Archive for November, 2009

Chick-fil-A will at least consider Dogs

Talked with Gary Stokan, the president of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, tonight.

Projections that Georgia will be the SEC representative in the game are just that — projections. Stokan said he has no idea at the moment which SEC team will be in the game, what with half of the league — literally — sharing 7-5 records.

“It’s certainly going to be interesting this year,” Stokan said, “probably more than in any of the 12 years I’ve been doing this.”

But Stokan did say that Georgia’s upset victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday moved the Bulldogs onto the Chick-fil-A radar.

A week ago, the bowl had Auburn, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee on its watch list of SEC teams. The Dogs joined the list Saturday night, Stokan said.

“We will take them under consideration for the Chick-fil-A Bowl, certainly,” he said.

The decision will come by Sunday (Dec. 6), bowl selection day.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl gets its choice of SEC teams after the BCS title game, the Sugar Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the …

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‘I Run This State,’ tailbacks say

Georgia’s football players –- even its passer -– got a kick out of the way the Bulldogs ran the ball in Saturday night’s victory over Georgia Tech.

“Some guy in the stands behind me yelled, ‘Joe Cox, you [stink]. Your coach won’t even let you throw the ball,’” Georgia’s quarterback said. “I wanted to turn around and say, ‘We don’t need to!’”

Georgia ran the ball on each of its first 13 offensive plays, not throwing a pass until the second quarter, and by game’s end had run for more yards –- 339 –- than in any game in nine seasons under coach Mark Richt. Conversely, Georgia passed for fewer yards (76) than in any game under Richt.

Running the ball was Georgia’s not-so-secret plan all along against the Yellow Jackets. It was even written on tailback Washaun Ealey’s face.

Under one eye were the words “I Run,” and under the other  “This State.”

Fellow tailback Caleb King had written the same message on his arms.

Despite the well-laid plan, the extent of the running …

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Samuel sidelined with concussion; Green ‘doubtful’

ATHENS – Richard Samuel, Georgia’s No. 1 tailback at the start of the season but mostly limited to special-teams play recently, will miss Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech after suffering a concussion in a practice-field collision.

Samuel collided with walk-on cornerback Christian Norton, who also suffered a concussion , on a pass play during Tuesday’s  practice,  coach Mark Richt said  today.

Richt said both players also sustained “neck injuries that are not severe.”

Both players were taken to an Athens hospital for tests and released Tuesday night. Neither will require surgery, Richt said.

“We don’t think either one of them is going to have any long-lasting issues from it,” Richt said, “but it was scary there for a minute.”

Richt  said Norton, a member of Georgia’s scout team and the son of Georgia track and field coach Wayne Norton, was briefly unconscious after the collision, which occurred in a portion of practice closed to the media.

When he regained consciousness, …

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A.J. Green in doubt for Tech game

Athens – Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green’s availability for Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech remains in doubt.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said this afternoon that Green has not yet regained sufficient strength or range of motion in his left shoulder, which he injured in the Nov. 14 game against Auburn.

“Right now, he’s still working on the strength and getting the soreness out,” Richt said. “He doesn’t have full range of motion right now. Sometimes these things can change quickly, and sometimes they don’t.”

Richt said a decision to play Green probably wouldn’t be made before game time, although a decision against playing him could come sooner.

“If he couldn’t have a full range of motion and run full speed and feel comfortable and confident by Thursday, it’d be very unlikely he’d play,” Richt said.

Green suffered a sprained joint in the shoulder in the first half of Georgia’s victory over Auburn and did not play in last week’s loss to Kentucky. He is the Bulldogs’ leading …

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Evans: Dogs will stay with traditional uniforms

Athens — If there was any doubt after the black-helmeted debacle against Florida, it seems official now that there’ll be no more uniform gimmickry from the Georgia Bulldogs anytime soon.

Georgia athletics director Damon Evans, appearing on UGA’s weekly radio call-in show Monday night, gave a pretty strong thumbs-down to future variations on the Bulldogs’ traditional uniforms.

“I don’t believe playing the game is about uniforms,” Evans said. “I just want our team to go out on the field and play the best of their ability. We have had some uniform changes in the past, but I would tell you not to look for that anytime soon. I’m not going to ever say never, but that’s not something that we’re going to be focused on.”

The Bulldogs veered from tradition by wearing black jerseys in a big 2007 home win over Auburn and a big 2008 home loss to Alabama and by wearing black pants and black helmets in this year’s big loss to Florida in Jacksonville.

“I know there are times when you try to …

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Green, Rambo back for Tech? Richt ‘hopeful’

Mark Richt seemed somewhat encouraged Sunday  that wide receiver A.J. Green and safety Bacarri Rambo, both of whom missed the Kentucky game, might be able to play against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

“They’re getting there,” Richt said. “I’d say we’re pretty hopeful on both of them. I wouldn’t say either of them is a slam dunk right now, but hopefully by maybe Tuesday, we’ll have a real good feel.”

Green sprained a joint in his left shoulder and Rambo suffered a concussion, both in the Nov. 14 victory over Auburn.

Click here for more notes from Sunday.

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Randall Cobb’s status: game-time decision

Wondering if Randall Cobb will play for Kentucky  on Saturday?

Apparently, the Wildcats plan to keep you wondering until game time.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said after practice Thursday that it’ll be a game-time decision whether to play Cobb, the wide receiver/quarterback/kick returner, against Georgia in Sanford Stadium.

“Cobb took a few reps [Thursday], and it’ll be a game-time decision on his availability,” Brooks said in a UK release.  “The doctors will advise me on what the best scenario is, and we’ll go from there.”

Cobb sat out Tuesday’s practice and part of Wednesday’s because of a bruised shoulder.  After Wednesday’s practice, Brooks deemed Cobb “questionable” for the Georgia game.

“It had been bothering him before [last week's Vanderbilt] game,” Brooks said  Thursday. “It’s a tough job when you take as many hits as those guys do. He’s not the biggest guy in the world. He is one of the most talented, but he’s not one of the biggest.”

Cobb’s status is of major …

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Kentucky star Randall Cobb ‘questionable’ for UGA

Randall Cobb – the Kentucky player whom Georgia frets the most — is “questionable” for Saturday’s game in Athens, UK coach Rich Brooks announced Wednesday night.

Cobb sat out Tuesday’s practice and could not complete all of Wednesday’s because of a bruised shoulder sustained against Vanderbilt last week.

Starting at quarterback against Georgia last year, Cobb ran the ball 18 times for 82 yards and three touchdowns, as well as completing 12 of 20 passes for 105 yards. He has been used primarily at wide receiver this season but also takes direct snaps at quarterback and returns punts and kickoffs. He is second in the SEC in touchdowns with 12 (7 rushing, 4 passing, 1 returning) and third in all-purpose yards (148.1 per game).

“He might be the most talented player in the Southeastern Conference today,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said earlier this week. “We know what he did last year. He just about single-handedly beat us himself.”

Despite Cobb’s dazzling game, Georgia managed to …

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Reshad Jones’ last game between the hedges?

ATHENS — One day after Georgia junior linebacker Rennie Curran acknowledged that Saturday’s game against Kentucky could be his last in Sanford Stadium, junior safety Reshad Jones said: “I’ll probably have similar thoughts as Rennie.”

Jones, who like Curran is eligible to enter the 2010 NFL draft, said he’ll weigh the possibility after Georgia’s season.

Jones said he’ll ask the NFL draft advisory committee, which provides underclassmen with assessments of their draft potential, for an evaluation.

“I’m going to send my [paperwork] in and see what I get back from there,” Jones said Wednesday. “The most accurate way of making my decision is . . . to see what they think and what prediction they have.

“I say it’s kind of 50-50 right now,” he added, “until I get my [report] back where I can make a solid decision.”

Jones flirted with entering the 2009 NFL draft but decided at the last hour to stay in …

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Curran’s last game between the hedges?

Athens –- Saturday’s game against Kentucky will be the last in Sanford Stadium for 23 seniors on Georgia’s football team. Might it also be the last game between the hedges for junior linebacker Rennie Curran?

“It’s bound to run through my head once or twice,” Curran said Tuesday.

Curran is eligible to enter the 2010 NFL draft, and while he said he hasn’t made a decision on whether to leave school early, he left no doubt that he plans to seriously consider the possibility.

“It’s definitely a tough call,” Curran said. ““I have to sit down with my family. It’s something I have to pray about. . . . I’m just going to try to make the most informed decision and the smart decision.

“Honestly, I’m not leaning any way at all, because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

A “huge” consideration, he said, is his 14-month-old daughter, Eleana, who lives in Gwinnett County.

“I’m not the normal college student,” Curran said. “Having her and seeing her and …

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Another sign of Ealey’s progress

Washaun Ealey fell just shy of his goal of his first 100-yard rushing game for Georgia on Saturday. But Ealey’s performance against Auburn was good enough for him to be named the SEC Freshman of the Week today.

Ealey led Georgia with 98 rushing yards on 18 carries and scored a touchdown in the 31-24 victory over Auburn.

Ealey, whose progress has been a late-season highlight for Georgia, has led the Bulldogs in rushing in each of the past four games — 71 yards vs. Vanderbilt, 70 vs. Florida, 89 vs. Tennessee Tech and 98 vs. Auburn. Since making his debut against LSU in the fifth game of the season, Ealey has 379 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Against Auburn on Saturday, he had six carries for 36 yards in a third-quarter touchdown drive that he capped with a 1-yard run to put the Bulldogs ahead 17-14, their first lead of the night.

And on a four-play, 39-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown drive that broke a 24-24 tie and provided the margin of victory, Ealey carried three …

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Opening night for basketball

Basketball season opens tonight at UGA. If you missed it, click here for a story mostly about Mark Fox, the new coach who doesn’t want to be the story. Fox has asked that he not be introduced by the public-address announcer before tonight’s game -– or before any home game this season. “I don’t think it’s about the coach. I really don’t,” he said. “. . . I really prefer to just let them introduce our players.” Cool.

Here are a few comments from Fox that didn’t make it into the story:

On the biggest questions facing his team at the start of the season: “We obviously don’t have a proven perimeter scorer. I think we have some guys who are capable of making some plays on the perimeter, but is one person going to emerge as a consistent scoring threat there? That’s a question for us. And how will Trey [Thompkins] deal with the fact that now he will enter games [as] more of a focal point for the defense? How will he respond to that? We have several freshman perimeter players, and …

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Ida limits parking for Auburn game

This week’s weather has posed a problem for Georgia’s football team, which practiced in steady rain Tuesday and strong wind Wednesday, and the after-effects will pose a problem for some tailgaters Saturday.

Less parking will be available for the Sanford Stadium game against Auburn because of the recent rain, UGA said Wednesday.

The intramural fields and grassy areas around Aderhold Hall, East Campus Drive and the Ramsey Center are too waterlogged for safe parking and will be closed on Saturday, UGA officials said.

Said UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson in a news release: “The entire fall season has been wetter than usual, and due to Tropical Storm Ida, several ground areas are saturated to the point that we will not be able to use them for parking. We suggest people carpool as much as possible. We also ask those who normally bring pull-behind trailers to consider going without them so that we can have more parking available for other cars.”

UGA also asked that tailgaters …

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Call it the Wild Dawg

ATHENS – So, Mark Richt was asked, does Georgia have a creative name for the offensive package in which the ball is snapped directly to speedy freshman Branden Smith?

“Well, I think . . . Scott Howard on the radio . . . calls that the ‘Wild Dawg,’” Richt said.

“That was Zeier,” interjected Howard, passing the credit to color analyst Eric Zeier.

“I’m all for that,” Richt said of the name.

So “Wild Dawg” it is -– Georgia’s moniker for the offensive formation that football folks generally refer to as the “Wildcat.”

“I heard someone else, I think in the NFL, was calling it something a little bit different than the Wildcat,” Richt said. “They were calling it the Wild Bronco or something. I think Wild Dawg is pretty good.”  (And for the record, Richt declared the preferred spelling: “Gotta be D-A-W-G.”)

By whatever name, Smith’s role in the Georgia offense stirs excitement, especially after his 52-yard touchdown run in last week’s win over Tennessee Tech.

Richt said Smith, …

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Tennessee Tech’s Georgia connection

– Fifteen players on Tennessee Tech’s roster are from Georgia. My AJC colleague Ken Sugiura talked with one of them this week, defensive end Kelvin Quarles, who went to high school at Meadowcreek in Gwinnett County.

“It’s a big deal for all of us,” Quarles, a Tennessee Tech captain, said of  Saturday’s game against Georgia in Sanford Stadium.  “We want to prove to Georgia’s coaches and players we’re from Georgia, too, and we can play ball with them.”

Quarles  originally signed with Connecticut before transferring to UAB and then to Tennessee Tech.

Quarles told Sugiura he is close friends with Georgia tailback Caleb King, who will make his first collegiate start Saturday.  Quarles and King have  talked at least a couple of times in the past week.

“We actually played Rec ball together at Lilburn Park,” Quarles said. “The Lilburn Patriots.”

Good team?

“We were unbelievable We were a winning team every year. Our last year together, we won the county championship.”

– Full …

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Richt on his record

ATHENS — The final question of Mark Richt’s press conference on Tuesday: There’s sort of a sentiment that maybe you’re too nice of a guy to make the hard decision if it came to that. Do you think people misread your leadership?

Thought you might like to read Richt’s full reply:

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m not reading that because I’m not reading anything, but I guess you are saying that’s what is out there. Coach [Bobby] Bowden made that comment way back when I got the job.

“And let’s face it: We’ve had the best winning percentage in the history of Georgia football. We’ve done pretty well. This year we have not, OK?  We are averaging, you know, 10 wins a year and won the SEC twice, and [Georgia] hadn’t won one in 20 years.  So it’s not like we’ve just been floundering around.  Now, this year we have been, let’s face it. And I don’t like it.

“People that know me well or the team or the coaches -– they know that I’ve got another edge to me that maybe  I don’t show publicly …

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Caleb’s turn to start at tailback?

Look for Caleb King to start at tailback for Georgia against Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

Coach Mark Richt expressed concern on his weekly radio show Monday night about Washaun Ealey’s pass-protection performance and said King “will probably start for us” this week

If so, it would be the first collegiate start for the former Gwinnett County prep star, a redshirt sophomore. And he would become Georgia’s third starter of the season at tailback.

Richard Samuel, who won the job while King was sidelined with a pulled hamstring in preseason, started the first six games. Ealey, a true freshman, has started the past two games against Vanderbilt and Florida, although Richt said after the Vandy game that the choice between King and Ealey to start came down to which play Georgia decided to call first.

Ealey had 17 of Georgia’s 33 rushing carries and 70 of its 121 rushing yards against Florida last week.

“Washaun certainly ran the ball well,” Richt said Monday night. “He still needs to …

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