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UGA sets date for Baldwin Hall dedication

UGA sets date for Baldwin Hall dedication

UGA sets date for Baldwin Hall dedication

UGA sets date for Baldwin Hall dedication

The University of Georgia will dedicate a new memorial at Baldwin Hall in tribute to those who were buried there. The dedication will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.

“I am grateful for the work of the members of the advisory task force and for their holistic approach in designing this memorial,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “This memorial will provide the university and local community with an opportunity for meaningful reflection and will permanently honor the men, women and children who were buried on this site more than a century ago.”

Morehead is one of three individuals scheduled to speak at the ceremony. The others will be the Honorable Steve Jones, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Georgia, and Michelle Cook, UGA’s Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives.

The memorial, located on the south end of the front lawn of Baldwin Hall, near Old Athens Cemetery, will serve as a place of remembrance for the individuals who were originally buried on this site in the 1800s, most of whom likely were slaves or former slaves. The memorial includes more than 35,000 pounds of granite donated by an Oglethorpe County quarry on land that has been owned by a Georgia African American family for more than a century. Cook is a member of the family that owns the property.

The memorial, which will complement the aesthetic of the university grounds, also includes:

  • a circular form for the memorial plaza, creating a focal point that will serve as a place of contemplation to honor and respect these individuals;
  • an elevated fountain in the center of the memorial plaza;
  • a granite marker, purposefully designed with elements similar to a marker at Oconee Hill Cemetery, which will include text about the memorial;
  • two granite benches facing the granite marker; and
  • vertical elements that will create a sense of ascension and will provide visibility from the street.

The design was recommended by members of the Baldwin Hall Memorial Advisory Task Force, a group of 18 representatives from the university and the local community appointed by Morehead. Cook chaired the task force, and Jones was a member. Other members included:

  • Alicia Battle, Director for Workforce Development at Goodwill of North Georgia and Chair of the Clarke County Mentor Program;
  • Dawn Bennett-Alexander, Associate Professor of Employment Law and Legal Studies;
  • Paige Carmichael, Professor of Veterinary Pathology;
  • Gwynne Darden (Ex Officio), Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning;
  • Dexter Fisher, Director of Services in the Facilities Management Division;
  • Ammishaddai Grand-Jean, President of the Student Government Association and senior double majoring in economics and political science;
  • Mike Hamby, Athens-Clarke County Commissioner for the 10th District and small business owner;
  • Lawrence Harris, Director of the Athens Community Career Academy with the Clarke County School District;
  • Kathy Hoard, Former Clarke County Commissioner and recipient of the 2018 ATHENA Award for community involvement;
  • Meredith Gurley Johnson, Executive Director of the UGA Alumni Association;
  • The Rev. Benjamin Lett, Pastor of the Hill Chapel Baptist Church;
  • Charlie Maddox, Athens Rotary Club President and Member of the Athens Housing Authority Board of Commissioners;
  • Alison McCullick, UGA Director of Community Relations;
  • Arthur Tripp, Assistant to the President of UGA;
  • Victor Wilson, Vice President for Student Affairs; and
  • Henry Young, Kroger Associate Professor of Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy and President of the Black Faculty and Staff Organization.

The remains of the individuals were first discovered during construction of an addition to Baldwin Hall in November 2015. They were reinterred at Oconee Hill Cemetery in March 2017, in accordance with guidance from the State Archaeologist’s Office.

The university held a memorial service to commemorate their lives, and a granite marker was placed at the gravesite. Acknowledgment in the form of a plaque also was placed inside the new entrance of the Baldwin Hall addition.

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Local News

  • A Bowersville man was booked into the Hart County jail on felony charges that include obstruction of law enforcement officers: 20 year-old William Galliher is accused of fighting with and trying to run away from Hart County Sheriff’s deputies.  A rape suspect is behind bars in Dahlonega: the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office says 33 year-old Luis Vasquez faces charges that include rape, child cruelty, and false imprisonment. Two people are arrested in Rabun County: Cody Whitmire and Tamatha Watts are facing child molestation allegations. The GBI office in White County is handling the ongoing investigation. Gwinnett County Police have a homicide on their hands: a 60 year-old woman was found shot to death in her home in Lawrenceville. 
  • The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled the 2019 Bulldog 100 list of fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. More than 564 nominations were submitted for the 2019 list.   The 2019 Bulldog 100 includes businesses of all sizes and from industries such as real estate, dining, technology and retail. Companies are based as far north as New York and as far west as California. Of the 100 businesses, 80 are located within Georgia.   “The Bulldog 100 program provides us with an the opportunity to applaud the outstanding achievements of our graduates, broaden networks and inspire each other in our shared commitment,” said Meredith Johnson, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “These alumni are leading the way in business and building better communities.”   This year’s list of fastest-growing businesses, in alphabetical order, is as follows:   A Signature Welcome, Charleston, South Carolina Activekidz and Adult Therapy Services, Watkinsville, Georgia AHT Cooling Systems USA Inc., Ladson, South Carolina American Tank Maintenance LLC, Warthen, Georgia AmeriServ Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina Ansley Atlanta Real Estate, Atlanta, Georgia Applied Resource Group LLC, Alpharetta, Georgia Ascent CPA Group LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Athens Building Company, Watkinsville, Georgia Avid Bookshop, Athens, Georgia BOS Security Inc., Athens, Georgia Baseline Surveying & Engineering, Watkinsville, Georgia Biren Patel Engineering LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Bitstream Consulting LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Blackjack Paving, Fairburn, Georgia Bone Dry Roofing Company, Bogart, Georgia C2 Medical Solutions LLC, Athens, Georgia Calhoun Sands Valuation & Advisory Inc., Atlanta, Georgia Caplan Cobb LLP, Atlanta, Georgia Castlegate Property Group LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Centurion Investments LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Certified Finishes, Atlanta, Georgia Charlotte Lucas Interior Design, Charlotte, North Carolina Chicken Salad Chick, Auburn, Alabama Christopher's Bridge Home Care, Watkinsville, Georgia Condor Chocolates, Athens, Georgia Crate Services Inc., Fairburn, Georgia Crescent Equipment Co. Inc., Crescent, Georgia Currie Design + Build, Roswell, Georgia DTproductions, Athens, Georgia Dunkin Donuts (Seven Franchise Locations), Watkinsville, Georgia Eleven Eleven PR, Arlington, Virginia EnviroSpark Energy Solutions Inc., Atlanta, Georgia Express Employment Professionals, Athens, Georgia Forum Communications Inc., Gainesville, Georgia FTM Travel, Brentwood, Tennessee Georgia Grinders, Chamblee, Georgia Hardy’s Peanuts Inc., Hawkinsville, Georgia Haven Insurance Group, Atlanta, Georgia Inspect-All Services, Conyers, Georgia Inspirion Biosciences, Frederick, Maryland Irvin Retail Group of Marcus & Millichap, Atlanta, Georgia J&M Pool Services, Senoia, Georgia Jacobs Land Management LLC, Augusta, Georgia JETT Business Technology, Roswell, Georgia Kabbage, Atlanta, Georgia Kalka & Baer LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Langford Allergy LLC, Macon, Georgia Launch, Atlanta, Georgia Li-Lac Chocolates, Brooklyn, NY Lightmark Media, Athens, Georgia Lucky Savannah Vacation Rentals, Savannah, Georgia M&W Commercial Flooring LLC, Atlanta, Georgia MAB Corporate Advisors, Marietta, Georgia Macallan Real Estate LLC, Marietta, Georgia Margaret Long Designs Inc., Atlanta, Georgia Markert Motor Works, Lawrenceville, Georgia Microf, Roswell, Georgia Millstone Homes Inc., Watkinsville, Georgia Moore Civil Consulting Inc., Hawkinsville, Georgia Murray Osorio PLLC, Fairfax, Virginia Myrick Marine Contracting Corp., Savannah, Georgia Onward Reserve, Atlanta, Georgia Parisleaf, Gainesville, Florida PeachCap, Atlanta, Georgia PharmD on Demand, Watkinsville, Georgia PHI Enterprises, Charlotte, North Carolina Powell Dentistry Group, Saint Simons Island, Georgia  Precise Systems Inc., Lexington Park, Maryland Precision Frameworks, Tucker, Georgia Puppy Haven, Brookhaven, Georgia Quickpath, San Antonio, Texas RAC Properties of Athens Inc., Bogart, Georgia Roam Innovative Workplace, Atlanta, Georgia Robinson Key LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Rover Mobility LLC, Evans, Georgia Saucehouse BBQ, Athens, Georgia Smith Planning Group LLC, Watkinsville, Georgia Sock Fancy, Atlanta, Georgia Southland Organics, Bogart, Georgia Southland Therapy Services, Savannah, Georgia Stanton Law LLC, Atlanta, Georgia Starnes Media, Homewood, Alabama Steamboat Transportation Group LLC, Nashville, Tennessee Strand Clinical Technologies LLC, Evans, Georgia SunnyBoy Entertainment LLC, Pasadena, California Terminus Software Inc., Atlanta, Georgia The Service Fort LLC, Atlanta, Georgia The Southern Coterie, Sea Island, Georgia The Therapy Spot, Statesboro, Georgia Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods Inc., Huntland, Tennessee Toolbox No. 9, Atlanta, Georgia TSAV, Athens, Georgia TurnKey IT Solutions LLC, Marietta, Georgia Two Maids & A Mop Franchising, Birmingham, Alabama Wier / Stewart LLC, Augusta, Georgia Woodall Realty Group, Athens, Georgia XY Planning Network, Bozeman, Georgia Your Pie Franchising LLC, Athens, Georgia Zeus' Closet, Atlanta, Georgia   Business applicants were measured by their compounded annual growth rate during a three-year period. The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors verified the information submitted by each company. On Jan. 26, the UGA Alumni Association will host an event to celebrate the Bulldog 100 and count down the ranked list to the No. 1 business.   The 2018 Bulldog 100 No. 1 business was Saucehouse BBQ, co-founded by Christopher Belk. “To be named the No. 1 fastest-growing Bulldog business was a tremendous honor and even helped Saucehouse catering with its expansion into the Atlanta area from Athens,” said Belk. “We’re proud to be part of this incredible alumni network and to serve Bulldogs every day.”  
  • The District Attorney’s office hangs out another Help Wanted sign, looking to fill four seats on the Athens-Clarke County Board of Tax Equalization. Deadline to apply with DA Ken Mauldin is Monday November 26.  The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission is meeting this afternoon in Athens: 12 o’clock at the downtown Holiday Inn. Barrow County Planning Commissioners will meet, 7 o’clock tonight in Winder.  There is a Gainesville City Council meeting this morning: it is a 9 o’clock work session at the Administration Building in Gainesville. Their Hall County Commission counterparts meet this evening, 6 o’clock at the Hall County Government Center in Gainesville. Today is a deadline day in Gainesville: Hall County property tax bills are due. 
  • UGA Presents is bringing David Archuleta to Athens for a special holiday show Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. Archuleta will perform music from his new album, “Winter in the Air,” featuring a mix of classic Christmas songs and three original compositions co-written by the singer. In 2008 Archuleta became a star at the age of 16 when millions of television viewers fell in love with his angelic voice and their 44 million votes made him runner-up in season seven of “American Idol.” After his appearance on the TV show, the young Utahan had his first single, “Crush,” debut at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the track sold 166,000 downloads the first week in the U.S. and subsequently more than 1.92 million digital copies. Three months later, his self-titled album, “David Archuleta,” went gold, selling more than 750,000 copies in the U.S. and more than 900,000 worldwide. In 2012 Archuleta, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, put his singing career on hiatus so he could serve a two-year stint as a missionary outside of Santiago, Chile. After returning from Chile in 2014, he began touring extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Asia, and he performed for the U.S. troops in the Middle East. “Winter in the Air” is Archuleta’s eighth album and his second Christmas-themed album. It was released on Nov. 2. Tickets for the concert start at $30 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center box office, online at pac.uga.edu or by calling 706-542-4400. A limited number of discounted tickets are available to current UGA students for $10 with a valid UGA ID (limit one ticket per student). The concert is sponsored by Carl W. Duyck and Dennis J. Flood. Hodgson Concert Hall is located in UGA Performing Arts Center at 230 River Road in Athens.
  • Today figures to be another day of rain for Athens and much of northeast Georgia, with flood watches and warnings again in place for parts of the region. This is forecast to be the last day of the rain that has been falling since Monday. From WSB Radio meteorologist Kirk Mellish… The latest round of rain does not look as bad as what we experienced Monday, but with soggy soils and high creek and stream levels already in place the National Weather Service continues the  FLASH FLOOD WATCH for the entire area and most of Georgia for that matter until 7AM Thursday. Keep in mind with the soggy root zones trees can fall even without a strong wind causing damage or an isolated power outage.  Upper level low pressure to our Northwest will spin up surface low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico which will head Northeast up the Atlantic Coast the next few days while another “wedge” pattern (CAD event) develops over Georgia. Temperatures have been well below-normal this week and will remain so through the weekend. A wintry mix is even possible briefly in the higher elevations of the Northeast corner of Georgia Thursday.  The axis of heaviest rain looks to run from Columbus to the Athens area. The lightest amounts will be in the far Northwest suburbs of Atlanta with the heaviest rain South and East sides of Metro Atlanta the next 24 hours. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball looks to get back on track at home against Sam Houston State after suffering its first loss of the season at Temple on Tuesday night. “It’s a football weekend, lots of people will be in town, hope we have a great fan turnout, and I hope there’s a lot of energy in the building,” first-year Bulldogs coach Tom Crean said on Thursday. RELATED: Tom Crean says ‘I’ll always remember this one’ “Sam Houston is one of those teams, they’re sneaky good because they’ve got some veterans.” The Southland Conference Bearkats are 2-2 this season and coming off a 74-59 loss at Clemson on Wednesday night. Georgia, 1-1, opened with a rousing 110-76 win at home over Savannah State before falling to the Owls in Philadelphia by an 81-77 count on Tuesday night. Travel complications led to the Bulldogs traveling on the day of the game to Temple before a late rally from 12 points down fell short. RELATED: Georgia shows tremendous grit in second-half comeback, falls short Crean makes no secret of it that Georgia basketball remains a work in progress to the extent that he will continue to play a lot of players to let things sort themselves out. “We haven’t had a lot of separation, we haven’t had a lot of guys establish themselves like they’re going to get these minutes,” Crean said. “Really, the measuring stick for us is defending on the ball and off, and not turning the ball over, and until we get that corrected we’re not going to have that style of play that we need, we’re not going to have that consistency, and we’re not going to look very good. “But we’ll get there.” The 7 p.m. Friday game at Stegeman Coliseum with Sam Houston State offers the Bulldogs a chance to advance the ball in that respect. Crean says he has no plans to slow down the Georgia offense and remains committed to an uptempo style of play. “We’re trying to play a very quick pace, but we don’t want to be giving the ball back to the other team,” Crean said. “We’re working on building our efficiency everyday at both ends and I like that fact that we have this game and then we turn around and we’ve got three next week.” Georgia plays in the Cayman Islands Classic next Monday through Wednesday, opening up the three-game tourney with Illinois State at 1:30 on Monday. The Bulldogs will play either Akron or Clemson on Tuesday afternoon. Georgia is in the midst of playing six games in 13 days to open the season. Tyree Crump leads the Bulldogs in scoring through the first two games, averaging 16 points, and Derek Ogbeide is scoring at a 15 points-per-game clip. Senior starting point guard William “Turtle” Jackson is averaging just 2.5 points per game, hitting 2-of-6 shots in the 42 minutes he has played. Georgia basketball stories 4 takeaways from Georgia basketball’s thrilling win over UAB Georgia basketball ‘found a way to win’ in Birmingham Tom Crean outlines reality of exhibition opener in preview Georgia basketball draws more than 5,000 to ‘Stegmania’ event Crean wants more purpose from Bulldogs with season fast approaching Bulldogs show grit, but fall short at Temple Getting to know Tom Crean, the future of Georgia basketball Bulldogs play fast and free in home exhibition opener   The post Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean wanting separation, efficiency against Sam Houston State appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football fans will receive multiple chances to see and meet former coach Vince Dooley over the next month courtesy of Kroger. Dooley will be at several special book signing events hosted at Kroger during the holiday season. Join him at your favorite grocery store, as he signs one of his first books “Dooley: My 40 Years at Georgia” and his newest “The Legion’s Fighting Bulldog.” All of the special book signings will take place at various Kroger stores. Here is the full schedule with locations: Date Town Address Tuesday, Nov. 27 Sugar Hill 6001 Cumming Highway Wednesday, Dec. 5 McDonough 5900 East Lake Parkway Thursday, Dec. 6 Warner Robins 3094 Watson Boulevard Wednesday, Dec. 12 Woodstock 2295 Towne Lake Parkway Thursday, Dec. 13 Dalton 1365 W. Walnut Avenue Wednesday, Dec. 19 Rome 1476 Turner McCall Blvd. Thursday, Dec. 20 Peachtree City 564 Crosstown Drive Friday, Dec. 21 Cumming 5550 Bethelview Road ** All signing times are 4-6 PM ET ** The post Meet Georgia legendary coach Vince Dooley at your local Kroger store appeared first on DawgNation.
  • This is the third in a series of stories that compares units on the Georgia and Alabama teams as last season’s College Football Playoff finalists prepare for a rematch on Dec. 1 in the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. PASS DEFENSE ATHENS — When Georgia embarked on the 2018 football season, pass defense and the secondary in particular was a huge concern, maybe the greatest concern. Now in the 12th week and entering the 11th game, that’s no longer the case. In fact, Georgia defensive backfield might even be considered a team strength. That’s what the stats say, anyway. The Bulldogs are second in the SEC and 10th nationally in passing yards allowed with 1,723, or 172.3 per game. That’s fairly astounding, especially considering three of the five starters in the back end of the defense are new. But some perspective has to be provided for that stat. Number one, the Bulldogs haven’t exactly been going against a bunch of ball-slingers this season. Every FBS team Georgia has faced this season is ranked outside the Top 25 in passing. UMass, the little team from the Northeast that visits Sanford Stadium this Saturday, will actually be the highest ranked at 17th (299.1 ypg). And, as this is a matchup analysis of Georgia vs. Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, it should be pointed that the Bulldogs will be facing another level of ball-slinging when they meet the Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Led by all-world quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Bama is second in the league and seventh in FBS at throwing the football. The Tide is averaging 323 yards per game and has thrown for 34 TDs with only 4 interceptions. Only Houston with 38 has more passing TDs. But that’s a matchup to explore another time. This exercise is to compare Georgia’s pass defense with Alabama’s, and the two are remarkably similar. Like the Bulldogs, Bama had considerable turnover after last year’s National Championship Game. The Tide returned only one defensive back with any starting experience, and that was redshirt junior safety Deionte Thompson with two starts. Thompson is manning the free safety position again this season and is one of the team favorites to earn All-SEC honors. Also, among Bama’s five defensive players that were taken in the NFL draft was cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, who went in the first round with the No. 11 pick to the Miami Dolphins. So the Tide lost a ton of talent. Alabama has also had to deal with injuries this season. Junior cornerback Trevon Diggs went down against Arkansas on Oct. 6 with a foot injury and has not been back. But in his absence, the Crimson Tide has done what they usually do. That is, they replaced a 5-star with a 5-star. They replaced Diggs with Patrick Surtain II, a freshman out of American Heritage High in Plantation, Fla., who was rated the No. 1 cornerback prospect in America. Surtain has held his own, recording 19 tackles, 5 pass break-ups and an interception this season. Of course, at American Heritage High, Surtain played across the field from Tyson Campbell. Campbell was also a 5-star prospect, was ranked the No. 2 prospect in the country at corner and signed with Georgia. But while Campbell has also mostly held his own, he has also had some struggles. And they finally reached the point against Auburn this past Saturday that he was supplanted in the starting lineup. Redshirt freshman Eric Stokes came in for Campbell in the first half this past Saturday and played extremely well. His pass break-up in the end zone prevented a touchdown and forced the Tigers to settle for a field goal in the first half of a game the Bulldogs eventually beat 27-10. Stokes is another example of the youth and inexperience that abounds in Georgia’s secondary. In fact, at one point early in the Auburn game, the Bulldogs had three players on the field in Stokes, sophomore Mark Webb and freshman Otis Reese who hadn’t played in college game as a defensive back before this season. But that hasn’t held Georgia back when it comes to playing good pass defense. The Bulldogs are able to counter that youth with the veteran leadership and superior play of senior cornerback Deandre Baker and junior safety J.R. Reed. Baker is Georgia’s best chance of landing a player on an All-America team this season. Already a semifinalist for the Bednarik and Thorpe awards, he has 33 tackles, nine pass break-ups and is second in the SEC in passes defended. Reed, a former transfer from Tulsa, leads the DBs with 44 tackles, has led the team in tackles three times and also has an interception. Normally playing alongside Reed is sophomore Richard LeCounte, a former 5-star prospect himself. LeCounte belies his smallish 5-11, 190-pound frame with a knack for following the ball, coming up quick and hard for run stops and running deep with the fastest of opposing receivers. Safety play is one of the biggest reasons that the Bulldogs have given up the fewest plays of 20-or-more yards in the SEC. It might have something to do with safeties; it has a lot to do with the corners. I think it has a lot to do with the way we call defenses,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who played safety himself. “I think it’s leverage and tackling. we believe that if everybody in front of the safeties and secondary just fell down and took the play off, there shouldn’t be a play of over 20 yards.” What’s amazing about Georgia is it has managed to do that without much in the way of a pass rush. It’s not necessarily by design, but the Bulldogs haven’t pressured opposing quarterbacks much at all. They’re last in the SEC in sacks with 14, or 1.4 per game. Bama leads the league with 36. “It’s just not who we are right now,” Smart said of pressuring quarterbacks. “We’re not a twitchy team that’s quick and make people miss and get in the backfield and penetrate and get a tackle for loss or an elite pass rusher that can just beat guys one-on-one. That’s not indicative of who we are. But what we are is a team that knows how to leverage and tackle the ball and not give up explosives. That’s kind of our identity right now.” Alabama, obviously, hasn’t given up many big plays either. In fact, it hasn’t given up much at all, with back-to-back shutouts in the last two games and only seven points to Tennessee in the one before that. And the Crimson Tide has been able to get their hands on more balls than the Bulldogs. Bama actually has more interceptions (13) than passing TDs allowed (12). Georgia has five picks to eight touchdowns. But the Bulldogs rank considerably ahead of Alabama in overall pass defense. The Tide is allowing 186.5 yards a game. Let’s look at common opponents: LSU vs. Alabama: 35 attempts, 18 completions, 184 yards, 1 interception, 0 TDs vs. Georgia: 30 attempts, 15 completions, 200 yards, 0 interception, 0 TDs TENNESSEE vs. Alabama: 25 attempts, 14 completions, 227 yards, 0 interceptions, 2 TDs vs. Georgia: 21 attempts, 13 completions, 143 yards, 0 interceptions, 0 TDs MISSOURI vs. Alabama: 26 attempts, 13 completions, 142 yards, 2 interceptions, 1 TD vs. Georgia: 48 attempts, 23 completions, 221 yards, 1 interception, 0 TDs Overall, you have to give the nod to Georgia here. But it’s close: ADVANTAGE: GEORGIA BULLDOGS Road to Atlanta Part 1: Special teams, Georgia has the edge Part 2: Run defense, Alabama has the edge Part 3: Pass defense, Georgia has the edge The post Road to Atlanta: Georgia’s pass defense a reason for optimism in matchup with Alabama appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — It used to be kind of confusing for Eric Stokes, Jr. He used to be a track guy that played some football. Then he was a football player who ran a little track. Now he’s just a football player, and a pretty good one for the Georgia Bulldogs. Stokes As of this week, the sophomore from Covington became Georgia’s starting cornerback. He came in for a struggling Tyson Campbell last Saturday against Auburn and played so well that he now will get his first career start this Saturday when the No. 5 Bulldogs (9-1, 8-0 SEC) play host to UMass (4-7). It’s been quite a run for Stokes. Pun intended. “After my first season (at Georgia), I started off running track,” said Stokes, speaking after the Bulldogs’ practice Tuesday night at the Butts-Mehre football complex. “But then I was like, ‘ah, track is not really for me anymore.’ After that I just sort of slowly faded away from track.” It’s not it’s ancient history. That was just last spring. But Stokes found out two things when he answered the call of Georgia’s dynamic track coach, Petros Kyprianou, to give it a try: One, those guys that run track fulltime for the Bulldogs are really, really fast, as the men’s team 2018 NCAA Track & Field national championship will attest. And, two, when Stokes was out there running track, he wasn’t getting better at football. “I’m out there running with people that run 9.9s, 10-ohs,” Stokes said. “People really underestimate those guys. They expect you to go out there and be able to run the same way when you left it. You try to jump in the groove, but there’s still a lot you’ve got to do.” This past spring, not only did Stokes decide to spend it 100 percent committed to football, but he also enrolled for the mini-semester in May — known as May-mester — and used his extra time then to work football. The difference was evident by the time the Bulldogs opened preseason camp in August. “Football-wise, just being here May-mester helped me learn the system and everything, helped me learn more,” said the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Stokes. “Basically it helped me out a lot. I became more comfortable with what I was doing and wasn’t second-guessing myself anymore.” Back at Eastside High School, Stokes was mostly a track guy who played a little football at the coaches’ behest. As a junior, he won the Class AAAA championship in the 100 meters in a blistering 10.39 seconds. What’s more, Stokes also won the Class AAAA title in the 200 (21.58 seconds) and ran the anchor leg for the championship-winning 4×100-meter race. The only time Stokes didn’t walk to the tallest podium on the medal stand was after the 4×400 race. They finished sixth. Not surprisingly, Eastside won the state championship. So speed, plain and simple, was why Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs recruited Stokes, who was only a 3-star prospect. Since then, he has been a bit of a pet project. Stokes did not play at all last season. He was redshirted. This year, Stokes has been on the travel roster for every game and played in all but one. He first burst on the scene against Missouri in Week 4 when starter Tyson Campbell went out with an shoulder injury. Stokes came off the bench to record four tackles, three pass break-ups and block a punt. With Campbell getting victimized by Auburn this past Saturday, Georgia inserted Stokes into the game again. And he responded again. Stokes’ pass break-up in the end zone on third down prevented a touchdown and forced the Tigers to settle for a field goal in a game the Bulldogs won 27-10. “You’ve just got to be prepared every moment for everything,” Stokes said of being pressed into duty like that. “You can’t be fearful. You have to confidence in yourself.” Stokes definitely has the confidence of his coaches and teammates. “Stokes has been going with the first group,” said Smart, indicating Stokes will likely start ahead of Campbell Saturday against UMass. “He’s competing, playing well. So is Tyson.” “Stokes comes to play every week,” said fellow DB Mark Webb. “He never changes. I’ve been seeing that out of Stokes a long time.” Meanwhile, the competition with Campbell will continue. Unlike Stokes, it’s always been about football for the freshman from Miami. The former 5-star prospect has started every game at the left cornerback position. But Campbell has been picked on a lot. Playing opposite of senior All-America candidate Deandre Baker, teams invariably are passing the ball on the other side of the field. At times Campbell has handled that well. Often he hasn’t “Tyson’s got a lot to learn,” Smart said after Tuesday’s practice. “When he’s going with the 2s you find out how much he still has to learn because he doesn’t have the safeties that know it as well as the 1s. So the communication is not as good. So we’re finding out that he maybe has more to learn than we thought because the 1 safeties help him a lot more.” That’s where that time concentrating on football this past spring is benefiting Stokes now. If nothing else, he knows where he’s supposed to be, and he still has the speed to get there. “He’s just smart. He’s really bright,” Smart said of Stokes. “He understands leverage, he understands coverages. You tell him something once and he goes out to practice and does it. A lot of the guys need reps and reps; Stokes gets it in the meetings. He’s very bright. He’s very diligent.” Stokes is bright enough to know that, as an SEC cornerback, you’re only as good as your latest busted coverage. Get beat deep in a game and that might be the last rep you get. So the competition at left cornerback will continue. But that’s all part of being a football player and it won’t affect how he and Campbell get along. “We’re going through the same thing, day in and day out,” Stokes said. “Me and Tyson, we both help each other. I know he’s got my back just like I have his back. We’re always talking about this and that, so we can help each other grow.” In the meantime, it’s not like Stokes is getting a break by starting against UMass. Yes, the Bulldogs are 40-plus-point favorites. But the Minutemen throw the ball all over the yard and feature the nation’s leading receiver in Andy Isabella. The 5-10 wideout has caught 87 passes for 1,479 yards and 11 TDs. Odds are strong that Isabella and the Minutemen will be coming after Stokes. “He’s a real big threat, so we know his capability,” Stokes said. “He’s fast. He can give you moves and he’s really good with his routes. We’ve got to watch out for him. … I’ve just got to go out there and do my job.” The post Georgia CB Eric Stokes starting to blossom as full-time football player appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart explained how the competition for position never stops, from one play, drill, day and one game to another. “Every position on our team, every week,” Smart said, asked where the Bulldogs have position battles playing out at. RELATED: Alabama has edge over Georgia in run defense comparison Georgia (9-1) plays host to UMass (4-7) at 4 p.m. on Saturday (TV: SEC Network, Radio: WSB 750 AM, 95.5 FM). What outsiders might view as an easy win against the overmatched FBS independent Minutemen — the line opened at 43 1/2 points — is viewed by several players on the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs as an opportunity to show their skills in a game. But first, Smart points out, they must compete for those snaps, and they must fit the scheme. “We have to get better, and that’s what our focus is this week, on us getting better, our ability to grow young players,” Smart said. “I put just as much emphasis in practice as I do in the game. So we’ll see how the game goes. If guys get to play, they get to play.” Smart said redshirt freshman cornerback Eric Stokes is working with the first team after replacing true freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell and grading out highest among defenders in last Saturday’s 27-10 win over Auburn. RELATED: Secondary shakeup, Eric Stokes making a move at cornerback Campbell has stated the first 10 games this season, overcoming a shoulder subluxation suffered in the Sept. 22 game at Missouri. “Stokes has been going with the first group but he’s competing, playing well, (and) so is Tyson,” Smart said. “Tyson’s got a lot to learn, and when he’s going with the 2s, you find out how much he still has to learn because he doesn’t have the safeties that know it as well as the 1s. “So the communication is not as good. So we’re finding out that he maybe has more to learn than we thought because the (starting) safeties help him a lot more.” Smart explained that freshman Otis Reese making his first career start over sophomore Richard LeCounte had to do with the personnel package Auburn played. “ It’s really not a rotation as much as it is personnel based, so depending on what the other team is in, we play one or the other of the safeties,” Smart said. “Otis is getting better. Richard is actually getting better. The best thing for Richard has been Otis’s growth. So I think that the motivation and the competition has made Richard better.” Smart pointed to each level of the defense having competition, too. “Inside backer, every week, outside backer, probably more the second and third at the outside backer than the first (D’Andre Walker),” Smart said. “But defensive line. We’ve had changes in defensive line, and you all don’t write about who starts there, but we’ve had a lot of changes there. Secondary – we’ve had a lot of battles at safety, and rotating the dime, nickel and star.” Walker is the only linebacker to start all 10 games for Georgia.  Natrez Patrick has started seven of 10 games at inside (Mike) linebacker, Juwan Taylor has six starts at inside linebacker (Will) and Monty Rice has five starts at inside linebacker (one Mike, four at Will). The offensive line is competing with one another just to stay healthy. Right tackle Isaiah Wilson is the only offensive lineman not to miss paling time on account of injury. But Smart pointed to the receiver group and tailback position as spots where the competition has led to different starters from week to week. “It’s changed throughout the year at wide receiver probably three times as to who started, based on who practiced well during the week, that’s been pretty consistent,” Smart said. “I mean (Elijah) Holyfield started some games at running back. So that comes about through the work ethic you have during the week and putting a priority on how your practice matters, and that’s every position.” Riley Ridley leads the receivers with nine starts, Mecole Hardman, Tyler Simmons and Terry Godwin each have five starts and Jeremiah Holloman has started two of the past three games. D’Andre Swift started the first four games at tailback, but Elijah Holyfield has started the past six. Georgia football stories WATCH: Georgia coach Kirby Smart says ‘We’re running out of people’ Georgia football QB Jake Fromm handles challenges, critics Competition is real in Georgia football secondary Bulldogs challenged to maintain lofty standards vs. UMass Georgia football a heavy favorite against UMass QB Justin Fields recipient of great ‘on-the-job training’ Georgia football tailback D’Andre Swift reveals serious surgery RECAP: Georgia gain momentum vs. Auburn with 27-10 win The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart hints at another change in starting lineup appeared first on DawgNation.