MONDAY MORNING REWIND
I’m driving over to Birmingham this morning for SEC Football Media Days, which commence just after lunch with Commissioner Mike Slive’s annual address. It’s expanding to a four-day event this year because, you know, it just hasn’t been big enough in the past.
More than 1,100 media credentials have been issued this year. There will be at least four of us AJC guys among the throng. That’s counting the illustrious Tony Barnhart, who is resurrecting his “Mr. College Football” blog on AJC.com this year. He will provide at least three updates this week.
My initial assignment was to interview former Bulldog Nick Marshall, who you may have heard is now the quarterback at Auburn. He still is, at last check, but he won’t be in attendance at Media Days. The Tigers scratched him overnight Sunday following his Friday arrest for pot possession. Auburn filled his slot with another Georgian, tight end/receiver C.J. Uzomah of Suwanee. So there’s that.
In the meantime, here’s a recap of some other events of interest from the weekend. …
1. Georgia’s Brandon Morris also was arrested for possession of pot over the weekend. Evidently it was a lot of it or at least it was packaged to sale because Athens-Clarke County saw fit to charge him with intent to distribute, a felony.
The police report wasn’t available on Sunday (Morris was booked at 3:21 a.m.) so it will be later today before we learn the details of Morris’ bust. Needless to say, this development will have a negative effect on coach Mark Fox’s sixth basketball team.
Morris was/is one of four starters returning from last year’s 20-win team, which finished second in the SEC. He started 25 games at one of the three forward positions Georgia utilizes, with Donte Williams and Marcus Thornton filling the other two slots. Morris averaged 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds while playing 25 minutes a game.
So what happens if Morris gets the boot or faces an extended suspension? Junior Cameron Forte (6-foot-7, 200 pounds) and sophomore Kenny Paul Geno (6-6, 200) will immediately see their roles increase. Both are similarly built to the 6-8, 220-pound Morris and filled in for him some last season. Georgia could also play more three-guard lineups, with 6-4 guard Juwan Parker playing the 3 or J.J. Frazier taking over at the point and 6-5 Charles Mann sliding out to a wing.
Of course, the Bulldogs would be better off with Morris, and he with them.
2. The Year of the Bulldog continued on the PGA Tour as Brian Harman won the John Deere Classic on Sunday. Harman, 27, is the sixth former UGA player to win on the tour this season.
“Harris (English) and Russell (Henley) and Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk and all these guys, we were all right there neck-and-neck all the time in college, and they’ve won a lot of golf tournaments,” Harman told reporters afterward. “It feels good. Now we’ve got a little something else to talk about.”
Harman is the fourth Bulldog to sew up a spot in the 2015 Masters. He joins Erik Compton (T2 U.S. Open), Todd (Byron Nelson champion) and Bubba Watson (two-time Masters champion). U.S. Kirk and Harris English, currently eighth and 11th in the FedEx Cup standings, also are in position to earn an invite.
Somewhere UGA golf coach Chris Haack is beaming.
3. There was some “Night Swimming” going on at UGA over the weekend. The Bulldogs’ Gabrielsen Natatorium was site of the Bulldog Grand Slam, an elite club swimming event featuring the like of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and other world-renown swimming stars.
The AJC’s Tanya Sichynsky did a great job of covering the meet. It certainly sounded like Sunday’s 100-meter freestyle final lived up to the hype. After this, the nation’s best swimmers are off to Irvine, Calif., where the national championships will be held in two weeks.