: This game surprised me and left me thinking the Buccaneers have a chance to win the division. It’s way too early to make that prediction but they were the most impressive NFC South team yesterday.

Tom Brady retired for good, allegedly, and they replaced him with Baker Mayfield. The former number one pick is a journeyman who is on his last opportunity to be a starter in the NFL. He passed for 174 yards and 2 TD’s. Those aren’t impressive numbers but it is a big deal that he did not throw a pick. Mike Evans caught 6 passes for 66 yards and a score.

“It just comes with playing quarterback for a long time,” said Mayfield, who hopped from the Browns to the Panthers to the Rams to before landing with the Bucs. “The most important play is the next one.”

The Vikings won the NFC North last season and made the playoffs so this is a good win. Kirk Cousins passed for 344 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He also lost 2 fumbles so the defense did a good job causing turnovers.

New Orleans- 16 Tennessee- 15: Derek Carr made his debut with the Saints and he did a decent job. He threw for 305 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. He was sacked four times so he took a beating.

“I’m glad we won. That’s all I wanted to do,” said Carr. “That was one of the more physical games I’ve played in my 10 years. … We showed that we could win the ultimate physical type of game.”

Star running back Alvin Kamara is suspended the first three games of the season. Jamaal Williams had 18 carries for 45 yards, which is a paltry 2.5 yards per carry.

Second year receiver Chris Olave led the team with 8 catches and 112 yards.

New Orleans was the favorite to win the division before the season started. I think the Bucs will challenge them.

 

Bobo Not A Clown

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Listed below is the best definition I could find of what a fair-weather fan is.

Fair Weather Fan: A fan of a sports team who only shows support when the team is doing well. Right now, the University of Georgia football program has more than its share of those who qualify for that title.

If you read anything UGA related on social media during the UGA/UT Martin game last weekend you would have thought UGA was getting blown out.

The main target was UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Apparently, the unemployed offensive coordinators on Facebook took out their frustrations on Bobo when UGA got off to a slow start last Saturday.

Once UGA picked up the offensive pace with 559 yards of total offense for the day, which included 400 yards through the air that did not seem to slow down the social media experts.

It didn’t matter that the UGA offense put up 41 points with Carson Beck starting his first game at QB or the fact that UGA’s top two running backs Daijun Edwards and Kendall Milton were limited due to injury.

Milton had limited carries and Edwards did not play. UT Martin stacked the box to take away the run, which resulted in UGA throwing the ball more.

Despite UT Martin loading up to stop the run UGA still managed 159 rushing yards. The UGA offense ended the day with 9 chunk plays with over 20 yards. By the way experts that is a fantastic stat.

Mike Bobo at UGA:

2001–2006: Georgia (QB)

2007–2014: Georgia (OC/QB)

2022:  Georgia Analyst Offense

2023: Georgia OC

Bobo developed successful quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford, DJ Shockley, Aaron Murray, and David Greene at UGA.

Aaron Murray still holds SEC passing records in for career yards and TD’s. In 2012, Bobo was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top college football assistant coach.

Misconception #1: Mike Bobo was fired as offensive coordinator from the University of Georgia. That is a false statement. Mike Bobo was hired as Head Football coach for Colorado State University after the 2014 football season.

Mark Richt was fired by UGA after the 2015 football season. During the 2015 football season Brian Schottenheimer was the offensive coordinator for UGA. During Bobo’s last year as OC UGA averaged 41.3 points per game. During Schottenheimer’s only year as OC in 2015 UGA averaged 26.3 points per game.

Misconception #2: The notion that Mike Bobo’s offense caused UGA to lose games during the Richt years. Look at 2014 when UGA lost to a bad 7-5 Florida team in Jacksonville.

UGA gave up 418 yards rushing to Florida. UGA lost 38-35 to South Carolina in 2014 and did not turn the ball over a single time that day. Prior to Kirby arriving the defense let UGA down countless times in big games.

It all boils down to this the ‘fair weathered bunch’ associate Mike Bobo with the failure to consistently win big games during the Mark Richt era at UGA.

What they need to understand is that Kirby Smart is running things now and they need to trust in Kirby and realize that offense was never a problem during the Richt years with Mike Bobo as OC.

I leave you with this question: Could the social media Offensive Coordinators name 5 starters for the 2023 Georgia Bulldogs?

If things are rolling, you’ll see the fair weathered bunch in Jacksonville, Atlanta (SEC Championship), and college football playoff sites if UGA is winning big.

Let the Dawgs slip to 8-4 and you’ll only see the die-hard Dawg fans in Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville for a Bowl game with no luster.

All programs have a fair weathered wine and cheese variety of fans that roll with you when things are good.

However, there is plenty of room on the red and black train. Everyone is welcome with one disclaimer. Please know what the hell you are talking about when you critique a proven offensive coordinator that can sneeze out more football knowledge than you the fair-weather fan can fathom.

In Kirby We Trust!

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