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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    Before the leaders of the G7 nations had even boarded their flights for the meeting in Biarritz, France, President Donald Trump was already stirring the political pot associated with the meeting of western allies, making it clear he wants to see Russia return to the group, after being exiled in 2014 over the seizure of the Crimea from Ukraine. 'We spend a lot of time talking about Russia at those meetings,' the President told reporters this week. 'And they're not there. I think it would be a good thing if Russia were there so we can speak directly.' Russia was a member of what was then known as the 'Group of Eight' - but Moscow was booted out in 2014 after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine. 'President Obama thought it wasn't a good thing to have Russia in,' Mr. Trump said to reporters. 'But I think it's much more appropriate to have Russia in.' But there seems to be little chance of that happening in the current political environment in Europe, especially with Russian backed forces fighting in Ukraine. During a meeting with Vladimir Putin earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron made clear his opposition to such a move proposed by President Trump, arguing that Russia must first address Crimea - and the ongoing proxy war pushed by Russian backed forces inside Ukraine - before any such change is made. 'In effect, the resolution of this conflict is a magic wand that will open the door for Russia to return to the G7 club,' Macron said . With the two leaders seated before reporters, Macron labeled the Ukraine situation an 'irritant' in Russian relations with the West. 'It is obvious that the return to the G8 format and normal relations with the EU requires the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis,' Macron added. Last year, the 2018 meeting of world leaders from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom, ended in odd fashion, when President Trump suddenly left the meeting early, refusing to endorse a joint communique by the leaders. In order to avoid a dispute along those lines in 2019, Macron has decided there will not be a joint communique issued by the G-7. It will be the first time since the meetings began in the 1970's that the group will not issue a statement of joint goals. White House officials previewing the President's trip said much of his focus at the G-7 will be on free, fair and reciprocal trade, as he has often criticized Canada and the European Union of unfair trade barriers to U.S. exports.
  • Back in their home districts on an extended summer break, the drip-drip sound Democrats hear is not coming from the watering the plants, but rather from the halls of the Congress, where more and more Democratic members of the House are publicly announcing their support for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. A flurry of announcements were made on Thursday, as a series of Democrats said they would back an impeachment inquiry by the House Judiciary Committee, bringing the total number to 135 - more than a majority of Democrats in the House. 'I cannot ignore the call to defend our institutions, to safeguard our democratic norms, and to stand up for our democracy,' said Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) on Thursday afternoon. A few hours earlier, Rep. William Keating of Massachusetts told his Bay State constituents that the Mueller Report left too many unanswered questions about the President, accusing the White House of stonewalling legitimate Congressional oversight. 'No person in America is above the law, including the President of the United States,' said Rep. Lauren Underwood, a freshman Democrat from Illinois. 'I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, which will continue to uncover the facts for the American people and hold this president accountable,' said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), the fourth ranking Democrat in the House.  'This is not a position I’ve reached lightly,' Lujan said earlier this week. When Democrats left town four weeks ago for their six week summer break, the number of lawmakers endorsing the start of an impeachment idea was nowhere near 100. But it's been creeping up on almost a daily basis - and more lawmakers seem likely to join in the weeks ahead.
  • Unlikely to qualify for the next debate among Democratic candidates for the White House, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State told supporters in an email on Wednesday night that he was dropping his bid for the Democratic Party's nomination for President, further thinning the field with just over five months until the first vote is cast. 'I want to share a tough decision with you,' Inslee said to supporters, as he cited his top priority of climate change. 'But I've concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be the next president of the United States,' Inslee added. Earlier in the week, Inslee touted that his campaign had hit 130,000 donors - one of the qualifying requirements for the next Democratic debate in Houston. But Inslee had no chance to register at 2 percent or higher in four different polls, leaving him on the sidelines - and off the debate stage. 'As a result, I don't believe we can compete for the attention and exposure needed to have a reasonable shot at the nomination,' Inslee said. Inslee had tried hard to be the loudest voice in the party on climate change, bringing it up in both debates, and doing numerous events on the subject. But the former Congressman, and current Governor, was never able to break out of the lower tier of Democratic candidates. “I want to once again thank everyone who helped in this effort. We have so much to be proud of,” Inslee wrote to his backers.  “Make no mistake, we also have a lot more work to do.” On MSNBC Wednesday night, Inslee said it was clear this was the right choice. “I'm not going to be carrying the ball,” Inslee said in an interview.  “I'm not going to be the President, so I'm withdrawing tonight.”
  • A day after embracing the idea of a possible payroll tax cut to get more money in the hands of consumers and avoid any signs of an economic downturn, President Donald Trump reversed course on  Wednesday and said he would not pursue tax cuts, instead turning up the pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in order to spur new economic growth. 'I'm not looking at a tax cut now, we don't need it - we have a strong economy,' the President told reporters at the White House on Wednesday before leaving for events in Kentucky. Mr. Trump specifically said he would not entertain the idea right now of indexing capital gains taxes - saying that skews to the benefit of more wealthy Americans - and would not be pressing for a payroll tax cut, something President Obama did in 2011 and 2012 as a way to help with growth. With the idea of tax cuts evidently off the table, the President instead tried to shift the burden of any economic difficulties onto the Federal Reserve, again using his bully pulpit to press the Fed to lower interest rates, complaining that interest rate hikes in 2017 and 2018 had held back on growth. 'He raised interest rates too fast, too furious,' Mr. Trump said of Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell. “The Federal Reserve has let us down,” the President added. New notes released by the Fed on Wednesday afternoon showed members were divided on the best course for interest rates - with some wanting larger cuts as a way to spur economic growth, and insulate the U.S. from the threat of any slowdown. Some GOP lawmakers have urged the President to push for a new round of tax cuts, worried that the billions being collected in new tariffs levied by Mr. Trump have offset the benefits of Mr. Trump's 2017 tax cut package.
  • Hours after scrapping a planned state visit to Denmark in early September because Danish leaders refused to consider plans to have the United States buy the island of Greenland, President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the statements of the Prime Minister of Denmark 'nasty,' saying she had offended all Americans. 'I thought it was not a nice statement, the way she blew me off, because she's blowing off the United States,' the President said. 'She's not talking to me, she's talking to the United States of America,' Mr. Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. 'You don't talk to the United States that way,' as the President repeatedly threw transatlantic elbows at Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. “I thought that the Prime Minister's statement that it (the sale of Greenland) was an absurd idea, was nasty,' Mr. Trump added. In Denmark, the Prime Minister did not return the President's verbal jabs, as she told reporters the visit would have been an opportunity to further broaden Danish relations with the U.S. Government. 'It was an opportunity I think to celebrate Denmark's close relationship with the U.S.,' Frederiksen said. The Queen of Denmark had invited the President and First Lady for a two day state visit in early September.
  • President Donald Trump's assertion that his 25 percent tariff on imported steel has helped to reinvigorate and rescue the American steel industry took a hit this week, as U.S. Steel told the state of Michigan that the company was laying off workers at one of its mills, with more layoffs envisioned after the end of September. But those moves by U.S. Steel paint a starkly different message from what the President has been saying. 'Those steel mills - U.S. Steel and all of them, all of them - they're expanding all over the place,' the President said last week during a visit to Pennsylvania. But in papers filed with the state of Michigan by U.S. Steel, a different picture emerges. 'The purpose of this letter is to notify you of layoffs,' U.S. Steel wrote to the Michigan Workforce Development Agency. The letter detailed the layoff of 27 part-time workers on July 21, with another 23 layoffs on August 4, with more layoffs likely to 'occur before the end of September.' 'It is anticipated that further layoffs are likely to commence on September 30, 2019 and may continue periodically thereafter based on market conditions,' the U.S. Steel communique states. Last week during a stop outside Pittsburgh, President Trump said the steel business was going downhill before his tariffs. 'Your business was dead,' Mr. Trump said bluntly. 'I don't want to be overly crude. Your business was dead.' But U.S. Steel has seen its stock price drop by over half, as the price of steel has dropped as well. 'A week ago, President Trump said his tariffs — one of the largest middle class tax hikes in history — saved the steel industry,' said 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke. In June, U.S. Steel said it would idle one blast furnace in Michigan, and one in Gary, Indiana, citing falling steel prices and sluggish sales. 'Our economy is doing fantastically,' President Trump said on Tuesday in the Oval Office - but maybe not for those getting pink slips in the steel industry.
  • With the Prime Minister of Denmark making it clear that she was not interested in selling Greenland to the United States, labeling the idea 'absurd,' President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he would cancel his scheduled visit to the NATO ally in early September. 'Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting,' the President tweeted on Tuesday evening. In interviews this week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had made clear that Greenland was not for sale, even as she welcomed the idea of closer relations between Denmark and the United States. But that wasn't enough for President Trump. On Sunday, President Trump had downplayed the issue as he returned to the White House. 'It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,' the President told reporters when asked about the idea of buying Greenland. The decision obviously came as a surprise to U.S. diplomats in Denmark, as the U.S. Ambassador had put out a tweet a few hours earlier about the President's scheduled state visit. The President and First Lady had been invited by the Queen of Denmark earlier this summer for a two day state visit. Democrats mocked the President for canceling his stop in Denmark. “Embarrassing,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). 'What a shame when Greenland could be covered with sand traps, water holes and lots of beautiful putting greens,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), referring to the President's golfing.
  • Pushing back against questions about the strength of the U.S. economy, President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the White House is looking at the possibility of tax cuts - including cutting payroll taxes for working Americans - as a way to funnel more money to consumers, and spur new growth. 'Payroll tax is something that we think about, and a lot of people would like to see that,' the President told reporters in the Oval Office, a day after some officials had said it was not an option. But while the President indicated his support for tax relief, he also once more pointed the finger at the Federal Reserve, again jawboning the Fed for another interest rate cut. 'And if they would do a meaningful cut - because they raised too fast - you would see growth like you've never seen in this country,' Mr. Trump said, in yet another verbal jab at Jay Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve. Asked about the ongoing trade fight with China, the President acknowledged that there could be short term economic pain for some U.S businesses - but he said it's a battle which cannot be delayed any longer. 'Whether it's good or bad short term is irrelevant,' Mr. Trump said. 'We have to solve the problem with China.' 'You should be happy that I'm fighting this battle,' the President told reporters, as he said too many past Presidents had taken the easy way out by not confronting Beijing over unfair trade practices. The President said he still believes the U.S. is in a strong negotiating position, as a new 10 percent tariff will go into effect on September 1 against an array of imports. Mr. Trump last week though delayed some of those new tariffs on certain electronics like cell phones and video games, after being warned the import duties could cause lower holiday sales.
  • With just over a week left to meet the requirements set for a mid-September debate in Houston, ten Democratic candidates have already qualified for the ABC News-Univision event, with two more hopefuls on the cusp of being eligible, raising the chance that Democrats will have to hold a two night debate on September 12-13. The latest to qualify was Julian Castro, as the former Obama Administration official now has campaign donations from more than 130,000 people, along with four qualifying polls. Along with Castro, the other Democrats who have qualified are: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang. Several other Democrats have met the donor requirement, including Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson, and Jay Inslee - but they still need four polls where they have 2 percent. The closest at this point is Steyer, who needs just one more poll; Gabbard needs two more qualifying polls. If Steyer and/or Gabbard were to qualify by August 28, that would mean a debate field of more than ten candidates, which would then likely bring about a two night debate schedule. Those unlikely to make the debate stage next month include Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, and Bill de Blasio. Based on polls, Inslee and Williamson also may not be included in Houston. The first two Democratic debates featured 20 candidates, divided over two nights.
  • Echoing the campaign trail warnings of President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence told the Detroit Economic Club on Monday that if Democrats succeed in winning the White House in 2020, it would mean an economic catastrophe for many Americans. 'I honestly believe if any one of the Democrats on that debate stage wins the Presidency, the gains of the last two and a half years would be wiped out,' the Vice President said in a speech. 'Taxes would skyrocket. The stock market would tank. Jobs would vanish and we would get this recession that naysayers are talking about,' Pence added. Pence's message - part excitement about the Trump economy, and part gloom and doom about the Democrats - was much like that of President Trump's campaign stop last week in Manchester, New Hampshire, when he said the bottom line is simple: 'You have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)s go down the tubes, everything is gonna be down the tubes,' the President said about a Democratic victory in 2020. On Monday morning, Mr. Trump went on Twitter to rail against Democrats - charging they were rooting for a recession to drive him from office - and again jawboning the Chairman of the Federal Reserve - arguing once more for interest rate cuts to spur economic growth. In his Detroit speech, the Vice President gave no hints of any second-guessing about the current trade fight between the U.S. and China. which has spurred some volatility on Wall Street. 'At the President's direction, we've put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods,' Pence said, making clear the Trump Administration is not going to back down - specifically tying the trade talks to the current unrest in Hong Kong. 'As the President said yesterday, it will be much harder for us to make a deal if something violent happens in Hong Kong,' Pence added.

Local News

  • The Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful organization is holding a Saturday fundraiser in downtown Athens: the 10th annual Dirty Dance Event is set for 5 o’clock at the Little Kings Shuffle Club.    From KAACB…   Bring your family and friends down to Little Kings Shuffle Club in downtown Athens on August 24, 2019 to give litter the hustle! KACCB is hosting its 10th annual DIRTY DANCE BENEFIT. This event will raise funds for KACCB’s mission of working toward a cleaner, more beautiful environment. It's time to show your support for the organization that provides Athens with daffodil plantings on the loop, the Litter Hotline, Christmas tree recycling, the Community Toolshed, Adopt-A-Highway, cigarette butt receptacles, school planting and beautification…and many other initiatives! The event will start at 5:00 PM and will feature dinner for sale. Dance performances are scheduled throughout the night, but there will be plenty of time for you and your kids to shake it yourselves! Face Painting and a photo booth will be available. Volunteers will be on hand to craft with kids and there will be a great raffle for family themed gift baskets, $1 per ticket! A $5.00 suggested donation (and $3.00 for kids) will grant you access into this fun, family event. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Find more information at keepathensbeautiful.org. We hope to see you and your family there!
  • Possibly thousands of children and adults alike will be out across the state with clipboards and sharp eyes Friday and Saturday, out where flowers are growing to spot and count certain kinds of insect. They will be to be part of the first “Great Georgia Pollinator Census,” launched by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension this year after a two-year pilot program.    The census has three basic purposes, says organizer Becky Griffin, community and school garden coordinator with the Extension’s Center for Urban Agriculture. One goal is simply to get a statewide snapshot of the bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths and other insects that are crucial in plants’ life cycles by spreading pollen.    Griffin also hopes to encourage the creation of sustainable habitats for pollinators and to increase public entomological literacy. She says it's the first such survey that's been done in the country, to her knowledge volunteers are being asked to check off eight categories - carpenter bees, bumblebees, honey bees, small bees, wasps, flies, butterflies/moths, and other insects. 
  • Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, Republican from Jefferson, announces the schedule for his annual Clean Energy Roadshow. The tour, which spotlights alternative fuel vehicles, begins Tuesday in Atlanta and includes stops in Augusta, Albany, Savannah, and Macon.    ATLANTA – August 27th (Tue) – Southface Institute AUGUSTA – August 28th (Wed) – Augusta State University ALBANY – September 24th (Tue) – Albany State University SAVANNAH – October 8th (Tue) – Georgia Tech Savannah Campus ATLANTA – October 16th (Wed) – Georgia Power Company Customer Resource Center MACON – October 17th (Thu) – Middle Georgia Regional Commission
  • --- A late second half goal pushed Purdue over the Georgia soccer team, 1-0, in the season opener at Folk Field on Thursday night.   “It was a tough game,” Georgia head coach Billy Lesesne said. “We fought hard and had some good battling out there, but just didn’t get the result we were after. Purdue is a good team and this is a tough atmosphere to play in. I thought the game was pretty even for most of it and then they got a late goal. We played hard throughout, but we weren’t as clinical in the final third as we need to be. We lost a little bit of our shape in midfield, but there were bright spots. There are things we need to work on to improve. We have to regroup over the next couple of days to prepare for our home opener on Sunday against Binghamton.”   With a matured team filling the pitch for the 2019 season, Haley Sorrell is the only freshman that made her starting lineup debut in the season opener. Three other rookies played against the Boilermakers, including Chloe Chapman, Jocelyn Hugo, and Mallie McKenzie.    To start, the Bulldogs (0-1) commanded the field, controlling possession and keeping the Boilermakers outside of the final third. A foul outside the box gave Reagan Glisson a free kick opportunity at the 21-minute mark, which went into the hands of the goalkeeper. The junior forward finished the game with three shots, two on target.    The Boilermakers (1-0) took their first shot of the game with 10 minutes left in the first half.    Both teams turned up the energy in the second half. With about 20 minutes left in the game, Bella Ponzi took a shot outside the 18 that went wide left and Delaney Erwin followed that up with a shot that was barely right of the net for the Bulldogs’ best look of the night.   It was Purdue that capitalized on an opportunity in the 82nd minute with a shot from Sarah Griffith to make the score 1-0.    The Bulldogs finished with seven shots and four saves made by sophomore goalkeeper Emory Wegener.    The home opener for the Bulldogs is set for Sunday, August 25 against Binghamton at 1 p.m. Admission to the Turner Soccer Complex is free. 
  • Today is a groundbreaking day in Athens: a 10 o’clock ceremony marks the start of work on a new Center for Art and Nature at the State Botanical Garden on South Milledge Avenue.  The University of Georgia’s University Curriculum Committee holds its first meeting of the new fall semester: it’s set for 3:30 at New College on Herty Drive in Athens.  It is billed as the University of Georgia’s largest annual day of community service: this year’s Dawg Day of Service is set for Saturday, with volunteers gathering at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning at UGA’s Tate Student Center. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia football graduate transfer Lawrence Cager is the first to admit it has been quite a transition these past few months of his life. 'Obviously, it's two different sides of the totem pole, Miami and Athens,' said Cager, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound receiver who led the Hurricanes in touchdown catches and yards per reception last season. RELATED: Fascinating story of how Lawrence Cager ended up at UGA 'But I love it here. It's a great place and the team welcomed me with open arms, (and) Coach Smart welcomed me with open arms. I'm just happy to be here.' It was a tough 2018 season for Miami under former coach Mark Richt, particularly with an unsettled quarterback situation. RELATED: Fire and Ice, Cager compares Mark Richt to Kirby Cager knew that coming to Georgia he wouldn't have that issue with third-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm under center. WATCH: Lawrence Cager remembers Kirby Smart recruiting call He also knew what he was getting in an offensive coordinator in recently promoted James Coley. Coley was Miami's offensive coordinator Cager's freshman year and recruited him to the Hurricanes. 'Honestly, I didn't even look at the receiver situation,' said Cager, who has been sharing first team reps in the WR rotation throughout fall camp. 'Coach Coley and Coach Smart called me as soon as I put my name in the portal.' Some thought Cager might declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. Cager is already on the Senior Bowl radar. But Cager decided a chance to win a championship at Georgia and showcase his abilities more was the better way to go. 'I put my trust in those guys 10 times out of 10,' Cager said. 'Coach Coley when he coached me at Miami, and Coach Smart recruiting me heavy when I was being recruited by Alabama, so I just trusted them and we'll see how it goes.' It is well documented that Georgia will be relying on new and inexperienced receivers this season. Two of the three Bulldogs' receivers drafted into the NFL were underclassmen, and then leading returning receiver Jeremiah Hollomon transferred to Florida International this summer. RELATED: Breaking down Georgia's 8 transfers this offseason Coley said earlier in fall camp that Cager has been a good fit for Georgia on and off the field. 'Just coming to work every day and enjoying the atmosphere of what we have and being positive with learning and the learning curve,' Coley said. 'The big thing that he brings, he brings experience. So where you sit back and you say, well, I wonder if this guy's going to make this play in a particular time'. 'Veteran guys, you've seen it happen and you know that they've been those spotlights.' And, Coley said, he knows what Cager will do out of the spotlight. 'Knowing him a little bit further, working with him for a full year,' Coley said, 'you knew what type of character kid he is.' Indeed, Cager has done his best to use his experience to help lead in the receivers room. Senior Tyler Simmons, with nine catches last season, is UGA's leading returning receiver. 'From a receiver room aspect, we came in with the mindset, myself, Tyler, all the receivers, especially me and Tyler being seniors , that it's on us,' Cager said. 'Whether it's making plays on the perimeter or special teams, a long as we have that mindset that it's on us and we come with that mindset that it's on us, then we can attack every day like it's a game.' Georgia football fall camp D'Andre Swift jersey watch in full effect Versatile Cade Mays elevating his game, puts rough recruitment behind New DC Dan Lanning impressing early in fall camp Kenny McIntosh stands out in Scrimmage Two Kirby Smart breaks down 'spirited' Scrimmage Two Georgia football injury updates, post-Scrimmage Two Could RB James Cook be biggest UGA surprise? J.R. Reed says Havoc Rate is out the roof The post Georgia WR Lawrence Cager bought in, ready to attack every day' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football players have put training camp behind them and are working on Vanderbilt, precisely how Kirby Smart had planned. The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs play at Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 in Nashville, their long-term goal a national championship, but the immediate focus on the Commodores. The good news at practice on Thursday was preseason All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate D'Andre Swift back in a red practice jersey. RELATED: Kirby Smart plays off D'Andre Swift jersey color This is where Smart would roll his eyes and tell the media that way too much is being made of what color jersey Swift is wearing in practices. But this is also where many Georgia fans, aware of Swift's injury history and his importance to the teams' title hopes, want to know more. Swift was nagged by injuries last season after undergoing sports hernia surgery in January of 2018. Swift was limited in spring drills, and then things got worse at South Carolina last season when Swift suffered a foot injury. Once healthy last season, Swift was seemingly unstoppable in November, averaging more than 9 yards per carry during a stretch of wins over Florida, Kentucky and Auburn. Georgia was arguably playing the best football in the nation last November, and many are expecting big things from Swift this season. So when Swift was late coming out for practice on Aug. 13, getting extra treatment on the heels of Scrimmage One, per NFL scouts, there were concerns. Had Swift aggravated the groin injury? Was it something else? Or, was it nothing. When Swift was back at practice later in the week, showing no-ill effects or wearing any added braces or tape, all seemed well. Then came Wednesday's practice this week, when Swift was in a black practice jersey. The non-contact jersey could have been as simple as making sure Swift didn't take any necessary hits in thud drills. But then, there might also have been more to the story and still might be as it has been a very physical fall camp and Swift saw hitting action in Scrimmage One like anyone else. Either way, Smart was saying when asked about Swift's non-contact jersey on Wednesday, playing off the question by claiming he was merely trying to distract the media. Speculation at this point isn't worth much, as even if Swift is nursing a bruised shoulder or sternum there's no reason to believe he couldn't be ready to play by Aug. 31. And, if for some reason the injury proves more serious, Georgia has tremendous talent and depth in the offensive backfield. Senior tailback Brian Herrien, who has been first through the drill work of late, was actually more effective running the ball in the Sugar Bowl than Swift. RELATED: Kirby Smart explains benefit of multiple 1,00o-yard rushers Further, sophomore James Cook has had a tremendous offseason of growth, drawing consistent praise from his hard-to-please head coach. Zamir White's comeback from ACL surgery last August has been well-documented, creating a sense of guarded optimism around the program that the No. 1 back in the 2018 signing class might indeed make a significant impact. Finally, incoming freshman tailback Kenny McIntosh has proven his skills, drawing praise from Smart after a strong Scrimmage Two performance. Other reported observations included Cade Mays continuing to work with the first-team offensive line, and inside linebacker Nakobe Dean (ankle) and Jamaree Salyer (lower leg) continue to be out of practice. Georgia football fall camp Versatile Cade Mays elevating his game, puts rough recruitment behind New DC Dan Lanning impressing early in fall camp Kenny McIntosh stands out in Scrimmage Two Kirby Smart breaks down 'spirited' Scrimmage Two Georgia football injury updates, post-Scrimmage Two Could RB James Cook be biggest UGA surprise? J.R. Reed says Havoc Rate is out the roof The post Georgia football practice: D'Andre Swift jersey watch (red) in full effect appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart had his game face on following Wednesday's practice, at times, downright edgy. The fourth-year Georgia football coach is typically no-nonsense when it comes to media sessions, but there was an added edge with the season-opening game less than a week-and-a-half away. 'We weren't very good Tuesday but we had a better practice today,' Smart said. 'The leaders stepped up, challenged them to have a better practice. I thought they had a better practice today.' Good thing, because positions remain up for grabs at most every spot on the team, it seems. Smart elaborated on several position battles, some more unexpected than others, such as in the secondary where Eric Stokes has yet to lockdown a starting job. 'He (Stokes) is in competition right now, there are four guys out there at corner who are competing and he knows that he has top step up and play well every day because you're only judged based on your last play,' Smart said. 'He's challenging for one of those starting positions.' Sophomore Tyson Campbell has been running opposite Stokes with the Ones. Freshman Tyrique Stevenson has been nicked up but he's one of the other corners pushing for playing time, along with junior college transfer D.J. Daniel. The 'star' position the fifth defensive back is another heated competition between Mark Webb and Divaad Wilson. 'They've both done a good job, they're both competitive, both of those kids probably deserve to play,' Smart said. 'They've worked really hard, and they're different. They're similar, they're similar in body types, they're physical, but they're different and they've both done a good job. 'We hope to be able to keep guys fresh and play the best guy. Sometimes you've got to go with the hot hand and sometimes you've got to go with the guy who had the best week of practice.' Smart said Tyrique McGhee, who played the Star last season, is playing more corner because the Bulldogs want to go bigger and more physical at the position. 'I expect Tyrique to play a lot, but Tyrique is a very dominant special teams player who can play strong safety, free safety, star, money, and corner, very unique player,' Smart said. 'A utility guy who can play a little bit of everything and we expect him to do that and he's in competition to get playing time at, really, all positions. 'He really hasn't played much star because we've got those other guys reps.' Georgia football coach Kirby Smart Kirby Smart talks up 'everyday' competition Versatile Cade Mays elevating his game, puts rough recruitment behind New DC Dan Lanning impressing early in fall camp Kenny McIntosh stands out in Scrimmage Two Kirby Smart breaks down 'spirited' Scrimmage Two Georgia football injury updates, post-Scrimmage Two Could RB James Cook be biggest UGA surprise? J.R. Reed says Havoc Rate is out the roof Leave a Comment The post Edgy Georgia football coach Kirby Smart breaks down cornerback battles appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The Georgia football receiving ranks are wide open outside of senior Tyler Simmons locking down a spot. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart elaborated on the position group following Wednesday's practice, making it clear the competition is alive and well with the season-opening game fast approaching. It has been well-documented that Georgia lost its top four receivers from a season ago, along with its top pass-catching tight end. 'Tyler Simmons is a starter for us, assuming he's healthy and ready to go, but outside of him there's battles at every one of those positions,' Smart said. 'The slot, the receiver opposite him, the two deep at receiver i t's everyday. 'Guys rotate positions and play all kinds of positions. Tyler's probably a little bit ahead of the other guys just in terms of experience, but outside of that, it's wide open.' Georgia most often uses a three-receiver set as its base formation in the media viewing portion of practice. Simmons has been taking first-team reps opposite Matt Landers, with Demetris Robertson first up in the slot. Smart pointed to the veteran nature Simmons brings when asked what gives him an edge. Simmons is the leading returning receiver from last season with nine catches in 2018. 'Other than experience,' Smart said, 'I'd say it's his practice habits and speed.' Smart said junior receiver Trey Blount has 'done a great job had some great scrimmages.' Blount, Smart said, is 'tough, makes the hard catches, one of our bestsellers blockers, very consistent.' Blount was lined up behind Landers and the outside receiver position opposite Simmons, with freshman George Pickens third. Smart said following last Saturday's scrimmage he has been impressed with Pickens, but the newcomer from Hoover, Ala., needs to learn the playbook. 'He's a talented player, but he's got to learn his assignments and learn what to do,' Smart said, 'because he could certainly help us.' Miami grad-transfer Lawrence Cager, a 6-foot-5 target, has been working behind Simmons at outside receiver and Smart has had good things to say about him through fall camp. Incoming freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock is expected to be another contributor in the slot, though he's currently working No. 3 at the position behind Robertson and Kearis Jackson. Georgia football coach Kirby Smart . Versatile Cade Mays elevating his game, puts rough recruitment behind New DC Dan Lanning impressing early in fall camp Kenny McIntosh stands out in Scrimmage Two Kirby Smart breaks down 'spirited' Scrimmage Two Georgia football injury updates, post-Scrimmage Two Could RB James Cook be biggest UGA surprise? J.R. Reed says Havoc Rate is out the roof The post Kirby Smart talks up everyday' competition for Georgia football in unsettled WR corps appeared first on DawgNation.
  • EDITOR'S NOTE: This original Andrew Thomas profile story continues a special series in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau profiling homegrown talent from the state of Georgia. To access other HomeGrown Talent articles please visit the series hub on DawgNation.com. Andrew Thomas continues to catch the headlines. The junior left tackle is right in the midst of a few more this week with the news he was named to a pair of two preseason All-America teams. #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/GrGY51zzQ7 Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) August 20, 2019 The accolades are piling up for the Lithonia native these days. Those are well deserved. Thomas was asked by Kirby Smart to represent the team this summer at SEC Media Days. That simply reflected his status and worth on the team since his first season back in 2017. 'He started every game that he's been at the University of Georgia,' Smart said in Hoover. 'He's a tremendous leader, person. Charismatic. Doesn't say a whole lot all the time. That's why it's fun to bring him to this event. I told him today as we got off the plane: Andrew, you're going to have to talk today. And I think he's excited to do that.' Thomas started all 15 games of that magical season for Bulldog fans. That feat of starting 15 games for a team that went on to win the SEC championship, a national semifinal and then play in the national title game will likely never be duplicated by a true freshman again at Georgia. The Pace Academy alumnus will also see his name continue to pepper the top 5 and top 10 picks on all the 2020 NFL mock draft boards for the foreseeable future. Thomas is just that good. It was also interesting to see that Georgia coach Kirby Smart chose Thomas to be the Bulldog to represent the program when the West End Zone expansion ribbon-cutting took place. That's because Thomas has represented everything the Bulldogs hope to sign and enrich as a student-athlete matriculating to the program in his three-plus years at Georgia. Andrew Thomas: His path from Pace Academy to Georgia It is very hard to believe how quickly things have progressed for the former Army All-American since Georgia began to seriously recruit him in January of 2016. That was the first few months that Sam Pittman was on campus in Athens. Thomas certainly represents his first 500-foot home run for the program on the recruiting trail. Here's the crazy part: Thomas felt that he wasn't really being recruited by UGA until Pittman arrived. That's even though he was an outstanding lineman for a state championship team as a junior. That changed fast when Pittman came to Athens. He was one of the first in-state targets that the program prioritized once they arrived. There was a January visit in 2016 that changed things. 'It changed it a lot actually,' Thomas told DawgNation in February of 2016. 'Because I didn't talk to the old staff as much as the new staff just with them being here for this short of a time. So it seems like they are really interested in me.' Georgia brought in a senior transfer from Rhode Island in Tyler Catalina. Catalina would eventually on to the NFL at guard, but at that time he was the closest thing the program had to a tackle on campus. 'They really need tackles,' Thomas said back then. He actually grew up a Georgia fan. Thomas spoke then about what that pull might be for him as he was weighing out a decision. 'I guess everyone wants to be a hometown hero,' Thomas said. 'So I mean it seems like [they want] me to be one. But I've always been a Dawg fan and now especially meeting the new staff I think that will one of my schools I will be looking at in the future.' Clemson was another big contender here. For a long time. Yet it did sound like the famed '93KDay' meant a seismic change in his recruiting journey. It meant for a lot of current Bulldogs. Especially Thomas. 'It was just a overall great experience,' Thomas said. 'If you would have seen the fans there, it was ridiculous. The fire marshall was like had to deny people from coming in. But it was just a great atmosphere. I loved going on the field. It made me want to like to want to put on the pads and play so I just had a good feel about that.' It helped Georgia's chances. A lot. 'I already liked Georgia a lot,' he said. 'But it definitely moved them up a little bit farther.' The anchor moments were in place for a decision. He would commit to the Bulldogs less than three months later out at the Opening at Nike headquarters in Oregon. Why Andrew Thomas chose Georgia in the end His recruiting day news story for DawgNation still looms large today. That was back on July 10, 2016. He was rated as the nation's No. 9 prospect at the time. He was still recovering him a shoulder injury he was mending from he suffered at The Opening regional in Atlanta. That was a great week for the 2017 class. Thomas was the fourth prospect with a 4-star rating to choose the Bulldogs that week alone. 'The last times I have been up to visit Georgia there has always been Coach Sam Pittman [who] has always been saying I am feeling really good today but I would be feeling even better if I got my left tackle' whenever we hung out,' Thomas said that week. What made up his mind? His father, Andre Thomas, shared why the Bulldogs and Pitman stood out. Thomas said his son was sold on Pittman from the first meeting. That was important as Thomas was not deemed a recruiting priority by the previous staff. He was getting recruited harder by Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Notre Dame. 'He said that he loved him,' Thomas said. 'He said he loved his personality and how he communicates with him.' Andre Thomas felt his son had that 'right feeling' from the jump with Pittman. The junior All-American candidate chose five factors to drive his decision. Those were academics, fit, coaching staff, distance and playing time. 'Georgia had most of those qualities as the very top,' his father said. 'They didn't have the best out of all of those, but they had the most at the top compared to those other schools.' The priorities there were the academics and coaching staff.Thomas said he was committed to letting his son make that decision. He never pushed him, but actually shared that he liked Notre Dame the most at first. 'But the main thing here is it was his decision,' Andre Thomas said. 'He was the one that was going to have to go to school and play football for four years.' Thomas and his family sat down every day and hashed out his decision about a month prior to his public commitment. 'We didn't establish a second team for Andrew,' his father said. 'There wasn't another school which finished right behind. There was just Georgia.' What Andrew Thomas now means for Georgia It is quite the sight to scroll through the DawgNation photo archives for Thomas from back in 2016 and compare it to the man that now mans that left tackle spot in Athens. Those moments seem like a ringing endorsement for Scott Sinclair's weight training program and the suit of armor he has chiseled around the 6-foot-5, 320-pound junior. Thomas is clearly one of the most important recruits of the Smart era. Perhaps even the most vital. Jake Fromm is essentially the only other signee since Smart arrived that has meant as much to the overall bottom line of wins and losses in the program. Look for Georgia to try to run more gap schemes this year on offense. Those zone schemes have been a staple of the Bulldog rushing offense in the past. Thomas hinted at that at Media Days. With all that, there is one clear goal. It is not to knock out the Alabama program that has kept the Bulldogs from even greater glories over his first two seasons. 'We want to win a national championship,' Thomas said. 'So whoever is in the way, that's who we want to beat.' Pittman has made a big difference in his growth while in Athens. His high school line coach, Kevin Johnson, also shaped his technique and understanding of the game prior to his arrival in college football. He has all the accolades, but it still means something to him to be playing for his home state. 'It is a dream come true,' Thomas told DawgNation this month. 'Like being able to represent the G.' Representing my family is pretty cool.' Homegrown Talents: The DawgNation series so far Warren McClendon: Family roots run 44 years deep for this Georgia family D.J. Daniel: Likely impact defensive back took a longer route to Athens Travon Walker: Big things are expected on the D-Line from 5-star freshman Dominick Blaylock:Talented freshman WR found a homegrown fit in Athens Nolan Smith: From 'Baby Boy' to a long-awaited Bulldog in Athens The post Andrew Thomas has grown into a 'hometown hero' for the Georgia Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.