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Georgia legend Vince Dooley shares opinions on Auburn game, McGarity and Sanford Stadium
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Georgia legend Vince Dooley shares opinions on Auburn game, McGarity and Sanford Stadium

Georgia legend Vince Dooley shares opinions on Auburn game, McGarity and Sanford Stadium

Georgia legend Vince Dooley shares opinions on Auburn game, McGarity and Sanford Stadium

Georgia football-Towers Take-Vince Dooley doesn't mind sharing his opinion on UGA Athletics-Georgia Bulldogs

ATHENS — Vince Dooley still keeps up with the football team and with pretty much everything going on in UGA Athletics. Maybe not to the intensive degree he did in more than 40 years as the school’s head football coach and athletic director, but certainly more than the average fan.

The Collegiate Football Hall of Famer, 86, still lives in the house the school bought him on Milledge Circle. It happens to be just around the corner from the home of head coach Kirby Smart and a short ride down the hill from athletic complex that bears his name. So he remains very well-sourced on all things Bulldog and has some pretty sharp insights that end.

It was in his capacity of keen and interested observer of Georgia athletics that I reached out to Dooley this past week. I simply wanted to get his thoughts on a few of the athletic department’s latest developments.

As always, Dooley was willing to share some of those insights with me. Today, I’ll share them with you:

About that Auburn football series

Dooley is, of course, an Auburn alumnus. So he has more than a passing interest in what goes on with his alma mater, especially when it involves Georgia. He was especially interested in the recent development that will move the football series against his alma mater that has been played in November since the 1930s to an early October/late-September rotation.

This left a lot of Georgia fans hopping mad, not just because the game would no longer be played the second weekend of November as had been the long tradition, but because the two games the Bulldogs had to play back-to-back at Auburn in 2012 and 2013 to accommodate SEC expansion apparently will not be repaid in kind in Athens.

It bears mentioning here that all 25 of Dooley’s teams had to play Auburn in consecutive weeks right after they had played Florida. In fact, every season from 1964-1988 ended with the Bulldogs playing their three biggest rivals — Florida, Auburn and Tech — all in a row.

“You either had to be really good or they either had to be not quite so good in order to beat both of them two weeks in a row,” Dooley said. “So I vowed at the first opportunity I could get it worked out I would split that up.”

That didn’t come soon. Dooley had to wait until he was full-time AD to get it changed, which he finally did when the SEC expanded to 12 teams by adding Arkansas and South Carolina in 1991. After a weeks of planning and one intense weekend of negotiations between all the SEC teams in Birmingham, Dooley was able to finally place a bye between Florida and Auburn. Eventually, Ole Miss would fill the space, then other teams. But never again has Georgia had to play Florida and Auburn in back-to-back weeks.

“I was able to finally get that done and I think it has been good for Georgia,” Dooley said. “So I understand what Auburn is thinking about when they play Georgia and Alabama at the end of the year. The difference is there’s usually an open week between those two. I don’t think it’s been quite as challenging from that standpoint.”

Dooley said not getting Auburn in Athens back-to-back is an unfortunate development, but clearly a dilemma of logistics. But any concession such as that usually comes with some sort of a make-good from the conference.

He said he encountered the same sort of complaints and criticisms that Georgia’s Greg McGarity has when he let the league move the Bulldogs’ annual game with Kentucky during the 1990 expansion talks. But he had to give that up in order to get what he wanted with the Florida-Auburn split.

“You have to mix-and-mingle when you get together as a conference. When we admitted Arkansas and South Carolina, all the ADs were over there for the entire weekend meeting and working the schedule out and everybody had an issue about something,” Dooley said. “One of them we had was the Kentucky game. All the Georgia fans loved to go to Kentucky at that time of the year when the horses were running at Keeneland. They’d go to the track in the afternoon, then go to the football game at night. There were a lot of Georgia people that were unhappy about that. I was unhappy myself. But it was a sacrifice I had to make in order to get what I really wanted, which was to separate Florida-Auburn. So you have to give a little to take a little sometimes. You’re always going to get some criticism.”

Giving Kirby what he wants

To that end, Dooley said the criticism that McGarity has received for allowing the Auburn game to be moved is unwarranted. Georgia’s athletic director of the last 10 years has been accused of not advocating hard enough for his school’s interests. Dooley called scoffed at that.

“It starts with the football coach,” Dooley said. “So as long as Kirby as OK with it, everybody should be OK with it. That’s my overall feeling. I can understand that some people just don’t like to break with tradition, there’s no question about that. The Auburn game has been played in November for a long, long time and so I can understand what they’re thinking.

“But here’s the thing: He has to clear something like that with Kirby. And if Kirby is fine with it, we all should be. I’m sure Greg negotiated with the conference behind closed doors, and probably tried to keep it. But if the coach and the AD and the president are happy with it, then, again, it should be fine with everybody.”

McGarity ‘has done a fine job’

The conversation then turned to the job McGarity has done as Georgia’s athletic director. Now, Dooley could be somewhat biased. McGarity broke into athletic administration while Dooley was Georgia’s AD. But McGarity also bolted for Florida in the early 1990s, and he’d work there for 18 years at the right hand of Jeremy Foley, the Bulldogs’ ultimate adversary.

So Dooley insists he is totally unbiased when it comes to evaluating McGarity. He concludes that McGarity has “done a fine job.”

“He’s certainly gotten into the building of facilities,” Dooley said, alluding to more than $115 worth of projects that have been completed as of this past year. “He made a good hire in Kirby and has gone the extra mile to provide Kirby with what he felt like he needed. So from that standpoint, I think he’s done a fine job.”

Dooley thinks it’s important that fans and donors realize how deep McGarity’s roots go with Georgia athletics. A native Athenian and UGA letterman and coach in tennis, McGarity is always going to have the school’s best interests in mind.

“He has been around a long time,” said Dooley, who then chuckled about a memory. “I remember Greg wearing those big ol’ thick glasses and rolling the tennis courts for Dan Magill. Dan would turn to him and say, ‘alright Greg, roll the courts!’ Back then you had to sweep them and roll them. Greg did that for him before he even was in college.

“So he has a long record of service to Georgia. He also had some good service down at Florida and he’s had great service to us, both when I was AD and after he came back. I think he’s done a very good job.”

As for the Athletic Board’s recent decision to extend McGarity’s contract only one more year, Dooley said there’s no sense in trying to read too much into that.

“I take Greg for his word that’s the way he wants it,” Dooley said. “And after serving as long as he has, I can understand it.”

Should ‘Dooley’ be added to Sanford Stadium?

There is a group of Georgia people out there who believe some recent political manueverings could result in Dooley’s name being added to Sanford Stadium. Personally, I have long been a proponent for such an action to come to pass.

When Dooley came to Athens from Auburn in December of 1963, Sanford Stadium seated 43,000 spectators. When he left 40 years later, it sat 93,000. That had as much to do with what Dooley did as the head coach — winning six SEC championships and a national championship — as what he did as athletic director, which was grow the Georgia brand into one of the best-recognized in the nation.

Those facts resulted in a campaign organized by Atlanta’s Bob Hope and other Dooley supporters in the years after Dooley’s retirement to have Dooley’s name included either on the stadium or the field. But that initiative met resistance from the University System’s Board of Regents, former UGA President Michael Adams and, indirectly, from the Sanford family.

Recently, Georgia’s newly-elected governor, Brian Kemp, effectively ousted three longtime members of the Board of Regents — Don Leebern Jr., Dean Alford and Richard Tucker — after their abrupt re-appointments were determined to be illegally executed by outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal. The legality of both administrations’ maneuverings continue to be debated in the halls of state government, and it’s not immediately clear when their terms will end.

Nevertheless, while the political motivations of those actions remain murky, there is a faction of people who believe that it could result in a future vote to finally have Dooley’s name included somewhere on Georgia’s football venue. It just so happens that the Dooleys were huge supporters of Kemp in his run for governor. Kemp is a close friend of the family. He grew up as a close friend of Daniel Dooley, and Kemp’s mother, Ann Cabaniss is one of Barbara Dooley’s closest friends.

Dooley thinks way too much is being read into their relationship and their support of Kemp.

“I think he’s got more to do than to be worried about that,” Dooley said with a laugh. “Being the governor of the state, he’s got his plate full. He’s got a program that he’s trying to get in right now.”

Dooley admitted to being “very much supporters” of Kemp, but not in order to gain any political influence.

“We did support him,” Dooley said. “We also supported the lieutenant governor and a couple of other legislators. As a matter of norm, I never did that while I was employed by the university; I was always apolitical then. But I think I’ve earned a right to express myself and I felt like it was time to do so.”

As for his feelings about having his name on the stadium, Dooley demurred.

“I don’t have any thoughts on that,” said Georgia’s winningest coach of all time. “I have more to do than worry about that myself. I’ve always totally stayed away from it and intend to now as well.”

The post Georgia legend Vince Dooley shares opinions on Auburn game, McGarity and Sanford Stadium appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered two new drug targets to treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, a life-threatening lung condition that makes breathing difficult or impossible.   Their findings were published in a recent issue of Pharmacological Research.   ARDS is a rapidly progressing disease with mortality rate between 35% and 50%, and it typically occurs in critically ill hospital patients, such as those in intensive care units on ventilators. Fluid accumulates in the lungs of patients, depriving the body of oxygen. There is no cure for ARDS, and current treatments consist of supportive care.   Somanath P.R. Shenoy, professor and director of the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics Program at the UGA College of Pharmacy’s Augusta campus. “There are currently no good treatment options for people with this disease, but the drug targets we have identified could help change that,” said Somanath P.R. Shenoy, professor and director of the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics Program at the UGA College of Pharmacy’s Augusta campus.   Shenoy and his colleagues found that by controlling the expression of an enzyme and a protein in the lungs, they could reduce the inflammation and fluid accumulation associated with the disease. They tested the treatment on human lung cells and in a mouse model that mimicked the effects of ARDS.   “We were able to completely reverse the accumulation of fluid in the lungs of mice used in our tests,” Shenoy said. “If we could create drugs that target the accumulation of fluids in human lungs, we may be able to develop a new and desperately needed treatment for ARDS.”   The study also showed a correlation between the levels of the enzyme in blood and the development of ARDS, so the enzyme could be used as a diagnostic marker for the disease.   A recent study conducted by G. Bellani and an international team of collaborators, as part of LUNGSAFE, under the auspices of the ESICM Trial Group, concludes that ARDS is underdiagnosed and undertreated, not only in the U.S. but worldwide.   Because ARDS is often undiagnosed or diagnosis comes late, a reliable diagnostic marker could help improve the prognosis for ARDS in hospital patients. However, Shenoy cautions that further studies in human ARDS patient samples are needed to confirm the effectiveness of the enzyme as a diagnostic marker.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs will host SMU at Stegeman Coliseum this December as the first game of home-and-home series with the Mustangs, head coach Tom Crean announced on Wednesday.   Georgia and SMU will meet in Athens this season on Friday, Dec. 20. The following year, the Bulldogs will venture to Dallas to return the contest on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.   “We’re excited about the matchup with SMU,” Crean said. “This not only adds a quality opponent to our home schedule for this season, it also gives us a chance to play in Dallas next season, where the University of Georgia has an extremely large and loyal alumni base.”   The series will be the first meetings between UGA and SMU in men’s basketball. Georgia is 30-19 all-time against teams currently competing with the Mustangs in the American Athletic Conference.   SMU has compiled a 71-38 record in three seasons under current head coach Tim Jankovich, including a program-record 30 victories in 2016-17. The Mustangs won the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2017.   Deposits for season tickets to the Bulldogs’ 2019-20 home schedule are only $50 and can be made by calling 706-542-1231 or by visiting georgiadogs.com/tickets. Last season, Crean’s first season at Georgia, the Bulldogs broke their all-time total attendance record by more than 9,000 fans.   This season, Crean will welcome a top-5 recruiting class to Athens. The Bulldogs have signed five of the nation’s top-100 prospects in the Class of 2019, more than any other SEC program.
  • Legion Pool at the University of Georgia will open on May 23 for the summer season. Hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through July 31 and 3-7 p.m. Aug. 1-8. Use of Legion Pool is limited to students with valid UGACards who pay activity fees on the Athens campus; faculty and staff with valid UGACards; guests of students, faculty and staff; and Friends of Campus Life members. All guests must be accompanied by the UGACard holder. Admission is $3 for students, $4 for faculty and staff, $3 for children ages 3-15 (who must be accompanied by an adult) and $5 for guests and members of Friends of Campus Life. Friends of Campus Life memberships are available for a minimum $40 donation at the pool. Membership dues help to support the student programs and services offered by the Tate Student Center. An open house will be held on May 22 from 1-6 p.m.; swimming will not be permitted, but passes will be sold at the pool concession window. Legion Pool is administered by the Tate Student Center within UGA’s Division of Student Affairs.
  • There is talk in Jackson County about filing ethics complaints against Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly and Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland. Both have heard calls to resign after making what are said to have been racist remarks. Kenerly denies not hiring a black city administrator because of his race, while Cleveland, who is Hoschton’s Mayor Pro Tem has been quoted speaking out against interracial marriage.    The Atlanta Journal Constitution filed an open records request for dozens of emails and a handful of Facebook messages directed at Hoschton before the city took down both its website and Facebook page following the AJC’s May 6 story. Without exception, the messages were critical of officials’ racially charged comments, with many calling on the mayor and a longtime councilman to resign.
  • The Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office’s annual Roll Out the Barrels event is set for 6 o’clock this evening at the Foundry in downtown Athens: 16 custom-painted rain barrels will be on the auction block, with proceeds going to the County’s Green Schools Program. From the Athens-Clarke County Government website…   Roll Out the Barrels is a free, family-friendly event is open to the public and aims to raise awareness of water pollution and water conservation. Bid on 16 unique rain barrels painted by local artists as you enjoy music and appetizers. All proceeds benefit the Athens-Clarke County Green School Program, which is designed to assist schools with environmental education and improvement efforts that focus on conservation, preservation, and beautification of our environment. Visit rolloutthebarrels.org for more information and a list of participating artists.

Bulldog News

  • ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Georgia football is way ahead of the game when it comes to bringing in money for 2019. The Bulldogs already had collected $33 million in ticket revenue as of April this year as compared to $21.4 million by the same time last year, according to the 2019 treasurer’s report. That report was given to the Georgia Athletic Association’s board of directors at the annual end-of-year retreat, which is being held this year here at the King & Prince Resort. That increase is attributed to having a seventh home game this season as well as last year’s ticket price increases, according to board treasurer Ryan Nesbit. Georgia reports $29.6 million in actual ticket contributions, which exceeded the budgeted amount of $28.5 million. Expenses will also be up slightly to $5.3 because of the extra game and an ever-expanding support base. “When you have home games with Notre Dame and Texas A&M, that helps,” UGA President Jere Morehead said. “Our athletic fundraising has been exceptional this year, so I want to commend Greg McGarity and (director of development) Matt Borman and everybody involved,” President Jere Morehead said told the board during his report to open the meeting. Georgia did not reveal its budget for the coming fiscal year, but it is expected to set another record. That has been the case in each year since the advent of the SEC Network bolstered the league’s revenue distribution program. League members received an average of $43.1 million from the SEC in the revenue distribution, which divides profits equally between the 14 members plus the conference headquarters in Birmingham. Last year, the board raised Georgia’s average football ticket price from $50 to an average of $66.42 per game, on a two-tiered system. Games against Tier 1 opponents such as SEC and Power 5 opponents cost $75 per game. Games against Tier 2 opponents are $55 per game. That does not include the required donation for the right to purchase those tickets. Georgia’s budget was more than $143 million last year. It’s expected to approach $150 million this year when it is presented to the board for approval during Friday’s meeting. The Bulldogs approved the architects for its football facility expansion but provided few details beyond it will be started as soon as possible. Morehead used a portion of his opening marks to congratulate McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, and his administration “for a fantastic year whether it be fundraising or on the competitive field of play.” “We’re continuing to see a great deal of success and accomplishment on and off the field,” Morehead said. The board responded with applause, which is unusual for these proceedings. Seventeen out of UGA’s 21 sports competed in NCAA postseason play this year. That includes baseball, men’s golf and track and field, which are currently active in postseason play. McGarity received a $25,000 raise last year to a salary of $700,000. He has chosen to work on year-to-year contracts going forward. Fifty-six percent of 511 student-athletes recorded a GPA of 3.0 or better in spring semester, according to faculty athletics rep Craig Shipley. That’s below the athletic department’s stated goal of 65 percent but above the national average. Twenty-seven athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA. Men’s cross country led all sports with a 3.44 GPA. Georgia Athletic Association’s is called to order moments before conducting its final meeting of the 2019 Academic Year in the Retreat Room at the King & Prince Resort on St. Simons Island. (Chip Towers/DawgNation)   The post Georgia football is raking in revenue at record rate for 2019 season appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON — As the marquee outside the Hargray Capitol Theatre boldly stated to passers by on Second Street, it was the Kirby Smart and Tom Crean Show here on Monday. The Georgia Bulldogs Club’s annual Coaches Caravan made its first stop here in Central Georgia Monday night and it was a quick one. Smart spoke for 7½ minutes and Crean for about twice that before a gathering of a couple or few hundred fans. There was no question-and-answer opportunity for the fans, which typically produces the most entertaining exchanges. No salvos were sent back Florida’s way. Before the program, the coaches did give the local press and team beat writers about 10 minutes for a Q&A backstage. After that, the coaches and an entourage of officers from UGA’s development office led by director Matt Borman adjourned for a private dinner with donors. The group will repeat the process Tuesday night in Augusta. Then that will be it for a while. There was very little in the way of hard news that came out of the session. The most pertinent was that all Bulldogs, current and incoming, are expected to meet academic eligibility requirements. That’s particularly refreshing considering Georgia had “a number of guys” who were sweating out spring semester grades, according to Smart. Other nuggets to come out of the 90-minute affair: Smart said no players other than linebacker Jaden Hunter are currently in the transfer portal. “None that I can think of,” Smart said. Smart congratulated Vince Dooley and praised the university for naming the field after him. “Who better to do it for than for a man who gave his life to the university and did a great job,” Smart said. We’re probably not going to see a lot more of outside linebacker Walter Grant at running back. “A lot of it will depend on the freshmen coming in, Kenny (McIntosh), and other guys at the position and how we feel, and outside ‘backer depth, too,” Smart said. “It was an insurance policy at best. It was kind of a research project to see what he can do.” Crean said he remains in constant contact with sophomore Nicolas Claxton as he works out for NBA scouts and he attended all his events at the NBA combine last week. He interjected that Claxton “could be a lottery pick” if he returned. Crean also said that he expects to sign another player before next season. Headlines from Coaches Caravan QB Jake Fromm will have more ‘offensive input’ in 2019 Kirby Smart expects all players, incoming and otherwise, to be eligible RB Zamir White on pace to be cleared for preseason camp Georgia fans flock to Macon landmark to hear from Kirby Smart           The post VIDEO: Kirby Smart, Tom Crean update fans on Georgia Bulldogs during ‘Coaches Caravan’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Incoming Miami grad-transfer receiver Lawrence Cager had the unique experience of getting to know both Kirby Smart and Mark Richt as head coaches the past few years. Smart has elevated Georgia football into an annual national championship contender in his three years leading the program. RELATED: Kirby Smart ‘proud’ to have worked for Mark Richt The Bulldogs played in the College Football Playoff Championship Game after he 2017 season, and narrowly missed making the CFP last season in controversial fashion. Smart coached a season under Richt at Georgia in 2005 and inherited a program on solid footing in 2016. WATCH: Mark Richt praised by rivals Saban, Spurrier, Fulmer Richt was was 145-51 over his 15 seasons at Georgia, his .740 winning percentage second only to Smart’s .762 (32-10). The differences in the disposition of Richt and Smart, Cager indicted, are like fire and ice. “Kirby was an All-SEC performer, so he can relate to you and he’s a player’s coach, he’s a guy you want to play under,” Cager said. “He gets fired up, just like coach (James) Coley.” Coley is the offensive coordinator at Georgia under Smart. But on the front end of Cager’s career, he recruited against his current boss, back when Smart was the defensive coordinator at Alabama. Cager began his career at Miami in 2015 with Coley calling the plays under then-Hurricanes’ head coach Al Golden. But then Golden was fired midway through the season, and Richt took over the Miami after being let go from Georgia following he 2015 season and returned to his alma mater to coach the Hurricanes from 2016-2018. Cager said Richt was much more reserved than what he’s seen from Smart. “With Coach Richt it was like, ‘We’re here to do this and that and handle business,’ ” Cager said. “It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s turn it up!’ Kirby will say ‘Let’s turn it up on them!’ “Coach Richt was more like, ‘Look, we are coming here, it’s Florida State, we know what we have to do, we need to line up and beat them.” Cager said the 43-year-old Smart is personable and comes across as being more invested emotionally than the 59-year-old Richt, who delivered messages in businesslike, matter-of-fact tone. Miami hired Richt to replace Golden after Cager’s freshman season. Cager said most of the players on the Miami football team had a pretty good idea Richt would be the Hurricanes next head coach. “Once Georgia let go of Coach Richt, this is his alma mater and his name kept coming up so we all thought we will hire him,” Cager said. “Once we heard it was us or Virginia, we knew for sure.” Richt changed the culture immediately, Cager said. “Golden came in here from Temple, he was more laid back,” Cager said. “Richt changed everything. We used to wear anything we wanted to practice, but then Coach Richt came in and wanted everyone uniform. It was old school, everyone would look the same, no earrings, the little stuff. “It helped a lot of people in the end. He’s a great guy. We were focused on winning championships, but his mentality was we are here to bring the swag back and it’s all about business.” Now it’s Cager who is all about business. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound receiver is expected to challenge for a starting spot immediately in the Bulldogs’ young receiving corps. DawgNation in South Florida Kenny McIntosh draws comparisons to Sony Michel, Jordan Scarlett Lawrence Cager eager for Georgia touch down ’The Blueprint,’ championship plans for South Florida star The post Fire and ice: Incoming Miami transfer compares Kirby Smart to Mark Richt appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON — Jake Fromm grew up and played high school ball 19 miles from the famous Hargray Capitol Theatre in downtown Macon where Kirby Smart was Monday. Fromm’s mother, Lee, works as a nurse in the Coliseum Medical Center, just a mile away across the Ocmulgee River. The Fromm’s family hunting lease is just 19 miles the other side of the hospital over in Plum Creek. So Jake Fromm is a big deal around. Then again, Fromm is pretty much a big deal everywhere these days. So Smart, here to speak at a small gathering of Georgia fans and Georgia Bulldogs Club members, dutifully acknowledged his quarterback and the many other Central Georgia players who dot the Bulldogs’ roster. “We’ve gotten a lot good players from here,” Smart said at the opening of his brief remarks before a crowd of a few hundred. “The guy who takes a snap from center and the guy who snaps it.” Fromm, obviously, is the player who takes the snaps. Trey Hill, who was Fromm’s teammate at Houston County High in Warner Robins, is the center snapping the ball to him. Hill played left tackle most of the time in high school, but did have occasion to snap to Fromm every once in a while. But now he’s the one replacement on Georgia’s heralded offensive line. He must replace graduated senior and NFL draft pick Lamont Gaillard. About that, there’s some question. About Fromm, there is none. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior is considered a All-America candidate and Heisman Trophy as the Bulldogs head into their fourth season under Smart, once again as a Top 5 team. Fromm does so having played in every game, starting all but one and in position to set the school’s all-time record for completion percentage. This year, Fromm will be operating under a new offensive coordinator. James Coley succeeded Jim Chaney in the role after taking over as quarterbacks coach last year. Smart thinks that is a good thing. “I think we’ve got some more quarterback guys around him with Coley working with him and he’s excited about that,” Smart said. “For him, it’s been a transition through the coordinator position where he’s kind of a sponge, he’s got more of an opinion now. He understands what we’re trying to do offensively.” Fromm has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 5,364 yards with 54 touchdowns and 13 interceptions at this point. The thought is the Bulldogs will throw the ball more under Coley, who did that as coordinator at Miami and Florida State. Smart believes Fromm can handle whatever Coley can dish out, and will also have a say-so on what the Bulldogs do as well. “Any time you’ve got a three-year starter,he can give you input on things he likes about the offense, things he dislikes and things he thinks he can be successful,” Smart said. “That input is helpful, it’s always helpful.” The post Kirby Smart expects QB Jake Fromm to have more ‘offensive input’ in 2019 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON —  The biggest applause Kirby Smart got during his 7½-minute speech to a couple of hundred Georgia fans on Monday was when he said that every player slated to return for the Bulldogs had retained their academic eligibility. Smart had said essentially the same thing backstage earlier with regard to the 10 signees in the Class of 2019 that have yet to report to campus. Specifically, there has been a lot of concern and chatter about 5-star wide receiver George Pickens. But while the Georgia coach didn’t address Pickens specifically, he did say he expected all who signed to show up and be eligible when they arrive this summer. Most are expected to arrive at the end of this month and enroll for summer semester, which begins in early June. “We’ve got full expectations that everybody will be there in the summer to practice, to compete,” Smart said. “All of those guys are finishing up, right now they’re in their finals depending on what state they’re in or where they are. I know they’re looking forward to getting into our place and start working.” As for the returning players, Smart acknowledged that the Bulldogs were sweating out the spring semester grades of a more than a few. But, again, he said, there were no academic casualties. “And that’s an accomplishment,” Smart said as applause nearly drowned out his remarks. “As everybody in this room knows, academically at Georgia, it’s an unbelievable place. It’s unbelievably competitive. When you look at the average student coming in with a 32 ACT, a 1,300 SAT, a 4.1 GPA, you know when you walk into the classroom you’ve got to be at the top of your game. And that goes for our players, too.”   The post Kirby Smart says all returning players, all incoming recruits have made the grades to play appeared first on DawgNation.