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Latest glimpse of Bulldogs at G-Day leaves us longing for more this fall
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Latest glimpse of Bulldogs at G-Day leaves us longing for more this fall

Latest glimpse of Bulldogs at G-Day leaves us longing for more this fall

Latest glimpse of Bulldogs at G-Day leaves us longing for more this fall

UGA football-Justin Fields-G Day 2018-Georgia Bulldogs

ATHENS — And now, we wait.

G-Day and spring practice is in the books for the Georgia Bulldogs. And while that’s probably a good thing for those 100-plus players and coaches who have been going at it pretty hard the last five weeks, that’s not necessarily a great thing for the Bulldog Nation, who based on what I’ve gathered, can’t see and hear enough about coach Kirby Smart’s program.

As of Monday, it is exactly 100 days until Georgia’s opens preseason camp. It will be 131 days before Georgia kicks off the 2018 season against Austin Peay. That may seem like a long time, but it really will be here before you know it.

Do not fear, for we here at DawgNation have lots of plans to keep your football appetites sated as we entire football purgatory. And SEC Football Media Days will be here before you know it, too.

In the meantime, I wanted to put a bow on spring football and G-Day with some final observations. Post your comments and questions below and I’ll be sure to reply just as soon as I can.

Justin Fields and the quarterbacks

I’m going to go out on a limb here. I don’t think we’ll ever see Justin Fields get sacked 7 times in a game in his career, not at Georgia and not when he’s playing in the NFL in a few years.

That’s what they had down for him on the stat sheet Saturday from G-Day. The Red defense was credited for bringing down Fields 7 times for minus-41 yards. Of course, the scrimmage was conducted under non-contact rules for the quarterbacks, and referees were instructed to be quick on their whistles. And they were, as the 11 combined sacks of the quarterbacks will attest.

I went through a replay of the game, and if I had to guess how many of those plays would have resulted in actual sacks of Fields, I’d put it at one, maybe two. Fields was never blindsided and anticipated all the pressure he incurred. A couple of the sacks were basically one-handed touches and, at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, I don’t see Fields going down with many one-handed grasps. One time he got swallowed up inside the tackles with nowhere to go, another time he ran out of bounds for a short loss, which counts as a sack. Conversely, Fields had a long run of 22 yards and might’ve gone a while longer on that run and one other.

Here’s another observation I made: Georgia didn’t exactly turn Fields loose. I’m not sure what the motivation was, but coaches just didn’t call any deep balls for him. He had 18 completions in the game (on 33 attempts) and they came primarily on checkdowns, slants, wide-receiver screens, quick outs, and dig routes. Retrospectively, that’s kind of disappointing because we’ve heard so much about Fields’ “cannon” arm. But he did show some nice touch, pocket awareness and instincts.

I may be wrong, but I think I saw him under center only twice. The rest of the time he operated out of the shotgun. But he did make the 15-yard touchdown pass to Matt Landers from under center and it was a well-placed ball on a deep fade. Great catch by Landers, too.

As for Fromm, it did look like he simply had a bit of an off day throwing the ball. The pick-6 by Deandre Baker was simply an overthrown ball on a short route to Mecole Hardman. His other interception, made by William Poole II, was a misread and shouldn’t have been thrown. But Poole made a nice play on the ball.

Wide receivers will be just fine

My cohort Brandon Adams and I differ a little bit on this observation, but I think Georgia’s wide receivers will be just fine.

Yes, there were more drops than you’d like to see in any contest, but that’s really not that unusual for the spring. I expect this unit to be considerably more sharp come the fall. Also, the Bulldogs were economical in the use of their primary targets. Understandably, Terry Godwin spent most of the day on the sideline nursing what we’re told are minor groin and knee injuries. But Godwin should be 100 percent in short order, and when he is, he has proven to be one of the most reliable receivers in the SEC.

Meanwhile, Georgia didn’t target its other primary receivers very often on Saturday, either. Hardman had just 1 catch and Riley Ridley had 2. One of Ridley’s, you might note, was a 57-yard touchdown from Fromm. Ridley would’ve been credited with another 44-yard score — and thus 116 yards receiving overall — if he could have held on when his head slammed into the Sanford Stadium turf.

No, Saturday was mainly for Georgia’s offensive coaches to get a look at the less tried-and-true receivers. Ahkil Crumpton, the second-year transfer from California, led all receivers with 5 catches for 60 yards, and looked remarkably like Isaiah McKenzie with a 34-yard catch and run of Fields pass over the middle. Jeremiah Holloman also showed some flashes, finishing with 59 yards on 3 catches showing a knack for making tough catches in traffic. Freshman early enrollee Kearis Jackson had just 1 catch for 5 yards but created a lot of buzz in camp this spring and drew some oohs and aahs on a punt return he ran about 2o yards up the field to catch.

Senior Jayson Stanley was unable to run down a deep ball from Fromm on the first series but, unbeknownst to many, he’s actually one of the Bulldogs’ fastest players and, with some confidence, could prove to be a real threat this season. He had 4 catches for 30 yards. Meanwhile, the No. 1 offense threw the ball to backs Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield a lot. That’s something we can expect to see with D’Andre Swift in the fall. The sophomore tailback didn’t play because a groin pull.

Defense might surprise us

Lastly, I came away fairly impressed with Georgia’s defense. For the game, the Black team was considered the No. 1 defense. But one must keep in mind that these forces will be joined in the fall, and the combination therein looks like a pretty good defense to me.

Most of Smart’s concern coming in was with the secondary and the defensive line. It was hard to tell much about the play of the defensive front, as there were very few straight rushing attempts. But the defensive backs overall played surprisingly well.

Poole’s interception came while playing the star position, and he actually switched sides to play for both teams. Added together, he finished with 3 tackles and a pass breakup in addition to the pick. Tyrique McGhee led the Black defense with 6 tackles. Eric Stokes, despite giving up the TD to Landers (he actually had good coverage) was impressive in man coverage and was credited with 2 pass breakups.

Considering as much as Georgia was putting up the ball — 81 times between the two teams Saturday — the defensive backs held up pretty well. They had 13 pass breakups and 4 interceptions.

The thing to remember about the 2018 Bulldogs is they remain a work in progress. Seventeen more freshmen from the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in America will join the team for summer workouts the first of June. There are a lot of players Georgia’s coaches are eager to see out of that group, including cornerback Tyson Campbell, guard Jamaree Salyer, linebacker Quay Walker and punter Jake Camarda. You can bet some of those guys will figure prominently into Georgia’s fall plans.

For now, we’re left to speculate about all that — for a while. We’ll just have to enjoy doing that over the next 100 days.

The post Latest glimpse of Bulldogs at G-Day leaves us longing for more this fall appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • ATHENS — A Georgia football player was arrested earlier this week for felony eavesdropping/surveillance due to an incident alleged to have occurred last fall. Bishop Detravion “Tray” Bishop, a redshirt freshman defensive back from Dawson, was booked into Athens-Clarke County Jail at 12:25 p.m. on Wednesday and released less than an hour later on $5,700 bond. The arrest came after UGA Police began investigating an individual’s complaint made on April 28 for an incident alleged to have occurred on Nov. 5, 2017. That was the Sunday after Georgia played South Carolina. “The complainant wished to report that there was a student going around showing people a sex tape of her … without her consent,” the police report said. “… A subsequent investigation into this incident led us into determining that the crime of unlawful eavesdropping occurred on 110517. The investigation showed that Detravion Bishop had recorded [victim’s name] inside his dorm room without her permission and without her knowledge.” A warrant was signed by Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Judge Patricia Barron on Tuesday and Bishop was contacted by police at 4:08 that afternoon. He turned himself into jail the next day. Georgia is aware of the situation. “Certainly it’s disappointing when a player or any other young person under our charge is arrested and we don’t condone any illegal or improper behavior,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said through a UGA spokesman Friday. “That being said, we are investigating the matter and it’s important that we gather all information relevant to the situation before we determine what policies may come into play. Then we can take appropriate action if necessary. “ Bishop did not play for the Bulldogs last season. Primarily a quarterback at Terrell County High School, he was redshirted while making the transition to defensive back. He was competing for playing time at safety during spring drills. Bishop was named a U.S. Army All-American after his senior season at Terrell County High, where he also qualified for the state championship as a sprinter. He was the subject of a Next Generation profile last May. Bishop (6-foot-3, 210-pounds) is competing for playing time at safety. He had three tackles for the Red team in the G-Day Game last month. The post Breaking News: Georgia football player arrested on felony charge appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The flash flood watch that is in effect for Athens and northeast Georgia continues into the weekend: forecasters say there is the ongoing chance of rain for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The flood watch is in place through at least noon Saturday. From Zachery Hansen, AJC… The rainy, muggy holiday weekend is fast approaching, but Atlanta should mostly avoid heavy amounts of rain Friday. The morning commute should be pretty dry, with only a few scattered sprinkles around the metro area, Channel 2 Action News Chief meteorologist Glenn Burns said. The afternoon and evening should also only see scattered showers around Atlanta, but the same can’t be said for eastern Georgia. Athens and Gainesville should get drenched most of the day starting at lunchtime, Burns said.  “(Friday) evening, we’re looking at heavy rains in eastern Georgia,” Burns said. “That’s the primary area that we’re going to focus on for flooding potential.” There’s a lot of water already soaked up in the ground in North and Middle Georgia from the past few days of storms. A flash flood watch is in effect for dozens of North and Middle Georgia counties through Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service. “Additional rounds of very heavy rainfall are likely as a trough of low pressure to the west feeds very high amounts of moisture into the area,” the Weather Service said. “Total rainfall amounts through Friday night could range from 2 to 4 inches with isolated amounts up to 8 inches.” The flash flood watch includes most metro Atlanta counties.
  • The Board of the University of Georgia Athletic Association continues its meeting this morning at the Georgia Center. Thursday’s session included reports from UGA president Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity and an update on ongoing and future facilities projects. UGA has raised more than $70 million for work on Sanford Stadium and other athletic facilities at the University of Georgia. From Chip Towers, AJC DawgNation… Georgia brought back much more from Notre Dame than a 1-point football victory last fall. Josh Brooks, the Bulldogs’ deputy athletic director for operations, gave the UGA Athletic Association a slide-show presentation of additional improvements beyond the multi-million dollar West End enhancements coming to Sanford Stadium this fall. And Brooks credited Georgia’s experience playing the Fighting Irish in South Bend for several of the concepts being implemented.  One has been the advent of the Silver Dawgs, a group UGA-associated retirees who will serve as home-game weekend hosts this fall. Based on Notre Dame’s “Usher Corps” that demonstrated tremendous hospitality for visiting Bulldogs fans last fall, the group had a “very successful” trial run at the G-Day Game in April. The latest idea, though, will manifest itself in aesthetic improvements at the Sanford Stadium this season. In an effort celebrate Georgia’s rich history in football, the Bulldogs will utilize new paint and cutting-edge graphics to bring life to areas of the stadium previously adorned only in “drab battleship gray.” “We witnessed a lot of things at Notre Dame last fall about how they celebrate their history,” Brooks told the board. “That got us to thinking about how we could celebrate our history and also warm up the stadium at the same time. So we’re going to try to dress up some of those concrete, gray areas we have.” Brooks showed a huge graphic of Herschel Walker running the football with an inscription of Larry Munson’s famous words “My God He’s a Freshman.” That artwork will be placed on one wall on the corner of the South side concourse. There also will be painted likenesses of players in full uniforms representative of their respective decades on support posts in the Gate 6 entrance area off East Campus Road. The covers of team programs for the corresponding year of every Georgia team in history will be painted on support columns on Reed Plaza. That’s just one small project among numerous substantial projects on which Brooks updated the board. Another was the $63 million construction project at Sanford Stadium, which will add a new locker room and recruiting lounge behind the West End grandstands. Another is a proposed $23 million renovation and construction project that would add six indoor courts to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. There also are recently completed expansion projects for the Boyd Center for men’s and women’s golf, the equestrian center and Stegeman Coliseum. UGA President Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity lauded the Georgia people for stepping up with donations to fund these projects. McGarity said the Bulldogs already have received $71 million in pledges — mostly coming from members of the relatively new Magill Society — toward the $93 million in football projects. “There’s a strong commitment by our supporters of the football program, but winning helps,” Morehead said after the first of two days of meetings with the board. “… But keep in mind, we’ve still got to collect on all of those pledges. We need people to pay up.” Of all the projects discussed Thursday, none included the expansion of Georgia’s weight room for football. In meetings all over the South since the end of Georgia’s SEC Championship football season, coach Kirby Smart has been telling donors of the Bulldogs’ facility improvement needs in that area. McGarity acknowledged that it was on Smart’s wish list, but said UGA is taking a prioritized approach to projects. “We have to finish the West End first,” McGarity said. “We feel good about what we’re doing. These things take time. We want to plan it the right way.” Added Morehead: “I think it’s important to keep things in context. Look where we were just five years ago. We’re in an extraordinarily competitive position at this point. I think our No. 1-ranked recruiting class demonstrates that it’s working.” Another improvement that UGA fans will notice at Sanford Stadium this fall will be the addition of 12 suites on field level of the East End. That’s where the Bulldogs used to enter the field from their game-day locker room underneath the grandstands. The marble statue of the Uga mascot will be moved to the northwest corner of the stadium to accommodate the change. All and all, there will be a brighter, more colorful and historic feel to Sanford Stadium in the fall. “You’re always trying to learn from what others do, and I think we learned a lot from Notre Dame,” Morehead said. “We took a victory away and I think that really propelled last year’s season of success. But we appreciated their warm hospitality before the game and during the game and after the game.”
  • When Danny Sniff first arrived on UGA’s campus more than 30 years ago, he drove up D.W. Brooks Drive shaking his head. “That shouldn’t be a road,” he thought. “It should be a green space.” Over the next several decades, he set to work as the campus architect, overseeing around 250 major capital projects and renovations that added about 8 million square feet in facilities and more than 50 acres of green space to the UGA campus. Although his last day as campus architect will be June 30, Sniff is not done yet. He sat down with Columns to discuss his proudest accomplishments at UGA and what he has planned for his second act. Columns: What were your favorite projects at UGA?Sniff: The projects I’m most tied to are returning Herty Field and D.W. Brooks Drive into green spaces. A campus is basically a set of buildings and a park. The space between becomes extremely important. When I first came here, campus was dominated by parking and parking lots, so I developed a master plan where we pushed the parking to the perimeter and tried to create a park-like center. One of the very first projects I worked on was the Ramsey Student Center and the Performing and Visual Arts Complex, and I also worked on the Miller Learning Center. I think they’re exemplary buildings to this day. Columns: Why are you so passionate about green spaces?Sniff: One thing American architects have given the world of architecture is the American college campus, where buildings are parallel and perpendicular to open spaces. The archetype of a college campus is like no other place. Students get out of class, meet their friends and study. They have these little gardens that are places of repose. It’s very special in the world of architecture, and I have been very fortunate to be a restorer of one of the best campuses in the country. Over the past few years, we’ve had dozens and dozens of visitors from around the world who come here and are blown away by this campus. I think we’re arguably one of the top universities for architecture and grounds in the country. We developed a master plan back in the 1990s to restore what was the quintessential American college campus, which was that green, or open, place between the buildings. Returning 50 acres of the original 600-acre campus to green space was really important for us to do. Columns: Why is historic preservation important in planning a campus layout?Sniff: First of all, preservation is important because of the legacy that we inherit: a 200-plus year history of the buildings and the grounds. We’re still using buildings that were built in 1806. So that’s an important task, to make sure that we’re respectful and honorable of what’s there. There are a lot of memories of this place that you have to respect as well. We started the preservation program on North Campus. I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve renovated almost every single building, and almost every single building we worked on, we’ve received awards or accolades from preservation societies. You have to respect what came before you; that’s what makes preservation very important. Columns: How about sustainability?Sniff: To me, architects need to be smart with the buildings they design. These buildings, as we just said, have been here for more than 200 years, so to continue to use your buildings for years to come is very important. It’s not smart or economical to tear things down and rebuild. When you approach the design of a building on campus that you know is going to be there for over 100 years, making it as flexible, as usable and as energy efficient as possible and making it something that will be survive for the next200 years makes a lot of sense. Columns: What’s next for you?Sniff: I’ve started a little consulting company. I’ve very much planned this retirement, and I’m not afraid of the challenges of changing what I’ve been doing for so long. The university’s been fantastic to me. I went back and got the qualifications and degrees to teach, which I’ve been doing for a couple of years. And it’s just been wonderful, fantastic. I’m going to continue teaching as an adjunct for as long as they’ll have me around. I look forward to stretching my brain in different directions.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — A Georgia football player was arrested earlier this week for felony eavesdropping/surveillance due to an incident alleged to have occurred last fall. Bishop Detravion “Tray” Bishop, a redshirt freshman defensive back from Dawson, was booked into Athens-Clarke County Jail at 12:25 p.m. on Wednesday and released less than an hour later on $5,700 bond. The arrest came after UGA Police began investigating an individual’s complaint made on April 28 for an incident alleged to have occurred on Nov. 5, 2017. That was the Sunday after Georgia played South Carolina. “The complainant wished to report that there was a student going around showing people a sex tape of her … without her consent,” the police report said. “… A subsequent investigation into this incident led us into determining that the crime of unlawful eavesdropping occurred on 110517. The investigation showed that Detravion Bishop had recorded [victim’s name] inside his dorm room without her permission and without her knowledge.” A warrant was signed by Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Judge Patricia Barron on Tuesday and Bishop was contacted by police at 4:08 that afternoon. He turned himself into jail the next day. Georgia is aware of the situation. “Certainly it’s disappointing when a player or any other young person under our charge is arrested and we don’t condone any illegal or improper behavior,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said through a UGA spokesman Friday. “That being said, we are investigating the matter and it’s important that we gather all information relevant to the situation before we determine what policies may come into play. Then we can take appropriate action if necessary. “ Bishop did not play for the Bulldogs last season. Primarily a quarterback at Terrell County High School, he was redshirted while making the transition to defensive back. He was competing for playing time at safety during spring drills. Bishop was named a U.S. Army All-American after his senior season at Terrell County High, where he also qualified for the state championship as a sprinter. He was the subject of a Next Generation profile last May. Bishop (6-foot-3, 210-pounds) is competing for playing time at safety. He had three tackles for the Red team in the G-Day Game last month. The post Breaking News: Georgia football player arrested on felony charge appeared first on DawgNation.
  • GREENSBORO — The Georgia Athletic Association board of directors approved a record $143.3 million budget on Friday. And it’s a good thing, because costs are going through the roof, particularly when it comes to football. Among the line items in the 2019 budget, approved by unanimous vote at the spring meeting here at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee, was a football compensation expenditure of $9,418,877. That’s the cost of paying head coach Kirby Smart his new $6.6 million salary plus the salaries of all of the members of the ever-growing football support staff. The figure is almost twice what UGA paid in football salaries the previous year ($4.985 million). “It’s all relative to college athletics now,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said after the meeting. Georgia’s football operations budget for 2019 is $35.2 million, up $7.8 million from 2018. That includes a $2.265 million outlay for recruiting travel. There also is a new line-item buried within. It’s $1.8 million, which is the new federal excise tax that is being assessed on nonprofits that pay employees more than $1 million in salary. So Georgia is now being assessed a 21 percent tax rate on anything over that amount that it pays coaches. Currently that is on three individuals: Smart, basketball coach Tom Crean ($3.2 million) and football defensive coordinator  Mel Tucker ($1.5 million). The federal excise tax was part of a legislative package passed last year that also will eliminate donations to athletic departments to buy tickets. “I understand the theory behind passing the legislation [to discourage excessive salaries] but I’m not sure in the current marketplace that it’s going to achieve its goal,” UGA President Jere Morehead said. “So far it has not.” So while college athletics has more money than ever coming in, it has more than ever going out as well. Georgia is spending more money than ever to take care of student-athletes, including cost-of-attendance supplements, training table and other services. “Fortunately we’re able to do so much more for our student-athletes than we used to do,” McGarity said. “I’d say other than salaries and support services that we need to keep the engine running, what we’re spending on our student-athletes has been truly transformative. That’s not really being talked about. There are certain things we’re able to do that they’re not able to do on a lot of other campuses.” Case in point would be what UGA is doing in the area of behavorial health. Ron Courson, Georgia’s director of sports medicine, and his staff gave a 40-minute presentation on the health services they’re providing student-athletes in the area of behavorial assessment and treatment. The Bulldogs now employ a doctor of psychiatry, two clinical psychologists and a social worker. They’re seeking to add at least one more professional to the team. Last year, that team had “895 encounters” not counting group meetings and treated 130 individuals, according to Courson. “It’s something we’ve been trying to put a great deal of emphasis on,” Courson said. “We’re hoping to add another licensed social worker and other professionals. We’re excited about what we’ve done so far, but we’re really excited about what else we can do to get better.” In addition to coaching compensation and student-athlete services, the Bulldogs have stepped up their pace considerably in terms of facility improvements. Football is at the end of a three-year period in which it has spent $93 million on construction projects with the Payne Indoor Athletic Facility and $63 million for a locker room and recruiting lounge addition at Sanford Stadium that is due for completion at the end of June. Board treasurer Ryann Nesbitt reported that Georgia has received $50.6 million in gifts and pledges toward those projects, including $25.1 million in cash collections. Indications are that a new weight room and additional meeting rooms and coaches’ offices will added to the Butts-Mehre Football Complex over the next year. Georgia also recently did $8 million in improvements on Stegeman Coliseum, completed a $4.2 million construction project to expand the Boyd Golf Center, expanded its equestrian facilities, and completed a study that showed plans to renovate the Dan Magill Tennis Complex and build a six-court indoor facility will cost a minimum of $23 million. “So we have committed a lot of money to improvements, and will continue to,” McGarity said. The athletic association also donated $4.5 million to UGA’s general fund as it has done annually for the last several years. “It certainly has benefited the institution in supporting student scholarships in particular as well as the creation of professorships,” Morehead said. “I think it has been mutually beneficial. The escalating cost of running a top Division I athletic program certainly creates challenges, but we appreciate we’ve been able to maintain that level of consistent support.” Accordingly, Georgia’s new budget represented a $15.8 million increase over last year. Several members of the board asked McGarity if there were any concerns that the lucrative revenue stream that has been provided the SEC in recent years due to its network arrangement with ESPN might regress in the future. It has been well publicized that the television behemoth known as the “worldwide network” has been experiencing financial trouble in recent years due to decreases in cable-television subscriptions. “We think our revenue stream will continue to grow,” McGarity said. “Whether they’re consuming the products from Hulu or whatever, the content is still being distributed and ESPN is retaining the rights for that. There are so many different platforms, but ESPN is still part of the package.” The post UGA’s record $143 million athletics budget includes eye-popping expenditures appeared first on DawgNation.
  • GREENSBORO, Ga. — An interesting side discussion developed in the minutes following the first day of the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors meeting Thursday at the Ritz Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee. UGA President Jere Morehead was asked if he felt that athletic director Greg McGarity, standing six inches to his left, was deserving of a contract extension and/or raise. It made for a somewhat awkward exchange and resulted in considerable blushing from the already rosey-faced McGarity. “We’re not talking about anything but the current situation,” Morehead said of his AD, who has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $675,000 a year. “But, yes, I have great confidence in Greg. He’s doing a tremendous job, but we’re good where we are.” Asked if “yes” meant UGA is indeed contemplating an extension for McGarity, Morehead clarified: “No. I’m saying to you we haven’t had any of those kinds of conversations.” It was at this point that McGarity somewhat sheepishly piped in. “There’s no urgency,” said McGarity, Georgia’s AD since September 2010. “We’re in great shape. Today is about all these teams and everything they’ve done. There’s just no urgency about [the contract].” An increase in compensation would appear justified. In a recent survey of SEC athletic director salaries, the database SportsInfo.pro revealed that McGarity’s salary ranks 13th — or next to last. Only Auburn’s Allen Greene makes less ($625,000). Alabama’s Greg Byrne makes the most at $1.225 million, followed by Florida’s Scott Stricklin ($1.08M). Even Tennessee’s newly appointed, first-time AD Phillip Fulmer will earn $1.04 million this year. In all, four of the conference’s athletic directors earn at least $1 million a year and 10 earn $800,000 or more. “When Greg has issues about things like that, he’ll come to me and talk about them,” Morehead said. Said McGarity, who is not represented by an agent: “I have no issues. I don’t compare myself against others. I’m extremely well-compensated regardless of what others make. The only time I ever pay attention to it is when somebody brings it up. I’m in great shape, I have a great boss and work for a great institution. I don’t get involved in that and it really doesn’t bother me at all.” McGarity, 63, came to Georgia from Florida in 2010 to succeed Damon Evans and said then that he expected to be in the position at least 10 years or “as long as Georgia will have me.” Asked Thursday if that were still the case, McGarity said, “I just think it’s an unforeseeable future. We’ll just see what happens. And, trust me, we haven’t even talked about it. It’s not urgent; it’s not important. But for the foreseeable future, I feel like I’m in great shape.” It bears pointing out that everybody was singing McGarity’s praises on Thursday, Morehead included. The Bulldogs won the SEC Championship and finished No. 2 in the nation in football. UGA currently is 13th in the Learfield all-sports national rankings, won a national championship in track, won the SEC’s all-sports trophy for women and is No. 2 in that ranking. “Looking across all 21 sports — fall and spring — I cannot recall in recent memory a stronger year for Georgia athletics,” Morehead said. “And the year is far from over. Teams are still competing with championship aspirations. The tremendous success we are witnessing this year is a testament to our commitment to excellence in all of our sports.” Meanwhile, UGA athletics just last week received recognition from the NCAA for its top-10 placement in Academic Progress Rate (APR) for all its sports. Four of Georgia’s sports — including men’s basketball — were ranked in the top 10. It has been a good year McGarity, for sure. That hasn’t always been the case. He has been criticized in the past for his handling of coaches, including former football coach Mark Richt, men’s basketball coach Mark Fox and current baseball coach Scott Stricklin. But since then he has hired Kirby Smart, who has turned around the football program; Stricklin’s Diamond Dogs are likely going to host an NCAA Regional this year; and Tom Crean so far at least has energized the fan base with his hyperbolic promotion of the basketball program. I ask you, DawgNation, does McGarity deserve a contract extension? A raise? Nothing? The post Might be time to talk new contract for Georgia AD Greg McGarity appeared first on DawgNation.
  • GREENSBORO, N.C. — Georgia brought back much more from Notre Dame than a 1-point football victory last fall. Josh Brooks, the Bulldogs’ deputy athletic director for operations, gave the UGA Athletic Association a slide-show presentation of additional improvements beyond the multi-million dollar West End enhancements coming to Sanford Stadium this fall. And Brooks credited Georgia’s experience playing the Fighting Irish in South Bend for several of the concepts being implemented. One has been the advent of the Silver Dawgs, a group UGA-associated retirees who will serve as home-game weekend hosts this fall. Based on Notre Dame’s “Usher Corps” that demonstrated tremendous hospitality for visiting Bulldogs fans last fall, the group had a “very successful” trial run at the G-Day Game in April. The latest idea, though, will manifest itself in aesthetic improvements at the Sanford Stadium this season. In an effort celebrate Georgia’s rich history in football, the Bulldogs will utilize new paint and cutting-edge graphics to bring life to areas of the stadium previously adorned only in “drab battleship gray.” “We witnessed a lot of things at Notre Dame last fall about how they celebrate their history,” Brooks told the board. “That got us to thinking about how we could celebrate our history and also warm up the stadium at the same time. So we’re going to try to dress up some of those concrete, gray areas we have.” Brooks showed a huge graphic of Herschel Walker running the football with an inscription of Larry Munson’s famous words “My God He’s a Freshman.” That artwork will be placed on one wall on the corner of the South side concourse. There also will be painted likenesses of players in full uniforms representative of their respective decades on support posts in the Gate 6 entrance area off East Campus Road. The covers of team programs for the corresponding year of every Georgia team in history will be painted on support columns on Reed Plaza. That’s just one small project among numerous substantial projects on which Brooks updated the board. Another was the $63 million construction project at Sanford Stadium, which will add a new locker room and recruiting lounge behind the West End grandstands. Another is a proposed $23 million renovation and construction project that would add six indoor courts to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. There also are recently completed expansion projects for the Boyd Center for men’s and women’s golf, the equestrian center and Stegeman Coliseum. UGA President Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity lauded the Georgia people for stepping up with donations to fund these projects. McGarity said the Bulldogs already have received $71 million in pledges — mostly coming from members of the relatively new Magill Society — toward the $93 million in football projects. “There’s a strong commitment by our supporters of the football program, but winning helps,” Morehead said after the first of two days of meetings with the board. “… But keep in mind, we’ve still got to collect on all of those pledges. We need people to pay up.” Of all the projects discussed Thursday, none included the expansion of Georgia’s weight room for football. In meetings all over the South since the end of Georgia’s SEC Championship football season, coach Kirby Smart has been telling donors of the Bulldogs’ facility improvement needs in that area. McGarity acknowledged that it was on Smart’s wish list, but said UGA is taking a prioritized approach to projects. “We have to finish the West End first,” McGarity said. “We feel good about what we’re doing. These things take time. We want to plan it the right way.” Added Morehead: “I think it’s important to keep things in context. Look where we were just five years ago. We’re in an extraordinarily competitive position at this point. I think our No. 1-ranked recruiting class demonstrates that it’s working.” Another improvement that UGA fans will notice at Sanford Stadium this fall will be the addition of 12 suites on field level of the East End. That’s where the Bulldogs used to enter the field from their game-day locker room underneath the grandstands. The marble statue of the Uga mascot will be moved to the northwest corner of the stadium to accommodate the change. All and all, there will be a brighter, more colorful and historic feel to Sanford Stadium in the fall. “You’re always trying to learn from what others do, and I think we learned a lot from Notre Dame,” Morehead said. “We took a victory away and I think that really propelled last year’s season of success. But we appreciated their warm hospitality before the game and during the game and after the game.” The post Notre Dame experience catalyst for more improvements at Sanford Stadium appeared first on DawgNation.
  • GREENSBORO, Ga. — Greetings from the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee, my home away from home. That’s a joke. The only time I ever get to enjoy this posh resort an hour south of Athens is every other year when the University of Georgia Athletic Association board of the directors holds its end-of-year meeting here. That’s happening over the next two days. There’s a meeting of the executive committee this morning, followed by a meeting of the full board until lunch.  The group will adjourn for golf and personal time on the expansive resort, which includes a full spa and golf course, then reconvene Friday morning to conduct more business. Among the items expected to be discussed at this year’s meeting: The approval of a record $143 million budget; An update on several construction projects, including the $63 million west end zone addition at Sanford Stadium and the new men’s and women’s golf headquarters; An update on fundraising to pay for recent projects, including the $30 million indoor athletic facility, thought to be in the range of $90 million; A proposal to build a new $18 million six-court, indoor tennis facility in the South Campus area where the current Lindsey Hopkins four-court facility exists; Election and reappointment of board members and proposal to amend board bylaws; A new student ticket distribution plan; An academic report, which will include details about UGA’s recent recognition by the NCAA for scoring in the top 10 percent of all teams across the country in each sport. As always, there will likely be some unexpected developments. We’ll be here to provide updates the next two days. The post UGA athletic board expected to approve record budget, more construction projects appeared first on DawgNation.