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Health Headlines

    Outbreaks in New York state continue to drive up the number of U.S. measles cases, which are approaching levels not seen in 25 years. Health officials say 71 more cases were reported last week, with 68 of them from New York. That brings this year's total to 626. That is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported for the whole year. The most before that was 963 cases in 1994. Twenty-two states have reported cases, but the vast majority have been in New York — mainly in New York City and in nearby Rockland County. Most of the New York cases have been unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the latest numbers Monday.
  • A Washington state lawmaker has angered nurses and spawned a flurry of viral hashtags and memes on social media by saying that some nurses may spend a lot of time playing cards in small, rural hospitals. State Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican representing College Place, Washington, made the comments this week while debating a Senate bill that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses. The bill would also provide mandatory overtime protections for nurses. Walsh wants an amendment that would exclude hospitals with fewer than 25 beds from the breaks, The Olympian reported on Friday. Small, rural hospitals 'that literally serve a handful of individuals' will have trouble staying open and nurses in those settings 'probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day,' the newspaper quoted Walsh as saying. A Washington State Nurses Association blog about the comments drew so many readers Friday that the site crashed. The group called the comment disrespectful and patronizing. The hashtags #maureenwalsh and #nursesplaycards went viral on social media. Comedian Kathy Griffin joined the fray Friday, tweeting that her mother worked in a hospital. 'Thank you of alerting me to a group that even I am not stupid enough to piss off. Ever,' Griffin tweeted. Walsh didn't respond to a request for comment from the newspaper. Recruiting nurses to rural facilities already is difficult and exempting them from laws requiring uninterrupted breaks and subjecting them to mandatory overtime would make recruiting more difficult, the Washington State Nurses Association said. The bill passed the state Senate with the amendment excluding small hospitals. It had previously passed the House without the amendment. The different House and Senate versions of the bill will have to be reconciled before being signed into law. The bill specifically requires that nurses and some other staff, such as surgical technologists and diagnostic radiologic technologists, be provided uninterrupted meal and rest periods, except when there is an unforeseeable circumstance. If a rest break is interrupted before 10 complete minutes, an additional 10-minute break is required. It also would prohibit health care facilities from using what the nurses association considers a legal loophole to require overtime. The association said it has tried to address the issues of skipped breaks and mandatory overtime with individual contract bargaining and litigation, but the problem remains pervasive. Rest breaks are proven to address fatigue, which can lead to medical errors, it said.
  • Nationwide physician-staffing company EmCare says a breach exposed personal data for about 31,000 patients, including in some cases their Social Security numbers and clinical information. EmCare Inc. said Saturday that an unauthorized third party gained access to the information through employee email accounts. The company said that it learned Feb. 19 that the breach exposed names, dates of birth and Social Security and driver-license numbers for some patients, employees and contractors. Company representative Aliese Polk said the breached employee email accounts contained personal information on fewer than 60,000 people, including about 31,000 patients. The company, based in Plantation, Florida, says it doesn't know if the personal information was taken, and there's no indication it was used for fraud or identity theft. EmCare said it began notifying affected people on Friday. It said it is taking additional security steps to prevent another breach, including giving employees more training about email security. The company said it arranged for identity protection and credit-monitoring services for patients and employees whose Social Security or license numbers were exposed. EmCare and competitors such as TeamHealth provide emergency room staffing and billing and other services for hospitals. A Yale University study last year found that when EmCare gets a contract to run an emergency room, it often leaves insurance networks and then presents patients with surprisingly high out-of-network bills. EmCare described the study as flawed and dated. ___ This story has been corrected to show the company is now based in Plantation, Florida.
  • Militia members attacked an Ebola treatment center hours after another attack killed a staffer with the World Health Organization, a Congolese official said Saturday. Butembo city's deputy mayor, Patrick Kambale Tsiko, told The Associated Press that the attackers armed with machetes tried to burn down the center in Katwa district overnight. Military and police guarding the center killed one militia member and detained five others, he said. Such violence has deeply complicated efforts to contain what has become the second-deadliest Ebola virus outbreak in history, with the number of new cases jumping each time treatment and prevention work is disrupted. An attack on Friday on a hospital in Butembo killed an epidemiologist from Cameroon who had been deployed to the outbreak in eastern Congo. Tsiko cited witnesses as saying the attackers wrongly blamed foreigners for bringing the deadly virus to the region. This outbreak now has more than 1,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 855 deaths, since being declared last August. The number of new cases has risen alarmingly in recent weeks after other attacks, leading the WHO to convene an expert committee that decided the outbreak, while of 'deep concern,' is not yet a global health emergency . Attacks by rebel groups and community resistance have posed serious challenges to containing Ebola, which can spread quickly and can be fatal in up to 90% of cases. Congo's North Kivu region had never faced an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever before, and health workers have battled misinformation. Some residents did not believe Ebola was real . In the hospital attack on Friday, gunmen burst into a conference room and forced people onto the floor, taking their belongings and 'accusing them of perpetuating false rumors about Ebola,' according to a statement by IMA World Health, a Washington-based aid group that supports the hospital. The gunmen then shot the Cameroonian doctor in the abdomen and left, firing into the air and sending staff and patients fleeing. Friday's attack was at least the fourth on an IMA World Health-supported facility involved in Ebola response efforts, the statement said. Four days earlier, attackers looted a nearby clinic and briefly kidnapped a nurse. The clinic remains closed. While the new attack on the treatment center in Katwa is the first by militia members, it has been attacked a number of times by anxious families who sought to claim the bodies of loved ones who died of the disease. Ebola is spread by the bodily fluids of those infected and showing symptoms, including the dead, and some residents have bristled at safe burial practices that contradict their traditional, hands-on ones. Others try to avoid treatment if they fall ill. 'The fear of being forcibly hospitalized adds to the poor public image of Ebola treatment centers,' Natalie Roberts, head of emergencies for the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, wrote earlier this month. 'These structures are associated with a life-threatening illness, isolation and the use of protective equipment which makes the staff unrecognizable and intimidating.' How to take community concerns into account while effectively containing Ebola remains the subject of debate, while worries are high that the outbreak could spread from the densely populated region to the major crossroads city of Goma or into nearby Uganda or Rwanda. The latest attacks come a few days after Congo President Felix Tshisekedi visited the Ebola outbreak zone, pledging more military and police protection for health workers and asking residents for their cooperation. The president hoped to see the outbreak contained in less than three months, although some health experts estimate it could take much longer if community resistance continues. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • Kansas will allow its state Farm Bureau to offer health care coverage that doesn't satisfy the Affordable Care Act after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday declined to block a Republican-backed effort to circumvent former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. Kelly allowed an insurance bill to become law without her signature, and it includes provisions that will exempt the bureau from state insurance regulations in the health care coverage it offers to its members. Kelly, in a statement, said that while she has 'serious reservations' about the measure, she will allow it to become law 'as a demonstration of my genuine commitment to compromise.' Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, said in a statement that the measure helps 'Kansans struggling to afford coverage find new, affordable options.' Kelly's fellow Democrats strongly opposed the measure, suggesting it would allow the nonprofit to sell skimpy health care coverage while offering false hope to consumers. The proposal had overwhelming Republican support in the GOP-controlled Legislature. Kelly had not taken a position publicly before allowing the bill to become law. The new law takes effect in July. It is patterned after one in place in Tennessee for decades and one enacted last year in Iowa. Its enactment demonstrated the Farm Bureau's political clout in Kansas, particularly in rural areas, where Republicans dominate politics. The bill also had the support of most urban and suburban GOP lawmakers who continue to oppose the 2010 federal health care overhaul. Some Democrats argued that rural communities would be better served by expanding the state's Medicaid health coverage for poor residents as outlined in the Affordable Care Act, as Kelly has proposed. The House passed a Medicaid expansion plan last month, but the Senate has yet to take it up. 'Unfortunately, leaders in the Kansas Senate continue to prioritize their own political ambitions over the health and security of Kansas families and hospitals,' Kelly said. 'Despite the will of both their chamber and their state, these three Senate leaders remain devoutly committed to partisan obstructionism.' Farm Bureau President Rich Felts said in a statement that Kelly's action 'paved the way for lawmakers to advance a comprehensive healthcare solution that will benefit our entire state.' He said the governor's Medicaid expansion plan 'to help rural hospitals, create new jobs, and expand affordable healthcare to non-KFB members remains a critical piece of that puzzle.' Farm Bureau officials estimated that about 42,000 people would eventually take its coverage and promised lower rates than plans complying with federal mandates. They believed the takers would be individuals without coverage or struggling to pay for individual coverage. Bureau officials said they pushed for permission to offer the coverage because the group's members were asking for more choices. The Farm Bureau's new coverage will avoid state regulation because the law simply declares that it's not insurance. Kansas has seen the number of individual coverage plans offered through the federal ACA marketplace decline to 23 for 2019 from 42 in 2016, according to the Kansas Insurance Department. While average rate increases for 2019 were smaller than in past years, they've sometimes previously topped 25 percent, according to annual reports from the department. Republicans repeatedly have cited premium increases as a reason to repeal the ACA since President Donald Trump's election in 2016, but a drive in Congress to do it stalled when they couldn't agree on a replacement. Trump has deferred another push until after the 2020 election. Critics of the Farm Bureau's proposal said companies offering traditional health insurance coverage would face unfair competition. They also focused on how the Farm Bureau would be able to set higher rates or reject coverage for people who have pre-existing medical conditions. They also suggested that coverage could be limited for large expenses, such as a pregnancy or cancer treatment. ___ Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna
  • Immigration authorities on Friday said that anyone with any involvement with marijuana, regardless of whether it's legal in the state where they live, can be denied citizenship because the drug is still illegal under federal law. The announcement comes weeks after officials in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, began warning residents that working for a dispensary or manufacturing operation could jeopardize their citizenship bids — even if those jobs are state-sanctioned. The updated guidance from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states that people who use marijuana or are involved with it in any way fail to have 'good moral character,' a prerequisite for people who have legal permanent residence to gain American citizenship. About two-thirds of states allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and 10 allow recreational use. Washington, D.C., also allows recreational use. 'U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is required to adjudicate cases based on federal law,' spokeswoman Jessica Collins said in a statement. 'Individuals who commit federal controlled substance violations face potential immigration consequences under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which applies to all foreign nationals regardless of the state or jurisdiction in which they reside.' In Colorado, immigration attorneys say at least two green-card holders were denied citizenship because they worked or had worked in marijuana-related jobs. There are probably more, they say. Immigrants who apply for citizenship must first fill out a 20-page form known as the 'N-400.' It asks about prior work, family and criminal history, but it doesn't specifically ask if a person has used or worked with marijuana. Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute, said it's not likely that most people will disclose information about pot use. But she said the new policy could make some people nervous about applying. 'Whether or not it has a real impact is whether adjudicators decide to ask about it,' Gelatt said.
  • U.S. regulators have approved the first generic nasal spray version of Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday OK'd naloxone spray from Israel's Teva Pharmaceuticals. Naloxone has been sold as a nasal spray in the U.S. since 2016 under the brand name Narcan. Pharmacists can dispense it without a prescription. It is also sold as a generic or brand-name drug in automatic injectors, prefilled syringes and vials. A pack of two Narcan nasal sprays cost about $130 to $150 without insurance. Teva didn't immediately provide the product's price or when it will be available; its offices were closed Friday. More than 47,600 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2017, a toll that has been rising for two decades.
  • Attackers stormed a hospital at the epicenter of Congo's Ebola outbreak and killed 'a dear colleague,' the head of the World Health Organization said Friday as he condemned the latest violence against health workers trying to contain the virus. 'We are outraged,' WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said after the attack Friday in Butembo, a city in eastern Congo. The world's response to the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has been hampered by a series of deadly attacks on health centers in Butembo and elsewhere that have disrupted medical care and vaccination efforts, leading to a rise in new Ebola cases in the sprawling African nation. The health worker killed was Dr. Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, an epidemiologist, a WHO statement said. A Congo health ministry staffer and a driver were injured, a separate statement by the U.N. secretary-general's special representative in Congo said. Butembo's deputy mayor, Patrick Kambale Tsiko, said Kiboung was from from Cameroon and blamed a militia group for the attack. He said the militiamen erroneously believed that foreigners had brought the disease with them to Congo. 'According to witnesses at the scene, these militiamen wanted all the expatriates to go home because according to them, Ebola does not exist in Butembo,' Tsiko said. 'They said they will continue if these expatriates do not return as soon as possible.' Police were pursuing the attackers, Tsiko said. Congo's health ministry confirmed the assault on the Catholic University of Graben hospital. One aid group, the International Rescue Committee, said the hospital held only non-Ebola patients and many of them fled during the attack. Dozens of rebel groups are active in eastern Congo. There also has been some community resistance to Ebola containment efforts in a traumatized, wary region that had never faced an outbreak of the virus before. Ebola can spread quickly and can be fatal in up to 90% of cases. The hemorrhagic fever is most often spread by close contact with the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms or with objects such as sheets that have been contaminated. Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga said in a tweet that local and international health workers are courageously combating the virus, 'sometimes at the cost of their lives.' The attack came three days after President Felix Tshisekedi visited the Ebola outbreak zone, pledging more military and police protection for health workers and asking residents for their cooperation. The president hoped to see the outbreak contained in less than three months, although some health experts estimate it could take much longer. Robert Kitchen, senior vice president for emergencies with the International Rescue Committee, predicted it could take at least another year to contain the Ebola outbreak without a significant change in 'community engagement and understanding.' He said such attacks on health workers are increasingly common. This month could see the highest rate of Ebola transmission yet, Kitchen said, adding 'the trajectory of this outbreak is alarming.' Since the Ebola outbreak in Congo was declared in August, there have been more than 1,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 843 deaths, the health ministry said Thursday. More than 102,000 people have received an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine. ___ Anna reported from Johannesburg. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • Three months ago, this flu season was shaping up to be short and mild in the U.S. But a surprising second viral wave has made it the longest in 10 years. This flu season has been officially going for 21 weeks, according to reports collected through last week and released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes it among the longest seen since the government started tracking flu season duration more than 20 years ago. Some experts likened the unusual double waves to having two different flu seasons compressed, back-to-back, into one. 'I don't remember a season like this,' said Dr. Arnold Monto, a University of Michigan researcher who had been studying respiratory illnesses for more than 50 years. The previous longest recent flu season was 20 weeks, which occurred in 2014-2015. Flu can cause a miserable, relatively mild illness in many people and a more severe illness in others. Young children and the elderly are at greatest risk from flu and its complications. Flu vaccinations are recommended annually for all but the very young. The current season began the week of Thanksgiving, a typical start time. At the beginning, most illnesses were caused by a flu strain that tends not to cause as many hospitalizations and which is more easily controlled by vaccines. But in mid-February, a nastier strain started causing more illnesses and driving up hospitalizations. Not helping matters: The harsher bug is not well matched to the vaccine, said the CDC's Lynnette Brammer, who oversees flu tracking. Still, this flu season is not nearly as bad as last winter's 19-week season, the deadliest in at least four decades. An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last season. The CDC is estimating that flu-related deaths this season in the range of 35,000 to 55,000. More good news: Brammer said that although the virus is notoriously unpredictable, signs suggest this flu season should be over soon. 'It's on the verge' of being over, she said. 'If nothing changes.' ___ The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • President Donald Trump may soon be able to claim a sweet victory for his deregulation push, with officials preparing to get rid of the decades-old rules for frozen cherry pies. Emails show the Food and Drug Administration planned to start the process for revoking the standard for frozen cherry pies this week, followed by a similar revocation of the standard for French dressing. Plans to get rid of the obscure rules had been tucked into the Trump administration's deregulation agenda . Standards for an array of foods including cottage cheese and canned peas were put in place decades ago partly to ensure a level of quality. They spell out how products with specific names can be made, including ingredients that are required or not allowed. The rules for frozen cherry pies say they must be 25% cherries by weight with no more than 15% of the cherries being blemished. It's not always clear why some food terms have standards and others don't. The rules are seen as arcane by many and are a sore spot in the food industry, with companies saying they prevent innovation or prompt lawsuits. The FDA under Trump has said it plans to update the standards. Lee Sanders of the American Bakers Association said she's hopeful the cherry pie standard will finally be revoked, but that it would not make a big difference for the industry. 'I feel confident our members are producing cherry pies with more than enough cherries,' she said. The FDA also plans to take another look at milk, which federal regulations define as coming from a cow. The dairy industry has called for a crackdown on soy, rice and almond drinks makers that use the term. While any changes to the milk rule are likely to be contested, getting rid of the standard for frozen cherry pie is unlikely to be controversial. The frozen cherry pie standard is an outlier because other fruit pies don't have similar rules. The same is true for French dressing: The Association for Dressings and Sauces, which once went after a vegan spread for violating the mayonnaise standard, notes other dressings are not subject to such standards. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down this month, said in an October tweet that it was among the FDA's priorities to 'de-regulate frozen cherry pie.' He apparently wasn't entirely joking. In a June email , the FDA noted plans to post a proposal to revoke the frozen cherry pie standard on April 18. It said the proposal to revoke the French dressing standard would be posted May 3. In a statement this week, the FDA said the dates were for 'long range internal planning purposes' and that the timing could shift. Updates to the standards will be publicly noted, the agency said. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Local News

  • A 22-year-old University of Georgia student was shot during an armed robbery in Athens, according to police. Athens-Clarke County police say they were called to the shooting on South Milledge Avenue near the 10 Loop just after 7:15 a.m. Monday. Shortly after, they received another call about an armed robbery at the same location. We have a reporter and photographer on the scene where police plan to hold a news conference to release more information within the next hour. WATCH it LIVE on WSBTV.com and stay with Channel 2 Action News for LIVE reports as this story develops. Channel 2 Action News obtained an email to students, faculty and staff Monday morning, in which a school official said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Georgia State Patrol are assisting the Athens Clarke County Police Department in investigating the two armed robberies that happened just off campus. #Breaking Witnesses tell me the UGA student was shot at this off campus bus stop. They told me they heard two gunshots then ran outside and saw the victim. More at noon. — Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 22, 2019 TRENDING STORIES: ‘Armed and extremely dangerous': Police search for gunman who ambushed officer Church pays $120K to bail out first-time offenders for Easter ‘You told me to': Video shows Charlotte police officer kill man following orders to drop gun The student was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 'I was just laying in bed and I heard 'pow pow' and I was like 'whoa,' and it was (really) sad,' student Zac Ethridge said. 'We are deeply saddened by these tragic and shocking events,' the email said. Police are searching for a black male with dreads or twists driving an early 2000 model white Ford Mustang convertible with a tan roof.
  • There is a traffic heads up for drivers in Athens, a campus construction advisory from the University of Georgia: UGA says the southbound sidewalk and bike lane on the west side of East Campus Road will be closed from the current DEP2, Computer Services, and Museum of Natural History driveway entrance up to approximately mid-block for the temporary construction office entrance concrete pour. The sidewalk on the east side of East Campus Drive will still be accessible for pedestrians.
  • Senator Bill Cowsert and state Representatives Houston Gaines and Marcus Weidower are the scheduled speakers for tonight’s meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party. They’ll recap the legislative session that ended earlier this month in a 6:30 session at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Watkinsville.  An Athens-Clarke County Commission work session is on tap for today, underway at 4 o’clock this afternoon at City Hall.  A town hall with Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle is set for 7 o’clock tonight. It’ll take place at the Depot in Winterville.  Madison County Commissioners meet tonight: it’s a 6 o’clock this evening at the Madison County Government Complex in Danielsville. Jackson County Commissioners meet at 6 at the courthouse in Jefferson. 
  • A man was killed by an Athens-Clarke County officer after authorities said he brandished a shotgun at police while they were trying to talk to him.  Carlton Steve Brooks, 63, was shot and killed after he answered his door with a shotgun in his hands, authorities said. Athens police called the GBI to investigate the incident. Athens-Clarke police said the fatal police shooting happened about 11:40 p.m. Saturday. Officers were sent to a home on Hull Road on a “peeping Tom” call, the department said in statement. Officers spoke to the victim, who identified a suspect, the department said. The officers went to the suspect’s home, which was also on Hull Road, police said.  According to the GBI, officers knocked on the Brooks’ door and announced themselves. Before answering the door, one of the officers saw a man inside with a weapon, the GBI said. The officers moved back from the door and gave repeated commands to put down the weapon. That’s when Brooks opened the door with the gun in his hands. “Brooks pointed the weapon towards one of the officers, who then fired twice,” the GBI said.  According to the police department, officers administered first aid to the man, and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. No officers were harmed in the shooting.  The department said the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave with pay in “accordance with department policy.”  An autopsy will be conducted at the GBI Crime Lab.  This is the 29th officer-involved shooting investigation that the GBI has been requested to investigate in 2019. The last such investigation was opened April 15, when a police chase that started in Alabama ended near Fort Benning.  RELATED: Man shot by deputies after Alabama police chase ends near Fort Benning In other news: 
  • Officials with the National Weather Service have confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down early Friday morning.  The tornado formed in Hall County around 5:50 a.m. and was on the ground for an estimated 2.5 miles.  Channel 2's Richard Elliot was in Hall County Friday, where the storm ripped a steeple off Dewberry Baptist Church north of Gainesville and sent a tree crashing through the church's fellowship hall.  No injuries were reported. Storms left damage across north Georgia including downed trees and power lines, flooding and washed out roads.  Reporters from Channel 2 Action News fanned out all across the state to bring you live coverage of the worst-hit areas.  Road collapses in multiple spots, following storms. We’re live in Buckhead: Ch. 2, 6 p.m. pic.twitter.com/5hhEV5u10O — Rikki Klaus (@RikkiKlausWSB) April 20, 2019 RELATED LINKS: Download the FREE Severe Weather Team 2 App! Massive oak tree falls on box truck, trapping driver inside 4 Forsyth County firefighters injured during storm response Flooding leaves at least a dozen vehicles underwater at car dealership PHOTOS: Severe weather knocks down trees, washes out roads in metro Atlanta    

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Stetson Bennett began G-Day with the Black Team on Saturday, but he ended it with the Red Team. In his mind, that meant he was going to have steak and lobster for dinner rather than the Beanie Weanies that go to the losing team. “I’m getting steak,” Bennett said after the 22-17 Red Team win this past Saturday. “I get to choose what I want. I made that rule; nobody has told me that for sure yet. But I’m definitely planning on having steak tonight.” J.J. Holloman turned this reception of a pass from Stetson Bennett into a 43-yard game-winning touchdown for the Red Team in the fourth quarter of the G-Day Game on Saturday. (Lauren Tolbert/UGA Athletics) Bennett could certainly make a good argument for eating with the victorious Red squad. After all, it was his 43-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Holloman with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner. The scoring play, which came on a post route by Holloman against starting cornerback Eric Stokes on second-and-8, gave the Red a 19-17 lead that would hold up the rest of the way. It came at the end of what was a pretty good day for Bennett, who exited spring practice as the Bulldogs’ No. 2 quarterback behind junior Jake Fromm. For the day, he went 12-of-23 passing for 210 yards and a touchdown while playing for both teams. That broke down as 4-of-9 for 82 yards with no TDs or interceptions with the Black squad and 8-of-14 for 128 yards and a score with the Red team. Bennett was charged with one sack for minus-5 yards with the Black as well. “It was pretty special,” said Bennett, who transferred back to Georgia after spending last season at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College. “I’ll probably look back over the summer and appreciate it more. This was my second game in Sanford Stadium and it was a little bit better than the first one. It was pretty cool.” It represented a much better day under much better circumstances than Bennett experienced during the 2018 G-Day Game. Bennett also played for both squads that day but left feeling like he wasn’t given a fair shake to compete with Justin Fields for backup duties behind Fromm. Fields has, of course, since transferred to Ohio State. Now Bennett is competing with true freshman D’Wan Mathis for the backup spot. “I felt more like a quarterback today than just piece like I did last year,” said bennett, who was a combined 5-of-9 for 73 yards for both squads in the 2018 G-Day Game. “I felt good coming out here and playing with my buddies and playing well, having them make plays. It was pretty cool I enjoyed it.” Mathis had a decent Saturday as well. Operating with a pared-down offensive package, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Mathis was 15-of-28 for 113 yards throwing the ball and had a 20-yard run off a scramble. But he was also sacked five times and threw an interception. Fromm was disappointed with a day that saw him complete only 14-of-29 passes for 116 yards and throw a pick-6 on the Red Team’s first offensive possession. He threw got one 13-yard touchdown on a check-down throw to running back Brian Herrien in the third quarter. Overall, it was only a so-so day for quarterbacks and the Georgia offense. But nobody is expecting the outcome to affect the depth chart going forward. The Bulldogs will enter fall camp with the same pecking order it started spring camp. That is, with a depth chart the sets up as Fromm, Bennett and Mathis, in that order. “Both those guys did a nice job of managing it,” coach Kirby Smart said of Bennett and Mathis. “A lot of throwing situations, not a lot of (elaborate) defenses. … We scaled back a lot of the offense. A lot of the new things we’re doing weren’t in that package today. But I was pleased with the way Stetson and D’Wan managed the game and that’s important for their growth. They’re only going to get better through practicing and repping and playing in that kind of environment.” Bennett certainly came away feeling a lot more positive about his situation than he did this time a year ago. He said he knows he’s not about to unseat Fromm as the starter and that there is no guarantee that he’ll even be the primary backup ahead of Mathis by the time the season starts on Aug. 31. “I don’t really know,” he said of his role this season. “My goal is for us to win a national championship, win the SEC, win the East, beat Vandy up there in Nashville in the first game of the season. Just to win, play really well and play Georgia football, play for these fans who came out here today, 52,000 of them in not great weather. That’s really my goal for the season, just be the best I can be.” Bennett’s situation could be entirely different. After his season in junior college, he received multiple offers from non-Power 5 schools who offered him the opportunity to become a first-year starter. But playing football at Georgia always has been priority one for Bennett, who grew up in Blackshear as the son of a alumni parents. “Somebody asked me, ‘why’d you come back if you’re going to have all these 5-stars ahead of you?’ I’ll answer it the same way: I don’t really worry about who else is coming in,” Bennett said. “I don’t really worry about who’s here. If I can just do my part for the team and get better every single day, then I’m fine with it. So, you know, I’m just going to compete every day with myself and try to make the best throws at practice and we’ll see how it works out.” But no matter how you slice it up, it’s a better situation than Bennett had when he decided to transfer to junior college last summer. “I’m not going to transfer this summer; I’m not going to show up in the portal, so that’s different,” Bennett said with a laugh. “It was better. I got more reps this spring, played better, my team won, because I flip-flopped and was on the Red Team at the end.” The post WATCH: Role on team still undefined, QB Stetson Bennett in it for long haul Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Football is a game that’s amazing when shown live, and sometimes even more fascinating on replay. The cuts, catches and collisions that “wow” us in the moment are most often just as impressive — if not more so — in slow motion. The so-called “broken” plays can’t be explained in the moment, but film review tells all as Kirby Smart and his coaching staff could attest. The @UGAAthletics Twitter account put out a highlight reel from the G-Day Game that will excite Georgia fans who saw those plays for the first time — and inform those who were with family or on business and couldn’t watch the game. It’s worth the click, as several new faces and numbers appear on the verge of starring roles with the Bulldogs’ national championship contending 2019 team. It’s an impressive collection of Eric Stokes’ Pick-6, D’Andre Swift’s electric cut on soggy turf, Brian Herrien’s bulldozer run past J.R. Reed and the surprisingly effective passes from backup quarterbacks Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis.   Couldn’t make it to #GDay? We’ve got you covered with the highlights. #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/hRCrxsekpP — Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) April 22, 2019   Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game Kirby comments on freshmen phenom linebackers Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown RELATED: Eric Stokes experiences good and bad at cornerback WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game Georgia football lands major commitment on G-Day Demetris Robertson illness revealed by Kirby Smart Stock report from Georgia G-Day Game Instant analysis of Georgia football G-Day Game Georgia G-Day Game football report card   The post WATCH: ‘Wow’ plays abound in Georgia athletics G-Day Game highlight video appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia hasn’t wasted any time testing freshmen early enrollee linebackers Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith. The trend continued on Saturday in the G-Day Game, with Dean and Smith getting repetitions with the Black Team, which featured the first-team defense.. Coach Kirby Smart said it had to do with how repetitions were distributed. But it also provided the coaching staff with a look at how Dean and Smith would fare in reps against the first string offense of the Red Team. Dean proved active, making five tackles with a pass break-up against the first-team offense. Dean is an instinctive inside linebacker with great acceleration to the football, and he appeared surprisingly comfortable and agile in pass coverage. Senior Tae Crowder and junior Monty Rice exit spring drills with the upper hand at inside linebackers, both tested veterans. But Smart left the door open for Dean to continue to compete for a starting position. “His role could be as much as a starting linebacker, or his role could be as much a special teams player this year, he could be at third down guy,” Smart said when asked by DawgNation about Dean’s role moving forward. “It’s going to be determined by the other players and himself, and how much he grows and gets better.” Smith’s day was considerably quieter. The No. 1-ranked recruit in the 2019 signing class was often matched with Outland Trophy candidate Andrew Thomas. Still, it was worth noting how Smart and other UGA players praised Smith throughout much of spring drills. The UGA coaching staff talked Smith up to the SEC Network commentators during the G-Day Game broadcast prep. “Nolan Smith is a highly touted recruit, a guy who came up in a lot in our conversions with coaches,” former UGA lineman and College Football Hall of Fame 2018 inductee Matt Stinchcomb said. “He’s a guy who can bend the edge, but his work ethic was what really impressed.” Smart said both Dean and Smith have had a great “progression” this spring. “They are both very bright, they are both very sharp, intelligent, mature freshmen,” Smart said. “But they have not been through a college football fall, they have not been through a college football game. “They haven’t played in an SEC game, and they both have a lot of growing to do. But I’m pleased with where they are.” Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown RELATED: Eric Stokes experiences good and bad at cornerback WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game Georgia football lands major commitment on G-Day Demetris Robertson illness revealed by Kirby Smart Stock report from Georgia G-Day Game Instant analysis of Georgia football G-Day Game Georgia G-Day Game football report card   The post Georgia G-Day Game: Nakobe Dean active inside, Nolan Smith bottled up outside appeared first on DawgNation.