By Doug Gorman
The college football season is about to reach the halfway point, and so far there has been plenty of excitement:
The good: Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley is making Bulldog fans glad he decided to stick around for four years instead of transferring. Shockley may only be a one-year starter for the Bulldogs, but right now he is playing like a man determined to lead his team to the SEC and National titles. Shockley has completed 58 of 97 passes for 989 yards and eight touchdowns. Saturday he faces his biggest test yet when the Bulldogs travel to Tennessee. A victory here, and Georgia could be well on its way to a special season.
The bad: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets' performance in their last game against the Virginia Tech Hokies was surprising. I know Virginia Tech is loaded, but are they really 44 points better than the Yellow Jackets. Despite that loss, Georgia Tech's local contingent has helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 3-1 start. Former Lovejoy running back Tashard Choice has rushed for four yards per carry and scored two TDs. Jonesboro graduates Jamal Lewis and Darrell Robertson are contributing on the defensive side of the ball.
The Good: The performances of former Stockbridge standout Willie Copeland, and Eagle's Landing graduate Jonathan Wright have been impressive. Copeland plays quarterback at Division II power Fort Valley State, while Wright punts for Chattanooga. Copeland has led his Wildcat club to a 5-0 record. Last week in an overtime win against Miles, he scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard plunge.
Wright has started his sophomore season as one of the Southern Conference's leading punters with just over 40 yards per kick.
More Good: Savannah State freshman Rocky Lee is the team's fourth leading tackler with 35.
The Bad: Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick for making an obscene gesture towards West Virginia fans last weekend. Vick might have just as much talent as Mike, his famous brother and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro quarterback, but his behavior is spinning out of control. He sat out all of last year after getting in trouble for drinking with underage girls and marijuana possession. Right or wrong, everything he does is going to be closely scrutinized. The young man apologized for the incident, but let's just hope he means it.
The Bad: A collection of unruly LSU fans who rocked and threw bottles at the Tennessee bus. Tennessee rallied to win the football game, which had been moved Saturday to Monday night. LSU athletic director Skip Bertman later sent a letter to the Tennessee athletic department, apologizing for the incident.
The Good: When Alabama head coach Mike Shula was hired to coach his alma mater, I was a little surprised by the decision, but he is proving me and other skeptics wrong. As the son of former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula, Mike Shula has strong coaching bloodlines, but I wasn't sure he was ready to take over at Alabama. The younger Shula was only 37 when he got the job, and was a quarterbacks coach in the NFL. Most programs like Alabama to go after high-profile coordinators, or head coaches at other programs or even a former head coach looking to get back in the game. Shula didn't fit the usual blueprint. So, much for the blueprint. With the Tides' victory last Saturday against Florida, Shula has Alabama back on the map.
It will be interesting to see how the next two months of the college football season develop. One thing is for sure, it won't be dull. After all, college football is never dull.
(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Daily. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com )