Archive for February, 2010

Da’Rick Rogers-Bacarri Rambo war of words (and other stuff)

Oct. 9 continues to loom larger. That’s the date of the Georgia-Tennessee football game, which became the most compelling on UGA’s 2010 schedule the moment Derek Dooley was named the Vols’ coach. Now, there’s the added storyline of Da’Rick Rogers, the Calhoun High wide receiver who broke a 7-month commitment to Georgia to sign with Tennessee last week, potentially playing against the Dogs and encountering UGA safety Bacarri Rambo.

Rogers and Rambo have been going at it a bit on Facebook and Twitter since last week.

It started with a Facebook status update by Rambo, who wrote: “Bacarri Rambo thinks [it] is messed up how all of UGA high school commitments back out on us but I’m telling you now when I catch you on the field I’m going to knock fire from you.”

Rogers responded Saturday on Twitter:  “Who is Bacarri Rambo?”

Then from Rambo on Twitter: “Tell Darick ‘pretty boy’ Rogers he doesn’t have to know me but I bet he will feel me!! Lol”

Then from Rogers: “don’t worry about me …

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New LB coach ‘looking forward to’ competing ‘for SEC and national championships’

Warren Belin

Warren Belin

The Georgia football team’s defensive coaching staff is whole again.

The final opening on the staff was filled this afternoon, when UGA coach Mark Richt hired Warren Belin from Vanderbilt as a linebackers coach.

The addition of Belin, following last month’s hires of Todd Grantham from the Dallas Cowboys as defensive coordinator and Scott Lakatos from Connecticut as defensive-backs coach, completed the makeover of a defensive staff that was decimated by Richt’s Dec. 2 firing of three assistants.

Belin is a 20-year coaching veteran who spent the past eight seasons as Vanderbilt’s linebackers coach. He also was Vandy’s recruiting coordinator the past two years and special-teams coordinator in 2006-07.

“I’m looking forward to the next step in my career with Coach Richt and the opportunity to compete for SEC and national championships,” Belin said in a statement late this afternoon.

A former Wake Forest football player (1987-90), Belin coached at SMU, William & Mary, …

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Evans on Signing Day, DC salary, remaining coaching hire, etc.

Athens – At each meeting of the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors, Damon Evans briefs the board on recent developments in the department. Here’s what Evans, the athletics director, told the board about a range of topics at this week’s meeting:

– On Signing Day: “You never know how the kids will turn out. They could have all the  stars in the world, but you never know until they get here. . . . At the end of the day, in my humble opinion, you can rate them, but it depends on what they do when they get here. So we’ll wait and see what happens.”

– On hiring a defensive coordinator: “Mark [Richt] went through a very extensive process of trying to find a defensive coordinator. Went a roundabout way but found a guy we feel very confident in from the Dallas Cowboys, Todd Grantham. . . . There seems to be a lot of excitement growing around Todd and his new defensive scheme.”

— On Grantham’s $750,000 salary: “I know you saw the reports of the salary we paid -– at the 750 …

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Visits with UGA staff sold Oklahoma’s Stoops on hiring Willie Martinez

OK, it’s official now:  Oklahoma has confirmed the hiring of  Willie Martinez, the deposed Georgia defensive coordinator, as its defensive backs coach.

And Bob Stoops, Oklahoma’s head coach who is known as a defensive guru, seems pretty thrilled about it.

“Willie is an outstanding coach and someone with a tremendous background in our profession,” Stoops said in a statement.  “His experience is very impressive, and he will contribute a lot of very good things to our program. And not only is he a fine secondary coach, he’s a good recruiter with ties in Florida and a number of other places.”

Stoops traced his interest in hiring Martinez to past visits with the UGA coaching staff.

“Our staffs had been together exchanging ideas, and I was impressed with Willie,” Stoops said. “In those meetings,  you not only get a feel for how well someone knows the game, but their ability to communicate and interact with other people, and Willie was a guy that represented himself and his …

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Damon Evans gets new five-year contract, big raise (UPDATED)

Athens — A new contract for athletics director Damon Evans. A facelift for Stegeman Coliseum. And a new plaza for Sanford Stadium.

Those will be the results of actions taken Wednesday by the board of directors of the University of Georgia Athletic Association.

The board, at its regular quarterly meeting, voted to give Evans a new five-year contract with a big boost in pay and to spend $21.3 million on new construction projects.

The details:

– In executive session with Evans out of the room, the board approved a new contract that will mean a $110,000 raise for Evans effective July 1 — from his current $440,000 salary to $550,000. The contract calls for Evans to receive additional $20,000 raises in each subsequent year, putting his salary at $630,000 in the final year of the deal.  Also, he will receive a $250,000 longevity bonus if he remains in the job when the contract expires on July 1, 2015.

– The board voted to proceed with a project that will renovate and widen the …

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Athletic board approves $21.3 million in Stegeman, Sanford projects

Athens –- The board of directors of the University of Georgia Athletic Association this afternoon voted to spend $21.3 million on projects that will change the face of Stegeman Coliseum and add a large plaza behind the north stands of Sanford Stadium.

Stegeman will get an expanded and renovated concourse and a new glass façade. The coliseum’s outer walls will be moved out  as far as the roof overhangs the current structure, creating space for more restrooms and concessions stands.

The plaza on the north side of Sanford Stadium will renovate the “Reed Alley” area of campus. The idea is to make the area part of the stadium on game days and leave it open as a university amenity on other days.

University architects told the board that the Reed Alley/Sanford Stadium project can be completed by the start of the 2010 football season and the Stegeman project by the start of the 2010-11 basketball and gymnastics seasons.

The board meeting is still in progress. More details to …

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Signing Day 2010: UGA Recruiting Bios

Last updated: 4:21 p.m.

Demetre Baker

Ht., Wt.: 6-0, 200

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Orange Park, Fla.

High School: Orange Park

Highlights: Was a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and was ranked as the 23rd best outside linebacker in the country.

How he’ll fit in: Should be an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense. He has the speed to be a rush end and should be able to drop back in coverage when necessary. He is still a bit new to the linebacker position, so most do not think he has hit his potential yet.

Brent Benedict

Ht., Wt.: 6-5, 273

Position: Offensive tackle

Hometown: Jacksonville

High School: Bolles School

Highlights: Was considered one of the top 15 players in Florida and the No. 10 offensive lineman in the country by Scout.com.

How he’ll fit in: Benedict, despite coming off an injury, may be as athletic as any offensive line prospect in the country. With Georgia’s tremendous depth on the line, he’ll have to beat out some …

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Athletic Board takes up Stegeman Coliseum, Sanford Stadium changes Wednesday

While much of Bulldog Nation will be obsessing over Signing Day, the board of directors of the UGA Athletic Association will have other things on its mind.

The board will hold its regular quarterly meeting in Athens Wednesday afternoon, and the highlights could be decisions on changing the face of Stegeman Coliseum and adding a large plaza behind the north stands of Sanford Stadium.

The board, which last fall approved $1.9 million for design work on the projects, will see schematics, hear the price tag and a financing plan, and decide whether to proceed.

Frank Crumley, UGA’s executive associate athletics director, said Tuesday that the plans are similar to what was outlined at the board’s fall meeting.

– For Stegeman Coliseum: an expanded and renovated concourse and a new modern glass façade. As described at the fall meeting, the coliseum’s outer walls would be moved out as far as the “hat rim” roof overhangs the current structure, creating almost 10,000 square feet of …

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Kirby Smart got $390,000 raise for rejecting Dogs, staying at Alabama

The ripple effects of Georgia’s long, expensive search for a defensive coordinator continued today when a $390,000-per-year raise was approved for Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

Smart, a former Georgia player, turned down the Bulldogs’  DC job four days before Todd Grantham was hired.

And today it became known how much it cost Alabama to keep Smart.

The compensation committee of the board of trustees of the University of Alabama System approved a new contract that will pay Smart a base salary of $750,000 per year -– more than double the $360,000 base salary he made last season. (Click here or here or here for more details from Alabama newspapers on the committee’s action.)

Smart is one of  three defensive coordinators to get hefty raises after declining Georgia’s overtures. Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster had an annuity added to his existing contract that will pay him an $800,000 lump sum if he remains with the Hokies for another five years. And LSU’s John Chavis

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The dreaded mat drills begin (and other notes)

– Today was the most dreaded day of the year for Georgia’s football players: the start of mat drills, the legendary off-season workouts designed to severely test physical and mental endurance.

“We had mat drills this morning at 5:45,” A.J. Green reported via Twitter. “Legs are gonna . . . then I have test today at 9:05 . . . yep the life of a student athlete.”

He later tweeted that the test went well. But as for the exhausting mat drills?  “Can’t wait to get n bed.”

– I’m sure Georgia’s men’s basketball team (1-5 in the SEC) would rather have victories than praise, but after losing by a point at South Carolina on Saturday, the Bulldogs got high praise from Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn on the SEC teleconference today. “They’ve got to be the best one-win team in any conference in the country right now,” Horn said of the Dogs. “They are really hard to play against. . . . They have been in a legitimate position to win almost every one of their games.”

– Horn said Trey Thompkins “is …

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Report: Willie Martinez has ‘change of heart,’ takes job at Oklahoma

Former Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez apparently is in high demand.

Rivals.com this morning reports that Martinez  has accepted an assistant coaching job at Oklahoma several days after reportedly accepting a similar job at Stanford.

Here’s the latest  report from national football writer Tom Dienhart:

Willie Martinez has accepted an assistant coaching job at Oklahoma, Rivals.com has learned.

Martinez recently took a position as secondary coach at Stanford, but he has had a change of heart. Martinez coached defensive backs for nine seasons at Georgia and was defensive coordinator for five years in Athens before being fired after last season.

Oklahoma hasn’t announced a hire of Martinez.

An opening was created on head coach Bob Stoops‘ Oklahoma staff when defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator Chris Wilson left to become the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Mississippi State.

Because Martinez’s background is in coaching defensive …

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