Mark Bradley blog 

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

UGA’s Fox: Two winning seasons, two extensions

  • 10:38 am Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
We can assume this was not Mark Fox's reaction to his new deal. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Mark Fox has had two winning seasons in the five years he has coached Georgia basketball. After each winning season, he has received a contract extension. The second came yesterday, adding two years to a contract that runs through 2018.

The extension itself wasn’t surprising. It’s the way colleges work. Brian Gregory has had one winning season at Georgia Tech and got a year’s extension afterward; his record over three years at Tech is 43-52. But two more years for Fox, whose record at Georgia is 85-77 and who has reached the NCAA tournament only in 2011, only fuels [More]

Auburn hires Bruce Pearl. Not sure I would have

  • 8:50 am Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The new Auburn coach poses for a selfie. (Bruce Dill/AP)

Georgia took a risk on Jim Harrick, who’d been fired by UCLA (and then hired by Rhode Island) for lying to his bosses. Louisville just took a risk on Bobby Petrino, who’d been fired by Arkansas (and then hired by Western Kentucky) for … well, you know. So it was no great surprise that Auburn — the school that took a second chance on Cam Newton and Nick Marshall — just hired Bruce Pearl to coach basketball.

Lots of media people really like Bruce Pearl, who had– but of course! — worked for ESPN after getting fired by Tennessee for lying [More]

UGA made a great run, but it isn’t an NCAA team

  • 6:53 pm Saturday, March 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
J.J. Frazier tries to navigate among Wildcats. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Mark Fox tried to lobby for his team on Saturday. After Georgia was beaten 70-58 by Kentucky in Saturday’s SEC semis, Fox said the Bulldogs “deserved consideration” for an NCAA tournament bid. He stopped short of saying he believed the Bulldogs should make it, although he did make a pitch to get more basketball-savvy people on the NCAA tournament committee.

“If this is just going to be a math thing (meaning the famous RPI), why not just use a computer and save a lot of money?” Fox said. “And why not do the same for the football championship?”

Fox’s point: Georgia is, [More]

4 questions from Day 2 of the SEC tournament

  • 9:30 pm Thursday, March 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Arkansas' Michael Qualls looks down -- and probably out of the NCAA. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

1. Did Arkansas just play itself out of the NCAA tournament? Probably. Losing the regular-season finale by 25 points at 12-18 Alabama was bad. Losing to 13-19 South Carolina on a neutral floor Thursday was way worse. The Razorbacks appeared Dance-bound after winning six consecutive games and stunning Kentucky in Rupp Arena, but these two losses to terrible teams surely undid all the good work. The Hogs could never make South Carolina, which had played in Wednesday’s opening round, go fast enough for their liking, and even after the Gamecocks missed five free throws in the final 53 seconds Arkansas [More]

Why UGA’s new D mightn’t look all that different

  • 12:01 pm Thursday, February 6th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Jeremy Pruitt, man of the people. (Jason Getz/AP)

Under Brian VanGorder and Willie Martinez, Georgia employed a 4-3 defense. Under Todd Grantham, it switched to a 3-4. Under Jeremy Pruitt, it will use a 3-4 that might look a lot like a 4-3.

Speaking at Signing Day, Mark Richt averred that this latest change shouldn’t represent much of a change. “It’s no big deal,” he said.

The reason being: Grantham’s 3-4 essentially deployed the weakside linebacker — the “Will,” in football argot — as a de facto defensive end. The only difference, Richt said, is a matter of the placement of one man’s hand.

A linebacker assumes a two-point stance. A [More]

Why Jimbo kicked Jameis out of practice

  • 2:06 pm Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Mark J. Terrill Jimbo Fishers wonders if he should kick Jameis Winston off the podium. (Probably not, he decides.)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – On the morning after his Seminoles became national champions, Jimbo Fisher admitted he’d kicked Jameis Winston, the Heisman-winning quarterback, out of the final practice held in Tallahassee before the team departed for the West Coast. Fisher’s reasoning: Winston wasn’t serious enough in executing the two-minute drill.

When the very next game – and not just any game but the BCS title game – ends with the same Famous Jameis steering Florida State 80 yards to the championship-winning touchdown with 13 seconds remaining … well, you’d have to say Jimbo did a jumbo job of coaching. (To Winston’s [More]

On his birthday, Jameis Winston becomes a champ

  • 1:18 am Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 by Mark Bradley

This post is presented as a companion to the Florida State-Auburn game column, which can be found on myajc.com, our premium site.

PASADENA, Calif.

1. On his 20th birthday, Jameis Winston took a game going bad and wrestled it into a national championship. The Florida State quarterback completed 12 of 24 passes for 120 yards and no touchdowns and was sacked four times in the first three quarters. He completed nine of 11 for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the final period. “It was his best game of the year,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said of the Heisman Trophy [More]