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Latest from Tim Bryant

     The Georgia Bulldog football team holds its last spring practice session before Saturday’s G-Day game: today’s drills will put the wraps on workouts that began last month. The G-Day game is set for 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon in Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs are already penciling in schedules for upcoming seasons: the Indiana State Sycamores will play in Athens in 2013. From the AJC’s Chip Towers…   Elijah Holyfield has officially retired. From boxing, that is.  “Oh, no. Heck, no!” Holyfield said Tuesday of a possible return to boxing, which he last did competitively as a middle schooler. “I’ve been out of it too long, and I wouldn’t want to go in there and get hit again. I don’t want to get punched anymore. I get hit enough running.” That would be running with a football. And he’s going to stick with that a bit longer. In fact, Holyfield’s football career is just beginning to take off, in college anyway. At least it looks that way as the Georgia Bulldogs move toward the end of spring practice in Holyfield’s third year. All signs are point to the rising junior from College Park with the famous last name being Georgia’s primary ball carrier when G-Day kicks off this Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB). In a position largely defined by the “survival-of-the-fittest” model, Holyfield has both survived and proved the most fit this spring. As the Bulldogs prepare to play before an estimated crowd of 78,000 at Saturday, Holyfield is the odds-0n favorite to play the role of Georgia’s No. 1 tailback. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have moved on, of course, and heir apparent D’Andre Swift is slightly gimpy with a groin injury. But Holyfield might’ve been the man anyway. In fact, that’s exactly what some of his teammates were saying about him on Tuesday. “That’s a man right there,” said defensive end David Marshall, who gets to tackle Holyfield almost every practice. “I love how he practices, I love how he comes hard every play. I’ve never seen him slacking, ever.” Holyfield and fellow junior Brian Herrien have managed to stay healthy while getting the majority of repetitions in Georgia’s considerable running back corps this spring. Ballyhooed freshman signee Zamir “Zeus” White is running drills but has not been cleared for contact while recovering from December knee surgery. Fellow blue-chip recruit James Cook hasn’t arrived yet. Georgia also has a small selection of walk-ons at running back, including sophomores Prather Hudson and Ian Donald-McIntyre. But Holyfield has created the buzz in camp. Not only does he look physically imposing, he has been playing a high level, as well. “He’s a physical, tough guy, one of my favorite competitors out there,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said last week. “He’s got to pass protect better. He’s got to work on it, and that’s been a big emphasis for him. But I’m excited to see where he goes. He’s had some really good, tough runs this spring.” Holyfield’s opportunities to show his stuff have been very limited since he signed with the Bulldogs out of Atlanta’s Woodward Academy. Playing a mop-up role behind Chubb and Michel the last two seasons, he has only 56 career rushing attempts for 322 yards. But he has averaged 5.8 yards on those carries and recorded 2 touchdowns. Both of them were impressive, but especially the 39-yarder early in the fourth quarter against Florida last October. He capped it off with a Superman dive into the end zone. “Breaking that was really a confidence builder for me to know I can play on this level,” Holyfield said. Holyfield, who is listed at 5-foot-11, 217 pounds, is known as a strong, tough runner. But that play and the 90-yard kickoff return against Notre Dame that was nullified by a holding penalty demonstrated that he also has speed and some moves. But Holyfield is exceptionally strong and works hard to be that way. He doesn’t mind telling people that he can hang with Chubb when it comes to pumping iron. “I try to do what he could do,” Holyfield said. “I look at his numbers and try to get to those.” Asked if he matched any, Holyfield said, “Oh, yeah. Ask Chubb” — but he withheld details. Doesn’t matter. Playing running back is all about performing on the field. And while Saturday won’t be a sanctioned college football game, Holyfield’s excited to show Georgia fans what he has to offer in 2018. “I’m looking forward to G-Day and running the ball in front of a lot of people,” Holyfield said. “As I get the ball more I think everybody will see all the things I can do.” At one time, Holyfield was known as that Atlanta running back who looks strikingly similar to his famous father, world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield. But his goal is to be known as an exceptional football player by his own right. And he’s working hard to make it happen. “It’s not really a shadow,” he said of his father’s fame. “If it is, it’s just motivation to get out of it.”
  • A man from Commerce is in custody after leading Georgia State Troopers on a high-speed, two-county motorcycle chase. The State Patrol says the motorcycle, driven by 36 year-old Zachary Hix, reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour on a chase along Highway 441 through Jackson and Banks counties. It ended when Hix wrecked his motorcycle. Troopers say he suffered non life-threatening injuries and was taken to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center for treatment.  The Walton County Sheriff’s Office says 39 year-old Jerome Mobley should be considered armed and dangerous. The search for the man accused of killing his wife at a home in Social Circle continued through the overnight hours. His abandoned pick-up truck was found in Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County.    An Athens man, arrested in Randolph County, is convicted on child molestation charges in Hall County: 31 year-old Anthony Powers was also found guilty on statutory rape charges involving a Gainesville girl who was 14 years old at the time of their relationship. Powers’ conviction follows a three-day trial in Gainesville. Sentencing is pending. We have this morning the name of the man killed in a house fire in Habersham County: Roy Savage was 30 years old. The blaze burned a home off Highway 365 near Mt. Airy. The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating. 
  • The annual Greenfest is set for this afternoon in Athens: what organizers call a public, community-wide sustainability celebration is set for 5:30 at Flinchum’s Phoenix. The Georgia Climate Change Coalition will be recognized as this year’s winner of the Alec Little Environmental Award, a prize named in honor of the latest Athens environmentalist. From the A-CC government website…   GreenFest is a public, community-wide sustainability celebration providing citizens with the opportunity to increase their awareness of and interest in improving the environments of their homes, businesses, and community. Through peer nominations within the community to and by local organizations, the GreenFest Awards recognize sustainability leaders in Athens-Clarke County schools, businesses, community organizations, and government. We will also feature award winners from our K-12 student art, photography, and poetry contest. The 2018 theme is 'The Greenest Show in ACC!' based on the hit 2017 film, 'The Greatest Showman.
  • This will come as welcome news to students at the University of Georgia, and to their parents: the state Board of Regents voted this week to hold the line on tuition rates. There will be no tuition hikes for the academic year that starts in the fall. From the AJC… USG officials cited budget increases recently approved by Gov. Nathan Deal and state lawmakers, in part, as the reason for not raising tuition. The budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, is approximately $2.43 billion, about $115 million more that the current total. The board approved 14 fee increases at nine institutions. The increases are $3 to $31 per semester. USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley has emphasized making its colleges and universities more affordable in response to frequent criticism in recent years about tuition and fees. A 2016 state audit found a 77 percent increasein the cost of attending a state college or university in the prior 10 years. “We recognize the critical need to keep our institutions affordable for students while providing a quality education. The board’s decision today maintains our commitment to keeping tuition increases to a minimum,” Wrigley said. The two economic recessions during the 2000s resulted in severe state government cuts to the system, with the percentage of its budget from the state dropping from 75 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2018. Fiscal year spending per student has increased in recent years as the economy has improved, from about $5,500 in 2012 to more than $7,500 for the next fiscal year. The board also approved a capital budget for campus improvements of about $375 million for the next fiscal year, which officials said was its largest ever. Here’s the current academic year tuition for some colleges and universities for in-state students: University of Georgia $9,552 Georgia State University $8,730 Georgia Tech $10,008 Kennesaw State University $5,426 Sources: Universities of Georgia, Georgia State, Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech.
  • The Georgia Bulldog football team held its next-to-last spring practice Tuesday afternoon in Athens: the annual G-Day game is set for 4 o’clock Saturday in Sanford Stadium. From the UGA Sports Communications Office… The Georgia Bulldogs practiced in full pads for roughly two and a half hours on Tuesday afternoon with a smattering of guests on hand.    Four days from now, the Bulldogs will conduct a similar workout during their annual G-Day game at Sanford Stadium, and they hope to do so before more than 75,000 fans.   Two years ago, Georgia’s supporters packed Sanford Stadium for “93K Day” at the annual spring game. While a construction project in the West End Zone this spring will keep that portion of the facility empty on Saturday, the Bulldogs are still eager to see the rest of the stadium filled.   Juniors defensive end David Marshall and sophomore offensive tackle Andrew Thomas both were at the 2016 G-Day game before joining the Bulldogs. Marshall had signed with Georgia earlier in the year, while Thomas was making his first trip to Sanford Stadium as a junior at Pace Academy.   “Mostly, I remember it felt like a real game,” Marshall said. “Seeing all the fans in the stands, it gave me chills. It proves that everybody at Georgia is like a family and our fans support us so much. I’m really excited to be able to get out there Saturday and play this time.”   “It was crazy experience,” Thomas said. “I had never been to a Georgia game before so it was my first experience in Sanford Stadium. So many people were there, and then I heard they even had to deny some people coming in because there were so many. It was a crazy atmosphere, and it did help sway my decision early on. That’s what started getting me to like the place more.”   Gates will open at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and admission to G-Day is free. The UGA Athletic Association will be implementing it’s “clear bag” policy for the G-Day Game.   The day’s activities will begin with a flag football game among alumni lettermen from 1:15-2:15.   With expected high demand and temporarily reduced seating due to the construction on the new West End Zone complex, the UGA Athletic Association will be implementing a pass system. Upon entrance, each fan will receive a commemorative pass with a seating section. The UGAAA asks that each fan sits in this section to help manage what is expected to be a near-capacity crowd. Gates 2-9 will be open as usual. However, Gate 10 (gate under the bridge next to the Tate Center) will be closed due to construction. To help reduce congestion and further improve ingress flow, please enter on the side of the stadium where each fan's preferred seating location would be. Additional pass/entry questions can be directed to facilitysupport@sports.uga.edu.   The Bulldogs will begin their 2018 campaign with a home matchup against Austin Peay on Saturday, Sept. 1. Georgia will travel to Columbia, S.C., to open its Southeastern Conference schedule against South Carolina on Sept. 8.
  • A public information session on the latest plans for the Firefly Trail is set for 6 o’clock at the Depot in Winterville. Plans for the sales tax-funded Winterville section of the trail are up for discussion in this evening’s session.  From the A-CC website… Athens-Clarke County will host a drop-in public information session at the Winterville Depot on Wednesday, April 18 from 6:00-8:00 PM to view preliminary plans for the Winterville segment of the Firefly Trail (TSPLSOT 2018 Project #06). Staff will be present to answer questions.   SPLOST will host a drop-in public information session at the Winterville Depot on Wednesday, April 18 from 6:00-8:00 PM to view preliminary plans for the Winterville segment of the Firefly Trail (TSPLSOT 2018 Project #06). Staff will be present to answer questions. 
  • US Representative Doug Collins, the 9th District Republican from Gainesville, issued a statement on the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush.  “Barbara Bush’s commitment to earnest public service never waned. For decades, she translated compassion and conviction into thoughtful action, and she leaves behind an army of people who love her. My prayers this evening are with the Bush family and the rest of that grieving army.” Bush passed away shortly after deciding to forgo further medical treatments for her failing health, a family spokesman said. Having been hospitalized numerous times while battling congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she decided Sunday that she wanted to be 'surrounded by a family she adores,' according to a statement released by the office of former President George H.W. Bush. Bush's funeral will be held at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 21. The service is closed to the public. Mr. and Mrs. Bush have been devoted members of the church since the 1950s.
  • The Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol say additional charges are pending against a 21 year-old man arrested after a high-speed police chase: the police pursuit of Ryan Pittman began in Athens and continued into Madison County, then doubled back into Athens, where Pittman wrecked his car on North Avenue.  Police in Gainesville charge a homeless man in an attempted kidnaping case: they say 35 year-old Tuan Nguyen grabbed a 5 year-old girl while the child was riding with her mother in a taxi. Police say the taxi driver pulled the girl away from Nguyen, who was arrested a short time later and booked into the Hall County jail. He had a first court appearance Monday.  The Hall County Sheriff’s Office  investigates the death of a man whose body was found in a car in Oakwood. The man was reportedly shot to death.
  • This evening’s Athens-Clarke County Commission meeting is a 6 o’clock agenda-setting session at City Hall. Plans for the Firefly Trail and Memorial Park are up for discussion.  The first of two public hearings on plans for the Fiscal Year 2018 Service Development Plan takes place today, hosted by the Athens-Clarke County Transit Department: it’s set for 3 til 6 at the Multi-modal Center. Another forum is scheduled for Thursday.  The Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission meets today: it’s a 4 o’clock session at the Government Building on Dougherty Street. The Clarke County School Board’s government relations committee convenes for the first time since last month’s end of the legislative session: the meeting is set for 4:30 at the HT Edwards Building on Dearing Extension in Athens.  There is an afternoon meeting of the Lyndon House Art Foundation, 5:30 at the Lyndon House on Hoyt Street in Athens.  The Board of Directors for the Morton Theatre meets today, 5:30 at the Morton on Washington Street in downtown Athens.  Oconee County Commissioners hold a town hall meeting tonight: it’s set for 6 o’clock in the Community Center at Oconee Veterans Park.  Oconee County’s Board of Tax Assessors meets this morning: it’s a 9 o’clock session at the courthouse in Watkinsville. The Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Management Board meets, 1 o’clock today at the Historic Courthouse in Monroe: the Board will field input on a controversial plan for an intake facility on the Apalachee River in Morgan County. It’s a dispute that is being watched closely by environmentalists and others in Oconee County, which will share Hard Labor Creek reservoir water with Walton County. Madison County’s Planning and Zoning Board is meeting, 6:30 this evening in Danielsville.  This afternoon’s meeting of the Gainesville City Council gets underway at 5:30 at the Public Safety Complex in Gainesville.
  • Congressman Jody Hice, the 10th District Republican who represents Athens in the US House,  released the following statement in response to the coordinated military strike in Syria by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. “The unspeakable acts of violence committed by the Assad regime against innocent children, men, and women must be addressed,” said Congressman Hice. “For too long, the barbaric actions in Syria have gone unanswered. While questions remain regarding our long-term engagement with Syria, I support President Trump’s proportional step to join the U.K. and France in executing a precise, tactical military strike to hold the Assad regime accountable. I am grateful and will continue to pray for our brave men and women in uniform and our allied forces who put themselves in harm’s way in order to carry out this mission. As we move forward, it will be important for the Administration to engage with Congress and clearly communicate its strategy to the American people.”
  • Tim  Bryant

    News Director

    Tim Bryant is News Director for Cox Media Group Athens and also works as an anchor and reporter for WSB Radio in Atlanta. Previous stops on the dial include Augusta and Tallahassee. Tim has reported for ABC, CBS, and the Associated Press, and has provided guest commentary and analysis on stations across the US, the U.K., and New Zealand. Tim hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens. 

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Local News

  • Nobody was injured when bullets rattled through an Athens apartment early this morning. The suspect is still at large.  From The Athens-Clarke County Police:  On 04/19/2018 at just after 3:00 am, officers responded to Rivers Edge Apartments (2505 West Broad Street) in reference to an apartment being damaged by gunfire. The resident told officers she heard someone shoot several rounds through her glass back door. Officers observed damage to the door, which was a number of bullet-sized holes through the glass. When asked, the resident told officers that she did not know who would do this. No one was injured during this incident. At this time, we have no suspect information, and anyone who has information is asked to contact Detective McCauley at 706-613-3330 ext. 312. A Crimestoppers reward is available for anyone who provides credible information in this case ### 
  •  The Georgia Bulldog football team holds its last spring practice session before Saturday’s G-Day game: today’s drills will put the wraps on workouts that began last month. The G-Day game is set for 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon in Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs are already penciling in schedules for upcoming seasons: the Indiana State Sycamores will play in Athens in 2013. From the AJC’s Chip Towers…   Elijah Holyfield has officially retired. From boxing, that is.  “Oh, no. Heck, no!” Holyfield said Tuesday of a possible return to boxing, which he last did competitively as a middle schooler. “I’ve been out of it too long, and I wouldn’t want to go in there and get hit again. I don’t want to get punched anymore. I get hit enough running.” That would be running with a football. And he’s going to stick with that a bit longer. In fact, Holyfield’s football career is just beginning to take off, in college anyway. At least it looks that way as the Georgia Bulldogs move toward the end of spring practice in Holyfield’s third year. All signs are point to the rising junior from College Park with the famous last name being Georgia’s primary ball carrier when G-Day kicks off this Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB). In a position largely defined by the “survival-of-the-fittest” model, Holyfield has both survived and proved the most fit this spring. As the Bulldogs prepare to play before an estimated crowd of 78,000 at Saturday, Holyfield is the odds-0n favorite to play the role of Georgia’s No. 1 tailback. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have moved on, of course, and heir apparent D’Andre Swift is slightly gimpy with a groin injury. But Holyfield might’ve been the man anyway. In fact, that’s exactly what some of his teammates were saying about him on Tuesday. “That’s a man right there,” said defensive end David Marshall, who gets to tackle Holyfield almost every practice. “I love how he practices, I love how he comes hard every play. I’ve never seen him slacking, ever.” Holyfield and fellow junior Brian Herrien have managed to stay healthy while getting the majority of repetitions in Georgia’s considerable running back corps this spring. Ballyhooed freshman signee Zamir “Zeus” White is running drills but has not been cleared for contact while recovering from December knee surgery. Fellow blue-chip recruit James Cook hasn’t arrived yet. Georgia also has a small selection of walk-ons at running back, including sophomores Prather Hudson and Ian Donald-McIntyre. But Holyfield has created the buzz in camp. Not only does he look physically imposing, he has been playing a high level, as well. “He’s a physical, tough guy, one of my favorite competitors out there,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said last week. “He’s got to pass protect better. He’s got to work on it, and that’s been a big emphasis for him. But I’m excited to see where he goes. He’s had some really good, tough runs this spring.” Holyfield’s opportunities to show his stuff have been very limited since he signed with the Bulldogs out of Atlanta’s Woodward Academy. Playing a mop-up role behind Chubb and Michel the last two seasons, he has only 56 career rushing attempts for 322 yards. But he has averaged 5.8 yards on those carries and recorded 2 touchdowns. Both of them were impressive, but especially the 39-yarder early in the fourth quarter against Florida last October. He capped it off with a Superman dive into the end zone. “Breaking that was really a confidence builder for me to know I can play on this level,” Holyfield said. Holyfield, who is listed at 5-foot-11, 217 pounds, is known as a strong, tough runner. But that play and the 90-yard kickoff return against Notre Dame that was nullified by a holding penalty demonstrated that he also has speed and some moves. But Holyfield is exceptionally strong and works hard to be that way. He doesn’t mind telling people that he can hang with Chubb when it comes to pumping iron. “I try to do what he could do,” Holyfield said. “I look at his numbers and try to get to those.” Asked if he matched any, Holyfield said, “Oh, yeah. Ask Chubb” — but he withheld details. Doesn’t matter. Playing running back is all about performing on the field. And while Saturday won’t be a sanctioned college football game, Holyfield’s excited to show Georgia fans what he has to offer in 2018. “I’m looking forward to G-Day and running the ball in front of a lot of people,” Holyfield said. “As I get the ball more I think everybody will see all the things I can do.” At one time, Holyfield was known as that Atlanta running back who looks strikingly similar to his famous father, world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield. But his goal is to be known as an exceptional football player by his own right. And he’s working hard to make it happen. “It’s not really a shadow,” he said of his father’s fame. “If it is, it’s just motivation to get out of it.”
  • A man from Commerce is in custody after leading Georgia State Troopers on a high-speed, two-county motorcycle chase. The State Patrol says the motorcycle, driven by 36 year-old Zachary Hix, reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour on a chase along Highway 441 through Jackson and Banks counties. It ended when Hix wrecked his motorcycle. Troopers say he suffered non life-threatening injuries and was taken to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center for treatment.  The Walton County Sheriff’s Office says 39 year-old Jerome Mobley should be considered armed and dangerous. The search for the man accused of killing his wife at a home in Social Circle continued through the overnight hours. His abandoned pick-up truck was found in Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County.    An Athens man, arrested in Randolph County, is convicted on child molestation charges in Hall County: 31 year-old Anthony Powers was also found guilty on statutory rape charges involving a Gainesville girl who was 14 years old at the time of their relationship. Powers’ conviction follows a three-day trial in Gainesville. Sentencing is pending. We have this morning the name of the man killed in a house fire in Habersham County: Roy Savage was 30 years old. The blaze burned a home off Highway 365 near Mt. Airy. The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating. 
  • The annual Greenfest is set for this afternoon in Athens: what organizers call a public, community-wide sustainability celebration is set for 5:30 at Flinchum’s Phoenix. The Georgia Climate Change Coalition will be recognized as this year’s winner of the Alec Little Environmental Award, a prize named in honor of the latest Athens environmentalist. From the A-CC government website…   GreenFest is a public, community-wide sustainability celebration providing citizens with the opportunity to increase their awareness of and interest in improving the environments of their homes, businesses, and community. Through peer nominations within the community to and by local organizations, the GreenFest Awards recognize sustainability leaders in Athens-Clarke County schools, businesses, community organizations, and government. We will also feature award winners from our K-12 student art, photography, and poetry contest. The 2018 theme is 'The Greenest Show in ACC!' based on the hit 2017 film, 'The Greatest Showman.
  • This will come as welcome news to students at the University of Georgia, and to their parents: the state Board of Regents voted this week to hold the line on tuition rates. There will be no tuition hikes for the academic year that starts in the fall. From the AJC… USG officials cited budget increases recently approved by Gov. Nathan Deal and state lawmakers, in part, as the reason for not raising tuition. The budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, is approximately $2.43 billion, about $115 million more that the current total. The board approved 14 fee increases at nine institutions. The increases are $3 to $31 per semester. USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley has emphasized making its colleges and universities more affordable in response to frequent criticism in recent years about tuition and fees. A 2016 state audit found a 77 percent increasein the cost of attending a state college or university in the prior 10 years. “We recognize the critical need to keep our institutions affordable for students while providing a quality education. The board’s decision today maintains our commitment to keeping tuition increases to a minimum,” Wrigley said. The two economic recessions during the 2000s resulted in severe state government cuts to the system, with the percentage of its budget from the state dropping from 75 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2018. Fiscal year spending per student has increased in recent years as the economy has improved, from about $5,500 in 2012 to more than $7,500 for the next fiscal year. The board also approved a capital budget for campus improvements of about $375 million for the next fiscal year, which officials said was its largest ever. Here’s the current academic year tuition for some colleges and universities for in-state students: University of Georgia $9,552 Georgia State University $8,730 Georgia Tech $10,008 Kennesaw State University $5,426 Sources: Universities of Georgia, Georgia State, Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Coach Kirby Smart is doing his best to make sure that Georgia’s best and brightest players will all be available to play in the G-Day Game. But there is increasing evidence some key players may have to sit out Saturday’s heavily-promoted intrasquad game at Sanford Stadium. As of Thursday evening, Smart was holding out hope that offensive stars Terry Godwin and D’Andre Swift will be available. Godwin practiced in a limited capacity Thursday but looked a bit gimpy while doing so with groin and knee injuries. Swift was also going through position drills but hasn’t been participating in full-contact work the last week. “Terry’s been banged up a little bit but we expect him to be able to go and to play,” Smart said. “He’s pushing through. He’s been really tough about it. He has some groin soreness and a slight MCL knee (injury). He’s been able to go.” As for Swift, Smart said: “We’ll see how he does. He’s been able to do some things but hasn’t been able to do everything. He hasn’t been live tackling. He’s getting a lot of mental reps and things like that. He’s still kind of a game-time decision.” One player who definitely won’t play Saturday is cornerback Mark Webb. The converted receiver suffered torn cartilage)in his right knee in practice on Tuesday and underwent arthroscopic surgery on Thursday. However, he should be available to compete in preseason camp in August, or earlier. “Mark had a torn meniscus and he won’t be able to play in the spring game,” Smart said after the Bulldogs’ 14th practice. … We’re expecting a full recovery. He should be back.” Webb had been moving up the ranks in the secondary and appeared poised to contend for a starting position at cornerback. Instead, the Bulldogs are down to just 10 defensive backs overall. Georgia is also going to be without freshman early enrollee Divaad Wilson, who suffered an ACL tear the first week of spring practice, and safety Jarvis Wilson, who has a sprained foot. Sophomore William Poole may have to switch back-and-forth between the Red and Black squads on Saturday in order to preserve competitive balance. Godwin is the leading returning receiver from last year. He had 639 yards and scored six touchdowns, including one via a fairly miraculous catch at Notre Dame Stadium. Swift averaged 7.6 yards a carry and scored three touchdowns while playing behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel as a freshman last season. He finished with 618 yards and was also the Bulldogs’ leading receiver out of the backfield with 17 catches for 153 yards and one score. The post Some key Georgia players may be missing for G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — New Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean has finally pulled the trigger on naming a second assistant basketball coach. Joe Scott, most recently an assistant coach at Holy Cross, sports 16 seasons of head coaching experience at three Division I schools. He joins Chad Dollar on the Bulldogs’ staff. “I’m excited to welcome Joe, Leah, Ben and Jack to our Georgia Basketball family and the entire UGA community,” Crean said in a statement released by the school. “Joe is known nationally as someone who excels at coaching, teaching and competing. He has tremendous respect of his peers who have gone against him and those who have worked along side him. He will bring many different elements to our program, but overall and he will help our young men get better every day.” Said Scott, also in a statement: “My family and I are extremely excited to be joining the Georgia family. The University of Georgia is a special place. This is a tremendous opportunity to help Coach Crean implement his vision and make Georgia Basketball special. I cannot wait to get started coaching our players to develop and get better every day.” Scott was tabbed one of the nation’s top-20 “Xs & Os” coaches in a survey of his peers by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman in 2013. He was head coach at Air Force for four seasons, Princeton for three campaigns and Denver for nine seasons. He also has served as an assistant coach at Monmouth, Princeton and Holy Cross. All told, Scott sports 27 years of collegiate coaching experience. Before breaking into the head coaching ranks, Scott was an assistant coach at Monmouth during the 1991-92 season and at Princeton from 1992-2000. While at Princeton, Scott helped the Tigers to five consecutive postseason appearances, with trips to the 1996, 1997 and 1998 NCAA Tournaments and the 1999 and 2000 NITs. The Tigers won three Ivy League titles from 1996-98, including perfect 14-0 records in the final two seasons. Princeton upset defending national champion UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament and ranked as high as No. 7 nationally in 1998 en route to earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest ever for an Ivy League team. The post Georgia’s Tom Crean finally settles on a second assistant coach appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia held their final actual practice of the spring at the Woodruff Practice Complex on Thursday. Under clear skies and relatively cool temperatures, the Bulldogs were working out in shorts and helmets and were scheduled to for about two hours. The next time they get together and play as a team will be during G-Day Saturday at Sanford Stadium (4 p.m., ESPN, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB). Actually, it will as two teams. UGA on Thursday released its split rosters for the Red and Black squads for Saturday’s intrasquad game. This year, Georgia’s No. 1 offense, led by quarterback Jake Fromm, will be the Red team. The Black Squad will be led by the Bulldogs’ No. 1 defensive unit — and freshman quarterback Justin Fields, of course. Fromm’s Red squad will be protected by the first-string offensive line — which included both Solomon Kindley and Kendall Baker to play left guard. It will also feature juniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien at tailback and Terry Godwin, Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman at wideout and Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner at tight end. Fields’ No. 2 offensive unit will have walkons Prather Hudson and Ian Donald-McIntyre in the backfield and will feature a receiving corps of Ahkil Crumpton, J.J. Holloman, Kearis Jackson, Matt Landers and Tyler Simmons. Of course, the Black team will be hanging its hat on a defensive team led by Tyler Clark, DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle, Jonathan Ledbetter, Julian Rochester and Malik Herring and inside linebackers Juwan Taylor, Tae Crowder and Nate McBride. D’Andre Walker, Robert Beal and Walter Grant will man the outside linebacker positions. The secondary for the Black squad has Deandre Baker and Tyrique McGhee at the corners, William Poole at star and J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte III at the safeties. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs appeared to be going through normal drill work and play-polish in the early portions of practice on Thursday. Following are a few observations: Senior Terry Godwin was going through regular drill work with the receivers but appeared to be a bit gimpy in doing so. He had a reinforced brace on one knee and a regular sleeve on the other. Cornerback Mark Webb was not practicing after suffering a knee injury of undisclosed severity on Tuesday. Indications are it’s not a “major” injury. D’Andre Swift was going through bag drills with the running backs and did not exhibit noticeable limitations. He is dealing with a groin injury, according to coach Kirby Smart. Defensive tackle Michael Barnett (knee) was not at practice again, assuring that he’ll miss G-Day. Justin Young, who missed practices last week due to a minor knee sprain, has been able to practice and might be able to play. One area lacking depth that has not been much discussed is deep snapper for special teams. The Bulldogs technically have just one on the roster in redshirt freshman Oren Morgan of Toombs County. But senior fullback Nick Moore also snaps to the kickers. Former tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were watching Thursday’s practice from the sideline and having a good time commenting on what they say. Asked which tailback they expected to be the leading rusher for the G-Day Game on Saturday, they simultaneously said “Prather Hudson.” Hudson is a redshirt sophomore walkon from Columbus. Recently-matriculated receiver Javon Wims was also at practice watching his position group. All of them plan to attend on Saturday, with Chubb conducting an autograph-signing at the bookstore.   The post Practice report: Jake Fromm to lead Red against Justin Field’s Black squad on G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to a 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. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday Dear DawgNation: What is up with Nate McBride? —  James McConnell, Chickamauga What’s up with Nate McBride, you ask? Lots of things are up with the linebacker from Vidalia. First off, he’s up in class. He’s a legitimate sophomore academically, even though he’s still in his first year at UGA. He’s also up in age and experience, as well as strength and size. And while he’s up, he’s also down. Not mentally, but physically. Lee Chomskis (pronounced HOM-skiss), his coach at Vidalia High, said McBride is down to about 218 pounds after playing last season at Georgia at 225 and his senior year at Vidalia at almost 230 pounds. That said, having had a year under his belt with strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair, he looks a bit different physically. Not necessarily thinner, but certainly more cut. But reading between the words of your brief, one-line question, I suppose that’s not exactly what you meant by, “what’s up with McBride?” You probably are wondering, like a few folks I’ve heard from, why we aren’t hearing more about him. Why isn’t he creating more buzz and why isn’t he a starting linebacker for Georgia already? That’s what people often wonder when a former blue-chip prospect of McBride’s ilk — he was the No. 2-rated inside linebacker in the country at one point — is not starring by his second year on campus. A couple of points here: McBride is not even all the way to his second year at Georgia yet; two, we don’t fully know exactly what McBride’s role is going to be on the defense in 2018. We do know that he is competing with Monty Rice, Juwan Taylor and Jaden Hunter for the Will linebacker position manned so well last season by Roquan Smith. Though early signs point to Rice leading that competition, nothing is written in stone — or even on paper — and there is a long way to go before that’s decided. We also know that McBride has the size and skills to earn playing time at the Mike, the other inside linebacker spot in Georgia’s defense, and that the Bulldogs desperately need help at both spots in 2018. Regardless of how those competitions turn out, you’re still bound to see a lot of McBride this season, just like we did last season. In fact, while playing on several of Georgia’s special teams units McBride was one of just six true freshmen to play in all 15 of the Bulldogs’ games. The others were Jake Fromm, Andrew Thomas, D’Andre Swift, Walter Grant and Malik Herring. Rice played in 14. So you can bet that the swift-footed McBride will be on the field at least for special teams, if not also in a defensive role. He has one of the traits that coach Kirby Smart covets most — speed — as his four Class AA sprint championships as a high school senior attest. To date, I haven’t had a chance to ask Smart about McBride. But I reached out to Chomkis, who communicates with him on a regular basis, for a little insight. “He played on a team that played for the national championship,” Chomkis said. “That means there’s a lot of talent there at Georgia. He could’ve gone to Vanderbilt or Missouri and started every game, but he wanted to play for championships. I think he’s running with the 2s or 3s right now during the spring, and that’s because he’s still learning the position and having to think a lot. “But I think he’s an outstanding kid and an outstanding football player and I think he’ll play a lot for Georgia before it’s over. He has good size and great speed and that’s why they recruited him, because he can run so well. He can flat fly, and I’m not sure that there’s many that can run with him.” That pretty much sums it up. As Smart and the Bulldogs like to say this year, he “ain’t going nowhere.” Have a question for beat writer Chip Towers? E-mail us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com The post ‘What’s up’ with Georgia linebacker Nate McBride? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Really, we don’t know all that much about Georgia’s Monty Rice. But you have to like what the sophomore linebacker has to say about the enormous challenge that’s before him and the Bulldogs’ entire defense in succeeding Roquan Smith and that star-studded unit of a season ago. “We can’t live off what Roquan did, or Lorenzo [Carter] did, or Dom Sanders did,” said Rice, who is poised to follow Smith at the Will inside linebacker position. “What’s Juwan Taylor gonna do? What’s Nate McBride gonna do? What’s Monty Rice gonna do? We’ve got to live off what we’re going to do. We can’t dwell on last year’s success.” Monty Rice Truer words have not been spoken this spring about Georgia’s defense. The Bulldogs lost a boatload of exceptional football talent off last season’s 13-2, No. 2-ranked team. That fact will be underscored in the NFL draft next week. Most notable among those departures is Smith. The Butkus Award-winning linebacker is expected to be an early first-round draft choice. The battle to replace him is ongoing. But the odds-on favorite to handle that considerable task is Rice, who is really kind of a mystery man. If you don’t follow recruiting closely, you might need a refresher. Rice sort of just showed up at Georgia. Rivals and 247Sports pegged him as a 3-star recruit, but his offer list said otherwise. He had upwards of 20 offers, including pretty much the whole of the SEC. Rice actually committed to LSU (over Auburn and Georgia) in mid-December 2016. It’s something he now says was an act of confused desperation. But, as an early enrollee, he’d long been pursued by Mel Tucker, first at Alabama and then as defensive coordinator at Georgia. In the end, Rice pursued that relationship and simply enrolled at UGA without signing a letter of intent, according to his high school coach. “When he announced that day that he was going to go to LSU, me and everyone else going in thought it was going to be Georgia, just because of his relationship with Coach Tucker and Coach [Kirby] Smart,” said Wade Waldrop, Rice’s coach at James Clemens High School in Madison, Ala. “They already knew him, because he had visited Alabama a number of times throughout his sophomore and junior years, so they were familiar with him. “He came out right away and said, ‘I think I made a mistake.’ I said, ‘That’s all right. You haven’t signed a thing. As long as you let Coach [Dave] Aranda and Coach O [LSU coach Ed Oregeron] know, you do what’s best for you. You’ve got to wake up in that dorm room every day.’ ” Said Rice: “I just followed my heart.” Rice’s arrival in Athens in January 2017 has been a blessing both for the Bulldogs and for Rice. As a freshman last season he played in 14 of Georgia’s 15 games and even got a start against Missouri in the season’s seventh game. He finished with 22 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. The one start came at Mike linebacker alongside Smith after Natrez Patrick was suspended and Reggie Carter was injured. But he primarily as a Will — or weakside linebacker — which happened to be the position manned by Smith. So it was difficult to get on the field much with the defense. His work came mostly at “garbage time” and on special teams. But Rice said last season’s experience was invaluable to him, if for no other reason than getting to know Smith and watching how he worked. “Roquan is not a selfish person,” Rice said. “He was helping me out when I first got here, telling me what calls I had to make, telling me what to do or whatever. So he was real helpful. So was Lorenzo and Davin [Bellamy] and all of those guys.” As for motivation, Rice doesn’t need a lot of help in that department. This is a young man who has had his sights set not only on major college football but the NFL for a long time. That’s what distinguished Rice at James Clemens High. Originally from Huntsville, Ala., he actually lived with another family in Madison while playing there. The reason for that was two-fold. One, he wanted to play high school football at the highest level possible; and, two, he needed to escape the crime and poverty that ravaged the community in which he was raised. That ended up being a move made in heaven. Not only was Rice wildly successful as a player — he recorded 137 tackles, 4 interceptions and 4 touchdowns to lead the Jets to the Class 7A quarterfinals as a senior — but also as a student. “Monty Rice is a football player,” Waldrop said. “He came to school every day — and he had a 3.2, 3.1 GPA — and he did well in school because he wanted to play football. Everything he does is to play football. A lot of people, it’s the other way around. He did what he had to do on a daily basis to be a big-time football player. You didn’t have to hold things over his head to get him to do something. He loves playing football.” It’s not all about money and fame for Rice, either. He hopes football can give him a platform to call attention to a cause that is very personal to him: excessive force used by police, particularly against victims suffering from mental illness. You can read about it yourself from the pinned tweet at the top of Rice’s Twitter account, @RiceMonty. It takes you to a Facebook page dedicated to telling the story of Horaesheo Rice, a cousin eight years Rice’s senior who was killed by police gunfire on Sept. 20, 2017. That was the Wednesday before the Bulldogs would play Mississippi State in Sanford Stadium. Rice has his cousin’s name tattooed on his right forearm as a reminder of what he’s playing for. “I know he’s looking down and smiling about what I’m doing,” Rice said Thursday night after Georgia’s 13th practice of the spring. “We used to live together, so I was real close to him. I’m not a big social media guy, but I don’t want his name to ever be forgotten. I don’t want what happened to be, ah, this is just another killer. I want it to be known what happened to my cousin.” So, yes, Rice is supremely motivated. And apparently he’s a pretty good player, too. At this point there’s still no guarantees that Rice will be the undisputed starter and/or primary player at Georgia’s all-important Will linebacker spot. Among others, he’s competing with senior Juwan Taylor and fellow sophomore Nate McBride, not to mention two freshmen who will join the team in June. But indications are that No. 32 has been making a name for himself at that spot during spring practice. “He’s pretty difficult,” sophomore tackle Andrew Thomas said of trying to block Rice. “He has one speed. He’s, like, full-going all the time and he’s going to hit you. He doesn’t care if you’re bigger than him, he’s going to strike you and try to make a play. He’s making us all better.” That this one-time 3-star prospect is in position to become a full-time starter at a marquee position in his sophomore year may come as a surprise to a lot of people. But not to those in Madison and Huntsville who have known Rice for a while. “I’m absolutely not surprised, because he’s driven,” said Waldrop, who visited with Rice shortly before spring practice began. “He has a purpose. The purpose of just trying to start is probably big for him. He’s got NFL aspirations. He knows if he does the things that Coach Smart and Coach [Glenn] Schumann and those guys tell him to do and he buys into it, he knows he’ll have a shot to one day go get money.” And perhaps draw greater attention to a cause that is dear to him. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes on the football field, but for now we have an idea of what Monty Rice is all about. The post Georgia’s Monty Rice: Linebacker with a cause appeared first on DawgNation.