Saturday obviously was the Spring Game. This is a day that signifies the end of Spring Drills and the beginning of the run to end the semester then roll into summer school and summer drills. I unfortunately was not able to attend the gala but Dr. B was and likely will share his thoughts on the subject here with us. I plan to watch the stream on ESPN3 (assuming it is still up for a while) to better assess how we've improved since last season and what I believe our guys need to do to get better. While I always encourage you not to take too much from the overall game (lots of guys who won't come close to the field this fall will get lots of snaps and the coaches will focus on base stuff). One item you would like to avoid is injury-and it is my understanding that there were a couple big ones yesterday. The one that everyone will be talking about is Chad Kelly's potential knee injury. It is my understanding that Kelly, who was sporting a non-contact jersey, was unnecessarily playing like a flag-football All-Star and unfortunately sustained the injury after being bumped by Travis Blanks. Obviously we are all wishing for Kelly to get well soon and were excited about the possibility of a real competition this August for backup duties. Now it appears as though Stoudt is a lock there and Chad Kelly will likely receive a medical redshirt if it is as bad as it is being reported.
I've seen a little of the stream and got several reports from Tigertown yesterday. The following opinions come from the little film I've reviewed and from the opinions of those who were there. From what I've heard, Chad Kelly was playing very well until the injury. He was agile and quick, picking up yards both through the air and on the ground. Again, I like the attitude but wish that Kelly would have chilled out a bit once he got a few yards... Cole got off to a bit of a slow start but picked things up as the session went along and ended up with a pretty solid day. I thought that Martavis Bryant showed better effort than I can remember to this point. Hopefully he has learned from past events and will continue to work hard to assure he doesn't piss away all of his tremendous talent. I expected better play out of the linebackers and defensive backs than was shown on this film. We still take poor angles all over the place and I am concerned with the number of backers we actually have who get where they are supposed to be each and every play. I really hope the linebackers, and Christian in particular, can fundamentally improve prior to the season's start. As we've discussed to ridiculous lengths here, overall play at this position has been lacking for quite some time-particularly from folks with talent but who don't utilize proper fundamentals and often are out of position.
As stated earlier, we'll discuss where we think we are and where we need to go to beat Georgia as we get closer to summer. '13 has been the year that many of us have pointed to for quite some time, so a lot of us are placing more emphasis on winning big this year due to the losses we are expecting to experience following the season.
Clemson is currently riding a nine game winning streak that started with the final game at UNC, included a handful of mid-week games, and includes last weekend's sweep at Boston College. Pick up the sweep this weekend and we'll host Furman before heading down to Coral Gables next weekend with a ton of momentum. Clemson goes for the sweep of the Wake this afternoon at 1 PM EDT at Beautiful Tiger Field.
This year's first major golf tournament has provided some great golf and loads of controversy. I'll begin by addressing the most commented--Tiger's adventure on 15 during Friday's round. First and foremost, he hit a very good third shot that took a very unfortunate bounce off of the flagstick into the hazard. This hazard was marked yellow, meaning it has entered a water hazard that is not a lateral hazard. Accordingly, the golfer has several options. He can attempt to play out of the hazard-not an option here as the water is fairly deep in front of #15. The player can play behind the hazard and move as far back as he wants so long as he maintains the new playing position is in line with both the entry point into the hazard and the pin. This was not desirable for Woods as there was limited green to work with and Tiger was concerned about playing conditions in the drop area-including turf moisture level and grain. Thus, Woods chose the third option which is to essentially replaying the shot. In replaying the shot, he should have dropped immediately over his divot but chose to drop several feet behind the location of the previous shot. The result of this action is a two stroke penalty.
There are two items of interest here. First, did Tiger know that he was breaking the rules? I don't think he completely understood the rule or realized that two yards was relatively "Near" the original shot location. He did, however, choose a drop location that gave him an advantage over the original shot location. Because of all these, there was not blatant malice in his drop decision but did liberally interpret the concept of "Near" to assume better positioning on the golf course (or he just assumed it was acceptable to move further from the hole). The second item is that Tiger signed an incorrect scorecard. While it wasn't technically incorrect when he signed it as the ruling wasn't made until well after he'd left the course, players have previously been disqualified under similar circumstances. Fortunately for Tiger, the rules folks thought that penalties in certain circumstances that had forced disqualification were not fair and not in the spirit of the game.
Here is my take on the matter. I understand that Tiger made comments following the round that forced tournament organizers to reevaluate the ruling well after the golf was completed on Friday. Still, there is a rules official with every group. Rules infractions should be either identified by a player or pointed out on the spot by a rules official. Allowing people to call in and point out player fallacies and evaluating/reevaluating following the conclusion of play seems a little odd. The official ruling on Friday was that it was all good. Tiger signed his card under that premise. I understand the tournament rules folks are trying to do everything they can to make everything right, but they ruled in one manner earlier and completely switched their stance later. I don't have an issue with them not disqualifying Tiger because he honestly thought he was all good when he left the National Friday.
What if, though, this infraction occurred on Sunday and what if Tiger signed his card thinking he won by a stroke? Would folks hunt him down on Monday and take away the win? I understand that technology has changed everything. I only wish that golf was a bit different. I know the equipment will evolve but would encourage the individual tournaments, the PGA, the USGA to assure there is an official with every group and assess penalties on the course. Only if there is a question amongst those on the course could technology be used. It is a shame that this is the discussion instead of the wonderful golf and course conditions down at Augusta.
Freddie did about what we've seen from him the past couple years at Augusta. A stellar start and second round by Couples before hitting a few bumps in the road on Saturday is what we've seen out of Boom Boom the past few years. I am hoping for an '86 Nicklaus-type run out of the veteran today.
Today will be interesting. You have one of, if not the best putters in the world in Snedeker at the top along with Jason Day-who has been solid all week. Adam Scott, who we all recall from the heartbreaking Open Championship last season, is right there in the mix. Angel Cabrera-a fan favorite of a portion of the crew and former chain smoker-is right up there. That man leaves everything on the course with huge cuts at the ball. Oh yeah, there is a 14-time major champ who still has sight of the leaders.
This is the greatest tournament in all of golf and one of the biggest sporting events of the year. As much criticism as the Augusta National has received this week (some admittedly from me), all must concede that the place is impressive. Each year these guys put together the best tournament on the planet and do it with class unseen elsewhere. I'll admit that I liked it a little better when the club pretty much told everyone-including the media-that the club will do whatever it pleases as it is private. Still, you can have nothing but respect for being the standard that all others are compared. It represents excellence and somehow always makes moves that wow and amaze each and every year.
The NASCAR boys were down in Texas this weekend and saw Kyle Busch sweep the circuit. It is a damn shame that this governing body makes such a big deal about NRA sponsoring a race. NASCAR will "reevaluate" their sponsors and such. They question the post-race tradition of firing off the six-shooters. I am not sure they realize that these items are synonymous with the state of Texas and, if they weren't aware, the race was located in the Lone Star State. NASCAR has already given up on its long-time sponsors like Winston in an effort to make the sport mainstream. In my opinion, this evolution over the past decade or so has ruined racing at this level. The popularity of the sport seems to have petered out or fallen recently and they are losing their original base. We'll see how NASCAR treats this matter. They have already butchered the points system as well as sold out and gotten rid of a lot of the stops at the smaller tracks that many of us once thought were a staple.
Everyone enjoy the baseball/golf this afternoon and the warm Spring weather while it lasts.