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To Cuba with Love

To Cuba with Love

To Cuba with Love

To Cuba with Love

Fidel Castro is dead. One down, one to go.

That is, one Castro down, one more to go.

That is the clear message I got from visiting Cuba four years ago.

I consider myself a lucky man. I went to Cuba before the United States offered an olive branch to that little island. So, I got to see ‘old’ Cuba. The Cuba in ruins. The Cuba in need.

But it was a Cuba with hope. Hope that one day America would show them some love, and hope that one day, they could participate in their governance. That would mean life without the Castros.

For clarity on my visit, it was part of a larger tour that was visiting for the purpose of seeing agriculture in that county.

It was weird from the get-go. First of all, flying to Cuba from Miami, we didn’t do normal customs. Best I recall, we went to a terminal where things were handled differently. Bags weren’t inspected, and aside from previously filled-out paperwork, questions weren’t asked.

What I didn’t know is that Cubans with relatives in the States can fly back and forth pretty easily, if they can afford to. And leaving the U.S., Cubans could take things, like TVs or toasters, back to Cuba on those flights.

In fact, knowing Cuba was the land of rum – and I am not a rum man – I packed two ‘handles’ of bourbon in my bag. That’s two 1.5 liter bottles.

Arriving in Cuba, there are occasional random inspections. Had I been picked out, it would be interesting to see if they cared that I carried basically a gallon of bourbon.

In the Havana airport, I immediately encountered what would become a bit of a Cuban signature: begging. At the entrance to the restroom in the airport were two lovely, young ladies, clearly waiting for a ‘tip.’

Not knowing how to handle the situation, I gave one of them a dollar. The other smiled, and said, “Nothing for me?”

I obliged.

And on that note, I want to introduce you to the people of Cuba that I encountered.

There is so much to say about how, 50 years ago, Cuba’s leadership ‘sided’ with Russia and adopted communism, and how Russia later left them hanging when Russia itself was undergoing massive changes.

But that’s a whole lot of history lessons I didn’t learn.

So, this is about the Cuban people I saw and met, filtered, of course, through my own lenses.

Cubans so badly want to be friends with you. You, Americans. They want a relationship with us. They want the life we have. They want to be happy. They’ve smuggled their families to our shores for the last 50 years to get away from the nothingness they’ve had under the Castros.

Most of them only know communism as a failed ideology. They hate it.

They want the dream.

Under communism, they are paid wages set by ‘the state,’ and they know there’s something better. They know that in America, there’s the possibility of being paid for what you know and how you perform.

They know that in America, food is not rationed. It is in Cuba. I didn’t know that.

Begging is rampant in Cuba. But I quickly learned that begging pays better. If an average Cuban can get one dollar from a visitor, that’s a better day’s wages than they would be paid by the state.

So why would you not beg?

Our guide was an attorney that hadn’t practiced law in six years, because tips from being a tour guide paid better. Doctors act as taxi drivers on their days off because of the money they could make on tips.

Why would you not beg?

Some Cubans try to be creative in their panhandling. They dress up in old plantation-style costumes and hope you’ll want a picture with them. A tip is expected.

In need of a restroom on day, I approached a group of young men and asked where I might find one. They eagerly showed me the way, then asked for money for helping me. One even when down on his knees, begging.

I recall a gentleman following our group for a few moments, singing songs and playing a guitar. He cursed us when we didn’t tip him. It’s not that we didn’t like him or his singing, but when there are so many palms out, you learn that you can’t grease them all.

Beggars were like flies around tour buses. Some looked very pitiful and were hard to ignore, but once you saw them there every day, you understood the routine.

Havana was romantic. You’re in Havana, Cuba, for heaven’s sake! The land of mobsters and Frank Sinatra. Redundant, I know.

Much of the city was in tatters. Scaffolding everywhere and not a lot of work was being done.

“They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.” It’s an old, familiar joke Cubans like to tell. Except it’s not really a joke. They get paid the same wage for working on a job or standing around doing nothing. Best I could tell, they generally chose to do the latter.

What struck me was how easily they spoke of communism, of their government, of their distaste for the Castros, Fidel and Raul. But mostly, of how they looked forward to a Cuba without them.

The Cuba I saw was the old Cuba. The one that got stuck in time when Fidel Castro thumbed his nose at the U.S. He had climbed into bed the Russians, and it turns out they didn’t pay for sex.

The Cuba I saw was pretty much the same as it was 50 years ago. In our ‘nice’ hotel, bare wires dangled from sockets, and the bed linens were straight out of your great-grandmothers closet.

You see pictures of the old ‘50s and ‘60s cars in Cuba. That because there’s not much else. And they keep those cars in such pristine condition because you will pay cash to have them shuttle you around in them.

There’s a whole lot of bondo and rubber bands holding those things together. They have precious little access to parts.

Arriving back in the States, we actually did go through security.

“Do you have any tobacco?”

“No,” I answered.

“Any alcohol?”


Of course, I had both. Almost everyone had Cuban cigars and rum.

Turns out, this particular ‘American’ border agent was a native Cuban. Rather than concern himself about cigars and rum, he used our time together to lecture me on how relations between our countries “must” normalize. “Cubans,” he said, “want to be included.”

I knew what he meant.

When President Obama opened the freezer door and started thawing out relations with Cuba, I watched with interest the reactions here at home. Many old-timers, including Cuban ex-patriots and others with direct ties to Cuba wanted us to have nothing to do with Cuba until the Castros are gone.

They are other voices, of course, that want normalized relations. I am among them.

I am among them, because I met a lot of Cuban people that had nothing to do with the politics of their country. They are our neighbors. They want to be our friends. I hope that happens one day.

Maybe with Fidel Castro’s passing, we got a little closer to that.

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Local News

  • A public input session on plans for Dudley Park is set for Saturday: it’s organized by the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department. It’s underway at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning, lasting til noon at the Athens Farmers Market in Bishop Park. Leisure Services is looking for input on proposed changes to the Dudley Park master plan.    There is an afternoon meeting of the University of Georgia’s curriculum committee, a 3:30 session at New College on Herty Drive.    The Gainesville Fire Department gets money from the poultry processing firm Cargill: Cargill is giving the Department $10,000. Gainesville Fire Chief Jerome Yarbrough says they’ll use the money to beef up the Department’s search and rescue programs.  The City Council in Lula signs off on plans to renovate the Lula Depot. Estimated construction cost: a little more than $170,000.
  • The 1 year-old Madison County boy who was shot and wounded by his 2 year-old brother in Madison County has been transferred to a hospital in Atlanta. What the Madison County Sheriff’s Office says was an accidental shooting happened earlier this week at a home in Hull. The injured boy, who was shot in the shoulder, was taken first to hospital in Athens. He was, at last report, in stable condition at Eggleston Hospital in Atlanta.  His older brother was not injured. Athens-Clarke County Police were, at last report, still searching for a robbery suspect, a man who used an axe to break into a package store on Oconee Street. Store surveillance video shows the break-in. Store operators tell police the man stole about $40 worth of wine. A 40 year-old Gainesville man is arrested on methamphetamine distribution charges: the Hall County Sheriff’s Office says Edward Barker was arrested after a traffic stop on Old Cornelia Highway. He was booked into the Hall County jail. 
  • Hall County Commissioners voted on a new version of Hall County's short term rental ordinance last night in Gainesville, striking what the Commission says is a balance between the rights of property owners who want to rent their properties on a short term basis and the concerns of their neighbors.    'I'd like to thank the citizens and groups whom we've heard from concerning changes to the short term rental ordinance,' Hall County Commission Chairman Richard Higgins (pictured) said. 'We are thankful that our county is a vacation destination for people, and we want to balance the concerns and rights of property owners desiring to rent their properties on a short term basis with the welfare of their neighboring property owners.'   The latest version of the Hall County ordinance allows for short-term rentals as a permitted use in properties zoned Vacation-Cottage. The new ordinance also opens up short-term rentals to properties zoned Residential with approval from the Hall County Planning Commission that are within 500 feet of Corps of Engineers property or are within subdivisions with 10 lots or less.
  • A package that caused a scare Thursday morning at Emory Healthcare’s Woodruff Memorial Building was found to be harmless, an official said. Emory police responded to 101 Woodruff Circle in Druid Hills after a suspicious package was discovered in the mail room. Alerts went out urging people to avoid the area. However, an all-clear was issued after officials determined the package posed no threat, Emory spokeswoman Elaine Justice told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email. She did not disclose the contents of the package.
  • The following is a press release from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department:  On 03/21/2018 at approximately 5:15 pm, officers were dispatched to a residence off Sunny Hills Court in reference to multiple calls of gunfire in the area. Upon officers’ arrival, witnesses told them that a silver/grey SUV drove into the cul-de-sac of Sunny Hills Ct and began shooting at vehicles parked in front of and at the residence, striking both the vehicles and the home. The home was occupied at the time but no persons were struck by gunfire. The scene was processed by our Forensic Unit and multiple shell casings and projectiles were collected. Detectives are looking to identify the suspects in this case and ask anyone who may have information to call Detective Paul Johnson at 706-613- 3888 ext. 522. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — The week before Jake Fromm went to visit David Morris in Mobile, Ala., Eli Manning had come in and had some sessions with the renowned quarterback coach. So Morris’ perspective on good quarterback play is pretty strong. As founder of QB Country, Morris has also worked with AJ McCarron since the eighth grade, and had various stings with Matt Barkley, Chad Kelly, Jacob Coker and some guy named Tebow, Tim I believe the first name is. Morris wasn’t name-dropping. That was just me researching — OK, Googling — his list of clientele. That list includes Fromm, Georgia’s latest quarterback sensation. I reached out to Morris after I heard about Fromm using some of his spring break beach time to work out with Morris at QB Country. I was doing a story on Fromm’s offseason preparations for this season, so Morris seemed like a good guy to talk to. Being a coach in demand like he is — Morris was traveling this week to help prepare Toledo’s Logan Woodside and Riley Ferguson of Memphis for their respective pro days — he didn’t get back to me in time to be included in that story. But Fromm and Morris go back a way, and his observations were such that I definitely wanted to share them with DawgNation readers. First, a little background. They met when Fromm was just 15 years old. “I met Jake, I think it was right after his freshman year (in high school) maybe,” Morris said. “He and his father kind of found me. They reached out and we connected. They came to Mobile and we just started working together. That’s kind of how our stuff works with most of our guys. Dads do their homework and figure out what makes sense.” With those early interactions as a backdrop, Morris said he was not surprised to see Fromm have early success at Georgia. When he started working with Fromm, the kid was considered more of a baseball prospect that a football prospect. But Fromm had caught the eye of head coach Von Lassiter and quarterbacks coach Mike Chastain at Houston County High School. They, in turn, told Fromm’s father Emerson about Morris and his reputation for developing quarterbacks. The next thing Fromm knew, he was on his way to Mobile. “Coach Chastain reached out to me and said, ‘I’ve got a good one I’m going to send down to you,’ ” Morris said. “And I could see what he was talking about early on. When they’re that young, you’re thinking about things like, ‘is he mechanically sound, is he a big kid, can he make all the throws?’ Then you start projecting them out (as a prospect). Jake started getting a lot of attention that next year, his sophomore year. I think he got some offers about then. But early on, you could tell this kid had it.” Since then, Fromm and Morris have gotten together to work as often as possible. Fromm would attend the QB Country camps whenever possible, then he would seek out individual instruction anytime his schedule would allow it. It wasn’t real often, with Fromm living in another state. But that meant the visits were spread out just enough that Morris could distinctly see the progress that Fromm was making from semester to semester. Morris gives Chastain and Lassiter most of the credit for Fromm’s development. He said he showed up at QB Country with a strong foundation of fundamentals and a surprisingly strong aptitude for offensive concepts. “His ability to think fast goes back to high school,” Morris said. “He was well-coached by Coach Chastain and Coach Lassiter. Very honestly, those guys coached him up. It’s important to give those guys credit because he was a well-trained kid when he showed up. We focused more on footwork and arm position, things like that.” Fromm’s training was on display for everyone to see as a true freshman last season. After incumbent starter Jacob Eason sustained a knee injury in Georgia’s first game, Fromm started the next 14 and helped lead the Bulldogs to an SEC championship and National Championship Game berth. The national narrative on Fromm last season became that he was a game manager whose strongest contribution was to get the Bulldogs into good plays and out of bad ones. And he certainly was proficient in that regard. But Morris believes Fromm is being sold short on his passing ability. Fromm completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 2,615 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. He threw 7 interceptions and also had 3 rushing TDs. “He’s got plenty of arm strength,” Morris said. “The thing that he has that’s rare is his anticipation and touch. He’s very confident, too. As a result, you don’t see him late on throws very often. A lot of times, coming out of the gate, guys are late on throws because they’re nervous about making the wrong read. It seemed like he was on in that regard pretty much every game.” Morris was asked if he was trying to help Fromm gain velocity on his throws. “I would say he has plenty of arm,” Morris said. “He actually has a strong arm. He doesn’t have the Josh Allen arm where he can throw it 70 yards, but you don’t need to do that. And Josh Allen struggles with accuracy. Josh would like to have the accuracy Jake’s got. Jake has anticipation, touch, arm strength and accuracy. So, yeah, I’d say he’s ahead of his time on all that stuff. But I’d say the most important thing is he’s got confidence.” Like Eason last year, Fromm is wearing the hat as incumbent starter. But he can’t rest on his laurels. Georgia signed Justin Fields — the No. 1-rated dual-threat quarterback in America — to provide much-needed depth and compete with Fromm. Morris is actually quite familiar with Fields, too. Though the Kennesaw, Ga., native and Harrison High School standout has worked with Ron Veal as his personal quarterbacks coach since the sixth grade, Fields has actually had some sessions with Morris over the years at various camps. “I worked him out at the Rivals Camp last year,” Morris said. “He and the kid from Clemson (Trevor Lawrence) were there as well as (Marietta 2020 prospect) Harrison Bailey and some other guys. (Fields is) impressive. He’s a physically gifted guy that can throw it. I don’t know much more about him other than that, that he can really throw the ball.” Morris doesn’t have an opinion on the quarterback competition at Georgia, or whether it’s real or imagined. But he did say that he knows from experience that Fromm will be very difficult to run down from behind. Morris noted that Fromm’s constant and steady improvement has been uncanny to watch. That, and his physical growth. “Obviously, they’ve got a great weight program at Georgia,” Morris said with a laugh. “Jake’s 6-[foot-]2 and he’s a strong kid. I want to say he was 222, 225 when he was here, but it’s good weight. He’s got some tree trunks for legs. He doesn’t look too big to me, but I think that’s probably where he wants to stay. The one thing I always preach to him about being strong like that is that he has to maintain flexibility. You can tell early on in a workout if a kid has been paying attention to his flexibility because a lot of guys who work out too much get too stiff. They can’t turn their elbow over and it turns into a violent throw. I thought Jake still looked fluid and flexible. We spent a lot of time making sure he was as loose as he needs to be.” Morris said he spent two full days with Fromm in Mobile. Two other days, Fromm went to the beach. “He threw great,” Morris said. “I’m always challenging him on his feet, his release speed and speed in general. Those are big things for him. As far as physical traits, though, he looks like an NFL guy right now.” The post QB ‘guru’ impressed with what he saw from Jake Fromm during spring break appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to a new feature on DawgNation, where our writers answer (or try to answer) the best questions submitted by Georgia fans. If you’d like to submit a question, please e-mail us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. Or you can tweet us at here and here. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. Did Charley Trippi make it to the championship game? What did he think of UGA’s two bowl games this year? — Susan Davis Thank you so very, very much, Ms. Davis, for sending in this question. It reminded me that I hadn’t followed up on that storyline from last season, and it also gave me a great excuse to talk to Charley and Peggy Trippi again. The last time I spoke to them was on the Sunday after the SEC Championship Game, after Georgia had learned that it would, in fact, play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1943, when Trippi did as a sophomore. His reaction was priceless! As for attending the actual game, Trippi and his wife had every intention of doing so. Both UGA and the Rose Bowl invited the couple to travel with the Bulldogs to California, and they were offered free passage and lodging with the Georgia contingent, of course. When the invitation was extended, Trippi told his wife immediately, “Oh, boy, let’s pack!” Unfortunately, just a short time later, when Georgia was needing to firm up arrangements, Trippi had a change of heart. He came in from his daily routine of working in the yard and realized that such a journey would be too great. While he’s in better shape than most people his age — Trippi turned 96 on Dec. 14 — he thought better of undertaking the challenge. The Trippis also were invited to the National Championship Game against Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. And although that game meant a car ride instead of a cross-country airplane trip, again they turned down the invitation, mainly because of the late hour of kickoff. “We were kindly invited to both,” Peggy Trippi said Thursday. “But it just wasn’t in the bag for us.” But Charley Trippi watched every play of both games on television, according to his wife. And as one might suspect, he was particularly thrilled with the Bulldogs improving to 2-0 in the Rose Bowl. “Oh, please, that was something!” Peggy Trippi said. “We enjoyed that one.” They actually enjoyed the National Championship Game a week later, too, even though the Bulldogs lost to Alabama 26-23 in overtime. Peggy said her husband still watches games intently, but very much with a coach/athlete mentality. “He watched every play, right here in our den,” Peggy said. “You know, he’s very calm and quiet. He’s kind of like, whatever happens, happens.” Charley has a hard time hearing on the phone, as one might expect. But after Peggy relayed it to him, he was able to answer my question about the Bulldogs coming oh-so-close in the national title game. “You know, they may have lost the game, but look what they’ve done in a year and a half!” Trippi said. Added his wife, “He’s behind the team, I’ll tell you that.” Have a question for beat writers Chip Towers and Seth Emerson? E-mail us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com The post Charley Trippi was with Bulldogs every step of way in College Football Playoff appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS, Ga. – Seventh-ranked Georgia softball won its midweek series with in-state foe Georgia Southern Wednesday evening, 10-3.   The Bulldogs (27-2) scored in every inning and outhit the Eagles (19-9) 13-to-6. Sophomore second baseman Justice Milz scattered three hits to lead the Georgia offense. Five other Bulldogs each had two hits in the contest while sophomore first baseman Alysen Febrey drove in three runs.   Sophomore right-handed pitcher Mary Wilson Avant pitched three scoreless innings in her second start of the season. She allowed just one hit and fanned five. Freshman right-hander Lauren Mathis pitched two innings in relief in the circle, allowing both Eagle runs. Sophomore righty Amanda Ablan (2-1) earned the win as she pitched the final two innings, allowing a run.   The Bulldogs took a 2-0 in the first inning on a double off the bat of Febrey into right center.   Sophomore center fielder Ciara Bryan led off the bottom of the second with a triple to right center. She immediately scored on a groundout by freshman catcher Jessica Morgan, adding to the lead, 3-0.   Georgia pushed three runs across in the plate in the bottom of the third inning. The stanza began with a hit-by-pitch and back-to-back base hits to load the bases. Morgan singled to center, driving in pinch runner Tyler Armistead. A wild pitch in the dirt scored senior right fielder Kendall Burton. A dropped fly ball off the bat of senior left fielder Cortni Emanuel plated Bryan, lengthening the lead to 6-0 after three.   Two runs came in to score on a base hit up the middle by Alesha Mann in the Eagles’ half of the fifth, narrowing the Bulldog lead to 7-2.   A sacrifice fly off the bat of Febrey widened the margin back to six for Georgia in the bottom of the inning, 8-2.   Georgia Southern’s Logan Harrell hit a solo home run to left in the top of the sixth, narrowing the lead to 8-3.   The Bulldogs continued their scoring streak into the sixth with two more runs. The first scored when Emanuel stole second and the throw to the bag went array, allowing Morgan to come home. The next batter, Milz, reached on a fielding error by the first baseman, extending the inning and plating Emanuel, 10-3.   Georgia takes to the road this weekend for a three-game Southeastern Conference series with #21 Mississippi State. The series begins Friday at 7 p.m., EDT.   Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer 'I think we did a good job just coming out and playing softball. Allison did great tonight and had 3 RBIs, Justice came out and batted incredibly well, and Mary Wilson started us out excellently on the mound. Going on the road this weekend won't be very different for us because we're just going to play softball. We are really looking to take the positives out of every day, these girls can be upset by the outcome but what really matters is the process.'   Sophomore 2B Justice Milz 'I just kept thinking about the weather conditions tonight and knew I just needed to keep hitting groundballs up the middle and that's what happened. The weather doesn't change our game much we just have to maintain a solid mindset through the cold and the wind. My confidence has really skyrocketed going into Mississippi State because I've gotten out of my slump and I'm really excited about it.'   Sophomore RHP Mary Wilson Avant 'I think going out there and being able to command my pitches gave me confidence for the rest of the game. Also, knowing that my defense will always have my back. I think our reps, our hitters, and our defense doing everything we need to do has really boosted our confidence going into our series against Mississippi State. We can always keep our energy high, that's really the main thing we can work on this week.
  • UGA Football conducts Pro Day for NFL scouts and coaches 
  • ATHENS — Their situations are decidedly different. Then again, they’re much the same. Both Roquan Smith and Trent Thompson are juniors, so both had a year of eligibility at Georgia remaining when they decided to turn pro in January. As we understand it now, Smith toiled terribly over the decision. Thompson, by contrast, never really had a doubt. Yet, as they sit a month away from the NFL draft, it’s only Smith who seems assured of NFL riches. Nobody seems to be sure what to make of Thompson’s fortunes. He’ll get drafted, certainly, but how long he may have to wait is a matter of much debate. The buzz at Georgia’s pro day on Wednesday was that Thompson is looking at a third- or fourth-round call at best. Smith, by contrast, has been invited to the NFL draft ceremonies in Arlington, Texas, and projects as a top-15 pick. That was pretty much the feedback Smith, the 2017 Butkus Award winner, received when he filled out his underclassman evaluation application from the NFL back in December. Yet he insists his decision wasn’t the no-brainer that many of his Georgia teammates described. “Top 15 is pretty special,” said Smith, who led the SEC in tackles and the Bulldogs in sacks and tackles for loss, as well. “I knew I’d pretty much be a first-round pick; that’s what they were telling me. But, at the end of the day, it wasn’t even about that for me. It was more about the things I enjoy [at Georgia] and what we did together. It was special, very special. It’ll definitely be something I miss, but life goes on and you have to do what’s best for you.” Lorenzo Carter, Nick Chubb, Davin Bellamy and Sony Michel all chose to return in 2017 for their senior seasons for much the same reason. However, none of them received the level of draft grade that Smith did. Their feedback was similar to what Thompson heard. But these decisions aren’t based solely on draft grades and contract potential. There also can be extenuating factors. Thompson, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle from Albany, has been inundated with injuries throughout his college career. He had shoulder surgery a year ago and struggled with knee injuries last season. He also had a rather high-profile medical episode in February 2017 that resulted in his hospitalization and withdrawal from school. Not only did the incident create health concerns for Thompson, it also put him in a hole academically. Whether he would have been eligible to play another season for the Bulldogs is unclear. But most believe it was time for the player affectionately known as “Big Jolly” to make the jump to the pros, anyway. “Everybody has their own things going on,” said Bellamy, who also worked out for scouts Wednesday. “We don’t know what’s going on at home for a guy that may influence their decision. For Roquan, man, it was a no-brainer. I kind of felt like with him there was nothing else to prove. But I’d say the same with Trent, really. He was a three-year starter here. He put his body on the line for his team. It gets to a point where you have to be a little selfish, thinking about yourself and your career.” Thompson certainly arrived at UGA with more fanfare. In fact, when he signed with the Bulldogs out of Albany’s Westover High, he was the No. 1 overall prospect in the country, according to the composite rankings compiled by 247Sports. Thompson lived up to that billing at times. By the end of his sophomore year, he was almost unblockable. He definitely was for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, earning both overall and defensive MVP honors with 8 tackles and 3 sacks. He’d finish the season with 56 total stops. But between recovering from shoulder surgery and battling a knee sprain, Thompson’s snaps decreased in 2017. He ended up alternating with sophomore Tyler Clark, who emerged as a star in his own right. Thompson missed two games and finished with 38 tackles, 3.5 of those for loss. “He’s been pretty beat-up,” Bellamy said of Thompson. “But he has three years of good film in the best conference in America and he’s been dominant all three of those years. I think he’s going to do pretty good at the next level.” Most everybody agrees about that. In all these cases, Georgia players who are considering making the jump early consult Kirby Smart as well as their position coaches. But they also look to sources outside the football program. The key is arriving at an informed objective opinion. “I tell them whatever that ask,” Smart said. “We’re advocates for our players and we want to do a great job for them. Trenton’s certainly done tremendous job for us since being here. He’s pushed through a lot of injuries and he’s a great kid. We wish him nothing but the best.” Smart was asked whether he thought Thompson would benefit from another year in college. “That’s not my decision,” he said. “Our job as coaches is to get them information. That’s what I always try to do. Whether they decide to go or decide to stay, it’s the same thing. You arm them with ammunition. I’ve got to give them all the information. Information is power. And then they do with the information what they want. That’s the best thing we can do as coaches.” Thompson seemed to struggle through some of his drills Wednesday. He appeared to be favoring his right leg whenever was asked to do timed runs and dummy step-overs, as well. Smith had a nearly flawless workout, even though his status indicated he need not even bother with participating. He didn’t do any of the physical testing but went through position drills with Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Lions coach Matt Patricia presiding. For as much fuss that is being made about him now, it’s hard to believe Smith ever considered coming back to Georgia one more year. “He was real close,” Smart said. “He had several moments where he was leaning toward coming back, several moments he was leaving. Again, that’s not my decision. All we do is give them the information we get and try to educate them with that information. He did a great job of handling it.” The post Same decision, different draft scenarios for Georgia juniors Roquan Smith, Trent Thompson appeared first on DawgNation.