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When it comes to schedules, Auburn needs to follow Georgia’s lead and quit whining
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When it comes to schedules, Auburn needs to follow Georgia’s lead and quit whining

When it comes to schedules, Auburn needs to follow Georgia’s lead and quit whining

When it comes to schedules, Auburn needs to follow Georgia’s lead and quit whining

ATHENS — I have some thoughts on all this scheduling talk I’ve been hearing lately. Mainly, it’s that coaches and athletics directors need to stop whining.

To the credit of Georgia AD Greg McGarity, he’s not whining. As for his peers over at Auburn, the Bulldogs might want to send over a box of tissues.

Georgia football-Towers' Take-Auburn AD, coaches need to stop whining about schedules-Georgia Bulldogs-Auburn Tigers
Auburn AD Allen Greene suggested moving the Georgia game from the Tigers’ November slate to give them ‘some breathing room.’

Auburn AD Allen Greene came out last week and said at a TD Club meeting he’d like to move their game against Georgia to earlier in the season to give the Tigers’ “a little breathing room” in their November schedule. Seems he doesn’t like having to play both the Bulldogs and Alabama within three weeks of each other every year.

Poor Tigers. Having to play two rival games in the same month? How cruel.

Asked about the same thing, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he’d prefer if they didn’t have to play Georgia and Alabama as away games in the same seasons. That, of course, was juxtaposed in 2012 when the SEC welcomed in Missouri and Texas A&M to the league.

So would Georgia, by the way. Actually, the Bulldogs were the ones who got screwed over on that deal.

In order to expand to 14 teams, the SEC needed a few of its existing members to adjust their schedules so that everybody could end up with four home and four away games to accommodate an eight-game conference slate. Georgia and Auburn were among the four teams to get caught up in that, and the Bulldogs were asked to play Auburn on the road for a second straight year in 2013.

Georgia fans might recall that game. It was given a name afterward — “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare.”

The Bulldogs didn’t like that much. They have wondered, aloud at times, if it might be allowed to switch the home-and-away rotation back in that series. Because, like Auburn, Georgia ends up having to play Auburn and Georgia Tech on the road in the same years.

But while fans on both sides have complained a lot about that arrangement, Georgia’s McGarity hasn’t. Well, at least not publicly.

“Sure, if you’re asking me if I’d like to play Auburn at home two years in a row, yes, I’d love that,” McGarity told me this week. “But we don’t make that decision. That decision is made by the conference, and that’s not going to happen unless there’s a reason for it to happen, like if you added two more teams or something. So unless there’s some kind of seismic movement like that, it’s not going to happen. …

“Being in a conference, sometimes you have to do what’s best for the conference.”

I’m reminded here of the way it used to be. Forgotten by many, and certainly unknown to millennials, was a time when Georgia used to play Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech — its three biggest rivals at the time — in succession at the end of the season every year.  The Bulldogs did that for 42 years from 1954 to 1995, which spanned the tenures of Wally Butts, Johnny Griffith, Vince Dooley and Ray Goff. There was one exception, in 1958, when Georgia slipped The Citadel in between the Auburn and Tech games (and won 76-0, by the way).

Dooley, who had that setup for the bulk of his 25-year tenure as head coach, didn’t complain about that arrangement. Instead, he embraced it. He said the teams that could come through gauntlet unscathed were truly great. And the ones that did — and there weren’t that many, really — truly were.

Fast forward to expansion and the onset of divisional play in 1992. Dooley, now full-time AD, politicked for  some separation there at the end of the Bulldogs’ schedule. And he got it, eventually.

But you know what happened? The SEC stuck Ole Miss between Auburn and Tech. The Rebels, by the way, were actually pretty good at the time. Be careful what you wish for, right? Then Ole Miss rolled off and Kentucky rolled into that spot. Most of the times the Wildcats weren’t very good. Other times they were. Who knew UK would be the SEC East’s second-best team this season?

Auburn might want to think about that as the SEC busies itself right now to finalize the 2020 schedule.

Dooley also sought to get Georgia a bye the week before the Florida game, something the Gators used to great effect in the 1990s. That didn’t happen until 2007, and then didn’t happen every season until 2013. It’s now a semi-permanent off week in the Bulldogs’ schedule. But the emphasis there should be on “semi.”

Speaking of the Florida game, you’ve no doubt heard Kirby Smart’s complaints about the Bulldogs (and Florida) losing a recruiting weekend by playing in Jacksonville. And they do. NCAA rules prevent teams from hosting recruits at neutral-site games.

But what’s unspoken there is the inherent recruiting advantages that both teams enjoy by being one of only two conference games nationwide at a permanent neutral site (Oklahoma-Texas being the other) and always having a CBS national 3:30 p.m. broadcast awaiting them there.

Over and above all that is the financial side of things. Smart is definitely “The Man” at the moment and he has done some great things to raise the football program to another level. But he still answers to a president, an AD and a board of directors. And that facts regarding the Florida game are this: Georgia (and Florida) get $3 million a year to play in Jacksonville in the current deal that runs through 2021. That means they clear — all their expenses are paid — $6 million every two years.

To play that game home-and-home, Georgia would make $3.2 million when it plays at Sanford Stadium but lose about $500,000 when it played in Gainesville. So that’s $2.7 million every two years as opposed to $6 million. That’s some difference-making money, and not just for the football program, but for the 20 other sports teams the Bulldogs field.

And don’t get me started about the “travel concerns.” The fact is, Georgia, which flies directly out of Athens Ben Epps Airport via Delta charters, gets from its campus to its hotel in Jacksonville as quick if not quicker than does Florida, which buses 80 miles from Gainesville to St. Augustine or Sawgrass. There’s no advantage or disadvantage.

The message is this: Schedules are made years in advance and rarely does everybody get everything they want. Which teams everybody plays in the SEC is set through 2025. The reason you’re hearing some talk about it now is all the posturing and politicking over the 2020 of schedules is being waged right now between the respective ADs. That is usually conducted behind the scenes and not in a public forum.

Every team has things they don’t like about their schedule. You can be sure that Georgia doesn’t love that it has to play Tennessee and Vanderbilt back-to-back at home or on the road every year. But then, the Bulldogs probably aren’t crazy about opening next season on road game at Vandy. But that’s what had to happen as the SEC office slid the tiles around to arrange something that was fair and equitable for its 14-team membership.

When the SEC came to Georgia saying it’d need the Bulldogs to play at Auburn in back-to-back years, you can bet UGA did so grudgingly and only after being convinced there was no other way to make it work. And they were convinced of that, eventually.

“Every AD advocates whatever is desirable for their coach and their program,” McGarity said. “But there are so many complications to making it work for everybody.”

The bottom line is you’ve got to play somebody. It bears mentioning that Georgia has won four of its last six games against Auburn, the last one coming in last year’s SEC title game.

Wherever and whenever games are played, might as well win it if you can, right?

The post When it comes to schedules, Auburn needs to follow Georgia’s lead and quit whining appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • A 22-year-old University of Georgia student was shot during an armed robbery in Athens, according to police. Athens-Clarke County police say they were called to the shooting on South Milledge Avenue near the 10 Loop just after 7:15 a.m. Monday. Shortly after, they received another call about an armed robbery at the same location. We have a reporter and photographer on the scene where police plan to hold a news conference to release more information within the next hour. WATCH it LIVE on WSBTV.com and stay with Channel 2 Action News for LIVE reports as this story develops. Channel 2 Action News obtained an email to students, faculty and staff Monday morning, in which a school official said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Georgia State Patrol are assisting the Athens Clarke County Police Department in investigating the two armed robberies that happened just off campus. #Breaking Witnesses tell me the UGA student was shot at this off campus bus stop. They told me they heard two gunshots then ran outside and saw the victim. More at noon. — Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 22, 2019 TRENDING STORIES: ‘Armed and extremely dangerous': Police search for gunman who ambushed officer Church pays $120K to bail out first-time offenders for Easter ‘You told me to': Video shows Charlotte police officer kill man following orders to drop gun The student was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 'I was just laying in bed and I heard 'pow pow' and I was like 'whoa,' and it was (really) sad,' student Zac Ethridge said. 'We are deeply saddened by these tragic and shocking events,' the email said. Police are searching for a black male with dreads or twists driving an early 2000 model white Ford Mustang convertible with a tan roof.
  • There is a traffic heads up for drivers in Athens, a campus construction advisory from the University of Georgia: UGA says the southbound sidewalk and bike lane on the west side of East Campus Road will be closed from the current DEP2, Computer Services, and Museum of Natural History driveway entrance up to approximately mid-block for the temporary construction office entrance concrete pour. The sidewalk on the east side of East Campus Drive will still be accessible for pedestrians.
  • Senator Bill Cowsert and state Representatives Houston Gaines and Marcus Weidower are the scheduled speakers for tonight’s meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party. They’ll recap the legislative session that ended earlier this month in a 6:30 session at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Watkinsville.  An Athens-Clarke County Commission work session is on tap for today, underway at 4 o’clock this afternoon at City Hall.  A town hall with Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle is set for 7 o’clock tonight. It’ll take place at the Depot in Winterville.  Madison County Commissioners meet tonight: it’s a 6 o’clock this evening at the Madison County Government Complex in Danielsville. Jackson County Commissioners meet at 6 at the courthouse in Jefferson. 
  • A man was killed by an Athens-Clarke County officer after authorities said he brandished a shotgun at police while they were trying to talk to him.  Carlton Steve Brooks, 63, was shot and killed after he answered his door with a shotgun in his hands, authorities said. Athens police called the GBI to investigate the incident. Athens-Clarke police said the fatal police shooting happened about 11:40 p.m. Saturday. Officers were sent to a home on Hull Road on a “peeping Tom” call, the department said in statement. Officers spoke to the victim, who identified a suspect, the department said. The officers went to the suspect’s home, which was also on Hull Road, police said.  According to the GBI, officers knocked on the Brooks’ door and announced themselves. Before answering the door, one of the officers saw a man inside with a weapon, the GBI said. The officers moved back from the door and gave repeated commands to put down the weapon. That’s when Brooks opened the door with the gun in his hands. “Brooks pointed the weapon towards one of the officers, who then fired twice,” the GBI said.  According to the police department, officers administered first aid to the man, and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. No officers were harmed in the shooting.  The department said the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave with pay in “accordance with department policy.”  An autopsy will be conducted at the GBI Crime Lab.  This is the 29th officer-involved shooting investigation that the GBI has been requested to investigate in 2019. The last such investigation was opened April 15, when a police chase that started in Alabama ended near Fort Benning.  RELATED: Man shot by deputies after Alabama police chase ends near Fort Benning In other news: 
  • Officials with the National Weather Service have confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down early Friday morning.  The tornado formed in Hall County around 5:50 a.m. and was on the ground for an estimated 2.5 miles.  Channel 2's Richard Elliot was in Hall County Friday, where the storm ripped a steeple off Dewberry Baptist Church north of Gainesville and sent a tree crashing through the church's fellowship hall.  No injuries were reported. Storms left damage across north Georgia including downed trees and power lines, flooding and washed out roads.  Reporters from Channel 2 Action News fanned out all across the state to bring you live coverage of the worst-hit areas.  Road collapses in multiple spots, following storms. We’re live in Buckhead: Ch. 2, 6 p.m. pic.twitter.com/5hhEV5u10O — Rikki Klaus (@RikkiKlausWSB) April 20, 2019 RELATED LINKS: Download the FREE Severe Weather Team 2 App! Massive oak tree falls on box truck, trapping driver inside 4 Forsyth County firefighters injured during storm response Flooding leaves at least a dozen vehicles underwater at car dealership PHOTOS: Severe weather knocks down trees, washes out roads in metro Atlanta    

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Stetson Bennett began G-Day with the Black Team on Saturday, but he ended it with the Red Team. In his mind, that meant he was going to have steak and lobster for dinner rather than the Beanie Weanies that go to the losing team. “I’m getting steak,” Bennett said after the 22-17 Red Team win this past Saturday. “I get to choose what I want. I made that rule; nobody has told me that for sure yet. But I’m definitely planning on having steak tonight.” J.J. Holloman turned this reception of a pass from Stetson Bennett into a 43-yard game-winning touchdown for the Red Team in the fourth quarter of the G-Day Game on Saturday. (Lauren Tolbert/UGA Athletics) Bennett could certainly make a good argument for eating with the victorious Red squad. After all, it was his 43-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Holloman with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner. The scoring play, which came on a post route by Holloman against starting cornerback Eric Stokes on second-and-8, gave the Red a 19-17 lead that would hold up the rest of the way. It came at the end of what was a pretty good day for Bennett, who exited spring practice as the Bulldogs’ No. 2 quarterback behind junior Jake Fromm. For the day, he went 12-of-23 passing for 210 yards and a touchdown while playing for both teams. That broke down as 4-of-9 for 82 yards with no TDs or interceptions with the Black squad and 8-of-14 for 128 yards and a score with the Red team. Bennett was charged with one sack for minus-5 yards with the Black as well. “It was pretty special,” said Bennett, who transferred back to Georgia after spending last season at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College. “I’ll probably look back over the summer and appreciate it more. This was my second game in Sanford Stadium and it was a little bit better than the first one. It was pretty cool.” It represented a much better day under much better circumstances than Bennett experienced during the 2018 G-Day Game. Bennett also played for both squads that day but left feeling like he wasn’t given a fair shake to compete with Justin Fields for backup duties behind Fromm. Fields has, of course, since transferred to Ohio State. Now Bennett is competing with true freshman D’Wan Mathis for the backup spot. “I felt more like a quarterback today than just piece like I did last year,” said bennett, who was a combined 5-of-9 for 73 yards for both squads in the 2018 G-Day Game. “I felt good coming out here and playing with my buddies and playing well, having them make plays. It was pretty cool I enjoyed it.” Mathis had a decent Saturday as well. Operating with a pared-down offensive package, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Mathis was 15-of-28 for 113 yards throwing the ball and had a 20-yard run off a scramble. But he was also sacked five times and threw an interception. Fromm was disappointed with a day that saw him complete only 14-of-29 passes for 116 yards and throw a pick-6 on the Red Team’s first offensive possession. He threw got one 13-yard touchdown on a check-down throw to running back Brian Herrien in the third quarter. Overall, it was only a so-so day for quarterbacks and the Georgia offense. But nobody is expecting the outcome to affect the depth chart going forward. The Bulldogs will enter fall camp with the same pecking order it started spring camp. That is, with a depth chart the sets up as Fromm, Bennett and Mathis, in that order. “Both those guys did a nice job of managing it,” coach Kirby Smart said of Bennett and Mathis. “A lot of throwing situations, not a lot of (elaborate) defenses. … We scaled back a lot of the offense. A lot of the new things we’re doing weren’t in that package today. But I was pleased with the way Stetson and D’Wan managed the game and that’s important for their growth. They’re only going to get better through practicing and repping and playing in that kind of environment.” Bennett certainly came away feeling a lot more positive about his situation than he did this time a year ago. He said he knows he’s not about to unseat Fromm as the starter and that there is no guarantee that he’ll even be the primary backup ahead of Mathis by the time the season starts on Aug. 31. “I don’t really know,” he said of his role this season. “My goal is for us to win a national championship, win the SEC, win the East, beat Vandy up there in Nashville in the first game of the season. Just to win, play really well and play Georgia football, play for these fans who came out here today, 52,000 of them in not great weather. That’s really my goal for the season, just be the best I can be.” Bennett’s situation could be entirely different. After his season in junior college, he received multiple offers from non-Power 5 schools who offered him the opportunity to become a first-year starter. But playing football at Georgia always has been priority one for Bennett, who grew up in Blackshear as the son of a alumni parents. “Somebody asked me, ‘why’d you come back if you’re going to have all these 5-stars ahead of you?’ I’ll answer it the same way: I don’t really worry about who else is coming in,” Bennett said. “I don’t really worry about who’s here. If I can just do my part for the team and get better every single day, then I’m fine with it. So, you know, I’m just going to compete every day with myself and try to make the best throws at practice and we’ll see how it works out.” But no matter how you slice it up, it’s a better situation than Bennett had when he decided to transfer to junior college last summer. “I’m not going to transfer this summer; I’m not going to show up in the portal, so that’s different,” Bennett said with a laugh. “It was better. I got more reps this spring, played better, my team won, because I flip-flopped and was on the Red Team at the end.” The post WATCH: Role on team still undefined, QB Stetson Bennett in it for long haul Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Football is a game that’s amazing when shown live, and sometimes even more fascinating on replay. The cuts, catches and collisions that “wow” us in the moment are most often just as impressive — if not more so — in slow motion. The so-called “broken” plays can’t be explained in the moment, but film review tells all as Kirby Smart and his coaching staff could attest. The @UGAAthletics Twitter account put out a highlight reel from the G-Day Game that will excite Georgia fans who saw those plays for the first time — and inform those who were with family or on business and couldn’t watch the game. It’s worth the click, as several new faces and numbers appear on the verge of starring roles with the Bulldogs’ national championship contending 2019 team. It’s an impressive collection of Eric Stokes’ Pick-6, D’Andre Swift’s electric cut on soggy turf, Brian Herrien’s bulldozer run past J.R. Reed and the surprisingly effective passes from backup quarterbacks Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis.   Couldn’t make it to #GDay? We’ve got you covered with the highlights. #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/hRCrxsekpP — Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) April 22, 2019   Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game Kirby comments on freshmen phenom linebackers Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown RELATED: Eric Stokes experiences good and bad at cornerback WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game Georgia football lands major commitment on G-Day Demetris Robertson illness revealed by Kirby Smart Stock report from Georgia G-Day Game Instant analysis of Georgia football G-Day Game Georgia G-Day Game football report card   The post WATCH: ‘Wow’ plays abound in Georgia athletics G-Day Game highlight video appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia hasn’t wasted any time testing freshmen early enrollee linebackers Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith. The trend continued on Saturday in the G-Day Game, with Dean and Smith getting repetitions with the Black Team, which featured the first-team defense.. Coach Kirby Smart said it had to do with how repetitions were distributed. But it also provided the coaching staff with a look at how Dean and Smith would fare in reps against the first string offense of the Red Team. Dean proved active, making five tackles with a pass break-up against the first-team offense. Dean is an instinctive inside linebacker with great acceleration to the football, and he appeared surprisingly comfortable and agile in pass coverage. Senior Tae Crowder and junior Monty Rice exit spring drills with the upper hand at inside linebackers, both tested veterans. But Smart left the door open for Dean to continue to compete for a starting position. “His role could be as much as a starting linebacker, or his role could be as much a special teams player this year, he could be at third down guy,” Smart said when asked by DawgNation about Dean’s role moving forward. “It’s going to be determined by the other players and himself, and how much he grows and gets better.” Smith’s day was considerably quieter. The No. 1-ranked recruit in the 2019 signing class was often matched with Outland Trophy candidate Andrew Thomas. Still, it was worth noting how Smart and other UGA players praised Smith throughout much of spring drills. The UGA coaching staff talked Smith up to the SEC Network commentators during the G-Day Game broadcast prep. “Nolan Smith is a highly touted recruit, a guy who came up in a lot in our conversions with coaches,” former UGA lineman and College Football Hall of Fame 2018 inductee Matt Stinchcomb said. “He’s a guy who can bend the edge, but his work ethic was what really impressed.” Smart said both Dean and Smith have had a great “progression” this spring. “They are both very bright, they are both very sharp, intelligent, mature freshmen,” Smart said. “But they have not been through a college football fall, they have not been through a college football game. “They haven’t played in an SEC game, and they both have a lot of growing to do. But I’m pleased with where they are.” Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown RELATED: Eric Stokes experiences good and bad at cornerback WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game Georgia football lands major commitment on G-Day Demetris Robertson illness revealed by Kirby Smart Stock report from Georgia G-Day Game Instant analysis of Georgia football G-Day Game Georgia G-Day Game football report card   The post Georgia G-Day Game: Nakobe Dean active inside, Nolan Smith bottled up outside appeared first on DawgNation.