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    A mother duck quacked for help after her ducklings fell into a Pennsylvania sewer Saturday morning. >> Watch the news report here Pittsburgh firefighters and police came to the rescue of the ducklings trapped in the sewer along Kalida Drive in Larimer. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  While the ducklings' mother watched, Pittsburgh police Officer Cassie Lee jumped into the sewer and rescued all 10 ducklings. Mom looked to make sure all her ducklings were accounted for and then walked away with her babies. >> Read more trending news  This is the second day in a row ducklings were rescued from a sewer in Pittsburgh. Read more here.
  • A heartwarming viral video filmed late last year is making the rounds again – just in time for Father's Day. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  According to ABC News, Julianne Cragg of Edmonton, Alberta, was at a Three Days Grace concert in December when she spotted a teen signing song lyrics to a deaf man. 'At last night's concert, we witnessed something absolutely beautiful,' Cragg wrote in a Dec. 13 Facebook post, which included a video of the pair. 'We saw this girl and a man who seemed to require a lot of dancing room, irritating at first until we realized what was happening,' Cragg continued. 'Her father is deaf, she was signing the lyrics to him. We couldn't care less about what was happening on stage, watching them was absolutely mesmerizing. They were both very sweet and her father was very proud of his daughter.' >> Watch the video here The father and daughter were identified as Karri Carberry, 19, and Darrin Carberry, who also are from Edmonton, ABC News reported. >> Read more trending news  'I feel absolutely shocked and amazed at all of the views and responses we have been getting!' the younger Carberry said of the clip, which has been viewed more than 28 million times, in a December interview. 'It’s an amazing feeling and we’re both very happy that everyone around the world is enjoying it so much.' Read more here.
  • A Southern California teen who has been in a wheelchair for nearly a year overcame the odds last week to walk at his high school graduation. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  According to KTLA, Claremont High School graduate Alexander Harris surprised his classmates Thursday as he rose from his wheelchair, used a walker to cross the stage and accepted his diploma. >> Watch the moment here The emotional moment came 10 months after a serious motocross racing crash left Harris with a broken neck. 'He couldn't lift his hands to drink,' his mother, Peggy, told KTLA. 'I had to feed him. I had to give him, you know, whatever he needed, and to see where he's at today ...' >> Read more trending news  Although doctors said Harris may never be able to use his limbs again, he remained focused on one goal. 'My first thought was, 'When can I get back walking?'' he told KTLA. Following several months of physical therapy, he did just that. 'Never give up,' he told the TV station. Want to follow Harris’ recovery? You can read more about him and donate to his GoFundMe campaign here.
  • Hundreds of divers removed litter from the ocean floor near a popular Florida beach – and set a world record in the process. >> Read more trending news  According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, 633 divers joined forces Saturday morning at Deerfield Beach to accomplish the feat, which occurred at Dixie Divers' annual pier cleanup. >> See photos and a video from the event here Michael Empric, a representative from Guinness World Records in New York, attended the event and tallied the participants.  >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  'Today, I'm the official eyes and ears of Guinness World Records on the ground, so we know immediately whether or not the record's been broken,' Empric told the Sun Sentinel. They ended up breaking the previous record for the largest underwater cleanup, set four years ago by a group of 614 divers in the Red Sea. >> See the Facebook post here This isn't the first time Dixie Divers has broken a world record. At last year's Deerfield Beach cleanup, 386 divers set the record for the longest underwater human chain. Read more here.
  • There are all types of dads and father figures across the country, but Budweiser is paying special homage to stepdads in its newest commercial.  >> Watch the ad here The short film, which is about four minutes long, follows three stepfathers and their adult stepchildren, who share true stories from their childhood. The kids admit they were initially cynical of the new men in their lives but eventually grew to love them. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news One woman featured, named Shealyn, said, “When I met Paul 28 years ago, I was a fiery little — a brat.” Her stepdad, Paul, jokingly replied, “You said it, not me.” “As a stepfather, you have boundaries,” he continued. “The relationship develops over time. I just took things day by day, and we grew as a family.” Toward the end, the kids surprise their stepdads by tearfully asking them to legally adopt them.  Budweiser uploaded the video to YouTube earlier this week, and it’s received 1.1 million views in just two days.  >> Read more trending news  In the description of the clip, the beer company said it wanted “to shine an unexpected light on fatherhood by toasting stepfathers who have risen to the occasion and owned their roles as fathers.” >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  Budweiser also said it wants to encourage other people to share a story about a father that stepped up. For every story, the corporation said it would donate $1 to The Stepfamily Foundation to support blended families. 
  • Hundreds of firefighters from all over the area came to watch an 11-year-old boy play baseball -- and will keep coming to games until his dad can make it himself. >> Read more trending news  Danvers Braves' number 7 got a little extra attention during their first game of the Little League playoffs because his dad, firefighter Glenn Preston, is facing a battle against occupational cancer. When Preston's colleagues learned he wouldn't be able to make it to his son Jake's game, they all came instead. 'He’s devastated that he can’t be here and I told him that we would get it done and not to worry,' said Boston fire Lt. Roger Kendrick. 'I think it really shows the goodness in people and what can be done when you really care about somebody.' From Boston to Gloucester, hundreds of firefighters lined Moulton Field on Friday evening. 'It’s the least we could do for him and his family because of what he’s going through. It’s my pleasure to be here, my honor,' said Beverly fire Lt. Eric Fowler. Preston is currently in New Jersey, recovering from surgery. 'He’s good, we were just hoping to not have to do this again because he’s already had a lot of surgeries. He’s had six surgeries and four hospitalizations,” said Eva Preston, Glenn's wife. Glenn Preston was the focus of Boston 25 News' in-depth coverage of how occupational cancer has affected firefighters called Boston's Bravest. He sat down with Boston 25 News anchor Blair Miller several times to discuss his lymphoma diagnosis and all the complications that followed. His family hopes he'll be back in his own backyard soon, throwing a ball around with Jake. Until then, his fellow firefighters said they'll be here to cheer on both of them. 'It’s just part of the brotherhood,' said Matt Aquaro, a Danvers firefighter. 'This isn’t really about Glenn anymore. This is about his 11-year-old son, who is having to grow up way too fast ...hopefully someday, he’ll be able to look back and that and say, 'Geez, these guys really love my dad, my dad is a great guy,'' Kendrick said. Preston is out of the hospital in New Jersey and waiting for clearance from doctors to return to Boston. Once he recovers from surgery, he'll be able to undergo testing to see if he's in remission. 
  • It's a numerologist's dream.  >> Read more trending news  A Tennessee baby girl was born on June 12 (6-12) at 6:12 a.m., WTVF reported. Saylor Elaine was born at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, the television station reported. The girl was 21 inches long at birth, WTVF reported. And she weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, the television station reported. Those are some pretty good numbers.
  • Most of his life was spent not being able to speak, but Nicholas Brady beat the odds and was able to deliver a commencement speech during his high school graduation. Not only that, but he also graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was accepted by every college to which he sent an application. Nicholas’ mother, Jennifer Brady, said her son had developmental delays, but he had selective mutism causing silence.  He’d make the movements to cry but no sound would be produced, she told KYW. When he was 10 years old, Nicholas was finally able to tell her something. He grabbed her phone and typed out “I can’t speak,” Jennifer Brady told the television station. Nicholas ended up attending a charter school online where no one knew he couldn’t speak. >> Read more trending news  His guidance counselor found out at the end of the first year when she spoke to his mother. Thanks to hard work by Nicholas, as well as counselor Adrianne Erb, his teachers and his mother, he was finally able to speak. “It was kind of like when you have something on the tip of your tongue. I couldn’t verbally say it,” Nicholas told KYW. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  “I didn’t think my son would be successful with school and I certainly didn’t think he would be a speaker at a graduation ceremony when speaking was the one thing he struggled with the most,” Jennifer Brady told KYW.
  • The grass is cut and the lawns have been mowed but the job is not done for the man who wanted to mow veterans’ lawns in all 50 states. Now he wants others to start up their mowers and tractors and help those who need it, ABC News reported. Rodney Smith Jr., the owner of a lawn care company in Huntsville, Alabama, left his home earlier this week to get to his final two states -- Alaska and Hawaii, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Thursday, he made it to the Hawaiian islands to finish his job, ABC News reported. >> Read more trending news  He posted a thank you video that included some of the people he’s helped, some featuring photos of their time of service in the military. His mission started in 2015, when he saw an older man in his hometown having trouble mowing his lawn. A month later, he had mowed his 100th lawn, Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as he drove from New York to Alabama earlier this month. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  “It looked like he was struggling, so I pulled over and helped him. That’s when I got my goal to mow lawns for free for the elderly, single moms and veterans,” Smith told ABC News. Then he recruited young people to help when he realized the job was too big for just one man. He started the 50 Yard Challenge, which has spread around the world. Eventually, he decided to make it his goal to focus on veterans. He drove through the lower 48 states, but had the help of Atlanta-based Delta Airlines to get to Alaska and Hawaii, the AJC reported. “I’ve come across so many veterans that are struggling to get their lawn mowed. If they served our country, we should step up for them,” Smith told ABC News. “This is the least we can do. This is the last thing they need to worry about,” he added.
  • One student almost didn’t take the last steps of elementary school. But thanks to a selfless teacher, he was able to walk across the stage with pride. A fifth grader’s shoes broke just before the graduation ceremony at George Mason Elementary School started. The student and his mother tried to fix the shoes with some art supplies, WTVR reported, but the quick repairs didn’t work. Luckily, Vohn Lewis, a teacher at the Richmond school, was able to lend a hand, or, rather, a  shoe. Both Lewis and the student wore the same size shoe, the “Today” show reported. >> Read more trending news  Lewis is a substitute teacher who started at George Mason Elementary in February and he’s a mentor with the Brothers United Mentoring program that helps guide young men of color. Lewis has a mission at the school. “If I see a child with a shoe untied or a collar messed up, I can’t just sit there and let him walk by or walk by,” Lewis told WTVR. “I’ll definitely walk up to them and let them know, and that’s just me.” >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  The educator and mentor hopes he made an impression on the student that will encourage him to follow in Lewis’ steps. “I told him that he had to make a promise to me because it was nothing for me to do something like that for him. But he has to keep in mind that one day he’s going to be in the position of Mr. Lewis and he has to do the same thing,” Lewis told WTVR. “People will never forget how you make them feel. Character is so important in life. You should always be willing to give and always willing to be a blessing to someone else,” Lewis told WRC.

Local News

  • The annual conference of North Georgia United Methodists wraps up today in Athens: the conference began Tuesday at the Classic Center. From the Methodist Conference website…   Friday, June 148 a.m. | Session 72 p.m. | Session 8, Closing Worship4 p.m. | Adjournment   Comprised of more than 800 churches, more than 1,300 clergy members, and approximately 350,000 lay members, The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church seeks to develop principled Christian leaders, to engage in ministry with the poor, improve global health, advocate for justice, respond to disasters, and fulfill the mission of the denomination: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Currently, it is the largest United Methodist Conference in the United States. 
  • Troopers with the Georgia State Patrol and agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said they made a marijuana bust Tuesday afternoon worth more than $200,000. The GBI sent Channel 2 Action News a photo of the 70 pounds of marijuana officials said agents discovered during a traffic stop in Gwinnett County near the Hamilton Mill Road exit on Interstate 85 northbound. Three men from Charlotte, North Carolina, were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana: Phetprasong Souriyo, 34, Brandy Souriyo, 28, and Somphone Thongkhamdy, 30. The GBI said their arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into marijuana trafficking via the I-85 corridor from metro Atlanta north to neighboring states.
  • Minicamp ended for the Falcons on Thursday, and players, coaches and staff have about a month away from the facility in Flowery Branch before training camp begins.  Though he didn’t practice all three days, wide receiver Julio Jones said he will be ready for the season and is happy with his place on the team. Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that he and the Falcons are continuing to work on a long-term contract. Jones, who’s also nursing a foot injury, is scheduled to be the 13th highest paid receiver in the league in 2019, according to NFL stats. Tampa Bay’s Michael Evans ($20 million) is set to be highest paid, while Jones is at $13.4 million. The six-time Pro Bowler took more of a leadership role this minicamp, acting as a coach on the field and mentoring younger receivers during and after drills. Former Georgia Tech and Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was in attendance for practice today, as coach Dan Quinn invited him in hopes of providing inspiration for the team’s younger players.  Even if his production has slipped, Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley said he doesn’t feel intimidated heading into an important season — both financially and on the field. The 2015 first-round pick skipped all team offseason programs after the Falcons picked up the $12.8 million fifth-year option on his contract instead of offering a longer-term deal. Beasley, who compiled 15.5 sacks in 2016, has had only 10 sacks in the previous two seasons combined. Quinn said his project over the season is to help Beasley develop more moves off the line of scrimmage, so Beasley has different ways to get to the passer. After skipping OTAs, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett reported for minicamp, but wore a hat instead of a helmet for all three days. Jarrett, too, skipped OTAs while he and the Falcons work out a long-term deal. The Falcons placed the franchise tag on the former Clemson Tiger in March and will pay him $15.2 million this season. On Tuesday, Jarrett deflected all questions from the media regarding his contract to the media. Heading into training camp, it’s possible Grady may continue not to participate if a long-term deal isn’t reached.   Matt Ryan has a problem every player in the league would dream of: How do you get better when you are already one of the best? The Falcons quarterback said he will continue to work on his strength and flexibility this season, and has enlisted professional help to do so. He also plans to organize a players-only camp to help the team create bonds together without coaches present.
  • What makes a great teacher? Aspiring English teachers from the University of Georgia saw one in action this year at Classic City High School in Athens, according to their professor Peter Smagorinsky. Smagorinsky is a Distinguished Research Professor of English Education in UGA’s Department of Language and Literacy Education (English Education). Smagorinsky has profiled many amazing teachers for his Great Georgia Teacher series here on the blog over the years. This time, he lets his UGA education students do most of the talking about what makes teacher Stephanie Johns so effective and so inspiring.   By Peter Smagorinsky   At the University of Georgia, I teach the educational foundations course for undergraduates who hope to become English teachers. The course, Service-Learning in Teacher Education, involves three main components. On campus, they lead one another in discussions of books they choose to broaden their understanding of students, families, and communities. At Classic City High School, the non-traditional school in Athens, they tutor and mentor to learn about school from students on the margins. Finally, they make sense of their experiences in a paper in which they reflect on their learning during the semester.  When I completed my reading of my students’ course papers, I was struck by how many of them talked about what they learned from observing Classic City High School English teacher Stephanie Johns. She’s a great Georgia teacher in a setting where students need her support and love to succeed.  I’ll let my UGA students do most of the talking from here on out. Without being prompted to talk about her, they did quite a bit, and I can only excerpt a small amount of what they wrote:  Love, Encouragement, Respect, and Support “Mrs. Johns . . . really cares about her students and wants them to succeed. She talked to her students as people rather than as a superior to an inferior, which I really appreciated seeing because I’ve definitely seen teachers who come across as condescending or patronizing. Mrs. Johns seemed to really know her students and what they struggled with and tried to provide as much help as she could. She was also understanding of students who might not be having the best day, which was really great to see.”  “I was able see the unconditional love that a teacher has for her students. . . . She recognizes potential in students and pushes them to do their best.”  Going Above and Beyond “All of the extra stuff she was doing for her students was all just extra work and more grading that she was going to have to do, but she was always willing to do that and go above and beyond for her students, which I just found to be very inspirational for my future career as an English teacher.”  Attentive to Students’ Heritages, Needs, and Interests “Mrs. Johns’ class made me realize how important it is to have a variety of diverse materials for the students. I noticed the change in the atmosphere when she brought out information about Hispanic and African American individuals. The atmosphere changed simply because they had something to relate to. I really enjoyed how Mrs. Johns asked the kids what types of poems interested them to keep them focused. When she asked them what they wanted to read, they perked up and were more engaged. . . . I respect Mrs. Johns for recognizing how unmotivated these kids are and have been in previous times. Yet, she still goes out of her way in order to keep them focused and learning.”  Compassion, Energy, Patience, and Positive Outlook “Ms. Johns has a great level of student awareness. . . . I’m particularly inspired by her level of compassion and patience with her students. I can tell that she enjoys her job, which is so important.”  “She approached every lesson and activity with enthusiasm, even when the students were not responding or refused to do work. . . I found the lack of effort from certain students to be frustrating and distracting, but Mrs. Johns only continued to try harder, taking the extra time to reach out individually to those students, until she was able to break the barriers they had put up.”  “Students within institutions such as Classic City High School need teachers like her, who bring a positive attitude and outlook on life into the classroom. . . It’s important for these students to realize that people do truly care and that if school isn’t necessarily working out, there are other pathways that lead to success and happiness.”  Calm Demeanor for Stressful Times “I feel lucky to have been able to witness her in action the week before what some might say is the most stressful time of the year: standardized testing. Mrs. Johns brought a sort of calm to her students that isn’t really describable. It is almost as if there is a tone shift as soon as they walk in the door.”  “It is apparent to the students that she trusts them and that she really cares about them and their families. With all of the stress of graduation and testing coming up, she had meaningful conversations with multiple students about what else is going on in their lives. I feel lucky to watch Mrs. Johns mentor and teach during such a busy time of the school year, and it really gave me perspective on how to navigate preparing your students for big changes. Just because it is an important and stressful time, doesn’t mean you need to escalate or apply more pressure that is already there. There is a way to get people to take things seriously without completely stressing them out. I feel like ultimately, the confidence she was instilling in them will have the biggest impact on their performance.”  Flexibility and Respect for Individuals “She instructs in a way that the students feel comfortable opening up to her and asking questions. . . . It is apparent that she values each student as an individual and their opinions. . . . She is constantly reminding them that they are more than capable and gives them flexibility to work on whatever is at the top of their priority list.”  “I can tell she truly cares about her students and their success. She is not a pushover teacher, but she is very flexible which I think is a great attribute she possesses when dealing with students. . . Her personality is very approachable and she allowed her classroom to be a safe space for students to air out anything that was bothering them; it didn't matter if it had to do with their course work or not. Ms. Johns explained to me if they can’t have a place to comfortably express their issues, then they will not be completely focused on their course work.”  An Inspiring Model “She reminded me of my 12th-grade English teacher who inspired me to become an English teacher. My mentorship allowed me to meet another amazing English teacher who can get through to any student, even the hard ones.”  “I learned a lot from Mrs. Johns, as she was a perfect model of what a teacher should be. I found her attitude and outlook for these students to be inspiring and I hope to one day carry myself like her. I think that without teachers like her in these schools, the success of the students would suffer. She was a true testament to what it means to care and engage your students, no matter the response they give you. One piece of advice she gave me was to remember that as a teacher, you cannot hold a grudge against a student, not even for a minute because when that student is ready and needs you, you have to be ready. I truly believe this was the most important takeaway for me, because I found myself often getting frustrated for her when students failed to complete assignments or participate in class.”  “Mrs. Johns seemed to really care about her students and knew how to motivate them to do their work. When I am a teacher one day, I hope to have the same understanding and ability to connect with my students.”  “I also was able to learn hands-on beside Mrs. Johns, who I know will be an inspiration to me throughout my teaching career. If one day I’m half as amazing of a teacher as she is, I’ll be in pretty good shape. Because of having the opportunity to work one-on-one with these students, I am more understanding, patient, and supportive, all of which will be wonderful things for me to carry into my classroom and the rest of my life.” My Brief Conclusion My UGA students found much to admire in working with Ms. Johns. The qualities they talk about are largely interpersonal. They speak to her care, flexibility, love, respect, compassion, patience, positive outlook, and other non-technical aspects of teaching. Her students in turn tend to work for her, because she makes the effort to connect with and reach out to them. The academics follow from the relationships she cultivates.  That’s the most important trait my students observed again and again, and it rarely makes an impression on policy. But it should. 
  • The 19th annual North Georgia Folk Potters Festival is set for Saturday in Homer: the festival, organized by the Banks County Recreation Department, starts at 9 and lasts til 2 on Thompson Street in Homer. Following is a list of potters expected to take part…   Steve Turpin Abby Turpin David Meaders Wayne Hewell Dwayne Crocker Sid Luck Shelby West Stanley Ferguson Mary Ferguson Jami Ferguson Kris London Marvin Bailey Roger Corn Rex Hogan Carolyn Simmons Rob Withrow Walter Aberson Rodney Leftwich Kim Leftwich Joyce Branch Mike Ledford (Joes Lake Pottery) Mike Craven Bo Thompson Mike Williamson Lynn Thrurmond Michael Ball Michel Bayne Joe Craven Dal Burtchael Stanley and Kathy Irvin Brian Wilson Bobby Gaither · Mike Hanning

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS-----University of Georgia All-American Aaron Schunk has been named the 2019 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, the College Baseball Foundation announced Thursday.   “In the end, we felt that Aaron’s impact on the mound, where he factored in the decision in 15 of his 17 appearances, his steady bat and his outstanding play at third base put him just a tick above the others,” said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award selection committee. “Plus his ability to positively affect the lives of others off the field makes him the perfect example of what the Olerud Award is all about. We are excited to see what the future holds for him.”   A second-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Schunk helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 4 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament and a final record of 46-17. He became the first Bulldog in nine years to capture the “Triple Crown,” leading the team with a .339 average, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. On the mound, he tallied 12 saves to go with a 1-2 record and a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances. Earlier this week, Schunk was named a first team All-American as a utility player by Baseball America along with other multiple All-America and All-Region squads by various outlets. Additionally, Schunk is a Dean’s List student and a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He earned a spot on the 2019 SEC Community Service Team. Schunk signed a professional contract with the Rockies earlier this week.   “We are honored that Aaron has been selected as this year's John Olerud Award winner,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “It's a tremendous accomplishment for him and well-deserved. He's been an outstanding representative of the Georgia baseball program on and off the field throughout his career.”    The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The College Baseball Foundation (CBF) will present Schunk the 2019 award later this year. The other finalists this year were Will Mattiessen (Stanford), Alec Burleson (East Carolina), Tristin English (Ga. Tech) and Davis Sharpe (Clemson).   Schunk is the first Bulldog to win the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Previous winners of the award include Mike McGee (2010-FSU); Danny Hultzen (2011-Virginia), Brian Johnson (2012-Florida), Marco Gonzales (2013-Gonzaga), A.J. Reed (2014-Kentucky), Brendan McKay (2015-17-Louisville) and Brooks Wilson (2018-Stetson). For more information on the CBF’s John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
  • ATHENS — The Georgia football offense is loaded for 2019, from its experienced and vaunted front line, to a third-year starting quarterback in Jake Fromm and returning 1,000-yard rusher in D’Andre Swift. Sports illustrated is the latest to take note, listing Fromm and Swift among the Heisman Trophy favorites entering the 2019 season. Fromm was listed among four “Elite Quarterbacks on Elite Teams” along with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Swift, meanwhile, was in the “Workhouse Running Backs” group with 20 other backs. WATCH: Kirby Smart plans heavy usage for D’Andre Swift Fromm and Swift have been among the Heisman Trophy favorites throughout the offseason, with BetOnline.Ag installing them at 12-to-1 back in January. Fromm, Swift among early Heisman Trophy online betting favorites BetOnline.com kept Fromm and Swift’s Heisman Trophy odds at 12-to-1 in February, too. It appears spring drills did nothing to remove Fromm and Swift from the frontrunners for the award. Georgia coach Kirby Smart sounds ready to give new offensive coordinator James Coley some latitude to open up the offense this season. “People think balance means 50-50, (and) balance is not 50-50,” Smart said this spring. “Balance is being able to run the ball when you have to run the ball and being able to throw the ball when you have to throw the ball. So can you do both? Yes, you can be successful at both. “That might be 70-30 one game and then 30-70 the other way the next game.” The good news for Swift — and Fromm — is that Coley’s offense is expected to include plenty of throws to the backs. RELATED: James Coley expected to put his spin on Georgia offense Swift has proven an effective receiver as well as runner. Swift caught four passes or more in five games last season. In the last two games, Swift had more than four catches two TD reception. That bodes well for Fromm, as well. UGA lost four of its top five pass catchers from last season to the NFL draft. Fromm finished fifth in the nation in passing efficiency lat season, with Tagovailoa the only returning QB who was ranked higher. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says Georgia offense starts with Jake Fromm Fromm ranked only 42nd in the nation in passing yardage (2,749), but that was with Smart looking to play former Georgia QB Justin Fields as much as possible in relief. That’s not as likely to be the case in 2019, meaning the Bulldogs could put up single-season record offensive numbers, and place Fromm and Swift squarely in the Heisman Trophy race.   The post Why Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift are legit Heisman Trophy favorites appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Rankings are subjective, even so, it’s always interesting to ascertain how coaches and programs are judged from the outside. Take Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, for example. Smart, only 43 years old and entering this fourth year as the Bulldogs’ head coach, is already considered to be in rarified air by The Sporting News. Six-time national champion Nick Saban was ranked No. 1 among college coaches, while two-time national champ Dabo Swinney is at No. 2. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher comes in at No. 3, and then there’s Smart at No. 4 with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley No. 5. The rest of the top 10 includes Washington’s Chris Petersen at No. 6, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly at No. 7, Florida’s Dan Mullen at No. 8, Texas coach Tom Herman at No. 9 and Jim Harbaugh at No. 10. Smart will go head-to-head with Fisher for the first time this season when Texas A&M plays at Sanford Stadium on Nov. 23. Here’s the Top 10-ranked coaches by Sporting News analyst Bill Bender, and how they compare in age and record at current school: 1. Nick Saban (67), 141-20 (.881) 2. Dabo Swinney (49), 116-30 (.795) 3. Jimbo Fisher (53), 9-4 (.692) 4. Kirby Smart (43), 32-10 (.762) 5. Lincoln Riley (35), 24-4 (.857) 6. Chris Petersen (54), 47-21 (.691) 7. Brian Kelly (57), 60-34 (.638) 8. Dan Mullen (47), 10-3 (.769) 9. Tom Herman (44), 17-10 (.630) 10. Jim Harbaugh (55), 38-14 (.731) Other SEC Coaches, and where they are ranked: No. 15 Ed Orgeron (57), 25-9 (.735) No. 19 Gus Malzahn (53), 53-27 (.663) No. 33 Mark Stoops (51), 36-39 (.480) No. 36 Will Muschamp (47), 22-17 (.564) No. 37 Joe Moorhead (45), 8-5 (.615) No. 40 Barry Odom (42), 19-19 (.500) No. 53 Derek Mason (49), 24-38 (.387) No. 54 Jeremy Pruitt (45), 5-7 (.417) No. 62 Matt Luke (42), 11-13 (.458) No. 65 Chad Morris (50), 2-10   (.167)   The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart chasing two SEC coaches in Sporting News rankings appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — The University of Georgia announced Tuesday that it will not sell alcohol in general seating areas at its athletic venues in the 2019-2020 academic year. “After consideration of the many facets involved with the Southeastern Conference’s revised alcohol policy, the Athletic Association has made the decision to maintain, at this time, the current UGA policy which prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages in non-premium seating areas of our athletics facilities,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said in a school release.  “However, we will conduct an annual review of this policy to determine if any modifications may be needed in the future.” UGA president Jere Morehead tipped the school’s hand the day before the SEC held a historic vote that enabled schools to set their own stadium alcohol policies. “We’re still talking about the issue, we’re taking it in,” Morehead told DawgNation on May 30 at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin. “But you know, I think we’ve got it right at UGA, so I don’t see us making any significant changes.” Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State are the other SEC schools that have already said they will not sell alcohol in general seating areas this football season.   The post Georgia opts to keep alcohol sales out of general seating areas appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS —  Suzanne Yoculan was babysitting her 2-year-old granddaughter Evie Tuesday afternoon, and there wasn’t anywhere else on Earth she wanted to be. She could’ve been at the gym. But the Georgia Bulldogs’ Hall of Fame gymnastics coach has retired again. Yoculan quietly stepped away after two years as a volunteer assistant coach for head coach Courtney Kupets Carter. Yoculan came out of retirement to assist Kupets Carter when the Bulldogs’ former star gymnast took over the program that Yoculan once led to 10 national championships, including five in a row. “That was the plan when Courtney first asked me to help out,” said Yoculan, now the grandmother to three with another on the way. “We talked about it then, when we were laying out a road map for the program and what we needed to do to get back. I said at the time that I thought it’d take about two years and that’s what I committed to.” It would appear that the Gym Dogs are back on track. In a season that began with the team recording its highest score since its opening meet in 13 years, Georgia achieved a score of 198 for the first time since 2009 in the NCAA regionals and finished the year in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. The program is still not quite where Yoculan left it 10 years and two other head coaches ago. Under her leadership, the Bulldogs not only won 10 national titles, but they also finished Top 3 in the nation in 23 of her 27 seasons. Yoculan is confident now that Kupets Carter will get it back there. “Courtney’s way ahead of the game for someone who’s been a collegiate coach for only two years at one of the top programs in the country,” Yoculan said. “She’s truly blossoming. She totally gets it. She has a great relationship with the girls and knows what she’s wants to do and how she wants to do it.” Yoculan has played a big part in that maturation. When she first rejoined the team, Kupets Carter had no college coaching experience and the Gym Dogs’ staff was new and somewhat unsettled. In January of that first season, they lost one full-time assistant and Yoculan had to fill in. This past season, Kupets Carter added assistant Jason Vonk to a staff that already included veteran Josh Overton, hired Heather McCormick as lead administrator and became more confident and determined about her vision for the program. “It was full time that first year,” Yoculan said. “It certainly wasn’t the hours a normal volunteer coach would have where you’re coaching a couple of days a week. This year, Courtney was ready to take charge and make all the decisions herself. She did a great job.” Yoculan is not going to disappear from the scene. She has agreed to serve as co-president of the Ten-0 booster club alongside Dee Matthews and will remain active in the Legacy Club, which is the gymnastics team’s alumni organization. But all that will take a back seat to her family commitments, like babysitting Evie. “I missed so much family time when I was the head coach,” Yoculan said. “That’s the hardest part about coaching. I really believe that’s why there are so few women who remain in the field. It’s just really hard to find the balance. But I told Courtney I can do anything she wants me to do and I know she’s going to get the program back to the top.” The post Suzanne Yoculan steps away (again) from Georgia gymnastics program appeared first on DawgNation.