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College
Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!
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Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

You know it's the football offseason when, in addition to the usual queries about the coming season for Kirby Smart's Dawgs, my mail also includes questions about UGA basketball and even baseball!

Let's jump straight into some of the recent fan musings in the Junkyard Mail

Bill, Always interesting our position concerns going into next season. Surprisingly, my biggest concern is the running back position at "Running Back U." Is Zamir "Zeus" White truly ready to handle the load after two major knee surgeries? He was a great story last season. But was he truly explosive to carry a team? No. I'm hoping this extra off season helps him heal and get him back to the player before his first injury in high school.Is there a complement to Zeus in the backfield? James Cook was highly ranked, but has he really dazzled in college? A small back with speed either being misused or simply overrated. Kenny McIntosh? Highly rated. Nothing special, so far. Can the new, incoming stud freshman, Kendall Milton, be the answer to a "thunder and lightning" backfield with Zeus? We can only hope. What are your thoughts on our backfield entering spring?

Jim Parry

Keep in mind that it took a full season for Nick Chubb to get back into top form after knee surgery. I'm encouraged by the improvement I saw in White through the 2019 season, culminating his Sugar Bowl performance, where he had a season-high 18 carries for 92 yards and a 13-yard TD run in the Bulldogs' 26-14 win over Baylor.

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Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

Looking ahead to the coming season, I believe White likely will be the lead back in what has become UGA's tradition of tailback-by-committee to keep fresh legs in the game. I think Cook's best use might be going in motion, or as a receiver in the slot, rather than trying to run between the tackles. I haven't seen enough of McIntosh against top-notch competition yet to know where he fits in, though he looked great against lesser opponents like Arkansas State. And, of course, in addition to the 5-star Milton, Georgia bolstered its 2020 recruiting class (currently ranked best in the nation) this week with the addition of 4-star running back prospect Daijun Edwards.

I have a feeling that at least one of the freshmen might figure heavily into the Dawgs' tailback rotation as the season progresses. It's also worth noting that having a quarterback in Jamie Newman, who is a threat to run, might help loosen up opponents' defenses and benefit both Georgia's running and passing games.

Why can't we get a pash rush?Our players are overrated, or [is it] scheme?Year after year, we are at the bottom of the SEC in sacks.

Stephen Segrest

Actually, Georgia finished in the middle of the pack in the SEC in sack totals this past season, ranking No. 7 in the conference, behind Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Alabama. And, Georgia's leader in quarterback pressures and sacks, Azeez Ojulari, also was tied for No. 7 in the individual SEC sack rankings.

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Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

Your point that Georgia has room for improvement in this area is a valid one, though. Still, I think the Dawgs are likely to see that improvement, particularly as Ojulari hones his game. Already, as a redshirt freshman, he was named to the 2019 Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team and was a semifinalist for the Shaun Alexander Freshman Player of the Year Award. He showed what a key role he can play in the Sugar Bowl, when Ojulari sacked Baylor's quarterback and forced a fumble on Baylor's 4 th -and-4 attempt. I think Smart's emphasis on more "havoc" plays is starting to pay off.

Bill it's gettingharder and harder to enjoy afootball game, college or pro, without at least a couple of controversial calls or non-calls involving pass interference. The majority of the calls seem to be on third down and a lot are game-changers. In the [College Football Playoff championship game] there were two that I saw, one offensive, one defensive, that should have been called the other way. Does anyone know what pass interference is? And can we get some consistency?

Tony Tyson

Ah, consistency, the lack of which is the main complaint fans (and I imagine players and coaches) have with college officials, particularly the ones in the SEC. How the officials define pass interference, and when they call it, seems to vary with the officiating crews. I thought it interesting this past season that, in some games, the officials took a fairly laissez-faire attitude, letting defenders get pretty "handsy," as long as they didn't impede the progress of the receiver.

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Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

Georgia actually benefited from such a policy, because the Dawgs' pass defenders tend to use their hands a lot, which didn't sit well with some opponents, including Texas A&M and Baylor, who felt there were quite a few potential interference calls against the Dawgs that weren't made. On the other hand, LSU got away with a lot of touching in the SEC Championship Game.

Basically, I'm OK with whichever way officials want to call it, as long as they are consistent and call it the same way for both teams. That's where I get aggravated.

Bill: I really like Kirby and his staff, and he seems to be making the changes the fans want.We have had great success the last three years BUT is Georgia really any different than we have been in the past? In other words, why do we fall short each year of winning it all? It seems like each year we are deficient in some area that costs us in the big game: 2017 we should have never lost the national championship game but we did, to a backup QB. Coaching and conservative play calling from mid-third quarter cost us in games each year. In 2018, it was our defensive depth that hurt us. So, we lost to Bama.In 2019, it was our receiving corps. Every year, it is something so what will it be in 2020? Offensive line? QB? Injuries? Coaching?

Gary Cody

Well, Georgia again will have a different person calling offensive plays (that didn't help much in 2019), the defensive depth is pretty deep, the receivers who were young last season will have another year of experience, and UGA continues to recruit at an elite level. So, they again should be in the playoff conversation.

But, losing most of the starting offense, as well as the nation's best placekicker, might not be easy to overcome quickly. Perhaps one or both of those things will be the "something" that holds Georgia back in 2020, or perhaps the infusion of new thinking and a more mobile quarterback will make up for them.

It should be an exciting season for Dawgs fans. Whether it will be the year they put it all together is, unfortunately, beyond the range of my crystal ball.

I know so many are disappointed we've not won the national title recently, but to win at the level we're winning at now with the talent wearing the red and black, my wife and I are truly loving this. [Over 30 years as season ticket holders], we've had so many wonderful experiences at The Promised Land plus we've missed only a few road games over last dozen years. We'll win the CFB championship soon, but make no mistake: we have also loved the ride over these past three years.To be perfectly honest, these past three seasons have been more fun (and more wins) that the three years [No.] 34 played, championship notwithstanding.
Steve Upshaw

I'm not sure I could agree that the past three years were more fun than when Herschel Walker was delighting and amazing Dawgs fans, but it's certainly been a great run, and the 2017 team is my second-favorite, after 1980's. And, I agree that, based on what we've seen in Athens the past three years, Georgia is likely to continue as a national championship contender for the foreseeable future.

Now, on to basketball, where I heard from several fans who share this reader's concerns about Anthony Edwards

Bill, I know our expectations for Anthony "Antman" Edwards probably were a bit sky-high. One player, no matter how good he is, isn't going to make a mediocre Georgia basketball program into a championship contender overnight. But, with it looking less and less likely that we'll even make the Big Dance, I have to say I've been very underwhelmed by Edwards so far this season, particularly in the past couple of losses. Do you really think he's an NBA lottery pick, or would he benefit from another year of college ball?

Sandy Freeman

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Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

What I think is that it doesn't matter what sort of season Georgia has while Edwards is on the team, or how he looks playing for Tom Crean's Bulldogs. I think he's a lock to be one of the top four picks in the NBA draft, regardless, because of what they see as his potential.

Whichever NBA team takes Edwards won't be doing so because of what he does at UGA. Frankly, most of them probably would prefer to go back to the days when they could draft kids straight out of high school and be finished with this one-and-done thing. Whoever gets him (and it could well be the Hawks) will do a much better job of gradually developing Edwards than Georgia's staff could hope to do in a single season.

While we're at it, though, let's keep in mind that Edwards might not be the superman that some Georgia fans were anticipating, but he's been pretty darn good.

In Georgia's 63-48 win Saturday over Texas A&M, which my wife and I attended, Edwards came on strong after a relatively slow start. For the second straight game, and the second time in his career, he had a double-double, this time with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Edwards is the first Georgia freshman to do that since Jumaine Jones in the 1997-98 season.

And, it was Edwards' 10th 20 point-plus game of 2019-20. Earlier in the season, he was selected National Freshman of the Week following his 37-point explosion against Michigan State (33 of them in the second half), and he's also currently the nation's top-scoring freshman.

Yes, he tends to try and rely too much on lofting 3-point tries, and he needs to go to the rim more, but I think he's learning that, based on what we saw in the second half of the A&M game.

And we've seen enough flashes of brilliance from No. 5 during this season to justify the high ratings NBA scouts give him. That windmill slam he had against the Aggies was awesome, as was a shot where he flipped the ball up and in underhanded, as he was falling out of bounds under the basket.

So, I'm not surprised at all that in a recent CBS Sports NBA Mock Draft, the young shooting guard was projected as the No. 1 pick overall.

Just saw a ranking of national football facilities. UGA came in18th place. I was shocked, considering how much has been spent recently on improving facilities. In the ranking, UGA was below schools in the SEC like Kentucky, Auburn and others. Way behind Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma.

Paul Hamm

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Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for ‘Zeus,’ ‘Antman’ as a lottery pick, and more!

Rankings of facilities such as the one done by 247Sports that you cited are pretty subjective, to start with. And, this one seemed particularly driven by who's just finished building what, and how much it cost.

Sure, Georgia has spent more than $30 million on an indoor practice facility (something the program lagged behind other schools in getting) and $63 million on the renovation of the west end of Sanford Stadium, with a new locker room and recruiting lounge. But, that's old news now.

If it really matters to you where UGA finishes in such a ranking, take heart that the current two-phase Butts-Mehre expansion project, covering 165,000 square feet of new and renovated space including an expanded locker room, weight room, coaches' offices, team meeting rooms and a nutrition area in the first phase, and a multipurpose lounge and video suite in the second is set to cost $80 million. That'll probably improve Georgia's standing in future facilities rankings.

Still, I'm not sure I care whether Georgia ever approaches the amenities of Clemson's No. 1-ranked facility, which 247 described as " basically a player's theme park in rural South Carolina" with a giant sliding board and "a basketball court, miniature golf course, a Whiffle ball field, bowling lanes, arcade games and various other outlandish activities for players between classes and practice."

I guess when your school is located in a place like Clemson, you might think you need those sorts of things.

Finally, a baseball question

Bill, I hear that the annual charity baseball game played by Georgia and Georgia Tech won't be in the Braves' stadium (whose new name I forget) this year. What's up with that?

Fran Jennings

Yeah, the former SunTrust Park (newly renamed Truist Park) played host to a two-day ski and snowboard event that has made the field unplayable until the Braves' season starts, precluding the Diamond Dawgs and Jackets playing there this year. Instead, their annual game to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has been moved to Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, home of the Braves' AAA team, the Gwinnett Stripers.

Interestingly, instead of playing home and home games and the neutral-site game sprinkled throughout the season this year, UGA and Tech are playing a three-game series over one weekend, Feb. 28-March 1, with Friday's game at Foley Field in Athens at 5 p.m., Saturday's contest at 2 p.m. at Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta, and the series concluding at 2 p.m. that Sunday at Coolray Field with the Spring Classic.

Since 2004, that game has raised more than $200,000 annually for CHOA's not-for-profit pediatric healthcare system. Georgia holds an 11-6 edge over Tech in games played at the Braves' stadiums, going 9-5 at Turner Field and 2-1 at SunTrust Park.

By the way, there's a lot of excitement about the coming UGA baseball season, with the Diamond Dawgs recently having debuted at No. 4 in the USA Today preseason baseball coaches' Top 25 poll.

The post Dawgs fans on 2020 outlook for Zeus,' Antman' as a lottery pick, and more! appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • Banks County Schools: 2-hour delay on Friday Cobb County Schools: All school-related activities canceled prior to noon on Friday DOWNLOAD the WSB Radio App to stay on top of any winter weather. FOLLOW: WSB Meteorologist Kirk Mellish has the latest forecast details.  
  • The Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office says the deaths of father and son whose bodies were found in a home near Lexington have been ruled as a case of suicide and accidental death.  From the Oglethorpe Co Sheriff’s Office Facebook page…   The Sheriff’s Office is concluding their investigation of the deaths from earlier this week. We received information from the crime lab on critical forensic information needed to give the full picture of what transpired. Andrew Colvard-Moneymaker (27) had been struggling with issues related to his mental health. From the scene and ballistic information Andrew was attempting to harm himself with a firearm. His father, Jason Colvard (51) appeared to be trying to intervene and stop him by grabbing him. Andrew was able to fire one round, striking himself in the head. The bullet exited Andrew and the same bullet also struck Jason killing both of them. The case will be ruled a suicide and an accidental death. There is no evidence that Andrew intended to harm his father. If you or someone you love is having issues with mental illness there are people to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 The family had 4 pit-bulls that lived in the house with them and 20-30 barn cats that lived outside. The four dogs are Beau, Cita, Gremlin and Buddy. They are currently at the Oconee County Animal Shelter. They will be adopted out. The cats are currently being caught and will also be up for adoption at the same facility. They are located at 1171 Branch Rd Bishop, Ga. 30621 phone- 706-769-3956.   Police in Gainesville were, at last report, still trying to track down a suspect in a bank robbery: it happened Wednesday at a BB&T bank branch on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville. Bank workers say a man who claimed to have a gun made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. No injuries were reported.
  • .-----Garrett Blaylock and Cam Shepherd hit home runs to lead fourth-ranked Georgia to a 10-3 road win over Kennesaw State Wednesday at Stillwell Stadium.   Georgia (4-0) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first. Ben Anderson led off with a walk, took second on a passed ball and came around to score on a base hit by Tucker Bradley. In the second, Anderson drew his team-leading fifth walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Shepherd for a 2-0 advantage. The Owls threatened in the fourth after a pair of miscues to start the home half of the frame. However, Georgia turned a double play to keep them off the scoreboard.   In the fifth, Georgia extended its lead to 5-0. Riley King executed a squeeze bunt to bring Anderson home, who led off the inning getting hit by a pitch and made his way around the bases with a stolen base and a wild pitch. On the squeeze, Tucker Bradley, who was at first after a walk, scored on a throwing error by the first baseman Justin Russell. Blaylock followed with his second home run of the year.   The Owls (3-1) pushed across a pair of runs in the fifth. Georgia redshirt freshman Garrett Brown was making his debut and allowed just one hit through four innings before the first three KSU batters reached with one scoring. Freshman Jonathan Cannon came in and got the Bulldogs out of further trouble including picking off a runner at second. Cannon would provide three scoreless innings for his first career win.   In the eighth, Shepherd connected for a two-run home run, his first of the year and 19th of his career for a 7-2 lead as the Bulldogs would erupt for four in the frame. Blaylock added his second home run, a two-run blast for a 9-2 lead. KSU  got a run in the eighth and Georgia got it back in the ninth for the final.   Dawg Tracks - Junior Tucker Bradley extended his hitting streak to four games with an RBI-single in the 1st while senior Patrick Sullivan has a four game streak after a double in the 8th. -Senior Cam Shepherd notched his team-high third RBI-double of the year to make it 2-0 in the 3rd and added a two-run home run in the 8th for a 7-2 lead. -Junior Garrett Blaylock smashed his second home run of the year for a 5-0 lead in the 5th and added another in the eighth to make it 9-2. -Redshirt freshman pitcher Garrett Brown and true freshman Michael Polk made their Bulldog debut. Brown started and went four innings while freshman Jonathan Cannon garnered his first career win in relief with three perfect innings and three strikeouts.   Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott StricklinOn the game… “We’ve got a lot of veteran guys, several guys in the lineup that have redshirted and they are playing well right now. We came in and had a good approach and got big nights from Cam (Shepherd) and Garrett (Blaylock) I thought Garrett Brown pitched well in his first outing and Jonathan Cannon was lights out coming in from the bullpen for the second time this season. It was good to get our first road win. ”   Up Next:  Georgia begins a four-game series with Santa Clara (5-0) on Friday. First pitch at Foley Field is set for 3 p.m.
  • The state Department of Juvenile Justice is looking for workers: a jobs fair is on tap for today, underway at 10 and lasting til 1 at the Wilkes Regional Youth Detention Center in Washington. From the Ga Dept of Labor… The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) will be accepting employment applications in Wilkes County on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. DJJ is searching for dedicated individuals to work at the Wilkes Regional Youth Detention Center in Washington, Ga.    Onsite interviews will take place for the positions of juvenile correctional officers and food service workers. Interested candidates should bring their resumes and dress for an on the spot interview.    Job seekers are also asked to bring a valid driver’s license and proof of a high school diploma or GED to assist in the application process. A special military salary incentive of up to 10 percent will be available for the juvenile correctional officer positions based on years of active military duty. For more information, please contact DJJ’s Office of Human Resources at 404-294-3431.     Date: Thursday, Feb. 20 Location: Wilkes Regional Youth Detention Center 1430 Industrial Park Road Washington, GA Time: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • The Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division hosts a community forum on sustainability in local industry: it’s set for 8 o’clock this morning at the W&A Engineering offices on Oneta Street in Athens.  From the A-CC Government website... Community members and business & industry professionals alike are invited to share sustainable practices in a discussion organized by Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division and hosted by W&A Engineering. This will include a tour of W&A’s new office building which is an adaptive reuse of a renovated historical textile manufacturing facility located in the Southern Mill. They will also share an overview of their business, th There is a noon-hour meeting of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission: it takes place at the downtown Holiday Inn on Broad Street in Athens.  A special session of the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission is set for 6 o’clock this evening at the Government Building on Dougherty Street. Planning Commission members will hear from the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing.  The parent-teacher conferences that began Wednesday continue today for parents and teachers of students at Clarke Central and Cedar Shoals High Schools. Those students will be released from their classes early this afternoon and again tomorrow.   Drivers on Highway 29 near Hartwell can look for traffic delays: the Georgia DOT is working on 29 in Hart County, replacing a stretch of drainage pipe. 

Bulldog News

  • Tate Ratledge. Herschel Walker. Those two fellas are part of a story that says a little about Walker, something more than that about Ratledge and then even how Walkercontinues to intersect with the next generation of Georgia football. Sedrick Van Pran-Granger shared a story last week with DawgNation about how stunned he was that Walker even knew who he was. That conversation was part of our DawgNation weekly 'Before the Hedges' live recruiting special which airs on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Ratledge was a part of the weekly Wednesday show for this week. There was a viral photo that caught a lot of eyes back during the spring of 2019 that captured their first meeting. Walker was the one who looked small in comparison. That's a striking visual here framed up in the photo with a larger-than-life glimpse of Ratledge. The All-American signee from Darlington School shared that story with DawgNation, but also just how he later used that moment to reaffirm his pledge to Georgia in the transition from Sam Pittman to Matt Luke as offensive line coach. He also covered the following topics with DawgNation: What did Walker have to say about his size? Which 2020 Georgia recruit proved to be the tireless behind-the-scenes recruiter for this class? What was that first meeting like with Luke? Check out this week's episode of 'Before The Hedges' with DawgNation. The Van Pran-Granger edition of 'Hedges' also follows below. The post WATCH: Georgia signee Tate Ratledge shares his Herschel Walker story appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Sometimes you've just got to eat it. Other times call for Whiffle Ball. Whatever the formula, Georgia basketball got a much-needed warm and fuzzy night on Wednesday, upsetting No. 13 Auburn 65-55 before a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum. RELATED: How Georgia basketball upset Auburn The Bulldogs players celebrated with the student section. Coach Tom Crean celebrated with administrators and boosters. It's the first time Georgia has beaten two Top 15 teams in the same season since the 2003-04 season. It was the highest-ranked opponent UGA has beaten at home since beating No. 11 Florida in 2012. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl limped off into the night, but not before dispensing wisdom in his postgame press conference. 'It's a rebuilding culture, and it's a work ethic,' Pearl said, explaining what he has done at Auburn, turning a football school into a Final Four basketball program after sustaining a losing conference record his first three seasons on The Plains. 'In the last couple of years, we've had a few more guys that were here that lost those games,' said Pearl, 7-1 in his last eight games against ranked teams. 'You've got to eat some of that for a little while It doesn't taste good. Then you've got to do something about it the following year.' Georgia (13-13, 3-10 SEC) doesn't want to wait until next year with freshman Anthony Edwards expected to head to the NBA as the No. 1 draft pick after this season. The Bulldogs' fans want to soak it in now, too, as evidenced by the seventh sellout crowd of the season turning out in force on a Wednesday night. 'The bottom line is we're building a program,' said Crean, who resuscitated Indiana basketball some 10 years ago, ultimately leading the Hoosiers to two outright Big Ten titles. 'We are going through adversity, but you don't get a program built if you lose momentum with your fans. They are staying with us, and I'm so thankful for that.' Crean said there were big-time prospects in the building, along with the national ESPN2 television audience looking on. As difficult as the past two months have been Georgia had lost eight of nine before snapping what had been a five-game losing streak to Auburn on Wednesday night Crean kept things in perspective. Yes, the Bulldogs had blown double-digit leads in four of the past five losses, making the same mistakes not communicating and standing around on offense. But there are nine freshmen on the team. And the upperclassmen while willing have never played in the NCAA tournament and are still learning to play with poise. 'Every day we gotto put a lot of time in what does this team need, and keep getting them fresh, keep their energy high their concentration and focusspans are really, really tough,' Crean said. 'And some of it is back of age, some of it is because they have never been through things like this.' Crean said he surprised his team with an impromptu Whiffle Ball game in the middle of a practice session before the road trip to Texas A&M. Georgia fought hard, but lost a close one in College Station. But the team's spirit, on display Wednesday, remains alive and well. Freshman point guard Sahvir Wheeler, like Crean, credited the Georgia fans for some of that. 'That home base is still sticking with us, a very special shout out to them,' Wheeler said. 'They still believe. They still are showing up. They definitely had a presence and an impact on thegame. 'Thank you DawgNation and keep continuing to support us on that.' Pearl, who has turned Auburn's home arena into a 'Jungle' worthy of ESPN Basketball GameDay, took note of what Crean has already done. 'Just look at this building, just look at the energy of the building and the student support and theenergy that he brings,' Pearl said. 'He's recruited really well and he's got a lot of kids coming back. 'That's a good, young team.' Crean will be looking for his first back-to-back SEC wins when Georgia plays at Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Anthony Edwards & Sahvir Wheeler Georgia coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn Georgia basketball drops close one at Texas A&M, Anthony Edwards ill Georgia suffers deflating defeat at Florida UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Column: Anthony Edwards needs to get back to having fun Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Leave a Comment The post WATCH Tom Crean after Georgia basketball win over Auburn: We're building a program' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball had the sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum rocking on Wednesday night, upsetting No. 13-ranked Auburn 65-55. Freshman Anthony Edwards had 18 points and six rebounds to lead the Bulldogs, who snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory. Georgia (13-13, 3-10 SEC) had lost three of the previous four games after leading by double-digits, but not this time against the Tigers (22-4, 9-4). The Bulldogs went up 10 points on a Sahvir Wheeler free throw that made it 37-27 with 14:55 left. Auburn couldn't get closer than three rest of the game. Wheeler had 13 points and four assists, controlling the ball and the tempo against Bruce Pearl's trapping Tigers with the seventh sellout crowd of the season urging him on. Freshman Toumani Camara took care a lot of the tough work in the paint with 12 points and eight rebounds. Camara sealed the win down the stretch, 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final 22 seconds. It's UGA's second win over a ranked opponent this season. Georgia beat then-No. 9 Memphis 65-62 on Jan. 4 in Memphis Auburn won the teams' first meeting by an 82-60 count on Jan. 11 in Auburn. But Georgia served notice of just how good it can be when Rayshaun Hammonds (13 points, eight rebounds) is playing well in the first half, leading 31-25 at the break. The Bulldogs had led by as many as nine before intermission, a Hammonds' fast break layup giving UGA a 21-12 lead at the 9:31 mark. Hammonds scored all 10 of his first-half points the first 11 minutes of the game, also pulling down six rebounds. Edwards, meanwhile, didn't score the first eight minutes of the game. But Edwards third bucket of the game was a big one, as it ended a 9-0 Auburn run and put the Bulldogs back on top 25-23 with 3:55 left in the half. It was a lead Georgia would never relinquish. The Bulldogs return to action at 6 p.m. on Saturday against Vanderbilt in Nashville (TV: SEC Network). DawgNation Georgia basketball Georgia basketball drops close one at Texas A&M, Anthony Edwards ill Alabama topples Georgia in overtime Georgia suffers deflating defeat at Florida UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Column: Anthony Edwards needs to get back to having fun Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post Georgia basketball upsets Auburn before sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The NCAA Transfer Working Group looks to open the door for for football transfers to gain immediately eligibility. 'The current system is unsustainable, (and) working group members believe it's time to bring our transfer rules more in line with today's college landscape,' Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, the chair of the working group, said in an NCAA article. 'This concept provides a uniform approach that is understandable, predictable and objective. Most importantly, it benefits students.' Per the proposal: The working group concept would change waiver criteria to allow approvals for first-time four-year transfers in all sports to compete immediately if they: Receive a transfer release from their previous school. Leave their previous school academically eligible. Maintain their academic progress at the new school. Leave under no disciplinary suspension. The proposal could be in place by the 2020-21 academic year. Of course, it's all too late for former Georgia tight end Luke Ford. RELATED: Ford transfer tied to being closer to agi ng grandfather Ford, who spent the 2018 season with the Bulldogs, lost his bid for a waiver last summer that would have allowed him to play for Illinois during the 2019 season. My Grandpa just passed on to a better place in heaven. Love you Papa! I'm sorry you didn't get to see me play in person, my heart is devastated Rest in Paradise L U K E F O R D (@lukeredx97) February 19, 2020 Ford lost his appeal following the 2018 season despite being represented by high-profile attorney Thomas Mars. Mars, of course, keyed Justin Fields' successful bid for immediate eligibility at Ohio State last season after he transferred from Georgia. The NCAA Transfer Working Group's proposal for football, basketball, baseball and hockey would be the same as the transfer legislation already in existence for other sports. The Division I Council appointed the council last fall, well aware that there could be unintended consequences. 'We know that challenges will exist with this concept, particularly as it relates to other coaches potentially tampering with currently enrolled student-athletes,' Steinbrecher s aid in the NCAA.org story. 'The working group will continue to examine this, as well as any potential financial aid and academic impacts, so the Council can make a fully informed decision.' ACC Network analyst and former Georgia football coach Mark Richt is among those who have concerns. I know, I have an idea. You recruit and develop players and when I think they're good enough I will poach them from your roster! Welcome to what the new normal will look like in college football! Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) February 18, 2020 ESPN analyst and Georgia football legend David Pollack expressed frustration with the inconsistency of the current policy. 'Fields versus Luke Ford, guys that were at Georgia, what determines who gets it (immediate eligibility)?' Pollack said to DawgNation last summer. 'Somebody's family is sick (Ford's grandfather), or somebody has a reason to go back home and they get a no,' and somebody else that doesn't really have a reason gets a yes.' That drives you nuts for the kids. 'Some people get waivers, some people don't, and it makes absolutely no sense.' Related: David Pollack goes off on NCAA transfer inconsistencies Current Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has been relatively liberal in his view of transfers and the invent of the NCAA transfer portal. Smart said his priority is that the NCAA do what's best for the student-athletes. 'Kids have always been able to go places, change and make decisions. Roster management hasn't changed from the standpoint of, we've been working off 85, working off medical (redshirts),' Smart said last year. 'There's been slight changes to the number of guys you can sign early, there's been a slight of increase of players who have come out early over time. 'As we continue to grow, it's something we'll deal with. I don't think there's a major concern there. You've got 85 scholarships, you operate at your 85. NFL teams do it with less than that so I'm not that concerned about roster management as I am making sure what's best for the student athlete is what we do.' The post NCAA group recommends immediate eligibility for transfers, too late for Luke Ford appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart is considered one of the top defensive minds in football, constantly studying trends and concepts at the NFL, collegiate and even high school level. It's a safe bet the Georgia football head coach is considering new wrinkles this offseason just like the rest of the coaches who attend and speak at the UGA Coaches Clinic March 26-28. Smart has landed a star-studded guest speaker lineup consisting of new Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel and new New York Giants coach Joe Judge. Middle school and high school coaches who want to attend the clinic can sign up through the school's website. Smart's staff will be involved coaches love to talk ball. But as much as anything, they will also be listening to one another. Especially when it's Leach's turn to speak. The Bulldogs are overhauling their offense. A dual-threat quarterback is set to be under center this season, with Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman the favorite entering spring drills. Smart says he's looking for the same things from his offense as before: efficiency, scoring and explosive plays. RELATED: Kirby Smart offers no grand speech' on future of Georgia football offense But Georgia has not locked into how it will go about it, even after the hiring of former NFL offensive coordinator Todd Monken, whose 2018 Tampa Bay offense set franchise records. Monken and Leach will be quite a meeting of the offensive minds. Leach is known for building some of the nation's most potent and prolific spread offenses, those of the 'Air Raid' variety he helped develop with Hal Mumme at Valdosta State and Kentucky. Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon had the second-highest passing yards in the FBS ranks last season (5,579) and the fourth-highest completion percentage (71.6) operating out of Leach's offense. RELATED: The Mike Leach coaching tree Vrabell, a former defensive coordinator with the Houston Texans, saw his team rank 12th in the NFL in total defense last season. The Titans, however, were tied for 10th in the NFL with 23 takeaways an area Smart has said UGA has room to improve. Judge is the Giants new coach in New York after an eight-year stint on Coach Bill Belichick's staff in New England. Judge worked with the Patriots' special teams throughout his tenure, adding the role of wide receivers coach last season. New England's special teams were among the best in the NFL throughout last season, per advanced metrics. They have traditionally been among the best in the NFL under Belichick, a characteristic Smart harps about wanting in his program. Each member of the Georgia football coaching staff will also participate in 'chalk talks' at the clinic. Bulldogs defensive coordinator Dan Lanning is fast becoming one of the hottest coaching commodities. His future in Georgia figures to be shorter rather than longer with programs recognizing his talents and head coach potential. Lanning's defense was tops in the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense, while finishing third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. This, despite not having any defensive players selected first-team All-SEC by an Associated Press panel. RELATED: League-leading Georgia defense shut out of first-team All-SEC picks Georgia had 37 players on defense get more than 100 snaps last season. The post Georgia football sure to benefit from Air Raid' guru Mike Leach at coaching clinic appeared first on DawgNation.