Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Richt, Pruitt justified in making changes

  • 8:51 am Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jeremy Pruitt has been given free rein to fix Georgia's defense. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

There are two absolutes when a college athlete is dismissed from a team: 1) The player did something wrong (probably more than once); 2) The coach did something right.

Given Georgia coach Mark Richt has dismissed safety Tray Matthews for unspecified reasons, the third high-profile exit from his team’s defense this offseason. This should confirm that the let’s-give-him-one-more-chance mentality that used to exist in Athens is officially dead and buried.

Richt’s statement on Matthews’ exit was brief but said enough: “We are trying to make room for guys who want to do things right.”

UPDATE: Matthews addresses his dismissal: He admits he caused [More]

SEC coaches don’t want rules skirted (wait, what?) (updated)

  • 11:27 am Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Penn State's James Franklin is ruffling the feathers of SEC coaches. (AP photo)

James Franklin, the former Vanderbilt coach now of Penn State, will be appearing at football camps next month at Georgia State and Stetson University, and SEC coaches don’t like. Why? Because it circumvents an NCAA rule.

Sorry. Need a minute. I can’t stop laughing.

So here’s the background: The NCAA has a rule that precludes NCAA coaches from holding football camps out of state more than 50 miles from their campus. The idea of this rule is to prevent Alabama’s Nick Saban from holding a camp in Athens and Georgia’s Mark Richt from going to Gainesville, Fla., and  Kentucky’s Mark Stoops going [More]

Holiday 6-pack: Will Nats close on Braves?

  • 12:01 pm Monday, May 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves' B.J. Upton is reaching base more and striking out less. Honest. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Good morning. This is the day to celebrate our true heroes. Memorial Day began as a day to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War but now serves to recognize all Americans who died while in the military. This isn’t a day for politics. To borrow from Mark Twain: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

And now, on the backside of this barbecue weekend, a six-pack of thoughts on a six-pack of teams:

1. Braves: Keep an eye on Washington

The Braves are showing signs of coming out of their offensive rut, [More]

Michigan botches recruiting pitch

  • 12:03 pm Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Can you spot the typo in this recruiting pitch?

There are two subjects I generally try to stay away from: Recruiting (because it nauseates me) and mocking somebody else’s spelling mistakes (because, well, you know).

But this item brings the worst of both worlds together, so . . .

College football coaches are going to greater lengths than ever to get the attention of recruits. Tennessee coach Butch Jones sent a player’s recruit a Mother’s Day card. Notre Dame photo-shopped the image of coveted high school quarterback Blake Barnett on a poster of the school’s seven Heisman Trophy winners, with the question, “Are you next?”

Michigan coach Brady Hoke also tried [More]

Donnan keeping cool for a guy on trial

  • 5:11 pm Thursday, May 15th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Former Georgia coach Jim Donnan (with attorney Jerry Froelich) is awaiting jury's verdict. (Richard Hamm/Athens Banner Herald)

ATHENS — I’m not sure how I would act in public, or certainly around the media, if I was facing facing 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in federal court. But I’m guessing I would wear my emotions on my sleeve a little more than Jim Donnan.

Day two of jury deliberations passed Thursday without a verdict in Donnan’s fraud trial. There’s no way to read into what that means, other than the jury is taking its time weighing each of the 41 counts. A quick acquittal is off the table, but then so is a [More]

Mettenberger flagged for diluted drug test

  • 8:18 am Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Zach Mettenberger submitted a suspicious urine sample at the NFL draft combine. (Jason Getz/AJC

Few have ever questioned Zach Mettenberger’s talent as a college and potential NFL quarterback. But the former Georgia and LSU player is raising some eyebrows for the wrong reasons again.

Pro Football Talk first reported that Mettenberger, who is coming off of a torn ACL, submitted a diluted urine sample when he was at the NFL scouting combine. The league generally considers a diluted sample the equivalent of a positive drug test.

There might be an innocent explanation for this. Mettenberger’s agents and physical therapist both claim that the watered-down sample is the result of him over-hydrating after experiencing cramps at the [More]

SEC blew it by not expanding to 9 games

  • 8:56 am Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

The “C” in SEC now stands for cowards.

The SEC’s presidents, taking a cue from coaches worried about their jobs and athletic directors worried about bowl games, effectively voted to change nothing in its football scheduling format Sunday night. Rather than requiring schools to play nine of its 12 games against conference opponents, the direction most major conferences are going in, the SEC will stick with the eight-game mandate.

In other words, keep the Coastal Carolinas, Appalachian State and Austin Peays of the world on speed dial. Because aren’t those are the games everybody really wants to see? Or not.

There was [More]

SEC needs to expand conference schedules (column preview)

  • 10:12 am Thursday, March 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
SEC football fans deserve to see more conference opponents.

The SEC’s coaches and athletic directors are balking at going to nine-game conference schedules. The latest evidence of this comes from LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, who told the Baton Rouge Advocate, “That means seven more losses for certain teams.”

Well. So much for the Big Bad SEC.

I’ll have a full column on this later today. But the SEC will be making a mistake on several levels if it doesn’t expand from the current eight-conference/four non-conference-game format.

The Pacific 12 and Big 12 already play nine conference games. The Big Ten will expand to nine games beginning in 2016. Of [More]

More arrests at Georgia, and Herbstreit jumps Richt

  • 10:04 am Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Mark Richt needs to at least suspend his four arrested players.

There goes that quiet offseason.

By now you’ve probably heard that Georgia, not unaccustomed to unflattering headlines in the offseason, had four football players arrested for “theft by deception,” a misdemeanor.

The four players: starting safety Tray Matthews, wide receiver Uriah LeMay and defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach. Their crimes: Double-dipping on $71.50 stipend checks. They would do this by depositing the checks with a picture on their smartphone apps, then quickly cashing the same checks at a convenience store.

If we go on the assumption that the four players are not in the Terry College of Business and weren’t [More]

Bad sign? Florida struggles in win (updated)

  • 3:44 pm Saturday, March 15th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

(Updated: 4:30 p.m.)

Here’s your first NCAA bracket tip: Assume nothing with Florida.

The No. 1 ranked Gators took a 24-game winning streak into their SEC semifinal game against Tennessee Saturday and for most of the game looked rather pedestrian. They pulled it out in the end, winning 56-49 at the Georgia Dome, but not before leaving some doubt about how far they’ll go in the NCAA tournament – and for that matter how they’ll fare in Sunday’s SEC title game against the winner of Georgia-Kentucky.

Somebody asked Florida coach Billy Donovan if he would’ve considered a loss such a bad thing before [More]