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From Elizabeth Street to Sanford Drive, the incredible journey of Georgia’s Dan Lanning

From Elizabeth Street to Sanford Drive, the incredible journey of Georgia’s Dan Lanning

From Elizabeth Street to Sanford Drive, the incredible journey of Georgia’s Dan Lanning

From Elizabeth Street to Sanford Drive, the incredible journey of Georgia’s Dan Lanning

Georgia football-The incredible journey of Georgia's Dan Lanning from Elizabeth Street to Sanford Drive-Georgia Bulldogs

ATHENS – By all accounts, Dan Lanning is going to be named Georgia’s defensive coordinator in the coming days. Or, at the least, one of the D-coordinators.

To find out exactly what kind of guy the Bulldogs are getting to run their defense in 2019, we turned to the “Boys of Elizabeth Street.”

Few people know Lanning as well as the guys who played football with Lanning at tiny William Jewell College (enrollment 1,000), and especially those who lived with him in the little house on Elizabeth Street. They’re the ones who can tell you the story of how Lanning went from playing football at a tiny NAIA school in Liberty, Mo., to becoming a rising-star coach in Power 5 football. It is the stuff of legend.

Trent Figg, one of those teammates and Elizabeth Street roommates, says it starts with an unexpected phone call he received from Lanning one day in January of 2011.

“I’ll never forget it. He calls me on a Thursday afternoon and he was like, ‘Dude, I’m going to make a move,’” Figg recalled. “I said, ‘what are talking about? He said, ‘I’m driving to Pitt and I’m not coming back until I get a job.’”

At the time, Lanning was coaching wide receivers at Park Hill South High in Riverside, Mo. Figg was working as a graduate assistant at Jewell, where they both played college ball. When they were living on Elizabeth Street, Lanning was always talking about wanting to be “a D-1 coach.” But two years out of college, that dream had not come any sharper into focus.

Until now.

Lanning saw an opportunity and he wasn’t going to miss his chance. So he had packed his pickup truck after school to make the 13-hour drive overnight to Pittsburgh. The plan was to talk the Panthers’ new coaching staff into hiring him.

Lanning didn’t choose the Pitt Panthers blindly. The staff at Park Hill South had attended coaching clinics at the University of Tulsa the previous two years. That’s where Lanning got to know head coach Todd Graham and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.

That January, Graham became head coach at Pitt, which set off a light bulb in Lanning’s head.


“He said, ‘you know what, these are the only people I know in Division I ball. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get hired,’” Figg said. “He had a good high school job, making pretty good money. But he leaves after school, drives through the night, stops at a truck stop and showers, puts on a suit and walks into the Pitt football offices.’”

There had been some correspondence via email between Lanning and the Pitt coaches he knew. But while Patterson told him they “might have something available after signing day,” Lanning wasn’t waiting to hear back.

By Friday morning, Lanning was at Pitt’s Duratz Athletic Complex. As luck would have it, the coaches weren’t there. They were attending a clinic off campus.

But Graham was duly alerted that a young man Missouri had shown up to talk to him, and they eventually met on Saturday. In the meantime, Lanning introduced himself to Pitt’s support staff and actually dove in to help them out while he was there.

By end of the weekend, Lanning had a quality control job with the Panthers. He resigned his high school gig on Monday and was working full-time at Pitt by Wednesday morning.

“It’s going to make a tremendous book one day,” said William Jewell College head coach Shawn Weigel, who was a defensive assistant when Lanning played there. “Talk about somebody doubling down himself and just going and doing it. But he had the skills to do it and had the unwavering support of his family. It’s an awesome journey he’s been on.”

Unknowingly, Lanning provided a blueprint for the Elizabeth Street Boys, many of whom have gone on to field full-time jobs in coaching.

  • Figg followed Lanning to Arizona State when he moved there with Graham in 2012. Today he is running backs coach at Missouri State.
  • Robby Discher coaches tights and special teams at Toledo.
  • John Egorugwu is assistant linebackers coach with the Buffalo Bills.
  • Three more of Lanning’s teammates are high school head coaches in greater Kansas City.

Pretty good for a tiny college in western Missouri. Amazing for a little house on Elizabeth Street.

“I’ll never forget that house,” Egorugwu said with a hardy laugh. “That was the house we’d all go to and hang out and kick it. I didn’t live there, but I slept on the couch many a night. We were all teammates and congregated there. A lot of good times in that house.”

Lanning had an entrepreneurial spirit even as an undergrad. He had the forethought to purchase the small house in Liberty and utilize his teammates’ rent to pay the mortgage for him. It also made him a leader among his peers.

But nothing validated Lanning’s standing more than jumping in that truck and driving to Pittsburgh. He was showing his friends the way.


“At the time he was doing it, we were all, like, ‘Dude, you’re crazy.’ But he’s always been a determined guy and obviously it worked out for him,” Egorugwu said. “That’s what people should look at when they look at his résumé. He’s not a guy who’s connected. He didn’t have a father who coached for a long time and helped him along the way. He’s really done this on his own, from the ground up.”

After getting his foot in the door at Pitt, the rest was up to Lanning. From there on, everybody seems to have liked what they saw. Graham took Lanning with him from Pitt to Arizona State, where Lanning would become recruiting coordinator. Lanning’s first on-field coaching gig came at Sam Houston State in 2014.

Lanning met Kirby Smart in 2015 when he joined Alabama as a defensive graduate assistant and started helping with outside linebackers. Next came a two-year stint at Memphis as inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator.

In 2018, his brief time with Smart in Tuscaloosa paid off as Smart tabbed Lanning to succeed Kevin Sherrer as Georgia’s outside linebackers coach. He further endeared himself to Smart by showing some strong recruiting chops. Not coincidently, Lanning finds himself surrounded now by talent at his position, including former 5-stars Brenton Cox, Adam Anderson and the newly signed Nolan Smith, the No. 1-rated player in America.

“You know, we always talk to each other about ‘I’ve got this opportunity or that one.’ But regardless of what anybody thought, Dan always bet on himself,” Egorugwu said. “Every opportunity he has taken ended up being the right choice, even when people might have thought he was taking a step back.”

Lanning hasn’t gone it alone. He had plenty of motivation, going all the way back to that spontaneous truck ride to Pittsburgh. He had only then recently married his wife Sauphia, and they’d soon welcome their first of three children, Caden. Kniles and Titan would come soon after.

It was during their stint in Memphis that the Lanning family overcame their biggest challenge of all. Sauphia was diagnosed with bone cancer. After months of chemotherapy and treatment, she was deemed cancer-free.

“She’s been with him for every step of this journey and hasn’t batted an eyelid at all the moves,” Figg said. “That’s why Dan does what he does. But when he gets somewhere, once he gets an opportunity, no one is going to out-work him. That’s why he’s been able to move up like he has.”

And now it appears Lanning is about to move up again.

Dan Lanning, conferring with outside linebacker Robert Beal at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, assumed defensive coordinator responsibilities for the Bulldogs during the Sugar Bowl.

It has been nine weeks since Mel Tucker resigned Georgia’s defensive coordinator position to take the head coaching job at Colorado. And while other assistants have since left the Bulldogs, Lanning didn’t.

That’s key considering that he was offered the defensive coordinator’s job with Tucker at Colorado. Smart urged Lanning to stay at Georgia, and the opportunity to coordinate the Bulldogs’ defense made that notion even more enticing.

Smart made a similar promise to James Coley last year when Coley had a chance to join Jimbo Fisher as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M. To keep him in Athens, Smart named Coley co-coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and Coley succeeded Jim Chaney as sole coordinator when Chaney accepted a position at Tennessee earlier this year.

Lanning’s buddies believe the same fate awaits him, but aren’t willing to bank on it.

“He’s extremely, extremely loyal,” Figg said of Lanning. “A lot of guys gossip in this business, but he doesn’t ever say anything until it’s fact. He’s told me, ‘I’d love to be defensive coordinator and I think I’ll have a really good shot at it, but nothing is official until it’s official.’ That’s what he told me after he didn’t go to Colorado. He also said, ‘I don’t have a for-sure answer on that, but I think I’m in the mix.’ I know he talked with Kirby about it.”

Weigel and Egorugwu share similar vague interactions.

“We talk regularly and I’m aware of that stuff, but it’s not really my place to say,” Egorugwu said. “All I know is he’s been really grateful for the opportunities he’s had at Georgia and loves the community and the coaching family there. He very much likes the direction Coach Smart’s taking the program.”

Theories abound as to how Smart might divvy up the defensive coaching duties. For the Sugar Bowl, Lanning and inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann split the responsibilities. But it was Lanning who stepped up to the podium to answer questions for the defensive coordinator’s press conference. Since then, Smart brought in Charlton Warren from Florida as defensive backs coach and awarded him with a three-year contract that pays him $610,000 annually. Either coach could possibly join Lanning in the task of coordinating Georgia defense in 2019, which happens to be a year of great expectation for the Bulldogs. Or Lanning could go it alone.

Whatever happens, nobody who shared space with Lanning on Elizabeth Street is surprised to see him fully in the mix.

“We all look to Daniel for advice,” Egorugwu said. “He’s special, man. I’m just telling you, he really is special. He’s got all the things you’d want: a tireless worker, smart, good with people, always been a leader, even when we were all at William Jewell. He’s got all the makings of a great one and I’m excited to see how his career goes and all the things he’s able to accomplish.”

Said Figg: “Dan is the most determined, hardest-working person I have ever been around, and I’m not just saying that because I’m on the phone with you. He truly is. He just doesn’t take no for an answer when he sets his mind to something. He will literally work until he gets what he wants.”

And, yes, Figg said, Lanning wants to be Georgia’s next defensive coordinator.

The post From Elizabeth Street to Sanford Drive, the incredible journey of Georgia’s Dan Lanning appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • From the Athens-Clarke County Police Dept... After more than two months following the disappearance of Derrick Ruff and Joshua Jackson, ACCPD reminds the public that we need their help to locate the missing men. ACCPD continues to investigate the case as a Missing Persons incident. ACCPD has investigated hundreds of leads and last week, ACCPD detectives spoke to multiple persons of interest. Today, ACCPD is releasing a photo of a vehicle of interest in the case. This surveillance photograph, taken on the night that Derrick and Joshua are believed to have gone missing, was obtained from a Lawrenceville area shopping center and shows an early 2000’s grey Jeep. Detectives ask anyone with information about this vehicle or the whereabouts of Jackson and Ruff to contact Lt. Derek Scott at 706-613-3888, ext. 329 or Derek.Scott@accgov.com . A Crime Stoppers reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the location of Joshua and Derrick. The Crime Stoppers Tip Line is 706-705-4775.
  • Joni Taylor coached the Lady Dogs to an 22-point win over Ole Miss last night. She gave birth this morning. Drew is 6 lbs 8 ounces and 20 inches long and Taylor tot No. 2. From UGA Sports Communications... Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball head coach Joni Taylor and her husband Darius welcomed their second child — Drew Simone Taylor — at 7:29 a.m. Tuesday in Athens.    Drew is 20 inches long and weighs 6 pounds, 8 ounces and both she and Joni are resting well. She is the Taylor’s second daughter. Jacie Elise Taylor was born on Nov. 3, 2016.    “Darius and I feel so blessed to be the parents of such a sweet little girl, and I know Jacie is thrilled to be a big sister,” Taylor said. “I can’t express how much joy Drew has already brought to our family. We want to thank everyone in the Georgia community for your prayers and encouragement during this happy season of our lives. I am thrilled that Drew will be surrounded by so many special people, and that she will be a part of the Bulldog family.”    Coach Taylor led Georgia to a 78-56 win against Ole Miss Monday evening, less than 12 hours before giving birth. Plans for her return to the Georgia bench will be announced at a later date.     Associate head coach Karen Lange will assume head coaching duties during Taylor’s absence. 
  • Labs and research support spaces across campus will be getting an upgrade, thanks to a $1.5 million presidential initiative that seeks to build on the university’s dramatic growth in research activity.   Presidential renovation funds have been distributed to nine schools and colleges and will be used to upgrade labs and replace core equipment that enables faculty members to conduct research and be more competitive in seeking grant funding. Proposals were solicited from deans and chosen based on links to college and university strategic priorities, as well as implications for faculty recruitment efforts and grant funding opportunities.   “To advance the research mission of the university and attract and retain outstanding faculty, we must support state-of-the-art facilities that assist the faculty with their groundbreaking work,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I am pleased the institution has been able to help several faculty with critical needs, thanks to this initiative.”   In the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, an upgrade to an insectary that will be used to rear mosquitoes will enable Regents’ Professor and National Academy of Sciences member Michael Strand and several of his colleagues in the department of entomology to expand their research on infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. “We’re going to be able to do a whole series of experiments that we currently can’t do,” Strand said, adding that the upgraded facility opens up new opportunities for grants.   Upgrades to the Sensory Evaluation and Product Development Lab in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences will enable assistant professor Ginnefer Cox to develop and evaluate new food product formulations more efficiently while also giving students hands-on experiences and facilitating industry partnerships. “This new space is going to have equipment that helps train students to be the next product developers,” Cox said. “The upgrades also create more opportunities to collaborate in research with food companies, which opens up opportunities for students to interact with them and obtain internships and permanent employment.”   In the department of physics and astronomy, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, renovation funds will aid in faculty recruitment by modernizing an outdated laboratory. “We’re really excited to have received this funding,” said department head Phillip Stancil. “The space has been unused for the last several years, and with this renovation it’ll be ready for a new experimentalist to move in.”   Other schools and colleges that have received funding through presidential renovation funds are the College of Engineering, College of Environment and Design, Odum School of Ecology, College of Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.   Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Libby V. Morris noted that the lab renovation funds come at a time when sponsored research awards have increased by 34 percent over the past five years. It also coincides with recruitment initiatives that will bring up to 25 new faculty members to campus.   “Research activity at the University of Georgia has grown significantly in recent years, with strategic investments in faculty and facilities enabling discoveries that point the way to a healthier and more promising future,” Morris said
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioners meet tonight: it’s a 6 o’clock agenda setting session at City Hall in downtown Athens. Appointments to the Athens-Clarke County Community Tree Council are up for discussion.  As this year’s session of the Georgia legislature nears the halfway mark, there is an afternoon meeting of the Clarke County School Board’s Government Relations Committee: it starts at 4:30 at the HT Edwards Building on Dearing Extension in Athens.  There is an evening meeting of the Board of Directors for the Morton Theatre Corporation: it’s a 6:30 session at the Morton on Washington Street in downtown Athens.  Oconee County Commissioners hold a town hall meeting tonight: it is set for 6 o’clock in the Community Center at Oconee Veterans Park.  Madison County’s Planning and Zoning Board meets at 6:30 this evening in Danielsville.  This afternoon’s Gainesville City Council session is underway at 5:30 at the Public Safety Complex in Gainesville: Phase II of the city’s downtown utilities improvement project headlines the Council’s business agenda.
  • Forecasters say the rain that is expected to start falling this afternoon will usher in several days of wet weather for Athens and northeast Georgia, with the potential for serious flooding later in the week, most likely Wednesday night into Thursday.  Channel 2 Action News Meteorologist Brad Nitz says “I've revised the totals down slightly, but flooding remains a concern.” Athens could receive two to three inches of rain, while northwest Georgia is in line to receive between four and six inches. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS – Their average age is 40. Most of them played college football at places like Arkansas Tech and Texas Southern. Three of them didn’t play college ball at all. They are the 10 full-time coaches who will be assisting Georgia head coach Kirby Smart for what’s expected to be a championship run in the 2019 football season. It’s an interesting mix of youth and experience and it features a surprising lack of actual on-field, Division I playing experience. The makeup of the Bulldogs’ staff came more into focus after roles and salaries were revealed last Friday in response to open records requests from media outlets. Smart has yet to offer comment or answer questions about his new staff. Here’s some factoids to consider as we take a closer look at the group: Not that it matters, but two of Georgia’s three coordinators did not play college football themselves. Neither offensive coordinator James Coley nor co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann played ball beyond high school. Recently hired tight ends coach Todd Hartley also didn’t play college football. He was a student assistant coach while attending UGA as an undergrad. Only running backs coach Dell McGee played major college ball. He was a wide receiver and defensive back at Auburn from 1992-95 and played briefly in the NFL. New defensive backs coach Charlton Warren played as a defensive back at the Air Force Academy. The rest of the staff were small-college football players. Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning played linebacker at tiny William Jewell College, an NAIA program at the time. Heralded offensive line coach – and newly-appointed associate head coach — Sam Pittman also played NAIA ball. He was an All-American lineman at Pittsburg State in Kansas. Special teams coordinator Scott Fountain played at Samford, receivers coach Cortez Hankton played at Texas Southern and defensive line coach Tray Scott played at Arkansas Tech Georgia’s staff also is not extremely deep on experience. Pittman, 57, and Fountain, 52, have been around the longest. They’ve logged 32 and 31 years, respectively, in the college game. Many people don’t realize that Pittman was once a head coach. He spent two seasons as head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, three overall. Today he is considered one of the most successful recruiters of offensive linemen in the country. When broken down into experience as actual on-field, college assistant coaches, the average length of service for members of Smart’s staff is a relatively low 11.5 years. The 28-year-old Schumann has the least, entering his fourth year as inside linebackers coach for the Bulldogs. He was a volunteer analyst as an undergraduate student at Alabama, then a graduate assistant and, finally, a director of player development and personnel for two years before following Smart to UGA. Hartley (7), Hankton (7), Lanning (6), McGee (6) and Scott (6) all have less than eight years experience as well. Most of Georgia’s coaches spent a good bit of time coaching high school ball before moving into the college ranks. Fountain and McGee were high school head coaches before breaking into college as analysts. Pittman was also a high school head coach. Coley and Lanning each were high school assistant coaches before getting their breaks as analysts, or quality control specialists. Smart lost a combined 56 years of college and pro coaching experience off his staff when coordinators Jim Chaney and Mel Tucker left to accept new jobs after last season. Tucker became head coach at Colorado while Chaney accepted a $650,000-a-year raise to make a lateral move to Tennessee. That resulted in Smart paying $375,000-a-year less for his assistant coaches. Chaney’s addition along with the hiring of Derrick Ansley as defensive coordinator and Tee Martin as wide receivers coach and some other staff moves mean that Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt is now paying his staff $800,000 more than Georgia is ($6.045 million). That’s primarily due to coordinator pay. Chaney ($1.6 million), Ansley ($1 million) and Chris Rumph ($805,000) all have multiyear contracts and make $3.4 million annually between them. Georgia’s three coordinators are due $2.25 million in the next year. It’s not yet known if they signed multiyear deals, but three-year deals are standard operating procedure in the business. What’s it all mean? Not much at the moment. Smart’s doing just fine, thank you very much. He is a combined 10-3 against Georgia’s four primary conference rivals of Auburn (3-1), Florida (2-1), South Carolina (3-0) and Tennesssee (2-1). He is, of course, 0-2 vs. Alabama. The post Georgia Bulldogs’ 2019 football staff is short on experience, long on potential appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia Athletic Association board members will be briefed on the progress of efforts to add a new football-dedicated building to the Butts-Mehre Athletic Complex when it holds its annual winter meeting on Wednesday. In a conference call with members of the board’s facilities and development committee Monday morning, Athletic Director Greg McGarity confirmed that a status report will be provided on the latest multi-million dollar project to come on line since Kirby Smart became the Bulldogs’ head coach in 2016. McGarity said Georgia is in the process of selecting engineers and architects for the project, which is expected to be erect a building in the space between the Spec Town Track & Field grandstands and the Payne Indoor Athletic Facility. As DawgNation reported six months ago, such a facility is expected to carry a price tag of more than $50 million. Fundraising efforts are already underway. Since Smart’s arrival on campus in January of 2016, Georgia has built and dedicated a $30 million indoor practice facility and $65 million locker room and recruiting area underneath the West grandstand at Sanford Stadium. Since the fall of 2015, members of Georgia’s relatively new Magill Society have pledged donations totaling nearly $100 million to cover the cost of those projects. Board members will also be briefed on an upcoming project to improve the lighting at Sanford Stadium, McGarity said. The majority of the focus on facilities updates on Wednesday will be on construction of a new grandstand for the Henry Feild Stadium courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, McGarity said. Cost for that project is now expected to exceed $8 million. The board will also be briefed on plans to erect a new six-court indoor tennis facility for the complex. “That will be the only action item on Wednesday,” McGarity said. To date, none of the monies raised from the Magill Society have gone toward tennis. That is the sport Magill oversaw for decades before his death in 2014 at the age of 93. Board members will also be briefed on an ongoing $3.1 million equestrian project that will include a 7,000-square foot clubhouse at the team’s facility in Bishop. The post Expansion of Georgia Bulldogs’ football complex to be discussed at UGA athletics board meeting appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — As many as three outgoing Georgia football players have been projected as first-round NFL Draft picks by different analysts at different times. But there’s always one Bulldog on the first-round list — Deandre Baker. That didn’t change on Monday when the Georgia Thorpe Award winner surfaced as the No. 20 overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Mel Kiper’s latest first-round mock draft on the ESPN Insider pay site. RELATED: Georgia opens with 10 on NFL Draft boards Kiper has Baker as his second-highest rated cornerback in the draft behind LSU’s Greedy Williams, who he forecasts will go to Denver at No. 10. Earlier this month, NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter opened eyes when he projected both Baker and tailback Elijah Holyfield to be selected in the first round. Reuter, in a Feb. 5 three-round NFL mock draft, had four Bulldogs listed: Deandre Baker, No. 24 overall, Oakland Elijah Holyfield, No. 30 overall, Green Bay Riley Ridley, No. 35 overall, Oakland Isaac Nauta, No. 62 overall, New Orleans Ridley was at one point projected as high as the first round — at No. 32 — by NFL.com writer Daniel Jeremiah. WATCH: Riley Ridley coached up by NFL legends Jeremiah and fellow NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein recently penned an article on which one player each team should keep an eye on. The Baltimore Ravens were advised to keep an eye on speedy Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman, as “the buzz is starting to build in personnel circles.” The San Francisco 49ers, meanwhile, should watch for Ridley, according to the story: “The Niners need another big target at wide receiver with size and toughness for Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. Ridley’s college production was just OK, but there were plenty of mouths to feed in the Georgia offense. Ridley might be a fit for San Francisco as a Day 2 option, provided he shows ball-tracking ability and some route acumen in Indianapolis.” Projections from one analyst to another vary, as they each do their own evaluations and rely on different NFL sources. Kiper, for example, doesn’t have Holyfield, Ridley or Nauta ranked in the top 10 at their respective positions in the upcoming draft. It’s all talk for now, and NFL Draft projections are sure to get a thorough shaking up after the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. The combine testing runs from March 1-4. Georgia will have eight players at the combine, seven taking part in on-field testing. Outside linebacker D’Andre Walker had sports hernia surgery on Jan. 16 in Birmingham, Ala., and is rehabilitating. Walker hopes to be healthy enough to take part in the Bulldogs Pro Day for NFL scouts on March 20.     The post Georgia football favorites Elijah Holyfield, Mecole Hardman generating NFL Draft buzz appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nicolas Claxton’s All-SEC campaign continued Saturday night against No. 19 LSU, the sophomore leading Georgia in scoring and assists. The Bulldogs played the Tigers tight in a hard-fought 83-79 defeat before the sold-out Stegeman Coliseum crowd, and Claxton had everything to do with it. RELATED: Georgia battles LSU in bitter 83-79 defeat “We had no answer for Claxton,” said LSU coach Will Wade, whose team has won 14 of its past 15 games. “He played great.” Indeed, Georgia out-scored the Tigers by nine points when Claxton was on the floor. Problem was, the six minutes the 6-foot-11 forward didn’t play, LSU outscored the Bulldogs by 13. Wade credited Georgia coach Tom Crean with creating match-up problems throughout the game with personnel substitutions. LSU struggled to get a handle on how to defend Claxton. “When he’s hitting those mid-range turnarounds, it’s very tough to guard him,” Wade said. “We put Skylar (Mays) on him, one of our guards, and they posted him, and we put our big guys on him, and they took him on the perimeter and he was driving and he was spinning. “We just didn’t have very good coverage on him. They exploited the mismatch.” Claxton converted a conventional three-point play despite being triple-teamed with 5:30 left, pulling Georgia within 71-70. But Claxton couldn’t get his shot to fall with the game on the line in the final seconds. Claxton’s layup was uncharacteristically off-target after Crean called time out to set up the play with the Bulldogs down 82-79 and 29.5 seconds left. “I was supposed to drive and make the layup,” Claxton said. “So, we executed the play right, I just came up short on the layup.” Claxton is one of only four players in the Division I ranks who leads his team in all five major categories: points (12.8 per game), rebounds (9.0 per game), assists (53), blocks (64) and steals (31). Claxton, the SEC’s overall leader in rebounding and blocked shots, just wants to get back in the win column. “I would say it’s progress, us just playing our hardest for the whole 40 minutes, not coming out in the second half and being in a drought,” Claxton said. “At the end of the day, we did not want a moral victory. We wanted to come out and get the win.” Georgia dropped to 10-15 and 1-11 in SEC with the loss. The Bulldogs play host to Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Georgia basketball players LSU coach Will Wade Georgia basketball boxscore   The post WATCH: LSU won, but ‘had no answer’ for Georgia basketball star Nicolas Claxton appeared first on DawgNation.