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Counting the minutes until the season kicks off

I ran into former Norris Elementary School Principal Bob Manning last week, and as usual he promptly reminded me, with a snicker, that he was retired. Bob was even going around town during the lunch hour and hitting the fast food joints so he could laugh at all of us school personnel as we prepared to head back to the halls of academia.

Bob chided in his patented subtle way that we don't even get the summers off anymore. He was knowingly telling me, not asking.

During our conversation Bob told me that he really enjoyed reading my columns. He put in a request that I write about NASCAR sometimes. I told Bob that I was like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield. The last time I watched a fight on TV a NASCAR race broke out. Dangerfield once said the same thing about NHL hockey.

Knowing that Bob is more advanced in the King's English than I, or me, I offered him this space and encouraged him to share his feelings about NASCAR. Lo and behold if Jason didn't devote most of his column last week to NASCAR. Talk about customer service. Bob got his stock car reading fix from the publisher himself, a real pro, and not an amateur like me. Jason even included a whole page of NASCAR facts to boot. The main feature? A story about great NASCAR fights, pegged as rivalries.

My question: What's a Nextel Cup? Maybe I can get Jason to ask his wife.

Everybody I talk to says they can't wait for football. Well guess what; we're gonna' just have to wait, but only four more weeks. We'll get our first college game on Thursday night, Aug. 31. South Carolina, with Cap and Jap Brinkley, will visit Mississippi State, if they can find it.

Last year at this time, we were only two weeks away from the high school season and were complaining that it started too early. Now our patience is being tested to the limit. Personally, I'm glad the season was moved back to its rightful place. We'll really be glad when November rolls around. The leaves will have turned and the nights will be cool, maybe even crisp. It'll be real football weather with two regular season weeks still to go in the high school season. I recall very little football weather last year.

To help you bide the time between now and September please allow me to recommend a fantastic website for your perusal. An organization called the Georgia High School Football Historians Association has developed this great tool for football fans. It is still a work in progress but attempts to offer the records of all schools and coaches that have ever played and coached in this state.

Bobby Hodges of Thomson is a part of this group, and the obvious effort that has gone into their research is unbelievable. The address is but be careful, it can be addictive. I find myself scrolling its pages well into the night. It beats the television menu.

While most of the discussion around here centers on Coach Luther Welsh's quest for 300 wins, the Georgia quarterback derby and Georgia Tech's opener with Notre Dame, some news has been brewing in Statesboro as well. Georgia Southern may not only have a new head coach, but a practically new team as well.

The Eagles were scheduled to start practice yesterday and rumor has it that they will have anywhere from 10 to 15 transfers in camp. Many will be coming in from Division 1-A schools, which means they will be immediately eligible to play according to NCAA rules. Coach Brian Van Gorder is as intense as they come, and I've read that he may have "lost" a dozen or so players from spring practice.

Southern's best receiver, Teddy Craft, was killed in a motorcycle accident this summer. Thomson fans may remember Craft from a few years back when the Bulldogs played Hart County. The loss of life in any manner is a tragedy, and Craft likely would have enjoyed a banner season in Georgia Southern's new pro-style offense.

Web posted on Thursday, August 3, 2006

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