Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who interviewed Thursday for a job as the New Orleans Saints’ defensive coordinator, said Friday night that he has taken himself out of the running and will remain at UGA.
“I want to thank (coach) Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints organization for the opportunity to interview and get to know them. They are a first-class organization in every respect,” Grantham said in a prepared statement. “As I said Wednesday, Georgia is a great place, my family loves it here, and I do as well.
“This is where our heart is, and today and I have withdrawn my name from consideration for the position with the Saints. I’m excited to start preparations for another season and along with the rest of our defensive staff look forward to coaching some really good returning players as well as developming some very talented newcomers.”
Grantham, a former longtime NFL assistant, has been Georgia’s defensive coordinator for the past three
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On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its historic run, Georgia’s 1983 Final Four basketball team will be back in Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday. So will its coach.
Hugh Durham is 75 years old now and long since retired. In fact, he has been away from Georgia for as long now as he was its basketball coach. Seventeen years it has been, and the longer Durham has been gone the more the Bulldogs have come to appreciate him.
What has become increasingly evident since Durham was forced out in 1995 – the Dogs were 18-10 that year, if you can believe it – is winning basketball at Georgia is hard. Just ask the six coaches that have had the job since Durham was ousted because he wasn’t winning enough.
The latest among those to try is Mark Fox, who is
A quick wrap-up on Georgia coach Mark Richt’s end-of-the-football-season wrap-up with reporters on Thursday.
1. On whether the Bulldogs can be among elite teams again next year . . .
“We plan on being that. We hope to be that. We’ve got to earn that. Know one really knew what ws going to happen this past season. There were some big question marks a year ago, mostly offensively and offensive line probably more so than any other position, and running back as well. That’s all I answered questions on. . . . By the end of the year they came through. So more questions will asked of the defensive side of the ball this year. So those guys have to do their thing and be able to come through.”
2. On early signs of progress for the Bulldogs’ 13 early enrollees . . .
“They’re almost a class unto themselves. There are 13 of them and last year, what did we have, 15? So it’s a really large number of midyear guys. . . . I told them to look out for wach other and help each other. They’re doing
ATHENS — Chris Wilson can say this about his new gig at Georgia – it’s not complicated.
That couldn’t be said for the situation he just left. At Mississippi State, Wilson was co-defensive coordinator the past three seasons. Only, it’s not quite that simple.
“Actually I was the defensive coordinator,” Wilson explained Wednesday evening, a short time after the Bulldogs officially named him their new defensive line coach. “It was like when Manny (Diaz) and I were coordinators together for a year (in 2010). Manny had the 51 percent and I had the 49 percent. The last two years I had the 51 percent and Geoff (Collins) had the 49 percent. For the majority of the time I called (the defense during games). But there was a group of guys who helped organized it, from Melvin Smith to Tony Hughes. It was a collective effort. But on game day, I guess I
On the day Georgia landed its new defensive line coach, the Bulldogs lost their most important defensive lineman.
Kwame Geathers, a 6-foot-6, 355-pound rising senior and four-game starter at noseguard, informed UGA coaches on Wednesday he intends to enter the NFL draft this year.
“That was the speculation since the bowl game, obviously, but nothing was in writing,” said Chris Wilson, who was officially announced as the Bulldogs’ defensive line coach Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t get a chance to meet the young man but I know he was one heck of a player watching him from afar. I had yet to get a chance to sit down with him. But it’s one of those deals where you want what’s best for the young man. If him and his family feels that’s the best thing, you wish them the best of luck.”
Wilson had to deal with similar decisions
ATHENS – As I reported a few of days ago, Georgia targeted Chris Wilson, co-defensive coordinator at Mississippi State the past three seasons, as its new defensive line coach. The Bulldogs finally made it official late Wednesday afternoon with their formal announcement of his hiring (see below).
Wilson replaces Rodney Garner, who left UGA after 15 years of service on Dec. 21 to return to Auburn, his alma mater. I had a chance to talk to Garner just yesterday and he gives Wilson his hardy endorsement.
“Great guy,” Garner said. “Good family man, good coach, good recruiter. He’ll do a good job.”
I’m not sure what else Garner would say but there you have it.
In any case, following is UGA’s official release. I’ll try to catch up with Wilson again as soon as possible and tell yoou more about him. He wasn’t able to say much last time I talked to him, between Georgia having not announced it yet and him being between meetings at the AFCA Convention in Nashville. In the meantime,
ATHENS – Aaron Murray said he knew he wanted to return to Georgia for his senior season “as soon as the clock hit zero” in the SEC Championship game. The rest of the time he spent validating in his head what was already in his heart.
Murray announced via Twitter this past Sunday night that he was indeed going to complete his eligibility with the Bulldogs. On Tuesday he met with reporters at UGA’s Butts-Mehre football complex to explain his decision.
“I pretty much knew all along deep down inside that I wanted to come back,” Murray said. Obviously I didn’t want to base my decision on emotion. I wanted that SEC game to go by a little bit before I made my decision. After that game, I was like, ‘I’m coming back, I’m coming back.’ So I really needed to let that game go, play another game, clear my head and
The Georgia Bulldogs finished with a Top 5 ranking in both The Associated Press and coaches’ final polls released early Tuesday. But the Bulldogs remained behind Notre Dame, which lost to Alabama 42-14 in the BCS national championship game Monday night.
Georgia (12-2) finished in a tie for fifth with Texas A&M in the AP poll, which is a compilation of media votes. Notre Dame (12-1) was fourth. The Bulldogs were fourth in the USA Today coaches’ poll, one spot behind the Fighting Irish.
This represents the third time under coach Mark Richt the Bulldogs’ have closed out a season with a Top 5 ranking. They were No. 2 in 2007 and No. 3 in 2002. It’s Georgia’s sixth Top 10 final ranking under Richt, including 2003 (7), 2004 (7), 2005 (10) and 2008 (10). It’s the 18th time overall UGA has finished ranked among the AP top 10.
Alabama secured its third BCS title in the last four years Monday night in Miami to finish No. 1. Oregon (12-1) was second in both polls and Ohio State was
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray ended the speculation Sunday night about whether he’s staying in school or going to the NFL. He’s staying, Murray announced via Twitter.
“Blessed to be the QB for the Dawgs, not ready to leave just yet,” Murray tweeted to his 64,000-plus followers. “Time to get back to work & help lead this team to a championship.”
Murray could not be immediately reached for further comment, and UGA made no official announcement of his decision. (UPDATE: Georgia coach Mark Richt reacted to Murray’s decision in a statement Monday morning: “I’m certainly pleased that after weighing his options Aaron has decided to remain at Georgia for his senior year. His leadership and productivity have been tremendous during what has been an outstanding career. This is great for Aaron and great for Georgia.”)
A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Murray had been weighing whether to return for his final season of college eligibility or to enter the 2013 NFL
ATHENS –It’s not really a secret, nor is it official, but all indications are that Chris Wilson will become Georgia’s new defensive line coach in the coming days.
Wilson, who is currently defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Mississippi State, met with head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham this past week and agreed in general terms to replacing Rodney Garner as the Bulldogs’ defensive line coach. But Wilson’s hiring cannot become official until the job opening has been posted for the minimum amount of time and Wilson has cleared UGA’s background check.
“Nothing is official and it won’t be until Georgia completes the background checks and their official deal,” said Wilson, reached by phone Sunday in Nashville, where he is attending the
ATHENS — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nemanja Djurisic each scored 17 points and Georgia overcame 25 turnovers as the Bulldogs defeated George Washington 52-41 Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Bulldogs (6-7), who open SEC play on Wednesday at No. 13 Florida (9-2).
“That’s a good win,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We hold them to 20 percent (shooting). I don’t think they made a 3. We win the rebounding battle (39 to 31). We shoot 48 percent from the field. There’s some good-looking things on that stat sheet. Then you look down and you see the turnover column, in which we have 25.
“I was telling my wife, I think our team needs school to start … as poorly as we were thinking out there tonight.”
The Colonials (6-7) did fail to make a 3-point basket. In fact, they were 0-for-12 from behind the arc. The last time Georgia held on opponent without a 3-pointer was 261 games ago when it hosted Nevada in 2004. The coach
ATHENS – Jarvis Jones is turning pro.
Not that anybody didn’t already know that. The junior outside linebacker has been projected as high as No. 1 in the April NFL if he chose to forgo his senior season. But it wasn’t until late Friday evening that Claude Felton, UGA’s director of sports communications, confirmed the news via Jones. Felton said Georgia is not planning a formal news conference at this point.
Jones issued a statement through UGA:
“This has been a difficult decision, and one that I have talked over with my family and coaches. I want to thank my family, teammates, coaches and support staff and the Bulldog Nation for everything over the last three years. I will always appreciate the chance Georgia gave me after my injury at Southern Cal. There is nothing like the Bulldog fans and I will forever be proud to wear the ‘G’. I think this decision comes at the right time for me and my family and I look forward to seeing what the next level holds for me. Go
ATHENS – Georgia won 12 football games this season for the just the third time in the 120-year history of the program. So that is definitely a milestone to celebrate, and the Bulldogs did just that after beating Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday.
But there was also a sense of what might have been as Georgia players scattered and made their way back to their homes for a short respite before classes resume on Monday. In the hours immediately after the game, the 2012 Bulldogs boasted “we believe we can beat anybody in the country” and “we still think we’re one of the best teams in the nation.”
Alas, they’ll watch the BCS Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame on television just like everybody else come Monday.
Georgia coach Mark Richt was
THEY SAID IT
“It looked to me like we were a little more tired than they were. But I think our guys did a good job of sucking it up when they were tired. It was a good bit warmer than the weather we were practicing in and certainly Athens was a lot cooler. But we fought through. And when you make a big play or two, all of a sudden that gives you a boost of energy.”
— Georgia coach Mark Richt, on the Bulldogs’ slow start
“I’m so proud of Jarvis. Jarvis has been such a breath of fresh air for us at Georgia. Coming from Southern Cal, sitting out a year and doing a super job rallying the scout team … We already knew he was a special player, then we realized what a special person he was and he just played tremendously on the field for us and has been a great leader for us.”
— Richt on junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who set the single-season sack record.
“When I went into the locker room at halftime, I thought Coach Bobo was going to hit me up
ORLANDO, Fla. – Give Alec Ogletree credit. He doesn’t dilly-dally on the football field, nor with important decisions. The Bulldogs’ dynamic junior linebacker admitted immediately after Georgia’s 45-31 win over Nebraksa in the Capital One Bowl that he intends to turn enter the NFL draft.
“Yeah, it was my last game,” Ogletree said after his 13-tackle performance Tuesday. “I’m just glad we were able to win because I know what kind of talent is on this team. This was the last game for a lot of guys on this team, a lot of seniors, and we all wanted to go out with a W. It’s tough to have to go out now, but I feel like it was the right decision for me.”
Ogletree goes out with a bang. In addition to his game-high tackle total, Ogletree forced and recovered a critical fumble when the game was tied in the third quarter, registered three tackles for losses and had a sack and two other quarterback hurries.
Despite missing four games of the season for violating UGA’s
ORLANDO, Fla. – Aaron Murray would not say whether he had played his last game as a Georgia Bulldog – Alec Ogletree did, by the way – but whatever he decides he knows he’ll go into his next season off a win for a change.
Murray, a junior who is contemplating early entry into the NFL set a Georgia bowl record with five touchdown passes and threw for 427 yards overall to earn Capital One Bowl MVP honors and lead the No. 7 Bulldogs to a 45-31 come-from-behind victory over Nebraska Tuesday at Citrus Bowl Stadium. Murray was at the offensive controls as Georgia lost its previous two bowl games.
“It was an awesome game and I’m definitely very excited to get a win,” said Murray, who also set Georgia’s single-season passing record with 3,544 yards. “I don’t know what it feels like to go into an offseason with a win, so that in itself feels great. But it was great to get a win for these seniors and great to get 12 wins. As for the future, I don’t know what’s going
ORLANDO, Fla. –Considering the monster season he just had, it has been a relatively quiet period for Georgia’s Todd Gurley as the Bulldogs prepared for Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl game against Nebraska. And that’s just the way Gurley likes it.
The quiet-spoken freshman rushed for 1,260 yards and 16 touchdowns this season and he has proven to be the Bulldogs’ most consistent offensive weapon. After his 122-yard, two touchdown performance against Alabama in the SEC Championship game, Gurley enters Tuesday’s game averaging 96.9 yards per game.
But it was only grudgingly that submitted to a recent interview request, and then he was decidedly modest when it came to talking about the season he has had.
“It was a great season but I wanted much more out of it,” said Gurley, whose 17 total touchdowns is the fourth most in school history. “But there ain’t
ORLANDO, Fla. — Crazy things tend to happen in bowl games and they are notoriously hard to predict. But generally if you can identify the most motivated team you will have identified the eventual winner.
Good luck trying to do that with Georgia and Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are coming off a devastating SEC Championship loss in which they literally finished five yards short of a BCS championship berth. On the same day hundreds of miles away in Indianapolis, the Cornhuskers (10-3) suffered arguably their most humiliating defeat in the history of the program. They gave up 539 yards rushing in falling to Wisconsin 70-31 in the Big Ten Conference championship.
With Georgia locked out of a BCS bowl opportunity and Nebraska embarrassed in its last game, it could be
ORLANDO, Fla. — Early in the year, as tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall were ripping off long runs right and left, Georgia coaches were careful to mention what a good job Merritt Hall was doing paving the way for them. But the Bulldogs lost their starting fullback to a severe ankle injury on the first play of the Florida game and the redshirt freshman has played very little since.
But after playing only on the kickoff return ream in the SEC Championship game, Hall now appears set to get back in the rotation in the backfield. He said his ankle is “80 to 90 percent” healthy, but that’s enough for him to help.
“I feel great out there on the practice field,” Hall said. “I feel like I’m getting people out of the hole and I’m able to drive off my ankle well enough to be able to get the job done.”
Hall said he has been rotating with junior Zander Ogletree in practice and expects to do the same in Tuesday’s game.
Outlook poor for Abry
ORLANDO, Fla. – When you ask Jarvis Jones whether it’s important to him to become the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, you start to get an idea where his head is at regarding making an early jump for the pros.
No, Jones still has not said definitively whether he’ll be leaving Georgia after this, his junior, year. But seeing how he is projected as a consensus top five selection by the most respected draft analysts, it’s generally thought to be a foregone conclusion that the two-time All-American will go ahead take the NFL millions now. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft.
But being the top overall pick is clearly something about which Jones has given some sincere thought. Asked if it was important to him to be selected No. 1, Jones answers the question with a question.
“Has there ever been a
Q&A WITH MARLON BROWN
ORLANDO, Fla. – There are some out there who might say that Marlon Brown’s career was a disappointment, that he didn’t live up to expectations. A 5-star signee out of Memphis, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver never earned even All-SEC honorable mention honors or had 500 yards receiving in a season. But it could be argued that there is not a more beloved teammate among the Georgia Bulldogs than Brown, whose attitude on and off the field permeates everything he does.
Nowhere was that more evident than on Nov. 3 when Brown suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the third quarter against Ole Miss. Brown, the Bulldogs’ leading receiver at the time, was in the midst of a huge game. He’d just made his third catch
ORLANDO, Fla. — After Todd Gurley ran for 1,260 yards this season – and 122 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in the SEC Championship game – the tendency is to think that fellow freshman Keith Marshall is a less valuable back for Georgia at this stage in his young career.
Marshall had just two carries against Alabama. But offensive coordinator Mike Bobo insisted Saturday that Marshall remains more of a 1-B option to Gurley. Injuries and extenuating circumstances, he said, had more to do with Marshall’s reduced presence toward the end of the season than Gurley’s special talents.
“(Marshall) did not get as many touches in the Alabama game, but that’s just how the game went and how the other guy was running the ball,” Bobo said during a
ORLANDO, Fla. – Georgia players say the biggest difference is when they’re on the practice field. That’s when they notice Rodney Garner is not there screaming at the top of his lungs. That’s when it’s evident that Big John Jenkins is not out there laughing and joking around with his teammates.
The rest of it, they insist, is business as usual.
As the Bulldogs prepare for Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl matchup with Nebraska, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is great potential for distraction. Forget the fun and sun of Orlando and its enormous array of amusement parks. Between coaches leaving (Garner to Auburn), players losing eligibility (Jenkins) and others contemplating early entry into the NFL draft (Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and Kwame Geathers), this could be one pack of discombobulated Dogs by the time they kick off against the Cornhuskers on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
“A lot of situations have occurred from the last game to now,” said Jones, a junior
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Here are some quick hits from Georgia and Nebraska’s preparations for the Capital One Bowl. There is a news conference this afternoon featuring Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones and both coordinators. Check back for more updates.
THE BIG NEWS
Heading into bowl practices back in Athens, with the 32-28 loss to Alabama still fresh on their conscious, Georgia coaches declared a full-scale open competition on the offensive line. But as the workouts phase from competition to walk-through stage here at the bowl site, it looks like the Bulldogs will line up pretty much the same way.
“I think we’ll probably be like we were toward the end of the season,” Georgia line coach Will Friend said before Saturday’s practice at Celebration High School. “We had good practices in Athens and we had good practices here. They got to compete every day and I thought it was good to kind of open it up. But it’ll be pretty much like we ended the season.”
One of the reasons the Bulldogs
ORLANDO, Fla. – How much Abry Jones can play against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday will come down to whether his body can pull off what his heart wants him to do.
Jones, a senior and starting defensive end for Georgia, has been out for the last nine weeks following ankle surgery. He returned to practice in a mostly-unlimited capacity this week and has been cleared to play in the game.
But there is definitely reservation in Jones’ voice when he talks about returning to the field for the first time since the seventh game of the season.
“I’m trying to,” Jones said of playing in the game. “I’ve been moving around a little bit. . . . It’s my senior year and I missed so much and I just want to play one more game with the fellas. If I feel confident enough and they let me play, I’m going to play. That’s what I want to do. But it’s just how I feel pretty much.”
Jones estimated he is about “75 to 85” percent recovered from the left ankle injury
ORLANDO, Fla. — If a recent trend continues, we’ll see more in the passing game out of tight ends Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome in the Capital One Bowl.
For most of the 2012 season, the primary role of Georgia’s tight ends was to block. But their contributions in the passing game picked up as the season progressed. Lynch and Rome each caught at least one pass in the Bulldogs’ past five games. They combined for 22 catches and 330 yards and a touchdown during that stretch.
Most notably, Rome scored Georgia’s first touchdown in the SEC Championship game against Alabama. And Lynch had the last reception of the season, a 26-yarder down to the 5-yard line where the game eventually ended.
“It’s a lot more fun,” Rome said of being involved in the passing game. “Football is fun whether it’s just blocking or if I get to catch routes. But at the end of the year we started to become a more primary target, and I think it’s great. It’s fun out there catching
ORLANDO – Because of what happened with Isaiah Crowell, there is a tendency to think Georgia’s recruiting class of 2011 – better known as the “Dream Team” – was anything but dreamy.
Crowell, the No. 1-rated running back in the nation coming out of high school, was the crown jewel of that class. But after earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors, Crowell was unable to make it to a second season with Georgia. He was dismissed this past summer after his arrest on felony weapons charges.
But there were a lot of other elite prospects who signed in that 2011 class, which was rated among the top five in the nation of that year, and most remain prominent members of the 2012 team. Together they’ve helped the Bulldogs win 21 games and two SEC Eastern Division championship the past two seasons.
“We’re still here; we’re still standing strong,” said Malcolm Mitchell, a wide receiver from Valdosta who has 1,237 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns since becoming a Bulldog. “A
Georgia will be without one of its most formidable defensive weapons when it plays Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1.
John Jenkins, a senior who started all 13 games at noseguard for the Bulldogs, was unable to meet academic requirements to maintain his eligibility for the bowl game. Georgia coach Mark Richt shared that news with reporters after the team convened at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel Wednesday evening.
“John Jenkins will not be coming to the bowl due to an academic-related issue,” Richt told reporters. “I think John Jenkins has been awesome for Georgia. I’ve been really proud of what he’s accomplished for us and just really want to wish him the very best because he’s been a blessing to our program.”
Jenkins has sat out bowl practices and been listed with a concussion since the Bulldogs returned to action following final exams on Dec. 12. Richt was asked this past Thursday if the Bulldogs suffered any academic casualties after fall semester but
ATHENS – The reality of college football is only 11 players can be on the field at any one time and rarely do more than 50 play in a given game. So with an 85-scholarship maximum, there are always going to be a number of talented athletes not seeing any game action.
This is the time of year coaches start to focus on those players. With a month between the end of the regular season and the bowl game, teams are able to take a closer look at athletes that have been waiting in the wings for their opportunities to play. So for the Bulldogs the 15 practices since the SEC Championship game has been as much about preparing for the future as it has been preparing for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl.
“We’ve got some talented guys on our campus and more that we’re recruiting,” Georgia coach Mark Richt. “We’re going to find out what they can do.”
The Bulldogs had a small signing class in 2012 and have a small roster overall. They ended up