Tidbits - December 9, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


CHAMPIONS
  I spent parts of three days last week watching football championships, high school and college, on television.
  There were only two shocks, Dutch Fork losing to Gaffney in high school and Alabama blistering Georgia in college.
  In the state high school championships, the upperstate won all five titles. Only the Dutch Fork-Gaffney game was close.
  In Saluda’s 2A, Gray Collegiate defeated previously unbeaten Silver Bluff 49-12. This has been a trend since Saluda became a state contender in 2015.
  The upperstate (or mostly Abbeville) has won seven straight championships, and only one game was close, Abbeville’s 14-7 win over Bamberg-Erhardt in 2017. The other scores were 2015 - Abbeville over Silver Bluff 45-21, 2016 - Abbeville over B&L 44-21, 2018 - Abbeville over Barnwell 48-14, 2019 - Saluda over Barnwell 39-14, 2020 - Abbeville over Marion 37-6, and 2021 - Gray Collegiate over Silver Bluff 49-12.
  It should be noted the last four lowerstate finalists entered the state championship game undefeated and got outscored 173-49. It should also be noted that six of the last state champions were from Saluda’s region.
  Southside Christian won the 1A title for the second straight year. I mention that because  I read a write-up on the game that said the Sabres have not lost since 2019. Of course, the loss was to Saluda. Until Abbeville lost to Gray Collegiate in the play-offs, the Panthers last loss was also to Saluda in 2019.
  Many on a S.C. high school sports Facebook page were complaining about the seating capacity of the Benedict College Stadium prior to the games. From what I saw, the Saluda-Barnwell game in 2019 attracted a much bigger crowd that any of the championships over the weekend, except the 5-A contest. Gaffney and Dutch Fork filled all the seats.
  There were complaints about the concession stands running out drinks. If I remember correctly, at the Saluda-Barnwell game, the concession stands ran out of drinks, the restrooms ran out of toilet paper, and they still had the RSM-Green Sea Floyds game to follow!
  With my three TV set-up in my den, I was able to watch high school and college championships. I may have told you, I have one TV attached to an antenna, one TV attached to the satellite, and one attached to a Roku. Dish Network’s removing of Channel 19 has really messed up my watching ability.
The high school games were mostly on the air digital channel 57.2, so I had to watch on the TV attached to the antenna, so Channel 19 was eliminated. I had to go through the inconvenience of switching back and forth.
  I have a Roku or Amazon Firestick attached to all three TVs. Needing my  bigger TVs to watch games, I decided to stream a movie on the small TV attached to the Roku. When I clicked on Amazon Prime, I was told that service no longer worked with my model of Roku. What? Did you know that could happen?
  So, I immediately went on Amazon and ordered a more modern Roku, a Christmas gift to myself.
  I was really looking forward to the Alabama-Georgia game,  figuring it would be a last possession type game. Boy, was I and the rest of the world wrong.
  Old Nick (I can say that because he’s my age) did it again.
  Few people outside Alabama realize what Saban goes through, because of the fans.
  I rarely watch Paul Finebaum, but after Carolina defeated Florida, I decided to watch the Monday after the game.
  I was astounded at the number of Alabama fans who called in complaining about Saban, since he only beat LSU by four points. Fans said he had lost his coaching ability.
  I can imagine the show after the overtime win over Auburn.
  Then sandbagging Nick turns in a masterful coaching performance, as the Tide blew out previously unbeaten Georgia, 41-24, and quarterback Bryce Jones probably won the Heisman. A tweeter mentioned, “6-6 Auburn did not allow  Bama to score a touchdown for 59.5 minutes.”
  Alabama is the top seed in the Final Four once again. Despite the loss, the Bulldogs also got a spot, along with Cincinnati and Michigan.
  Saban is such a master at building coaching staffs. Take a look at this staff from 2015: OC Lane Kiffin (Ole Miss head coach), DC Kirby Smart (Georgia head coach), DB Mel Tucker (Michigan State head coach), OL Mario Cristobal (Oregon head coach, and WR Billy Napier (Florida head coach). Those five coaches combined to win 54 games this year.
  When his coaches leave, he just reloads!


COACHING CAROUSEL
  It’s been quite a week with all the college coaching changes.
  The big news in this state is Clemson’s defensive coordinator Brent Venables is going to be a the new head coach at Oklahoma.
  I remember when Clemson hired him from Oklahoma, and doubled his salary. I think I wrote back then that I thought that was stupid. They could have gotten him cheaper.
  Boy, was I wrong. Venables has been worth every penny. He’s the best defensive coordinator in the land. The Sooners have not had any defense since he left. That will change, which will be good since the Sooners are heading to the SEC.
  A Clemson “memer” got in this dig, “Our assistant coaches become head coaches. Your head coaches become assistant coaches.” Good one.
  I was a little concerned last week, when I heard an Oklahoma sportswriter on the Dan Patrick Show. When Dan asked him who might be candidates to replace Lincoln Riley, the writer said if Shane Beamer were still on the Oklahoma staff, he probably would have been named the new coach. He also mentioned Venables, and Matt Ruhle of the Panthers.
  I had forgotten Florida’s new coach Billy Napier was once the offensive coordinator at Clemson, and didn’t realize he once played quarterback for Furman.
  Brian Kelly surprised the world for leaving Notre Dame to take the LSU job. Nobody leaves LSU. You might think Lou Holtz did, but he retired at ND, and came out of retirement to take the Carolina job.
  Many said Kelly realized he could not win a national title at Notre Dame, and the last three LSU coaches all won national championships.
  Notre Dame elevated 35-year-old defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach, and his youth got some complaints from Irish fans.
  Ralph Amdsen tweeted, “If you’re a Notre Dame fan and you think 35 is too young to lead, I’ve got some shocking news about Jesus.”
  Carolina fans are anxiously waiting to see if Shane does anything about his coaching staff, most notedly offensive coordinator
  Someone said the problem was not Satterfied, it’s the fact Carolina doesn’t have the athletes to run his offense. When you think about it that may be true. The Gamecock managed to win six games, with one wide receiver and no offensive line.
  I got a little shock on TimeHop the other day, when a picture  I put in the paper in 2010 popped up.
  In the photo was young Taylor Jackson standing by a Carolina assistant coach. I did a double take when I realized the assistant was Shane Beamer.
  I had forgotten the details, but when I posted the picture on Facebook, Taylor’s mother Amanda McClendon Merchant cleared it up, writing she, her dad Ralph McClendon and Taylor rode over the Gamecock football facilities where Taylor job shadowed Shane. Amanda said they got to me Steve Spurrier, and the Saluda group was treated like royalty.
  Little did they know 11 years later Shane would be the Gamecock head coach.