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Post An odd choice to defend Felton

Wednesday March 12, 2008

Like Paul Westerdawg, I’m a bit puzzled by the logic in the Banner-Herald’s endorsement of Dennis Felton this morning. I’m not saying that I disagree with the recommendation (more on that later), but, well, let’s start here…

Read this John Kaltefleiter column following a loss earlier this season to Kentucky in Athens. Felton’s "Stalin-like" approach? A season slipping towards "an embarrassing morass?"

There’s more.

Right now, Price is defeated. He projects the look of a freshman dreading the next two or three seasons with Felton. Of course, that’s if he doesn’t take the out route so many of Felton’s players have taken.

And finally…

Felton said he didn’t pay attention to Price’s zero playing time in the second half Saturday, which is like standing in the pouring rain and claiming to feel dry. But that’s been Felton’s way the last three seasons. He’s publicly ignored problems and hoped his stubbornness won out when it came to proving a point.

As usual, the rest of the team suffers the consequences.

Does that sound like a writer ready to endorse a "wait and see" approach? Yet Kaltefleiter is the one saying this morning that Felton should get another season. Read his reasoning again in the context of what he had to say back in February.

The thing is, Kaltefleiter identified what he deemed to be some pretty fundamental long-term issues with Felton’s coaching. Players – the ones who stick around – apparently look like they dread playing for the guy. By Kaltefleiter’s own admission, Felton’s approach for the "last three seasons" has been to "publicly (ignore) problems and (hope) his stubbornness won out when it came to proving a point" to the detriment of the rest of the team. That’s a pretty serious charge. If one buys that, how in the world can one think that one more year of the wrong approach will lead to different results?

Kaltefleiter places his faith, like so many of us do, in the arrival of another nice recruiting class next year and the offseason development of the current freshman class. Yet the issues with Felton he raised after the Kentucky game have nothing to do with the quality of talent on the team. The whole premise of the post-Kentucky column was that Felton’s stubbornness kept a more talented freshman on the bench and might have hurt Georgia’s chances Georgia in a very important game.

I appreciate the media avoiding the temptation to jump on the bandwagon to ride Felton out of town, I really do. Truth be told, the professional punditry has been pretty kind to the program. Even the critical pieces that dove into issues like attrition have generally been mild. Still, if Kaltefleiter and others see such grave flaws in Felton that go back at least three seasons, what difference is one more year going to make?

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