Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Is there a chance Ferry keeps his job? (Yes, but … )

  • 10:06 am Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Mike Budenholzer: Coach and GM, for now. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

After throwing off a week’s cloak of silence/inaction surely imposed on him by his ham-handed employers, Danny Ferry has made a series of smart moves. On Sept. 12, he released a longer statement that sounded heartfelt in its remorse, as opposed to that three-paragraph burst released by the Atlanta Hawks at 7:07 a.m. three days earlier. He also announced he was taking a leave of absence, which gave a heated matter time to breathe if not cool.

Ferry has since apologized to many offended parties, and both Luol Deng, about whom the regrettable words were read/said, and Magic Johnson, who’d [More]

On Todd Gurley, the straw that stirs UGA’s drink

  • 6:40 pm Saturday, September 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Guessing you'll see this picture a few more times. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Athens — These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia-Tennessee game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 35-32, FYI.

1. Sometimes it’s unclear whether the Bulldogs are trying to win because of Todd Gurley or to prove they can win without him. Example: Saturday’s third quarter. It opened with five consecutive Georgia pass plays, one of which became a Hutson Mason scramble. The first series yielded an interception, the second a three-and-out. Gurley, who would finish with 208 yards rushing, didn’t touch the ball. Indeed, he carried only four times for nine yards in a [More]

Live from Athens: Will UGA awake and vex the Vols?

  • 10:49 am Saturday, September 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Clad in their traditional, er, gray, the Vols gather between the hedges. (M. Bradley)

Athens – Georgia should beat Tennessee. Let’s be clear about that. Still, this is one of those games that terrifies the man who’s coaching the favored team.

It’s at home, which means there’s a comfort factor (and not necessarily in a good way). Kickoff is early, which always makes for a late-arriving crowd and often a slow-starting home side. (The Bulldogs upset No. 6 Auburn in 2006 in a game that started before noon CST; Georgia lost here to Missouri last October in a noon game.)

And the Volunteers are talented enough to have played Oklahoma, which a lot of smart folks [More]

Tennessee’s going to upset somebody – but not UGA

  • 8:29 am Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
OU freshman Samaje Perine rushed for 67 yards against UT. (Sue Ogrocki/AP photo)

When you’re charged with compiling a preseason Top 25, you’re always on the prowl for Surprise Teams — if for no other reason than to ward off compiler’s boredom. (Most such listings, as I’m sure you know, are but a roundup of the usual suspects, and what self-respecting pseudo seer wants to be predictable?) I really wanted to pick Tennessee to do something big, for two reasons:

1. The Volunteers just had a major recruiting haul, Rivals ranking the 2014 class No. 5 nationally.

2. With Florida doomed to Muschamp mediocrity until Jeremy Foley finally sees the light, there seemed [More]

Yahoo: Braves offer Hart full-time GM job, sort of

  • 10:27 am Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
That's John Hart on the left. Don't recognize the other two. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Atlanta Braves have offered to make John Hart their permanent general manager – he’s already the interim GM — but Passan also speculates that such permanence might have a short shelf-life. Writes Passan:

Were Hart to accept the job, it’s likely he would groom assistant GM John Coppolella … It’s conceivable Coppolella could be elevated to the job now, too, though Atlanta could widen its search were Hart to turn it down. Hart had a similar situation in Texas, where he left the job in the hands of then-28-year-old Jon Daniels.

I’d have [More]

In the end, even this Wren defender has no objection

  • 10:59 am Monday, September 22nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Frank Wren: Gone as GM. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

It wasn’t so long ago — on Monday, July 7, to be precise — that these fingers offered up a few hundred words in defense of Frank Wren. My reasoning, such as it was: Since 2010, the Atlanta Braves had won more regular-season games than any team in baseball, and I believed that Wren’s offseason push to re-up four key pieces of the team’s young core would secure the future of the franchise. (I should also note that, at that moment, the Braves led the National League East.)

Today the Braves fired Frank Wren, and this former [More]

Have the Braves quit on Fredi G. and themselves?

  • 8:04 am Monday, September 22nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Heads not held high: The story of the 2014 Braves. (David Goldman/AP photo)

One week ago, the Atlanta Braves opened a 10-game homestand against Washington and Stephen Strasburg, a team and a pitcher they’d come to own. They weren’t in great shape, playoff-wise, but they had a chance: They trailed Pittsburgh by four games for the second wild card. Take two of three from the Nats and maybe sweep the Mets and the Braves would face four games against the Pirates at Turner Field. (Never mind that Milwaukee was also ahead of the Braves.)

Today the Braves and Pirates will begin that four-game series, and the former has been eliminated. The Pirates went 4-2 [More]

For Georgia Tech, Justin Thomas was just in time

  • 5:56 pm Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A triumphant Justin Thomas greets his constituency. (AP photo by Matt Gentry of the Roanoke Times)

Blacksburg, Va. – These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game column, which can be found here. Georgia Tech won 27-24, in case you haven’t heard.

1. The bigger the moment, the better Justin Thomas is. Eight days after engineering the drive that rescued the Jackets against Georgia Southern, Thomas presided over a tying surge and then a winning one in the final 5:21 in a stadium where Georgia Tech hadn’t won since 2006. Until those final two possessions, the Jackets’ quarterback had completed 3 of 11 passes. He completed 4 of 7 thereafter. [More]

Live from Blacksburg: A tough trek for Georgia Tech

  • 10:17 am Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Lane Stadium, 9:55 a.m. (M. Bradley)

Blacksburg, Va. – Not for nothing is Virginia Tech known as every ACC program’s least favorite destination. Logistics are never easy, there being no great way to get here. As evidence, we offer Georgia Tech’s latest trek.

The Yellow Jackets boarded their plane in Atlanta before noon Friday. They expected to land in Roanoke, which is 40 miles up the interstate. They landed instead in North Carolina. Two landing passes at the Roanoke airport proved unavailing due to fog.

So the plane flew to Greensboro, which is a 2 1/2-hour drive from here. (I know because I made that haul on a [More]

Bucs stomped here: The Falcons romp 56-14

  • 11:47 pm Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A record dash: Devin Hester does the Deion. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

These short takes are presented as a companion to the Falcons-Buccaneers print column, which can be found here.

1. This offense is really something, and we don’t mean Tampa Bay’s. After a blah performance at Cincinnati, the Atlanta Falcons needed 177 seconds to score a touchdown. By halftime they would lead 35-0. After three quarters it was 56-0. Through those three quarters, the Falcons had outgained the visitors 457 yards to 151 and had mustered 24 first downs to the Bucs’ six. Julio Jones caught nine passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Devin Hester scored on a reverse and [More]