Sunday, February 17, 2008

Best of the SEC - Weekend Edition

And the nominees are:

And the winner is MaconDawg at Dawg Sports.

Folks, this is everything a great blog post should be. MaconDawg strikes exactly the right tone in discussing the pros and cons of Dennis Felton's coaching career at Georgia so far. Dennis Felton has done a lot of good things at Georgia, but he can no longer duck the fact that he is responsible for the problems he now has:
Let's get this out of the way right now: Dennis Felton is in fact to blame for the majority of the "bad luck" that has befallen his team this season. I'm a firm believer that you cannot expect a coach to cook dinner unless you let him shop for the groceries. But when a coach routinely whips up cheezewhiz on crackers with shrimp flavored Ramen, he has to take the heat for it. I was willing to give Felton the benefit of the doubt when he was kicking Jim Harrick's players off the team.
He is exactly right. Felton is responsible for bringing in Takais Brown and Mike Mercer. They were his best players, and either they were so badly behaved or he is so stringent that they are off the team, a casualty of discipline that has been the only meaningful hallmark of Felton's tenure so far except for tough defense.

I understand that a coach can only do so much when it comes to evaluating players. Sometimes, they all make mistakes. But I think MaconDawg is right to wonder about what he calls "a rash of reactive discipline." His conclusion:
Today's Tennessee game was a gutsy performance by a team that was outmanned and outgunned but refused to back down. I think that we'll see some more of those performances this season. But we don't go to Stegeman Coliseum to see gutsy losing basketball. And Dennis Felton has yet to show that he can do much other than deliver gutsy losses. 5 years in, the guts are keeping him from getting fired. However "the state of the program" is going to remain a topic of discussion as long as the losses keep coming as part of the package.
Gutsy losses are great for the first year or three of a new coach. But after five years, some hard questions should be asked. I personally like Dennis Felton a lot, and hope he brings Georgia back from this mire of irrelevance in which they are currently entrapped. But sooner rather than later, Felton had better produce some tangible results, or the next giant sucking sound we could be hearing in Athens is Felton's career headed down the drain. Herrick is long gone, and he is out on that limb all by himself, saw in hand.