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College
Georgia’s rapidly improving linebacker corps features ‘surest tackler in the SEC’
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Georgia’s rapidly improving linebacker corps features ‘surest tackler in the SEC’

Georgia’s rapidly improving linebacker corps features ‘surest tackler in the SEC’

Georgia’s rapidly improving linebacker corps features ‘surest tackler in the SEC’

Georgia-UGA-Monty Rice-Kirby Smart

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia coach Kirby Smart doesn’t spend time making excuses, but a look back at 2018 reveals just how valuable of a piece of the defense the Bulldogs were missing at the end of the season.

Linebacker Monty Rice, who led the team in tackles much of the year, was missing against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and for virtually all of the Sugar Bowl against Texas.

Rice was the “surest tackler in the SEC” last season according to Pro Football Focus, which was likely the reason he began last season as the Bulldogs’ starting middle linebacker.

 

He’s a smart guy, really intelligent and he’s a heavy hitter,” UGA defensive coordinator Dan Lanning said. “When he puts his pads on, I think guys feel it.”

Georgia’s linebacker play fell off last season after the departure of 2017 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Roquan Smith.

Rice, a 6-foot-1, 235-pounder, never could get on track last season after suffering a pulled hamstring in the 2018 spring game.

Rice suffered a sprained knee in days leading up to the Sept. 22 Missouri game, an injury that lingered.

“Monty gives us a tough, physical presence,” Kirby Smart said last October. “I don’t know that he’s 100 percent still. I think he’s getting there.”

Rice looked much better — and so did Georgia — during a key stretch against Florida, Kentucky and Auburn. He had eight tackles or more in each game — including a career-high 11 stops against Florida — as the Bulldogs played arguably their best football of the season.

Rice, only a sophomore last season, was appointed a team captain for the UMass game, only to suffer a foot injury during warmups that essentially sidelined him the remainder of the season.

Georgia’s linebacking corps is expected to be one of the most improved units on the team with the return of senior inside linebacker Tae Crowder, the addition of freshmen inside linebacker Nakobe Dean and outside linebackers Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson spiking the pass rush.

Rice has shown he can play both inside and outside linebacker, and it’s a good bet he’ll be back in the starting lineup when the season opens at Vanderbilt on Aug. 31 in Nashville.

 

The post Georgia’s rapidly improving linebacker corps features ‘surest tackler in the SEC’ appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • From the Athens-Clarke Co Government website... Visit the Water Conservation Office to pick up a free, automatic shut-off spray nozzle for your hose while supplies last. Why use a spray nozzle? • Use less water • Water does not run constantly while spigot is on • Direct stream of water where it needs to go • Prevent dirt from splashing around your garden • Water anytime with current ACC Outdoor Water Use Schedule To see the current ACC Outdoor Water Use Schedule, visit www.thinkatthesink.com
  • The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia has received national recognition for its book “Vernacular Modernism: The Photography of Doris Ulmann.” The book was given an honorable mention in the “art” category for the Eric Hoffer Book Awards and was a finalist in the art category for the Foreword INDIES Awards. “Vernacular Modernism” brought well-deserved attention to a relatively unknown documentary photographer. This book, which accompanied the museum’s exhibition of the same name in 2018, highlights Ulmann’s achievements and techniques and her photographic perspective on 20th-century life. “I’m deeply gratified by these institutions’ recognition,” said Sarah Kate Gillespie, the book’s author and former curator of American art at the museum. “It is a testament to the hard work of everyone who was involved in the project, the generosity of lenders and the support of the museum’s administration.” The Eric Hoffer Book Award for short prose and books started in the early 21st century to recognize excellence in writing. This award remembers the eponymous champion of literature and stresses the importance of publishers of every size. Since its establishment, the Hoffer has become one of the leading international book awards for small, academic and independent presses. The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards discover, review and share the best books from university and independent publishers. Foreword Magazine hosts the awards program and, this year, over 2,000 book titles were submitted for consideration. Finalists are determined by Foreword’s editorial team and included books published by Rizzoli, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pomegranate, Prestel and Yale University Art Gallery in the art category, putting the Georgia Museum of Art on equal footing with the best in the field. The museum is honored to have been considered a finalist for these prestigious awards. This recognition highlights the importance of university and small-scale presses in their dissemination of creative, original, and inspired books.
  • A former top-ranking GBI investigator is to one year in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release for racking up more than $60,000 on government-issued credit cards. Sandra Stevens, 46, used her purchasing card and the P-Cards of at least six other GBI employees to make more than 325 unauthorized transactions between May 2013 and  The cards are issued to GBI employees for purchases such as supplies, materials and equipment for official use. Employees are required to account for every dollar spent by electronically uploading copies of their receipts, authorities said. But Stevens’ purchases included a seven-piece dining set for more than $560, an outdoor corn hole set for nearly $230, two lounge chairs for her backyard pool worth $400 and a 65-inch television for nearly $1,600, federal prosecutors said.  Stevens, who went by Sandra Putnam during her time at the GBI, claimed the purchases were work-related on official paperwork.  She also submitted altered receipts to the GBI where she changed the description of the items purchased, the addresses they were shipped to, or both. In May 2016, Stevens used another GBI employee’s P-Card to order a $930 sofa on Amazon that was delivered to her home in Covington. She then submitted a false receipt where she misrepresented the couch as 12 anti-spyware software discs that were sent to the GBI’s DeKalb County headquarters rather than her home address.  Stevens pleaded guilty to state charges in 2017 and federal mail fraud charges in January.  “It is imperative sworn officers obey the law while they enforce the law,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said. “This sentence sends a clear message that public corruption will not be tolerated and the violators, no matter who they are, will be held accountable.”  In her 22-year career with the GBI, Stevens rose through the ranks to eventually hold the job of inspector of the Investigative Division, where she supervised 55 employees and made more than $100,000 per year, authorities said.  She was allowed to resign in lieu of termination in August 2016 and was arrested less than two weeks later. When Stevens pleaded guilty to racketeering and violation of her oath of office in DeKalb County Superior Court in 2017, she faced a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. State prosecutors recommended eight years in prison. Her defense attorney asked for probation, with the first 30 days spent in the DeKalb County jail followed by two years of home confinement. Instead, Judge Clarence Seeliger sentenced Stevens to 10 years on probation as a first offender, citing her more than two decades of “honorable service.” That sentence was terminated weeks later after she completed her community service and paid back the $60,268.04 she defrauded the government.
  • Things should be a little calmer for a while weather wise after a few stormy days in Georgia. Several counties saw high winds, heavy rain, in some cases some hail. Thousands of power outages were reported as well. Forecasters say we do have a slight chance of thunderstorms around the state over the next few days, but nothing quite as widespread. From WSB Radio… Another round of severe weather knocked-down trees and knocked-out power for many metro Atlantans on Sunday. There were several severe thunderstorm warnings the afternoon, extending from the northern suburbs, to the southern and eastern portions of the metro.  By late in the afternoon, Georgia Power said thousands of its customers were without electricity – as many as 20,000 at one point - after storms moved through.  MARTA said downed tree limbs delayed train service at West Lake, with spotty delays on the East-West line.  Forecasters are calling for yet another round of scattered showers and storms for metro Atlanta on Monday. 
  • University of Georgia education professor Bettina L. Love set off a ruckus in a recent education journal with a column declaring that white teachers cannot love their black students if they don’t understand the racism built into our laws, culture and classrooms. “Let me be clear,” Love wrote in Education Week. “I do not think White teachers enter the profession wanting to harm children of color, but they will hurt a child whose culture is viewed as an afterthought.”   Her essay produced anger. “I find the idea that teachers need to ‘love’ students and their ‘culture’ creepy. Shut up and teach, dammit,” wrote one reader. It provoked denial: “Stop dwelling on race. We have a thriving black middle class, and very successful, wealthy black families. These are evidence that it’s not racism that’s holding back the African Americans who are stuck in poverty….it’s lack of ambition and self-defeating attitudes,” wrote another. Love’s belief that teachers of black children must be social justice warriors forms the basis of her book, “We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom.” Drawing on the creativity, rebellion and determination of the abolitionists, Love argues for a radical change in American education so that black children matter and matter enough that their teachers, schools and communities fight for them. She disdains the current reverence for grit and defying the odds, writing, “Dark students being gritty, full of excitement and energy, reciting self-improvement statements and displaying social and emotional intelligence will not stop them being killed in the streets or spirit murdered in classrooms.” In a recent interview, Love said the education system teaches black kids to survive rather than thrive and discounts their resourcefulness, resilience and joyfulness. And a large part of that comes from teachers who do not know these students or their worlds. A key problem is the lack of teachers of color, according to Love. In her eight years in the UGA College of Education’s department of educational theory and practice, Love can count on one hand, maybe two, the African-American students in her required class on diversity. Despite a rise in teachers of color, about 80 percent of teachers are white. And most are women. The aspiring teachers in her UGA classes are “incredibly bright but have limited experience with other races, other cultures. I try and disrupt the myths and stereotypes about black and brown children. At the end of the 16 weeks, I ask my students to tell me what is beautiful about black and brown children, what is the joy of teaching them,” she said.  Students tell Love they chose teaching because they love kids. “That is not enough. You can’t love something you don’t know anything about,” she said. As a child, Love grew up a supportive community in Rochester, N.Y. She was not an academically driven student and went to a vocational high school, but, at 6’2’’ with a heck of a jump shot, ended up in college and on the basketball team. She discovered a love of scholarship, eventually earning her doctorate in educational policy studies from Georgia State University. She tries to help future teachers understand they must speak to injustices that threaten or disparage their students, not an easy task with a generation programmed by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top to bubble in answers and follow rules and rubrics. (Love said schools need tests, but not a billion dollar testing industry that has standardized cultural bias. She is not impressed with the College Board’s planto address the zip code advantage in its SAT by assigning kids an additional score for hardships and inequality, saying, “We’d rather measure barriers than remove them. We need to throw these things out. Until it works for everyone, it doesn’t work.”) How do you create a teaching force of revolutionaries and radicals when many teachers, worn out at the end of a long day of overcrowded classrooms and underfunded mandates, want to go home to Netflix or a nap? A former classroom teacher, Love said, “What I am asking for is solidarity. One of the things we don’t talk about in the profession is the mistrust between teachers of color and white teachers. What I am asking teachers to do is cut across racial lines to have those difficult conversations around race, gender and citizenship.” In a school based on abolitionist principles, teachers think deeply about culture and social justice and about healing children. And the children know they are loved and in an environment that believes in them, she said. Ensuring that environment may force teachers to confront principals, attend marches or strike. “It is not about fighting every day,” said Love, “but it is about how you walk through the world. I am not asking that this be something teachers do; I am asking that this be the way teachers see the world.” She wants teachers to “Get in your lane and push. I know teachers are stressed. It is difficult to be a teacher and a parent. But when you see injustice, do something about it. That could be to just say, ‘That new policy is trash and I am not going to do it.’ We cannot sit back and know our students are facing inhuman conditions, ideas and circumstances and not act.”

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm calls the huddles on the football fields and makes the phone calls off them to set up the voluntary workouts. Now, more than ever, Fromm will need to forego his offseason hunting and fishing trips to get the pass game up to snuff with the top five pass catchers from a season ago no longer with the team. RELATED: Georgia QB Legend explains confidence in offense, Fromm The Bulldogs couldn't ask for anyone better to be making those connections, according to former All-SEC and NFL receiver turned SEC Network analyst Chris Doering. 'I don't think there's a better person that they could have to break in those receivers than a guy like Jake Fromm,' Doering told DawgNation. 'This being Jake's third year, he has a comfort level with his role as a leader and the things his receivers need to work on.' ESPN College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit was on the same page this spring when asked about Georgia football. 'It starts with Jake Fromm, and I know they lost some key pieces,' Herbstreit told DawgNation. 'In my mind with his leadership, and with the way they've recruited in the last three years, there's no question or no concern for me to wonder whether this is going to be an offense that will be productive.' RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit puts his spin on Jake Fromm's role Doering said Georgia's receiving corps was going to be under the microscope this season even before leading returning receiver Jeremiah 'J.J. Holloman was suspended last week on account of an alleged domestic assault. 'There has to be a sense of urgency among those receivers to fill the void that was left,' Doering said. 'Those workouts are not something the coaches can organize, but it's something that should be worked on every day. RELATED: UGA title hopes take hit, transfer receivers must step up 'The quarterback typically is the guy that spearheads what time these things are going down, where it's going down, and what they are going to work on.' UGA coach Kirby Smart said he saw Fromm take even more steps forward as a leader this spring. 'I think leadership was the biggest thing (Fromm) took a step forward in, and asserting his personality on the receivers and on the O-Line,' Smart said at the conclusion of spring drills. 'Not being timid to step up and say things to guys when things needed to be said. 'Not that he's every been afraid to do it, but I think he has asserted himself more.' Fromm finished fifth in the nation in passing efficiency last season, and he's the only one of the four permanent team captains from 2018 that's returning to the team. Fromm was part of the Georgia leadership team that recently traveled to Florida, and he was among the most popular players to volunteer his time at Camp Sunshine last week. RELATED: Jake Fromm, D'Andre Swift bring joy to young cancer patients But it's what Fromm does on the field that gets the most attention, and in addition to the Georgia fan base the NFL scouts will be watching. RELATED: Fromm among 5 Georgia players projected early in 2020 NFL Draft Doering, who was with eight teams in the NFL during his 11 years of professional football, said the best quarterbacks are sometimes the most demanding. 'I've been with quarterbacks before where they don't have a personal comfort with a play, and they want to rep it again and again,' Doering said. 'Or, they see something with a receiver that they want to correct based on film study from the spring, or something they've seen in workouts.' As much as anything, Fromm has to find his rhythm with the new receivers. The leading returning wide receiver is senior Tyler Simmons, who had just 9 catches last season. 'Obviously, you want to have guys that the quarterback can be confident in knowing where they will be, and also have some consistency catching the football,' Doering said. 'There are nuances to how the guys are running the routes, so I think it's something that is up to the quarterback to get comfortable with. 'This time of year, it's all about the quarterback organizing activities, whether it's one-on-one with the receivers, or 7 on 7s with the defense.' That that's where the pressure is on Fromm to come through this offseason, something Herbstreit is confident he will do. 'You look around the entire county, he's one of those leaders beyond his Xs and Os and what he can do when he starts throwing the ball,' said Herbstreit, once a quarterback himself at Ohio State. 'Fromm is like a dad that's on the team, the younger players are like his kids, and I just have a lot of confidence that between his experience and leadership he'll get the offense in the right spot.' The post SEC Network expert: Georgia QB Jake Fromm making calls on and off field appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SEC football legend Tim Tebow loves his Florida Gators, but he has been quick to give Kirby Smart credit for immediate success at Georgia. Tebow, playing for the Syracuse Mets Triple-A baseball club when he's not providing commentary for ESPN, met with media during the weekend series in Gwinnett. Atlanta's 11Alive TV caught up with Tebow in a dugout interview and talked about Georgia football and its fourth-year head coach. RELATED: Tebow predicts Georgia lacks motivation for Texas 'I think they were ahead of schedule and they did some incredible things, and honestly, probably should have won a national championship two years ago,' Tebow said. 'And, really, had such a great chance to close out the SEC Championship Game last year and go to the playoffs. 'So I think this is a big year, I think probably anything less is going to be a little bit disappointing if you're a Georgia fan.' Tebow says this needs to be the year for Georgia football, and that another loss to Alabama could create a mental hurdle. 'It's been a building process for Georgia, (and) if you looked a few years ago, you would say right now would be that time,' Tebow said. 'I think this needs to be Georgia's year, I really do. I think just the way it's gone against Alabama the last couple of years, to not be able to get there again. 'It's not just that it hurts you in that year. It becomes a big brother-little brother type of thing, where you have to eventually be able to get over that hurdle, and get over that hump, and this is kind of that year.' RELATED: Georgia's Kirby Smart not fixated on Alabama Tebow's take has become a popular narrative in the SEC, with league analyst Paul Finebaum leading the charge. Finebaum peppered Smart with questions about the Bulldogs' heartbreaking losses to Alabama 26-20 in overtime in the College Football Playoff Championship Game after the 2017 season, and 35-28 in last season's SEC Championship Game. Georgia led by two touchdowns in both games before the Tide rallied for the wins. 'I'm not going to make it about one team,' Smart stated calmly, but firmly, when Finebaum pressed with the Alabama question in May. 'I think everybody else wants to make it about one team.' Smart knows Georgia can beat Alabama: UGA has led or been tied with the Tide 118 minutes and 54 seconds of 120 minutes and 281 of 290 plays of the past two meetings in the CFP title game and SEC title game. SEC Legend Tim Tebow Tim Tebow: This has to be #UGAs year so they can stop being the little brother to Alabama. pic.twitter.com/XHjh5I2lWP 11Alive Sports (@11AliveSports) June 22, 2019 The post Tim Tebow: Georgia football was ahead of schedule,' but needs to beat Alabama appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Sometimes, 'it takes what it takes,' and that was the motto stamped on the gray shirts of the Georgia players after a recent leadership trip to the Gulf of Mexico. The players posted photos on the Instagram and Snapchat accounts earlier this month of jet ski adventures near Pensacola Beach along with packed car rides. It Takes What it Takes. Trevor Moawad (@TrevorMoawad) June 15, 2019 Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart an advocate of keeping the main thing the main thing, and pressure being a privilege revealed last monththere were plans to enhance Georgia's team leadership training. 'We'll take our leadership guys off location this summer and spend time together,' Smart said at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., 'and try to do some things different to change it up.' It was clear in the pictures and videos that quarterback Jake Fromm and tailback D'Andre Swift, two of the higher-profile skill position players, were growing closer to one another. Smart said at the start of spring drills he felt good about the team's leadership, but it has been tested during the offseason. Most recently, junior receiver Jeremiah 'J.J.' Holloman was dismissed from the team after an alleged assault that occurred after the 2018 G-Day Game but was only recently reported and disclosed. RELATED: Georgia football title hopes take hit, but Bulldogs have talent to rebound Details from a police report indicate it's very unlikely Georgia coach Kirby Smart and his staff had any prior knowledge of the alleged incident. Already, the Georgia football team has been addressed on the issue, and the leadership council activity and awareness has spiked, according to a UGA team source. Now, more than ever, the Bulldogs' players have tightened their circle with the support of the Georgia football coaches and staff. Smart said it's important to change things up to keep leadership fresh with ideas, but the Bulldogs have some methods that have proven effective over the years. 'I think when you look at the total picture, we're trying to find something different to do as a staff with this group, and how can we make this group different,' Smart said. 'We don't want to get bored with monotony but we also think some of the things we are doing works, and we want to stick with those things and that goes for us as coaches.' Renowned 'brain trainer' Trevor Moawad was on the leadership trip with the Georgia players, shown in the team's beach photo below. The Moawad Consulting Group works with 'elite talents in sports, business, military, and life to maximize their potential. Moawad's techniques have been well documented, with Sports Illustrated college writer Andy Staples taking a deeper dive into the former Alabama, Georgia and Florida State employee. Smart is hoping a Georgia leadership group will benefit once again. 'How we'll play and how this team will perform together is going to be decided this summer,' Smart said. 'Ultimately it's going to boil down to what they choose to do this summer, and how they choose to take on leadership roles.' The post LOOK: Georgia football leadership team traveled to Florida, meets with renowned brain trainer' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Eric Zeier has proven throughout his quarterback and broadcasting careers he knows how to pick out receivers, and he liked what he saw from the Georgia corps this spring. The Bulldogs' grew thinner at receiver on Friday when coach Kirby Smart announced the dismissal of leading returning receiver junior Jeremiah 'J.J.' Holloman. RELATED: Georgia title hopes take hit, transfers must prove on target But Zeier, speaking exclusively with DawgNation earlier this week, made it clear he felt there was more promise at the position than most realize. 'We have tremendous talent on the outside with our receivers, and I think you will see guys emerge,' said Zeier, who held 67 UGA passing marks and 18 SEC records at the conclusion of his college career in 1994 and now provides color analysis for the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network. 'There are threats like Demetris Robertson who had a very solid spring campaign, and I think we've got guys out of the backfield that can catch the ball,' he said. 'You'll see it with D'Andre Swift, Brian Herrien and a host of tight ends that can hurt defenses and create mismatch problems.' The biggest advantage for the pass game and receivers, Zeier pointed out, is what's expected to be a dominant run game. The Bulldogs led he SEC in rushing in 2018, and they return six offensive linemen with starting experience. WATCH: Kirby Smart shares plans for D'Andre Swift usage at tailback 'I do think we'll create situation after situation where defenses are forced to get extra guys in the box to defend the run,' Zeier said. 'That will force man coverage and man-to-man situations.' As important as experience is, Zeier is optimistic about the young talent coming in, freshmen George Pickens, Makiya Tongue and Dominick Blaylock. 'We have some freshmen coming in that can absolutely play the game,' Zeier said. 'You never know for sure until you are between the white lines, but you look at where things are now. 'As you come up, there are so many 7-on-7 camps, and the level of sophistication at the high school level has changed dramatically,' he said, 'so they are ready to go sooner when they get on campus, and they will be ready to gel.' RELATED: Kirby Smart reveals position he's not comfortable' with entering offseason The post Georgia QB legend Eric Zeier explains confidence in pass game, receiving corps appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football's national title hopes took a hit on Friday with the dismissal of the team's leading returning receiver, Jeremiah 'J.J.' Holloman. UGA football coach Kirby Smart issued a statement on Friday announcing the news that Holloman, a talented 6-foot-2 receiver from Covington, was no longer part of what was already a thinned-out corps. RELATED: Jeremiah 'J.J.' Holloman dismissed from UGA team The Bulldogs top five pass-catchers from a season ago are now gone, with juniors Riley Ridley (44 catches, 570 yards, 9 TDs) and Mecole Hardman (34 catches, 532 yards, 7 TDs) on to the NFL with departed senior WR Terry Godwin (22 catches, 373 yards, 3 TDs). Junior receivers Junior tight end Isaac Nauta (30 catches, 430 yards, 3 TDs) also elected to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. That leaves senior Tyler Simmons, who had 9 catches for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns last season, as the top returning wide receiver. Smart acknowledged last month at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., that Georgia was 'missing pieces' at receiver as well as on the defensive line. Things, however, are probably not as dire as they appear on paper. On target The addition of Miami Hurricanes graduate transfer Lawrence Cager, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder on NFL radar, figures to be bigger than most realize. Cager, who started 12 of 13 games for Miami last season, led the Hurricanes with a 17.8 yards-per-catch average and 6 TDs en route to 21 receptions for 374 yards. Cager is two years removed from suffering a torn ACL during a summer workout, an injury he told DawgNation took him two seasons to recover from, fully. RELATED: Fascinating story of Lawrence Cager's journey to UGA The addition of Cal transfer Demetris Robertson last year should also provide a boost. Robertson was less than a year removed from the season-ending injury he suffered at Cal his sophomore season of 2017 when he reported to UGA last summer. The lack of a spring football session and healthy offseason of conditioning prevented Robertson from making the impact many expected last season. RELATED: High expectations await Demetris Robertson The former 5-star prospect from Savannah Christian failed to catch a pass last season, his impact limited to four carries for 109 yards and a TD 72 of those yards coming on one play in the season-opening win over FCS Austin Peay. Smart made it clear Robertson made great strides this spring, though an illness led to him missing the G-Day Game. Simmons, too, will be healthier than a season ago when he suited up for most of the games wearing a shoulder brace that limited his range of motion and likely, the number of targets he received. Redshirt sophomore Matt Landers has yet to catch a pass in a game, but the 6-5, 200-pounder flashed enough this spring that Smart called on him to step up as a playmaker. Landers' inconsistency was a problem throughout spring drills he dropped two passes in the G-Day Game but his upside is such that Fromm will likely spend much of the remaining summer spiraling passes in his direction. Finally, more added experience comes in the form of transfer Eli Wolf, a former Tennessee captain. Wolf, a 6-4, 236, is in the mold of Isaac Nauta, and while he led the Vols with five catches for 63 yards and a TD in their 2018 Orange-and-White Game, it's too early to say he'll compliment senior Charlie Woerner in the double tight end set to the degree Nauta did. Offensive twist New offensive coordinator James Coley modified the Georgia pass game this spring, conveniently enough, to include more passes to the backs. RELATED: James Coley puts his spin on Georgia offense Tailback D'Andre Swift has proven himself a weapon catching the ball out of the backfield the past two seasons. Swift had 32 catches for 297 yards last season, and it's reasonable to expect as many more more catches from the 2019 Heisman Trophy candidate this season. Indeed, senior tailback Brian Herrien and sophomore James Cook have also proven effective receivers out of the backfield, and it wouldn't be a stretch to consider Coley lining up backs in the slot to create match-up problems this season. Smart indicated this spring that in the closed scrimmages, some of the most explosive and effective plays were passes to the running backs. Third-year quarterback Jake Fromm said as much. 'It's a part of who we are offensively, to have those running backs get those catches in the game out of the backfield is huge,' Fromm said. 'We think that's a matchup that goes in our favor. The more they catch out of the backfield, the better for our offense.' Swift confirmed '(Coley) is getting us as running backs involved more in the pass game,' Swift said. 'A lot of exotic stuff on offense that the world will have to look out for this season form the Georgia Bulldogs.' New faces Georgia signed an impressive trio of freshman receivers in the 2019 class, and the head coach has already indicated he'll incorporate them. Freshman Dominick Blaylock has already been tagged as a potential punt returner by the head coach, and his receiving skills are such that he's expected to compete immediately for a spot in the rotation. Freshman George Pickens, who looked taller than the 6-3 he's listed at on the roster, is another potential impact player. While Smart insists his receivers block adequately, Pickens ability to stretch the field should provide him the benefit of long looks in fall drills. Mikiya Tongue, son of NFL veteran Reggie Tongue, arrives with a unique football I.Q. and idea of what it will take to get on the football field. In summation, there remain plenty of 'what-ifs' and unprovens when evaluating the Georgia football team on paper. Smart has conceded as much. 'A lot of that identify, I won't even know until fall camp, because you have grad transfers and everybody coming together,' Smart said. 'I'm going to find out every day more and more about this new team.' Friday's news wasn't good, but Smart and his football team have a summer session ahead to learn more about themselves, and their ability to overcome adversity and provide an adequate 'next man up.' The post Georgia title hopes take hit with WR dismissal, transfers must prove on target appeared first on DawgNation.