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US News Headlines

    The largest-ever project in the U.S. to remove thousands of juniper trees to help imperiled sage grouse has started in Idaho. Junipers provide perches for raptors that attack and kill sage grouse. Junipers also force out sagebrush and other plants that produce bugs that sage grouse eat. Sage grouse also feed on the sagebrush during the winter. Overall, sage grouse numbers have dwindled from an estimated 16 million before European settlement of the West to no more than 500,000 today in 11 western states. The project that began last spring in Idaho aims to remove junipers on 965 square miles (2,500 square kilometers) of state and federal land. 'What we're doing here is turning the sagebrush steppe habitat that's marginal nesting habitat for grouse into immediate, quality nesting habitat for grouse,' said Josh White of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project that is estimated to take 10 to 15 years could become a template for other western states as junipers have expanded because of fire-suppression efforts. Juniper-removal projects have been carried out before, but not on this scale. Environmental groups fought the Idaho project contending it was being driven by grazing interests. 'When you remove vegetation and disturb the ground, that's when invasive species come in,' said Scott Lake of Western Watersheds Project, citing fire-prone cheatgrass in particular. But federal officials gave the final approval earlier this year. Some cutting was done in the spring, and the pace picked up in the last three weeks with crews of 50 to 60 workers with chain saws cutting down junipers. 'Historically, fire would have kept these trees in check,' said Ben Sitz of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. 'We're trying to preserve the diversity we have.' The project is designed around sage grouse breeding grounds, called leks, where males perform elaborate rituals. The project area contains numerous leks, both active and abandoned as junipers moved in. Radio-telemetry on sage grouse has determined that leks ideally have no or few trees within a 6-mile (9.5-kilometer) radius, which gives nesting sage grouse hens the best chance to raise their chicks. That means each lek needs about 115 square miles (295 square kilometers) of treeless sagebrush. The project aims to cut down junipers within that distance of leks. Junipers are being cut where sagebrush still covers most of the ground. Thicker stands of junipers that have pushed out sagebrush are being left as those areas would take decades to become suitable sage grouse habitat. But those thicker stands could be targeted for a future project. Rancher and Owyhee County Commissioner Jerry Hoagland said ranchers want the junipers removed to improve cattle grazing. Ranchers have 'been recognizing the effects of the junipers over the years,' he said, noting cut areas have led to more water. 'We're getting lots and lots of stream flows running again that haven't run for 70, 80 years.' Only a small percentage of the area involves state-owned land, but not treating it could leave thousands of acres of federal public land unsuitable for sage grouse. 'We're all working together to try to find ways to achieve mutually agreeable outcomes,' said Dustin Miller, director of the Idaho Department of Lands.
  • After nearly collapsing onstage recently, country singer Drake White has revealed he has a brain condition that disrupts normal blood flow. White told 'People' magazine that he's known about the condition since his diagnosis in January and he has been undergoing a series of procedures to cut off blood flow to the affected vessels. He says he's been diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, which is an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins in the brain. The 35-year-old 'Livin' the Dream' singer had to be helped by a band member after nearly falling mid-performance last Friday during a concert in Roanoke, Virginia. The magazine said it was unclear if his near-collapse onstage was related to his condition or his treatment.
  • A disorder has been detected in some Florida panthers and bobcats, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said in a news release. >> Read more trending news  'All the affected animals have exhibited some degree of walking abnormally or difficulty coordinating their back legs,' the release said. The FWC said neurological damage has been confirmed in one panther and one bobcat, and trail camera footage shows eight panthers, mostly kittens, and an adult bobcat displaying varying degrees of the condition.  The condition appears to be localized to Collier, Lee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties, FWC officials said.  'While the number of animals exhibiting these symptoms is relatively few, we are increasing monitoring efforts to determine the full scope of the issue,' said Gil McRae, the director of FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. The FWC said it is testing for various potential toxins, including neurotoxic rodenticide (rat pesticide), as well as infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies. 'Numerous diseases and possible causes have been ruled out; a definitive cause has not yet been determined. We're working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a wide array of experts from around the world to determine what is causing this condition,' McRae said. Officials said the public can help by submitting trail camera footage or other videos that capture animals that appear to have a problem with their rear legs. Florida panthers are an endangered species native to Florida and the state's official animal.
  • King of Israel? The second coming? The chosen one? President Donald Trump is known to have a healthy ego. But a string of comments Wednesday went to a higher level. First, Trump thanked conservative radio host and supporter Wayne Allen Root for his praise. In a tweet, Trump quoted Root calling the president 'the best president for Israel in the history of the world' and claiming Jewish people in Israel love Trump 'like he's the King of Israel. They love him like he's the second coming of God.' The messianic imagery may have stuck in Trump's head. Later in the day, as the president was defending his trade war with China, he cast himself as a reluctant warrior. Somebody had to do it and he was the one, he told reporters. 'I am the chosen one,' he said, turning and looking up to the sky. 'Somebody had to do it.
  • The divide between retail winners and losers is widening. That became even more evident Wednesday with the latest batch of earnings reports: Big-box stores and off-price retailers have been responding faster to shoppers' increasing shift online with expanded deliveries and better merchandise. But many mall-based clothing chains and department stores continue to suffer weak sales as they struggle to lure in shoppers. 'There is an increasing polarization in retail,' said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail. 'It's a vicious cycle, and it's difficult to pull out of the tail spin.' In fact, for the first two fiscal quarters of this year, earnings at off-mall retailers rose 3%, compared with a drop of 29% for mall-based retailers, according to Retail Metrics, a retail research firm, which analyzed results at 105 retailers. On Wednesday, Target raised its annual earnings guidance after reporting strong sales and traffic. It was helped by its same-day delivery services, as well as a strong lineup of homegrown brands. Lowe's, the nation's second largest home improvement retailer behind Home Depot, blew past Wall Street's second-quarter earnings expectations, buoyed by strong demand for spring goods and sales to contractors. Both companies' stocks soared. Earlier this week, Home Depot handily beat second-quarter profit expectations, while Walmart raised its outlook for the year last week and off price chains like T.J. Maxx are also faring well, resonating with shoppers who love to treasure hunt. But clothing chains and department stores haven't differentiated their merchandise enough, and now discounters are further squeezing them by pushing into more affordable trendy fashions, retail industry analysts say. Last week, Macy's lowered its annual earnings guidance after its earnings suffered in the second quarter as it slashed prices on unsold merchandise. J.C. Penney's is in worst shape. It posted another quarter of sales declines. Kohl's shares, meanwhile, fell Tuesday after posting a sales decline though business improved later in the quarter. Nordstrom is expected report declining second-quarter profits and sales late Wednesday. Saunders and other analysts say that they started to see a clear divide between retail's winners and losers four or five years ago, but that gap has gotten more pronounced because of a combination of factors. For several years, a strong economy provided tail winds to retailers of all stripes, and last year's tax cuts gave merchants a nice sugar high. But as the economy starts developing some cracks, vulnerable retailers will become even more exposed. Analysts also say that the shift to online shopping keeps accelerating, giving a big advantage to retailers like Target and Walmart who've been able to invest billions of dollars in online deliveries and in their stores. Some mall-based retailers are now looking at other ways to bring in shoppers, including subscription rental services and carving out areas to sell second-hand clothes. But for some, it may be a case of too little, too late. 'In a world where consumers have more choices than ever, inferior brick-and-mortar experiences will go away,' said John Mulligan, Target's chief operating officer Wednesday. Target's comparable store sales, which include online sales, rose 3.4 % as customer traffic jumped 2.4%. Online sales soared 34%. The Minneapolis company raised profit expectations for the year, sending its shares up 19%. Shares in Lowe's Co., which is based in Mooresville, North Carolina, were up more than 10%. Still, it is an uncertain time for even surging retailers like Target. The Trump administration has imposed a 25% tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports. A pending 10% tariff on another $300 billion in goods would hit everything from toys to clothing and shoes that China ships to the United States. And it appears the retailers that have been winning all along will be the ones to better navigate the tariff storms. Target's CEO Brian Cornell told analysts that while the trade wars present an additional layer of uncertainty and complexity, he pointed to the company's diverse assortment, deep expertise in global sourcing and sophisticated set of manufacturing partners around the world. Meanwhile, Macy's said last week that its shoppers don't have an appetite for higher prices in a ballooning U.S. trade war with China. The department store was forced to raise prices on some luggage, housewares and furniture to offset the costs of a 25% tariff implemented in May. Macy's vowed not to increase prices as a result of the 10% tariff, but CEO Jeff Gennette said the company will be speaking with vendors about ways to offset rising costs if the trade war escalates. _____ Follow Anne D'Innocenzio on Twitter . ___ This story has been updated to correctly identify the Target executive quoted in reference to brick-and-mortar stores. It is Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan, not CEO Brian Cornell.
  • The federal budget deficit is expected to balloon to more than $1 trillion in the next fiscal year under the first projections taking into account the big budget deal that President Donald Trump and Congress reached this summer, the Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday. The return of $1 trillion annual deficits comes despite Trump's vow when running for office that he would not just balance the budget but pay down the entire national debt. 'The nation's fiscal outlook is challenging,' said Phillip Swagel, director of the nonpartisan CBO. 'Federal debt, which is already high by historical standards, is on an unsustainable course.' The office upped this year's deficit projection by $63 billion and the cumulative deficit projection for the next decade by $809 billion. The higher deficit projections come even as the CBO reduced its estimate for interest rates, which lowers borrowing costs, and as it raised projections for economic growth in the near term. The number crunchers at CBO projected that the deficit for the current fiscal year will come to $960 billion. In the next fiscal year, which begins Oct 1, it will exceed $1 trillion. The CBO said the budget deal signed into law earlier this month, which took away the prospect of a government shutdown in October and the threat of deep automatic spending cuts, would boost deficits by $1.7 trillion over the coming decade. Increased spending on disaster relief and border security would add $255 billion. Downward revisions to the forecast for interest rates will help the picture, trimming $1.4 trillion. Swagel said the federal debt will rise even higher after the coming decade because of the nation's aging population and higher spending on health care. To put the country on sustainable footing, Swagel said, lawmakers will have to increase taxes, cut spending or combine the two approaches. The CBO's estimate is the first to reflect the hard-won budget and debt deal signed into law earlier this month. 'The recent budget deal was a budget buster, and now we have further proof. Both parties took an already unsustainable situation and made it much worse,' said Maya MacGuineas, president of the private Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. MacGuineas said lawmakers should ensure the legislation they enact is paid for and redouble efforts to control the growth in health care costs and restore the solvency of the Social Security program. Her organization is focused on educating the public on issues with significant fiscal policy impact.
  • I don't feel secure there. I can't stay there.' That's how a Sandy Springs man says he feels after a scary encounter at his Glenridge Drive apartment complex last week.  The man, who wanted to remain unidentified, said he was out running errands when he arrived back home, met with the unimaginable.  He said when he tried to open his front door, a man armed with a gun was already inside.  'Some guy opened the door, pulled a pistol on me said, 'Come on in,'' he said.  The victim describes the terrifying moment he entered his home in fear + the urgent search for the gunman, on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: 4 students shot during party near Clark Atlanta University; shooter on the loose Bungee cord snaps on slingshot ride at Florida adventure park New DeKalb high school to cost nearly $90M, much more than schools miles away
  • The will that Jeffrey Epstein signed just two days before his jailhouse suicide puts more than $577 million in assets into a trust fund that could make it more difficult for his dozens of accusers to collect damages. Estate lawyers and other experts say prying open the trust and dividing up the financier's riches is not going to be easy and could take years. 'This is the last act of Epstein's manipulation of the system, even in death,' said attorney Jennifer Freeman, who represents child sex abuse victims. Epstein, 66, killed himself Aug. 10 in New York while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. The discovery of the will with its newly created 1953 Trust, named after the year of his birth, instantly raised suspicions he did it to hide money from the many women who say he sexually abused them when they were teenagers. By putting his fortune in a trust, he shrouded from public view the identities of the beneficiaries, whether they be individuals, organizations or other entities. For the women trying to collect from his estate, the first order of business will be persuading a judge to pierce that veil and release the details. From there, the women will have to follow the course they would have had to pursue even if Epstein hadn't created a trust: convince the judge that they are entitled to compensation as victims of sex crimes. The judge would have to decide how much they should get and whether to reduce the amounts given to Epstein's named beneficiaries, who would also be given their say in court. 'Wealthy people typically attempt to hide assets in trusts or other legal schemes. I believe the court and his administrators will want to do right by Epstein's victims, and if not, we will fight for the justice that is long overdue to them,' attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents several Epstein accusers, said in an email. She said attorneys for the women will go after Epstein's estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the will was filed and where he owned two islands. Bloom said it was 'gross negligence' on the part of Epstein's lawyers and jail personnel to allow him to sign a new will, given that he had apparently attempted suicide a short time before. Bloom called a will 'a classic sign of impending suicide for a prisoner.' The lawyers who handled the will have not returned calls for comment. The assets listed in the 20-page document include more than $56 million in cash; properties in New York, Florida, Paris, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands; $18.5 million in vehicles, aircraft and boats; and art and collectibles that will have to be appraised. Typically in any case, trust or not, there is a pecking order of entities that line up to get a share of an estate, said Stephen K. Urice, a law professor at the University of Miami. First in line would be the government — in Epstein's case, several governments — which will collect any taxes owed on his properties and on his estate itself. Next would be any other creditor to whom Epstein owed money, such as a bank or mortgage company. Lawsuits against the estate by victims would come into play somewhere after that. Epstein's only known relative is a brother, Mark Epstein, who has not responded to requests for comment. It is unclear whether he was named a beneficiary. One other possibility is that the U.S. government will seek civil forfeiture of Epstein's properties on the grounds that they were used for criminal purposes. The government would have to produce strong evidence of that at a trial-like proceeding. If it prevailed, it would be able to seize the properties, sell them and distribute the proceeds to victims. Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the possibility of a forfeiture action. ____ Associated Press writer Jim Mustian in New York contributed to this story.
  • Police in Louisiana arrested two people after a kindergarten student brought 'a large amount' of crack and powdered cocaine to a school in Slidell, authorities said. >> Read more trending news A teacher notified a Slidell Police Department school resource officer Monday after spotting the 5-year-old child with a bag of white powder. The officer determined the powder was cocaine and subsequently discovered two other bags of crack cocaine on the child, according to authorities. 'Throughout the investigation, it was apparent the child had no knowledge about the drugs,' police said. Authorities conducted a search warrant on the child's house, where they found more narcotics, according to police. Investigators determined cocaine was being stored in the child's clothing without the child's knowledge, police said. Authorities arrested Angelica Stanley, 23, and Ellis Cousin, 51, on charges of possession of a Schedule II narcotic with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and cruelty to a juvenile. Authorities continue to investigate.
  • The North Dakota Health Department's acknowledgment this week that a 2015 pipeline leak of liquid natural gas is hundreds of thousands of gallons larger than reported raises questions about how many other spills and leaks are underreported — and state officials were not immediately able to answer Wednesday. State Environmental Quality Chief Dave Glatt said the agency does not update initial public reports on spills but is considering doing so in the future. 'I get it — people want more information,' Glatt said. The agency said Tuesday that a 2015 pipeline spill of gas liquids, or 'condensate,' at a western North Dakota natural gas plant that was first reported as just 10 gallons (8 imperial gallons) is at least hundreds of thousands of gallons larger and may take an additional decade to clean up. The initial state report on the spill at Oneok Partners LP's Garden Creek I gas processing plant was never updated, even as Oneok updated the state on cleanup. In October, Oneok told the state it had recovered 240,000 gallons (nearly 200,000 imperial gallons) of the liquid gas and cleanup continued. The environmental blog DeSmog, which first reported the discrepancy, reported that the spill may be as large as 11 million gallons (9 million imperial gallons). The blog cited an unidentified person who provided a draft document on a cleanup plan. The company said the actual amounts of the release aren't known. Glatt said the company could face sanctions but has not yet because of its efforts to clean up its site. 'We still have that option,' he said. Some groundwater was affected, regulators said, but the spill didn't reach beyond the facility's boundaries. Glatt said groundwater monitoring wells have been placed completely around the natural gas factory. Glatt said it is illegal under state law to alter a document, but the agency may create supplemental documents to update estimates on a spill size, something that was not done for the Oneok spill. Wayde Schafer, spokesman for the state's Sierra Club chapter, said the state's current policy of reporting spills 'is kind of worthless.' Timely, accurate and accessible information would hold companies and regulators accountable, he said. 'The public needs to be able to trust these reports,' he said. Until recently, North Dakota regulators were not obliged to tell the public about oilfield-related spills. The state's policy changed in 2013 after a wheat farmer in northwestern North Dakota discovered a massive spill that has been called one of the biggest onshore spills in U.S. history. State and company officials kept it quiet — even from then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple — for more than a week and only disclosed it after questions from The Associated Press. The Health Department subsequently announced it would use its website to publish information on all spills reported to the department. Glatt said the agency may now develop a user-friendly tracking system on its website to update the status on reported spills. ___ Follow James MacPherson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MacPhersonJA

Local News

  • Richmond County is the latest Georgia county to drop misdemeanor marijuana cases. The Solicitor in Augusta says there's no testing that measures how much THC is in confiscated samples. Investigators say it’s almost impossible to tell if a person has legal hemp or illegal marijuana. Gwinnett County’s Solicitor has made a similar pronouncement; Athens-Clarke County Police have said they will stop arresting marijuana possession suspects altogether.    Two suspects from South Carolina are arrested in Clemson, wanted in a string of burglaries and residential robberies in South Carolina and in Toccoa and Stephens County: 22 year-old Wallace Wardlaw and 30 year-old Vonnie Locklear are both from Greenville South Carolina.    A 40 year-old Gainesville man is facing child molestation charges: Oscar Flores was, at last report, being held without bond in the Hall County jail. 
  • There is an important deadline looming for University of Georgia: noon today marks the end of student football ticket registration. The Bulldogs are today ten days away from the August 31 season opener vs Vanderbilt. That game is in Nashville. The home opener is a week later, September 7 in Sanford Stadium against Murray State.  There is a Red Cross blood drive today at UGA, underway at 11 and lasting til 5 at the University of Georgia’s Memorial Hall.  The University of Georgia is hosting the first part-time job and internship fair of the fall semester: it’s at 11 o’clock at UGA’s Tate Student Center. 
  • Elbert County Sheriff Melvin Andrews says he will be a candidate for reelection in 2020. His announcement sets up a rematch, as Jamie Calloway, who lost to Andrews in the 2016 election, says he will make another run for the sheriff’s office in Elberton.      “I will be running for re-election on my 30 years of law enforcement experience and proudly on the record of the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office,” Andrews said. “Drug arrests are up, the crime rate is down and there are no unsolved murders in Elbert County in the seven years since I took office as Sheriff. I look forward to meeting the voters of Elbert County in next year’s primary and general election and asking for your support for a third term as your Sheriff.”   “Though I think it's a little early to ‘officially’ begin the campaign,” Callaway said, “due to rumors going around that I changed my mind about running I want to go ahead and post this. I still want to serve this county as your Sheriff and plan to run again in 2020. After losing by less than 200 votes last time, I am committed to gaining your confidence and your vote.
  • There is bicycle talk today in Athens: the Athens in Motion Commission, working on the development, implementation, and modification of a plan for a safe and connected network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout Athens, meets at 4 o’clock at the Government Building on Dougherty Street. There is an afternoon meeting of the Athens-Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission: it’s set for 5:30 at the Government Building on Dougherty Street.    From Watkinsville to Gainesville, and in other cities across northeast Georgia: today marks the end of three days of candidate qualifying. Political hopefuls have been signing up since Monday to run in municipal elections that will be held on the first Tuesday in November, with mayoral and city council seats up for grabs in towns across the region.
  • The Covington Police Department needs your help.  Officials told Channel 2 Action News that officers found a man walking on Puckett Street in Covington on Tuesday afternoon. 'He is unable to tell us who he is, where he lives or the names of any relatives. His name is possibly Perry,' Covington police posted to their Facebook Page. Officers said they have canvassed the area and contacted all local nursing homes and have been unable to identify the man. If you recognize him, please call the Covington Police Department at 770-786-7605.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Tyler Clark represents the old warhorse on the Georgia football defense, a durable 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman who just keeps coming back for more. Clark, a starter on the defensive front each of the past two seasons, has played 41 games in his career and is ready for more and better this season. 'I feel great, I'm healthier, I'm stronger and I'm faster,' said Clark, a product of Americus, Ga. 'We have everybody coming back (on the D-Line), and we're ready.' Clark and his fellow senior defensive linemen certainly have heard the talk that their unit is one of the most concerning on the team. There are no apparent first-round NFL Draft picks or senior dominators, and Clark admits he didn't make the progress last season that he should have. 'I didn't do as well as I thought, or as well as I could,' Clark said. 'I started feeling myself too much, and it got in my head. But I'm going to be back this year.' The fact Clark came out to talk to the media and own up to his lackluster junior season was telling. Apparently, all it took was letting him know the media wanted to hear from him during his autograph session at FanDay. Clark gives the impression of a team-first guy who is eager to please the fans and his coaches, to the point of playing through several painful ailments. Indeed, Clark said the training room has been a big part of his regiment and staying durable enough to answer the bell for the Bulldogs week-in and week-out. 'It's been pretty tough playing in the SEC, and when I come out of the games, of course there will be bumps and bruises,' Clark said. 'I go in the cold tub, I get the hammers, I get rolled out, stretched and massaged every Sunday.' And then Clark comes back for more, working against one of the best offensive lines in the country to sharpen his skills. 'It feels like a Saturday in Athens going against that O-Line in practice,' Clark said. 'But it's the only O-Line we'll face like that.' Clark would know, he's seen them all, and now he's ready for a strong finish his senior season. Georgia football DL Tyler Clark DawgNation Georgia football fall camp WATCH: Why Georgia has the best backfield in college football Versatile Cade Mays elevating his game, puts rough recruitment behind Solomon Kindley emerging as preseason first-team AA Georgia No. 3 in preseason AP Top 25 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 WATCH: Tyler Clark, Georgia's D-Line warhorse ready for more rugged action appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Could this Georgia football team have the best running game in the nation? It's a fair question to ask when one considers the powerful and deep offensive line, and the depth of great backs running behind it. UGA led the SEC in rushing last season, and it's hard to imagine any team in the league rushing for more yards in 2019. As much knowledge and passing accuracy as third-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm brings to the table, it seems like playing power football would be playing to the proven talent on the Bulldogs' roster. RELATED: Georgia QB Great explains importance of run game to pass game Whether it's dynamic D'Andre Swift, hard-charging Brian Herrien, electric James Cook, powerful Zamir White or versatile Kenny McIntosh, it seems like Georgia has the bases covered. As if the backs needed to do more, it's worth noting they are all capable pass catchers and utilized on special teams. Veteran beat writer Mike Griffith talked at length about the Bulldogs' runners, comparing them to some of the greatest backs in football that he's run across at other places, from Barry Sanders, to Shaun Alexander and Alvin Kamara. Also, more on the story of D'Wan Mathis and his emergency brain surgery, and how what Kirby Smart and the doctors at Athens Piedmont Medical Center history did was so impressive. On the Beat with Mike Griffith DawgNation Georgia football fall camp Versatile Cade Mays elevating his game, puts rough recruitment behind Solomon Kindley emerging as preseason first-team AA Georgia No. 3 in preseason AP Top 25 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 WATCH: Why Georgia has the best backfield in college football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The recruiting services said Georgia football signee Cade Mays was a 5-star prospect. Mays was once ranked the No. 1 player in the 2018 Tennessee High School signing class, and the No. 3 offensive tackle in the country. RELATED: Cade Mays has MVP quality on Georgia O-Line When Mays, the son of Vols legend Kevin Mays, was committed to Tennessee and former coach Butch Jones, the rankings were celebrated by hometown fans who watched Mays star at Knoxville's Catholic High School. Indeed, Tennessee had the highest rated class of commits when the 2017 season began, with high-profile quarterback Adrian Martinez also committed to play for Jones. But when the Vols season went sour and the fanbase turned on Jones, Mays made the decision to de-commit, and Martinez ultimately shunned the new staff and chose Nebraska. Rough reaction The Tennessee fan base is understandably as unsettled and as anxious as any, having not been to the SEC Championship Game since the year before Tennessee legend Phillip Fulmer was fired (2007). Mays de-commitment was met with a great deal of anger on social media, and there were hard feelings, and hurt feelings. 'It definitely was hard,' said Mays, who may finally get some relief from upset Tennessee fans now that his talented younger brother, Cooper, is committed to the Vols. 'I was getting all this hate, but I was doing something for me. My parents told me it doesn't really matter what the outside world thinks, my family loves me, and my God loves me.' Mays said he dealt with it as best he could. 'I just put the phone down and confided in my family,' Mays said. 'No one has ever really come up to me in person and tried to start anything.' Keyboard warriors aside, Mays quickly proved at Georgia that he was indeed every bit as good as the 247Sports Composite rankings indicated. Stepping up Georgia was battling SEC East challenger South Carolina in the second game of the season when preseason All-SEC left tackle Andrew Thomas went down with an injury. Mays remembers Kirby Smart yelling for him to get on the field, but before that, he had to switch jerseys. RELATED: Georgia Practice Report, Mays moves up for line drills 'I was actually wearing number 42 during that game, I was supposed to be the tight end, the extra big guy,' Mays recalled. 'Then I heard Coach Smart, yelling Cade, Cade, Cade.' They gave me this big jersey to put on, and I had to run out and tell the ref I was checking in with a new jersey.' Mays started against Middle Tennessee the next week and was back in the relief role in the fourth week when Thomas left the Missouri game after re-injuring his ankle. Georgia right guard Ben Cleveland also was injured against Missouri, breaking his fibula, leading to Mays starting the following week against Tennessee in Cleveland's spot. Mays played in 11 games last season before suffering a shoulder injured that sidelined him for three games, but he earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors. 2019 glue guy That versatility continues for Mays, who has added the ability to play center to his repertoire. 'I like being that useful, if anything happens, I'm the guy that can be plugged in,' Mays said. 'It has helped knowing the center spot and learning the offense and what everyone is doing. 'I think it's helped me pick my game up and elevated it to a new level.' Mays, now 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, was working with the first team at right guard in Tuesday's practice. Among those most impressed with Mays is former Auburn lineman and ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic. RELATED: SEC expert breaks down Georgia Great Wall' O-Line 'Ilike the way he plays more than any of those other guys in that entire group,' Cubelic said this summer. 'Cade is a finisher, he has that nasty you love to see and plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He has room to grow fundamentally, but he's fun to watch, regardless. 'You routinely see him 10 or 20 yards downfield looking for contact on each play.' Mays says that's exactly how he wants people to think about him. 'I would say the best thing somebody could say about me is that I play hard, I love the game, and I just want to finish blocks on people,' Mays said. 'I want to be looked at as dependable, and I take pride in that.' Georgia O-Lineman Cade Mays DawgNation Georgia football fall camp Solomon Kindley emerging as preseason first-team AA Georgia No. 3 in preseason AP Top 25 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 WATCH: Versatile Georgia football offensive lineman Cade Mays elevating game appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football appeared back at full speed on Tuesday, Monday's light walk-through having served its intended purpose. 'When you have 48 hours, you can almost recover to a full extent and we're hoping to get everybody's legs back,' Coach Kirby Smart said following Saturday's 135-play scrimmage. 'You could see it (Saturday). The GPS says it. A guy that was running 19 (mph) is running 17. A guy that was running 21 is running 18, 19. They're hurting a little bit but part of that is mental toughness and the grit. They've been able to handle that.' Indeed, and a heat index of a mere 91 degrees likely made Tuesday's workout feel like even more of a breeze after Smart had his Bulldogs in full equipment sweating through days of 100 plus early in fall drills. Smart's practice management skills may have been modeled after Nick Saban's at first. But now in his fourth year leading the Bulldogs, Smart has modified much to his liking, such as the hilarious Friday activity of staging a 4 x 100 race between selected players and coaches. Georgia AD Greg McGarity was tipped off and was on hand to watch it. McGarity chuckled while recalling when the players realizing the fix was in with world-class sprinter Matthew Boling running the anchor leg for the coaches. 'I was there when J.R. Reed spotted him and said, there's that 9.9 dude, this is a setup!' ' McGarity said, recalling how Reed described Boling, a UGA track athlete who has run the 100 meters in 9.98 seconds. 'It was a really neat event for the kids to be a part of.' 4100. Players vs coaches. Watch til the end. @UGATrack, thanks for the assist! #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/TI5q2WEEz0 Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) August 19, 2019 The Bulldogs went on to have their best scrimmage of the offseason the next day, drawing praise from Smart after last Saturday's work at Sanford Stadium. Receiver rotation Redshirt sophomore Matt Landers has apparently held on to the top spot in the starting three-rotation after Scrimmage Two. Tyler Simmons and Demetris Robertson continue to hold down the top sports in the slot and the other outside receiver position. Freshman George Pickens and Miami grad transfer Lawrence Cager are running with the twos. Dominick Blaylock, who has been working with the threes (behind Kearis Jackson in the slot), got a positive call out from OC James Coley during practice. RELATED: Dominick Blaylock battles to get on 70-man bus trip Nakobe Dean injury Freshman 5-star inside linebacker Nakobe Dean was not seen at practice and is dealing with a high ankle sprain. Dean is the No. 3 ILB behind starters Tae Crowder and Monty Rice. Sophomore Quay Walker has moved up with the second team to work beside Channing Tindall with Dean sidelined. Tyrique Stevenson back Stevenson, the athletically gifted true freshman cornerback, was back at 100 percent in drill work after being somewhat limited last week. Stevenson was taking part in all of secondary coach Charlton Warren's drill work. Line Dance Sophomore Cade Mays was working with the first team offensive line at right guard during the media viewing portion of practice. Andrew Thomas continued to anchor the line at left tackle, with Solomon Kindley at left guard, Trey Hill at center, Mays and Isaiah Wilson at right tackle. The second group featured Xavier Truss at left tackle, with Justin Shaffer at left guard, Clay Webb at center, Ben Cleveland at right guard and Warren McClendon at right tackle. D-Line update Senior defensive linemen Julian Rochester and David Marshall were working through drills with their teammates at the start of practice. Smart said Rochester (ACL) and Marshall (foot) have been limited in fall camp while they rehabilitate from offseason surgeries. DawgNation Georgia football fall camp Solomon Kindley emerging as preseason first-team AA Georgia No. 3 in preseason AP Top 25 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 report: Everybody's legs back' after hilarious Matthew Boling prank appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS A rough Georgia fall camp is about to get even tougher for Kirby Smart and his coaches, as they sort through personnel to determine who 'makes the bus' to Vanderbilt. The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs open the season at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, in Nashville. Georgia can suit up 70 players for the game against the Commodores. Smart indicated he's nowhere near ready to complete the list. 'We're going to have some tough decisions to make, we're not going to make them right now,' Smart said after the Bulldogs' second scrimmage of fall camp last Saturday. 'We've got two weeks to finalize those choices and decisions.' Smart indicated freshman quarterback D'Wan Mathis has yet to be cleared for contact, so preferred walk-on QB Nathan Priestly will be the third quarterback on the travel roster behind Jake Fromm and Stetson Bennett. Georgia could dress six running backs at Vanderbilt after Kenny McIntosh's impressive second scrimmage. 'We don't know how many backs travel . if they can help on special teams, they'll be out there,' Smart said. 'We've traveled as few as four, as many as seven. Prather (Hudson) makes that number vary because he's a really good special teams player. So those decisions we've got to make are going to be tough. 'Somebody like McIntosh is a key to that decision, because his value right now is going to be special teams, initially.' The Bulldogs typically brought 10 receivers on road trips last season, but Smart pointed out how accomplished many of the departing receivers were on special teams. 'When you start talking about (true freshmen) George Pickens, Dom Blaylock, those guys haven't seen the light,' Smart said. 'Their high school special teams was, I was catching the ball and running with it, I wasn't blocking anybody, I wasn't covering anybody.' 'They have to become those players and be dominant in those roles, that's something that we're still working on.' Smart pointed out the number of talented linebackers the team has added, an indication the receiving group for road games could shrink a bit depending on how special teams auditions play out. 'The last five to get on the bus,' Smart said 'are going to be dominant special teams players.' DawgNation Georgia football fall camp Solomon Kindley emerging as preseason first-team AA Georgia No. 3 in preseason AP Top 25 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 Mark Webb's 'rough' start has proven beneficial Could RB James Cook be biggest UGA surprise? J.R. Reed says Havoc Rate is out the roof' The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart: special teams determines who's getting on the bus' appeared first on DawgNation.