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College
Kirby Smart talks up ‘everyday’ competition for Georgia football in unsettled WR corps
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Kirby Smart talks up ‘everyday’ competition for Georgia football in unsettled WR corps

Kirby Smart talks up ‘everyday’ competition for Georgia football in unsettled WR corps

Kirby Smart talks up ‘everyday’ competition for Georgia football in unsettled WR corps

ATHENS The Georgia football receiving ranks are wide open outside of senior Tyler Simmons locking down a spot.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart elaborated on the position group following Wednesday's practice, making it clear the competition is alive and well with the season-opening game fast approaching.

It has been well-documented that Georgia lost its top four receivers from a season ago, along with its top pass-catching tight end.

"Tyler Simmons is a starter for us, assuming he's healthy and ready to go, but outside of him there's battles at every one of those positions," Smart said. "The slot, the receiver opposite him, the two deep at receiver i t's everyday.

"Guys rotate positions and play all kinds of positions. Tyler's probably a little bit ahead of the other guys just in terms of experience, but outside of that, it's wide open."

Georgia most often uses a three-receiver set as its base formation in the media viewing portion of practice.

Simmons has been taking first-team reps opposite Matt Landers, with Demetris Robertson first up in the slot.

Smart pointed to the veteran nature Simmons brings when asked what gives him an edge. Simmons is the leading returning receiver from last season with nine catches in 2018.

"Other than experience," Smart said, "I'd say it's his practice habits and speed."

Smart said junior receiver Trey Blount has "done a great job had some great scrimmages."

Blount, Smart said, is "tough, makes the hard catches, one of our bestsellers blockers, very consistent."

Blount was lined up behind Landers and the outside receiver position opposite Simmons, with freshman George Pickens third.

Smart said following last Saturday's scrimmage he has been impressed with Pickens, but the newcomer from Hoover, Ala., needs to learn the playbook.

"He's a talented player, but he's got to learn his assignments and learn what to do," Smart said, "because he could certainly help us."

Miami grad-transfer Lawrence Cager, a 6-foot-5 target, has been working behind Simmons at outside receiver and Smart has had good things to say about him through fall camp.

Incoming freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock is expected to be another contributor in the slot, though he's currently working No. 3 at the position behind Robertson and Kearis Jackson.

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The post Kirby Smart talks up everyday' competition for Georgia football in unsettled WR corps appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • Athens’ Habitat for Humanity schedules a groundbreaking on a new home project.    From Athens Habitat for Humanity…   So-called tiny homes, with around 400 square feet of floor space or less, are a recent growing trend in the US. They’re efficient, low-maintenance, and don’t require a lot of space. And they can be the focus of a less consumer-driven lifestyle.   But at the moment they’re not legal in Clarke County, GA. So Athens Area Habitat for Humanity decided to shake things up a bit with a design contest for “Kinda Tiny Homes” of 600-800 square feet in 2018. A team from Atlanta and another from UGA split the prize, and four lots owned by Habitat on New Hope Drive were designated as build sites.     Since then, these small homes have sparked a lot of discussion around Athens, including a “Housing Code Hack” in August which drew questions on housing affordability from the public for Athens Area Habitat’s executive director Spencer Frye, Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz, County Commissioner Ovita Thornton, civil engineer Jon Williams, and local builder Michael Songster. Several points of the building and zoning codes were identified as amenable to updates to enable more lower-cost housing to come on the market.   Now the lots are ready and Habitat is set to start building, with a groundbreaking scheduled for 8:30 AM on Saturday, September 28th at the cul-de-sac of New Hope Drive. The project has attracted several new sponsors in addition to the original cosponsor, the US Green Building Council of Georgia, including Timberbilt, Mitsubishi Electric, Lowe’s, Huber Engineered Woods, Imery Ratings who will oversee the energy efficiency certification, and even the Ladies’ Charity Skeet Classic which raised more than $24,000 for the homes at their 2019 event.   “It’s been wonderful to see the community get excited about what we’re doing and rally around this project,” says executive director Frye. “We already have homeowners lined up for the first two Kinda Tiny homes, a hospital staffer and a veteran. We had a tremendous response to the ‘code hack’ by folks who want to see more innovation in housing locally with greater affordability and more choice. And some of the top companies in the housing industry are on board with it, so this ‘tiny’ project has grown into something kinda huge, actually. From the beginning, we wanted it to lead to more than just these four homes and I’m confident now that it will.”   Athens Area Habitat is currently in talks with other potential sponsors regarding potential solar installations and other features of the homes. “Habitat has always been an innovator,” says Frye. “There were Habitat houses that survived Hurricane Michael in Florida when surrounding homes didn’t because they used some inexpensive methods to make them hurricane resistant. Habitat is really invested in the future of the home and its owners, so we often build to higher standards than are required, and I’m hoping that we can set the pace for energy efficiency and low environmental impact in Clarke County with these homes.”
  • A woman from Hall County is killed in a crash in Dawson County: Alyssa Borg was 20 years old, from Lula, a passenger in a car that wrecked near Dawsonville. She died after being taken to a hospital in Gainesville. Another 21 year-old passenger was, at last report, hospitalized in critical condition. The Georgia State Patrol says the driver of the car is facing a DUI charge. From Zachary Hansen, AJC… Just before 12:30 a.m., Zoe Starr Sowell, 21, of Dawsonville, was driving a 2004 Mazda 6 on Grant Ford Drive, the Georgia State Patrol said in a news release. Sowell, who was wearing her seatbelt, is accused of driving the vehicle off the road at a high rate of speed, causing the sedan to hit several trees and overturn.  Four passengers in the backseat of the vehicle were not wearing their seatbelts, the release said. Stephen Caldwell, 21, and Alyssa Borg, 20, both of Lula, were ejected from the vehicle. Caldwell was flown to Atlanta Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition. Borg was flown to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries. The other two passengers suffered minor injuries and were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in an ambulance, the release said. Sowell also suffered minor injuries, but she was booked into the Dawson County Detention Center.  She is charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, DUI, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and driving too fast for conditions, authorities said. 
  • As work crews continue preliminary work on a reconfigured intersection in Oconee County, the County announces plans for lane closures: they are expected to start Monday and continue through Wednesday of next week at the intersection of Mars Hill, Virgil Langford, and Rocky Branch roads off Highway 316 in Oconee County. It’s a project that is expected to be completed sometime in November. From the Oconee County government website…   Work on the intersection improvement at Mars Hill/Virgil Langford/Rocky Branch is expected to impact travel lanes Monday, September 23, through Wednesday, September 25. Expect minor delays and temporary lane closures.   The Georgia DOT says Highway 72 in Elbert County will get new blacktop: 7.8 miles of resurfacing on 72 between State Route 17 and Nicksville Road in Elbert County will come with a $4.7 million price tag and is scheduled for completion by July of next year.
  • The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government and the University of Georgia will conduct tests of their emergency alert notification systems on Thursday, September 19 at approximately 10:45 a.m. The notification systems are generally tested twice annually - once each fall and once in conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness Week in February. While the February tests also include testing the community tornado siren system, the September test does not include tornado siren testing. Emergency alerts are sent by the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government through text and email and are posted throughout the website when there is a severe threat to the public safety and health of the entire community. Emergency alerts are characterized as information on an event that has not been contained or controlled and requires immediate action on the part of the recipient groups, such as in the case of chemical spills impacting public health or tornado warnings. Athens-Clarke County residents can sign up for e-mail and text message alerts about emergencies and other community alerts through the Notify Me area of the Unified Government's website at www.accgov.com/notifyme or through the Notify Me button located throughout the website. Registration for UGAAlert is available at www.ugaalert.uga.edu and is for UGA students, faculty, and staff.
  • For the sixth consecutive year, the University of Georgia’s far-reaching commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion has been recognized with a national award.   The INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award is the only national recognition honoring colleges and universities that exhibit outstanding efforts and success in the area of diversity and inclusion. Rather than recognizing a single program or unit, the award highlights a range of student, faculty and staff initiatives at the university.   “The University of Georgia is proud to be a national leader in promoting diversity and inclusion throughout our institution,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I appreciate this recognition from INSIGHT Into Diversity once again for our successes in this important area and our efforts to go even further.”   The central role that diversity plays at UGA is outlined in the institution’s mission statement, and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion include programs to recruit and support historically underrepresented and first-generation students; recruit and retain diverse faculty; and promote a living, learning and working environment where differences are respected and celebrated.   “The University of Georgia proudly embraces the diversity that is found in our faculty, staff and students,” said Michelle Cook, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives. “We also are committed to building a community, culture and climate where everyone is supported and where everyone can be successful.”   Recruiting Students The diversity of perspectives and backgrounds that students bring to the University of Georgia enriches the learning environment by preparing students for success in the global society of the 21st century.   To help recruit historically underrepresented and first-generation students, staff from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and several other campus units visit high schools across the state through programs such as Road Dawgs. The university recently partnered with the Clarke County School District to launch a college readiness program known as Georgia Possible, and a new program known as Gear Up for High School brings eighth graders and their parents to campus, where they learn about the transition to high school and beyond. This fall, the university also offered free chartered bus transportation to students and families at 18 high schools in rural Georgia to provide an additional way for them to attend Peach State Tour events and learn about opportunities for higher education at UGA and elsewhere in the state.   To encourage admitted students to enroll at UGA, the Office of Institutional Diversity hosts programs such as Georgia Daze, Movimiento Latino and the Georgia African American Male Experience. In addition, several of the university’s schools and colleges offer programs focused on specific fields, such as agriculture, business, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.   Promoting Success UGA has several long-standing and recent programs that help incoming students navigate the university and the many academic resources it offers. The yearlong RISE Scholars program, which was launched in 2018 and is funded by the President’s New Approaches to Promote Diversity and Inclusion Grants Program, offers first-year students from underrepresented groups a series of workshops and networking events that ease the transition to college. The ALL Georgia program supports students from rural parts of the state in their transition to UGA, while the federally funded TRIO programs offered through the Division of Academic Enhancement support low-income students, first-generation college students and students with disabilities. The recently launched Early Start/Early Success program, for example, helps incoming first-generation students form meaningful academic connections.   The National Science Foundation-funded Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, which earlier this year received an Inspiring Program in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity, helps to increase the number of minority undergraduate students pursuing STEM degrees. In addition, the NSF-funded Bridges to the Doctorate program and the TRIO McNair Scholars program work to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing graduate degrees. UGA colleges and departments also offer programs such as Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences and, in the School of Law, the Robinson Scholars Program and the Benham Scholars Program.   Additionally, the generous support of donors has enabled the creation of more than 450 need-based Georgia Commitment Scholarships since 2017.   Building Community To support an inclusive environment, the university’s Office of Faculty Affairs offers a faculty learning series that includes workshops on cultural competency for recruitment and retention and creating inclusive academic teams. In addition, it offers trainings for search committee members that focus on best practices and sponsors a faculty learning community on resources for diverse faculty retention. Programs such as the Women’s Leadership Fellowship are part of a range of professional development resources that help build a pipeline of future leaders for the institution.   In addition to fostering a sense of community, affinity groups such as the Black Faculty and Staff Organization assist with the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students. Through the voluntary Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion program offered by Training and Development in the Office of Human Resources, faculty and staff choose from a range of courses that increase awareness and understanding of diversity. Since the program was launched in 2012, more than 5,000 faculty and staff members have participated.   “The breadth of programs and initiatives focused on diversity highlights the University of Georgia’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment that promotes academic excellence,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I am deeply grateful to our faculty, staff and students for their ongoing dedication to building community.”

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia coach Kirby Smart has done his due diligence to keep it a quiet week with as few distractions as possible, and that meant going to the extreme of closing practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs play host to No. 7 Notre Dame in a game that Smart said on the Wednesday SEC teleconference 'will probably be unrivaled in Georgia history, from a non-conference standpoint.' Georgia fans are thrilled, but there have been concerns this week with the news that starting cornerback Tyson Campbell was still limited in Tuesday's practice. Campbell played arguably his best half of football at the start of the Arkansas State game, but he did not return after halftime. The former 5-star recruit was spotted running on the sideline, as though he was trying to jog off the injury. But the report from UGA was that he had a right foot injury. Campbell arrived at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on Monday wearing a protective boot. He was not seen during the media viewing portion of Monday's practice. Smart said following a closed Tuesday practice that Campbell took limited reps, and left it at that. RELATED: Kirby Smart's update on Tyson Campbell The head coach has said he has been pleased in practice with the backups at cornerback, Tyrique Stevenson and DJ Daniel. But neither the true freshman (Stevenson) nor junior college transfer (Daniel) has seen much game action. Smart said on Wednesday that receiver Demetris Robertson, who was held out of the Arkansas State game with what Smart described as a 'lower body extremity' injury (hamstring), is 'continuing to work and progressing well.' Senior receiver Tyler Simmons, who played more than half of last season in a shoulder brace, could be in that situation again this year after getting slammed to the turf on the sideline agains Arkansas State. Smart has said all week he expects Simmons to be able to go. Freshman Dominick Blaylock stepped up in the slot last Saturday with Robertson and Simmons sidelined. Blaylock caught four passes for 112 yards and a TD against Arkansas State. Right tackle Isaiah Wilson returned to practice on Monday from the sprained ankle he suffered on Sept. 4. Smart said he was 'coming along well,' on Monday, but claimed not to pay much attention to him at Tuesday's pracice. Redshirt junior Ben Cleveland made his first start of the 2019 season last Saturday at right guard last Saturday and sophomore Cade Mays kicked out to Wilson's previous spot at right tackle. If Wilson is less than 100 percent it seems likely the Cleveland-Mays combo at right guard and right tackle will start of the game with the Irish. Georgia injury report for Notre Dame WR Tyler Simmons (shoulder) probable WR Demetris Robertson (lower body) probable DT Julian Rochester (knee) questionable DT Tyson Campbell (foot) questionable WR Kearis Jackson (hand) doubtful WR Tommy Bush (groin) out QB D'Wan Mathis (head) out The post Georgia football injury update for Notre Dame: Key starter remains questionable appeared first on DawgNation.
  • DawgNation has four staffers who cover Georgia football from every angle: Beat, live streams, photos, podcasts, recruiting, etc. The 'Cover 4' concept is: 1) Present a topic; 2) Offer a reasoned response; 3) Share a brisk statement to support the informed opinion. 4) Pepper the page with photos for the big picture. For this edition, we discuss a big perceived weakness for the Bulldogs to exploit on Saturday against Notre Dame. DawgNation continues with the 'Cover 4' concept. It was a regular in our story rotation in 2018. We have four staffers who cover UGA athletics on a full-time basis. It means the focus shifts to a timely 'Cover 4' look with each of our guys manning the secondary here. The quick in-and-out game remains. These takes are designed to come out quicker than former Bulldog Mecole Hardman Jr. ran the 40 at the NFL combine. The latest 'Cover 4' question of the regular season is: What is the big advantage UGA has on Notre Dame? Brandon Adams: The overall talent level The 'why' from 'DawgNation Daily' here: ' UGA's four recruiting classes under Kirby Smart have ranked sixth, third, first and second. Over that same span, Notre Dame has been 15th, 10th, 10th and 16th. That huge disparity is the biggest reason why the game shouldn't be close .' Mike Griffith: Line of scrimmage The 'why' from 'On the Beat' here: 'Georgia's offensive line has been well documented, and while the Bulldogs' defensive line isn't as celebrated, it's as deep, and staying fresh is a factor. ' Connor Riley: Georgia's ability to run the football The 'why' from 'Good Day UGA' here: ' Notre Dame's rush defense has been less than stellar to start the season, giving up an average of 230 yards a game. That's a real good recipe to get absolutely throttled by the likes of D'Andre Swift, Brian Herrien, Zamir White and James Cook . ' Jeff Sentell: Players. The Intel here: 'Notre Dame is a very well-coached team so this will come down to players. Not plays. The blue-chip ratio has UGA with 76 signees over the last four cycles who carried a 4-or 5-star rating. Notre Dame has also signed 50 of those. The bigger tell is the 5-star guys. The Bulldogs have signed 18. Notre Dame? It did not sign a 5-star over the last four cycles . ' The 2019 season 'Cover 4' topics so far: Which Bulldogs have really opened our eyes after two games? The most improved Bulldog since last season is . A few big non-score predictions for Georgia-Vanderbilt Which returning Bulldogs impressed the most in fall camp? The players set to become the new fan favorites for 2019 are . What will convince you the Bulldogs are throwing the ball more this fall? What kind of numbers will D'Andre Swift put up in 2019? Jake Fromm's best quality? The Cover 4 crew chops that one up DawgNation Nickel: What was the alarming trend coming out of spring ball in Athens? The post Cover 4: What is the big edge Georgia football will have against Notre Dame? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book appears to have a 'California Cool' mindset going for him this week. Book represents the bullseye the Georgia defense has targeted in Saturday night's 8 o'clock game at Sanford Stadium. But Book, a 6-foot, 212-pound senior from the Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills, looked to take it all in stride in an interview taped in South Bend. 'We believe in ourselves, everyone in this building, this one family, we know what we do, and we know our potential,' Book said. 'So we're not worried, we're just confident.' Ian Book highlights The book on book Book has gotten it done against an SEC opponent before in addition to beating a Top 10 team, along a victory over a Top 25 team on the road. Book came off the bench and rallied Notre Dame to a 21-17 win over LSU in the 2018 Citrus Bowl, completing 4 of 6 passes in the fourth quarter for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Last season,Book humbled a No. 7-ranked Stanford team, throwing for four touchdowns in a 38-17 win. The next week, he led Notre Dame to a 45-23 win at then-No. 24 Virginia Tech. No wonder Book doesn't seem to care that the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs are a two-touchdown over the No. 7-ranked Irish in the first non-conference battle of Top 10 teams between the hedges since 1966. Book says all that has done is added a chip on Notre Dame's shoulder as the program looks to snap a nine-game losing streak against Top 5 opponents that dates back to 2005. 'Honestly, we don't care care what anyone says, if we're supposed to lose by double-digits, it's kind of a chip on our shoulder, we're going to use that as motivation,' Book said, 'and I think it's great, the pressure's not on us, we're going down there to do what we've got to do.' Kirby's concerns Georgia coach Kirby Smart hasn't stopped talking about Book all week. 'They have multiple formations, they have tempo, they have the ability to do a lot of things, they have a lot of offense,' Smart said. 'Then you throw in the fact they have the quarterback that can make you right every play,' Smart said. 'The coach could call a bad call, the kid will bail him out and go scramble for it.' Book's ability to scramble and extend plays seems to concern Smart more than any other element of the game. 'It's nice when you've got a guy that can make somebody miss, whether it's a pressure, whether it's a three-man rush, whether it's a four-man rush,' Smart said. 'I mean, he can make you right.' Book recognizes the pressure is on him to perform at his highest level with little margin for error. 'I think they have a great scheme, and they've got some athletes, obviously,' Book said, breaking down the Georgia defense. 'They've got some guys that can fly around, a lot of speed out in the field, and obviously for a quarterback it makes the windows smaller, challenges myself to give our guys a shot, the windows are going to get small.' The Georgia Defense Georgia ranks 17th in the nation in pass efficiency defense, allowing just one TD pass through the first three games. But Tyson Campbell, one of the Bulldogs' starting cornerbacks, was limited in Tuesday's practice after missing Mondays with what UGA reported was a foot injury. It's a safe bet Notre Dame has taken note. Book said he'll be spending more time in the film room, looking to build on the momentum the Irish generated with their 66-14 win over New Mexico last Saturday. 'I think it was huge, not just for me but for everybody to make those plays,' Book said. 'Just to get everyone's confidence up to show that we can do that for ourselves and start to prove our identity as an offense.' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said playing for the Irish is like being on Broadway, in terms of the players relishing the big stage. Book agreed. 'You've really got to embrace it and have fun with it, these are the reasons you come to Notre Dame, to play in these games,' Book said. 'We've got a lot of guys that have been there and been to those environments, and now we've got to go there and we've got to win.' Notre Dame QB Ian Book DawgNation Georgia-Notre Dame David Pollack says Nolan Smith rising star Georgia zeroed in on Notre Dame quarterback Isaiah Wilson returns to Monday practice, Tyson Campbell not present World of difference in Jake Fromm now from 2017 Georgia newcomers proving pivotal to season success Jake Fromm, Crush it and flush it,' on to Notre Dame Brian Kelly says Irish found themselves' in 66-14 win Notre Dame coach says team in position to win national title The post WATCH California Cool Notre Dame QB Ian Book: We're not worried' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs saw six former players score in week two of the NFL season, including Mecole Hardman who brought in a 42-yard reception from the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes for his first touchdown in the NFL. In addition to Hardman, Nick Chubb, Matthew Stafford, Isaiah McKenzie, Sony Michel and Todd Gurley all scored this past weekend. And all of their teams picked up wins over the weekend. How they did this weekend Hardman 4 receptions 61 receiving yards 1 receiving touchdown Chubb 18 carries 62 rushing yards 1 rushing touchdown 4 receptions 36 receiving yards Stafford 73.33 cmp% 245 passing yards 2 passing touchdowns 2 interceptions 4 carries 13 rushing yards McKenzie 2 receptions 40 receiving yards 1 receiving touchdown 1 carry 4 rushing yards Michel 21 carries 85 rushing yards 1 rushing touchdown 1 fumble Gurley 16 carries 63 rushing yards 1 rushing touchdown 3 receptions 4 receiving yards
  • ATHENS Ever wondered what Kirby Smart says to his team in the locker room? The Georgia football film crew provided a snippet in the Bulldogs' highlight tape from their 55-0 win over Arkansas State. RELATED: Why Georgia could literally run the score up on ND 'Give them your best shot, make them remember when they play us, it's about how we play,' Smart said, firing up his team. ' We don't do it with our mouths, we don't do it with anything else, all we do it with is our flat back and pad speed.' The Reel: Georgia vs Arkansas State #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/RqdfJ0UZOZ Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) September 18, 2019 After the game, Smart's teaching points included the value of downfield blocking, with a shoutout to Lawrence Cager, and the importance of buy in. 'We have a really special team when everybody buys in,' Smart said. 'Defensively, up front when we can do that guys, we can wreak a lot of havoc.' #Dawgs Tell em Kirby! #GiveEmThree #GoDawgs #BeatNDAgain pic.twitter.com/DlvlQqoEnP GATA Dawgs (@BassinDawg) September 17, 2019 Georgia will look to do precisely that in its 8 p.m. game against Notre Dame on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. DawgNation Georgia-Notre Dame Georgia zeroed in on Notre Dame quarterback Isaiah Wilson returns to Monday practice, Tyson Campbell not present World of difference in Jake Fromm now from 2017 Georgia newcomers proving pivotal to season success Jake Fromm, Crush it and flush it,' on to Notre Dame Kirby Smart sets relaxed tone for showdown with Irish Brian Kelly says Irish found themselves' in 66-14 win Notre Dame coach says team in position to win national title The post WATCH: Kirby Smart fires up Georgia in the locker room appeared first on DawgNation.