Archive for August, 2010

Notes and quotes from Richt’s news conference (updated)

ATHENS – A few notes and quotes from Mark Richt’s news conference today:

  • Richt’s opening comment: “It’s good to be undefeated.”
  • And a bit later:  “First game of the year. I know our guys will be excited. . . . We’re just looking forward to playing, looking forward to getting it kicked off, just see what we’ve got.”
  • This is the healthiest Georgia has entered a season in a long time, Richt said. Among players who otherwise would or might play,  linebacker Richard Samuel (leg) and center Chris Burnette (concussion) are the only ones who’ll miss the game with injuries, Richt said.
  • Richt on Aaron Murray’s first start as Georgia’s quarterback: “He’s human. He’s a freshman. He’s going to have nerves like everybody else. I’m a 50-year-old man, and I’ll be nervous, too, which is a good thing.”
  • More on Murray: “Hopefully our fans will realize that he’s a freshman. He’s a rookie. He’s going to make mistakes. He probably won’t just be lights-out as far as his accuracy or …

Continue reading Notes and quotes from Richt’s news conference (updated) »

UGA opener is sold out, extending streak to 58 games

ATHENS – Around midnight Monday, Georgia sold the last ticket to Saturday’s football opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

That means the Bulldogs’ streak of consecutive home sellouts has reached 58, extending into a 10th season.

The last Georgia home game not to sell out was the Nov. 25, 2000, game against Georgia Tech.

Tickets had been available to Saturday’s opener because Louisiana-Lafayette relinquished most of its allotment. The Ragin’ Cajuns were contractually entitled to 4,500 tickets but wound up selling 490, leaving UGA with the other 4,010 to sell.

Georgia currently has no tickets available to any of this season’s home games in 92,746-seat Sanford Stadium, although it’s possible that some could become available if returned by an opponent later in the season. Opponents can return tickets from their allotments until three weeks before a game.

The  Bulldogs’ opener kicks  off at 12:21 p.m. Saturday.

Note: At noon today, and each Tuesday during the season, Mark Richt …

Continue reading UGA opener is sold out, extending streak to 58 games »

A change on Georgia’s depth chart at safety

ATHENS – Amend that depth chart Georgia released Monday afternoon.

The depth chart has Bacarri Rambo and Nick Williams starting at the safeties, but coach Mark Richt said after practice Monday night that “right now it would be Bacarri and Jakar [Hamilton]” starting in Saturday’s opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

“Nick will certainly play,” too, Richt said.

Richt confirmed one mild surprise on the depth chart, which has Brandon Wood starting on the defensive line at left end, ahead of Abry Jones. But the D-line remains in flux except for right end Demarcus Dobbs.

“Depends on what day it is, I guess,” Richt said.

But as of today, he said, the starters are DeAngelo Tyson at nose, Dobbs at right end and Wood at left end. Tyson, though, also is expected to play some at left end, with Justin Anderson or Kwame Geathers taking over at nose.

A couple other notes from Monday’s practice:

– Wide receiver Rantavious Wooten, who has been sidelined most of the preseason with a sprained …

Continue reading A change on Georgia’s depth chart at safety »

New AD McGarity starts work at UGA, expresses concern about player arrests

For full story on McGarity’s first day on the job, please click here.

ATHENS – Greg McGarity started work as Georgia’s athletic director today, two days earlier than scheduled. In a mid-afternoon interview, he talked about a range of topics, including the high number (eight) of arrests of UGA football players this year.

“I’m going to really learn a lot about that,” McGarity said.”I’m going to learn about our structure, what we have set up as far as education of student-athletes. I want to learn exactly, why is this happening?”

Clearly he is concerned about the arrests.

“Yeah, I think there are too many,” he said. “I think when it happens it’s embarrassing to the institution [and] it takes away from team unity. And I know one of the goals is to make sure we have a system in place that holds people accountable. . . .

“I think it’s a problem,” he said. “and it’s something we want to do a 180 on across the board. It’s really every sport, and I don’t like the excuse that, …

Continue reading New AD McGarity starts work at UGA, expresses concern about player arrests »

UGA releases new depth chart

Georgia released a new football depth chart today, five days before the season opener. No big surprises, although a couple of notables:

– Listed as first-teamers on the defensive line are Brandon Wood at left end, DeAngelo Tyson at nose and Demarcus Dobbs at right end. Tyson also is expected to play extensively at left end, in which case Justin Anderson would play nose.

Branden Smith is listed as the No. 1 punt returner.

Nick Williams is the starter at strong safety, with Jakar Hamilton the No. 2 free safety.

– As expected, Orson Charles is ahead of last year’s starter, Aron White, at tight end.

– As expected, true freshman Hutson Mason is the No. 2 quarterback behind Aaron Murray.

The complete depth chart:

OFFENSE

SPLIT END

16 Kris Durham (6-5, 212, Sr.)

15 Marlon Brown (6-5, 219, So.)

82 Michael Bennett (6-3, 202, Fr.)

LEFT TACKLE

60 Clint Boling (6-5, 315, Sr.)

77 Trinton Sturdivant (6-5, 312, Jr.)

LEFT GUARD

71 Cordy Glenn (6-5, 320, Jr.)

54 Tanner Strickland (6-5, …

Continue reading UGA releases new depth chart »

Police report: Ealey was driving teammate Hamilton’s car

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston in Athens:

Georgia running back Washaun Ealey was driving teammate Jakar Hamilton’s car when he hit a UGA Parking Services pickup truck in the East Campus Parking Deck at 3:19 a.m. Friday, according to the incident report obtained from UGA Police today.

Ealey was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Impala owned by Margaret Hamilton when he hit a 2008 Ford Ranger owned by the university. According to the report, three Parking Services employees confronted Ealey at the time of the incident, but he left the scene before police could arrive.

The police determined the car belonged to Hamilton and arrested Ealey. He was charged with hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving on a suspended license. Ealey was released Friday morning.

Ealey, Georgia’s leading rusher with 717 yards as a freshman in 2009, has been suspended one game. Hamilton is a junior defensive back.

Continue reading Police report: Ealey was driving teammate Hamilton’s car »

Bulldogs nearing sellout of opener

Inching toward its 58th consecutive home sellout, Georgia has fewer than 200 tickets remaining for Saturday’s football opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, associate athletic director Alan Thomas said this morning.

A large block of tickets became available to the opener when Louisiana-Lafayette relinquished most of its allotment. The Ragin’ Cajuns were contractually entitled to 4,500 tickets but wound up selling 490, Thomas said last week. That left UGA with the other 4,010 to sell.

If the remaining tickets are sold, Georgia’s streak of consecutive home sellouts will extend into a 10th season. According to associate athletic director Claude Felton, the Bulldogs have sold out every home game since Mark Richt became coach in 2001. The last UGA home game not to sell out, Felton said, was the Nov. 25, 2000, game against Georgia Tech.

The remaining tickets to Saturday’s game are available on-line (georgiadogs.com) or by phone (877-542-1231). The price is $45 apiece.

The game begins …

Continue reading Bulldogs nearing sellout of opener »

Who’ll return punts for Dogs? A.J. Green thinks he knows

ATHENS – Georgia coaches have been evasive about who’ll return punts this season, usually listing a half dozen or so possibilities when asked. But A.J. Green thinks he knows.

And it’s not him.

Asked Friday night if he’s been returning many punts in practice, Green said: “A little bit. Not that much since Branden Smith came back. It’s probably going to be him, and I’ll be second-team. Hey, whatever. . . . I’d love to get back there.”

Smith, the sophomore speedster from Atlanta, rejoined the team Aug. 13 after leaving for eight days because of uncertainty about whether a placement-test score would prevent him from enrolling in fall-semester classes. Smith returned after being cleared academically.

Smith is looking good as a punt returner, Green said.

“He’s explosive, man,” Green said.

The punt-return job is open because of the graduation of Prince Miller, who handled the role last season.

For kickoff returns, Georgia has Brandon Boykin back. Boykin returned 38 kickoffs for 988 …

Continue reading Who’ll return punts for Dogs? A.J. Green thinks he knows »

Ealey suspended for at least one game after arrest

(Last updated 8:40 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia will open the football season without its leading rusher of a year ago.

Washaun Ealey has been suspended for at least the Sept. 4 opener against Louisiana-Lafayette after an early-Friday arrest for hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving with a suspended license.

Ealey’s arrest -– the eighth of a UGA football player this year -– irritated coach Mark Richt to the extent that he said he didn’t really want to talk with the sophomore running back.

“I didn’t plan on talking to him because I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind to speak to him. I didn’t know what I might say,” Richt said Friday evening. “But after I decided that I was going to suspend him at least one game, I thought it’d be at least proper to tell him before I [announced it]. I didn’t really feel like speaking to him, quite frankly.”

Richt was upset that Ealey drove despite knowing his license was suspended and assuring Georgia director …

Continue reading Ealey suspended for at least one game after arrest »

King likely to start over Ealey at TB, Gamble over Washington at OLB

ATHENS — Caleb King, who started Georgia’s final five games last season at tailback, likely will do the same in the Sept. 4 opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. But Washaun Ealey will get extensive playing time, too, just as he did late last season.

That was the word Thursday night from running backs coach Bryan McClendon.

“Right now, it’s probably Caleb [as the starter] because he has been more consistent in his pass-blocking throughout camp,” said McClendon, who added that he expects King and Ealey to “share playing time and split series and things like that.”

“It’s a constant competition between those two guys, and they have embraced that to this point,” McClendon said. “But Caleb does sort of get the lean right now just because of his pass protection and his ability to do it and sustain it.”

Last season, King had 594 yards rushing on 114 carries (5.2 yards per carry), while Ealey had 717 yards on 125 carries (5.7 yards per carry).

+++++++++

Darryl …

Continue reading King likely to start over Ealey at TB, Gamble over Washington at OLB »

UGA will open 2012 football season vs. Buffalo

ATHENS — Georgia has agreed to open the 2012 football season against Buffalo, UGA associate athletic director Arthur Johnson said Thursday.

The game, which will be the first-ever meeting between Georgia and Buffalo in football, will be played Sept. 1, 2012, in Sanford Stadium.

Georgia will pay Buffalo $975,000 for the game, Johnson said. That matches the most UGA has agreed to pay an opponent to play in Sanford Stadium.

Also, Johnson said UGA is in the process of completing a deal with Georgia Southern to play in Athens during the 2012 season.

The Bulldogs had two openings on the ‘12 schedule and figured all along that one would be filled by Georgia Southern, which UGA is in the habit of playing once every four years. The Eagles played in Athens in 2000, 2004 and 2008.  To preserve maximum scheduling “flexibility,” Johnson said he wanted to complete negotiations on the other game — Buffalo, as it turned out — before finalizing a Georgia Southern …

Continue reading UGA will open 2012 football season vs. Buffalo »

Loran Smith replaced as UGA sideline reporter

(Updated 8 p.m.)

ATHENS — After 36 years as sideline reporter on radio broadcasts of University of Georgia football games, Loran Smith will not be in that role this season.

He’ll be replaced by Chuck Dowdle, the former WSB-TV sports director.

Smith will continue in his other long-time role as co-host, with Neil Williamson, of Georgia’s three-hour radio pregame show, the “Tailgate Show.”

Georgia associate athletic director Alan Thomas said the change of sideline reporters had been “contemplated” since the 2008 retirement of legendary play-by-play voice Larry Munson altered the “dynamics” of the broadcast.

“I had 36 good years on the sideline,” Smith told the AJC Thursday night. “It’s been fun, and I appreciate the support of the Georgia people.

“I had a good time, and I look forward to more good times. I don’t have to be on the sidelines to enjoy the broadcast and my role.

“I finally get to sit up in the press box where I can see,” Smith added with a laugh.

Smith …

Continue reading Loran Smith replaced as UGA sideline reporter »

Georgia will open SEC hoops play vs. Kentucky

ATHENS -- Georgia drew the SEC’s marquee men’s basketball opponent to open the 2010-11 conference schedule.

The Bulldogs will play Kentucky, the SEC’s defending champion and perennial power, in Athens on Saturday, Jan. 8,  in both teams’ SEC opener. The game will start at 4 p.m. and be televised on the SEC Network.

The SEC announced the conference schedule Thursday. Georgia previously had released its non-conference schedule, which opens Nov. 12 against Mississippi Valley State in Athens.

The SEC said all league games will be televised regionally or nationally.

Georgia’s SEC schedule includes four games scheduled for national networks: Jan. 25 vs. Florida in Athens on ESPN, Jan. 29 at Kentucky on ESPN, Feb. 19 at Tennessee on CBS and Feb. 24 at Florida on either ESPN or ESPN2.

“The competition within the SEC will be tremendous,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said in a statement Thursday. “I believe we will have the toughest league in the country this season. I’m also pleased about …

Continue reading Georgia will open SEC hoops play vs. Kentucky »

The education of Georgia’s starting quarterback continues

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt commented after Wednesday’s scrimmage in Sanford Stadium that Aaron Murray “could have made a better decision” on a couple of occasions.

One such occasion sprung to mind for Murray: “a screen where I should have just thrown it out of bounds and instead I tried to scramble and got sacked.”

The education of Georgia’s starting quarterback continues.

“He’s still learning. He’s still a freshman,” Richt said. “It wasn’t really bad, but there were a couple of times where he could have made a better decision. I’m just thankful we got into those situations and it happened today. Hopefully, the point will be driven home a little bit better because it was more of a real situation. Hopefully, he’ll learn from it.”

Richt went to some lengths to make the closed-to-the-media scrimmage as real as possible –- a pregame coin toss, SEC officials, etc. –- and Murray admitted he “had a little jitters” beforehand.

“Whenever you go into Sanford Stadium,” he …

Continue reading The education of Georgia’s starting quarterback continues »

Stats and more from Georgia ‘practice game’

ATHENS — “Georgia” beat “Louisiana-Lafayette” 38-24 in a practice game Wednesday in Sanford Stadium. Or was that 38-0?

UGA coach Mark Richt said he spotted the “Louisiana-Lafayette” team –- Georgia scout teamers impersonating the season-opening opponent — 21 points. And he gave the “Ragin’ Cajuns” another three points by counting a missed field goal as made.

Got that?

The teams played one half of football, with coaches trying to emulate game conditions as much as possible.

That included having the assistant coaches working from where they’ll be in real games -– Todd Grantham, Rodney Garner, Mike Bobo, Stacy Searels and Bryan McClendon at field level; Warren Belin, Scott Lakatos, Tony Ball and John Lilly upstairs in the coaches’ box.

The scrimmage was closed to the public and media, but Richt provided what he called “unofficial official” statistics afterward:

  • Quarterback Aaron Murray completed 9 of 17 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown. He threw no interceptions. “He’s …

Continue reading Stats and more from Georgia ‘practice game’ »

Knee condition ends UGA lineman Owens’ career

ATHENS – Georgia backup offensive lineman Jonathan Owens‘ college football career is over.

Owens has been granted a medical disqualification because of a knee condition, UGA coach Mark Richt said today. The disqualification means Owens no longer will be able to participate in intercollegiate athletics.

A redshirt sophomore from Blountsville, Ala., Owens appeared in one game for Georgia — that against Tennessee Tech last season.

He suffers from chronic patella instability in his right knee, according to UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson.  UGA said it was determined after consultation with physicians that Owens could not continue his playing career.

Owens is scheduled for patella re-alignment surgery on Aug. 31.

“It’s always difficult when a player must give up the game,” Richt said in a statement. “Jonathan is an outstanding young man, and we look forward to him still being involved in our program.”

Continue reading Knee condition ends UGA lineman Owens’ career »

Will Georgia sellout streak extend into 10th season? (Updated)

(Updated 6 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia, which has sold out every home football game the past nine seasons, needs to sell a few hundred more tickets to keep that streak alive next week.

Less than 600 tickets remained available Wednesday for the Bulldogs’ Sept. 4 season opener at Sanford Stadium against Louisiana-Lafayette, UGA associate athletic director Alan Thomas said.

He said those tickets are part of a large block returned by Louisiana-Lafayette, which was contractually entitled to 4,500 tickets for the game. The Ragin’ Cajuns wound up needing only 490 tickets, Thomas said.

Georgia has no tickets currently available to any of its other five home games, and Thomas said he expects the remaining tickets to the Louisiana-Lafayette game to be sold. They are available on-line at georgiadogs.com or by phone at 877-542-1231.  The price is $45 apiece.

If the game sells out, that would extend Georgia’s streak of consecutive home sellouts into a 10th season. According to associate …

Continue reading Will Georgia sellout streak extend into 10th season? (Updated) »

Dogs plan practice game between the hedges Wednesday

ATHENS – There will be a football game in Sanford Stadium on Wednesday afternoon -– sort of.

Georgia’s team will break into two squads –- one consisting of the Bulldogs’ front-line players, the other impersonating Louisiana-Lafayette -– for a dress rehearsal of the Sept. 4 opening game.

“We don’t get preseason games,”  Mark Richt said Tuesday. “This is as close as we’re going to get to a preseason game.

“We’re going to play a half of football. We’re going to do our normal pregame warmup. We’re going to have our captains chosen. We’ll simulate a coin toss. We’ll kick it off like a regular game. We’ll have our coaches situated up or down, wherever they’ll be, press box or field. We’ll have our headsets going. We’ll have SEC officials. We’ll have everything we can get other than crowd noise for this game. I’m considering it a game.

“We want them to get used to [game conditions]. We haven’t transitioned from kickoff coverage to defense, from punt return or block to offense, …

Continue reading Dogs plan practice game between the hedges Wednesday »

DE Dobbs has sprained ankle; LB Dent joins practice

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston in Athens:

Georgia defensive end Demarcus Dobbs missed Monday’s practice with a sprained ankle, but coach Mark Richt said Dobbs should return this week.

Meanwhile, inside linebacker Akeem Dent, who had been sidelined since having toe surgery last month, participated in practice, albeit wearing a green non-contact jersey,  for the first time this summer.

Other injury updates: Richt said receiver Logan Gray (sprained ankle) should practice this week; center Ben Jones (knee) is making “rapid progress”;  guard Cordy Glenn (mono) is “getting close,” and offensive lineman Tanner Strickland (shoulder) is “in and out.” Center Chris Burnette (concussion) and outside linebacker Dexter Morant (shoulder) are currently sidelined.

Please click here for full UGA notebook.

Continue reading DE Dobbs has sprained ankle; LB Dent joins practice »

Updating Anderson’s progress and Glenn’s recovery

Cleaning out the notebook to start the week:

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Justin Anderson is playing defense this month for the first time since his junior year of high school. But if Georgia’s season had opened last week, the 6-5, 330-pounder would have been a starter on the defensive line at the nose position.

He’s taking nothing for granted, noting that two weeks of practice remain before the first game and “anything can happen.”

But Anderson admits he’s farther along -– closer to a starting spot -– than he expected to be three weeks into preseason practice.

“To be honest, I didn’t” expect to be working with the No. 1 unit so soon, he said. “No, I didn’t. But hey, I’m just trying to get better.

“Coming on defense, I was kind of nervous at first. I knew I was physically going to do well. But in the past on the offensive line, I’ve had trouble with playbooks. So that was probably my biggest –- I wouldn’t say fright, but I was kind of skeptical about it. But I’ve picked up on it pretty …

Continue reading Updating Anderson’s progress and Glenn’s recovery »

Richt on poll: ‘I hope we play well enough to move up. That’s the plan.’

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston in Athens:

Georgia will begin the football season No. 23 in the Associated Press media poll, which was released this morning. It is the Bulldogs’ lowest preseason AP ranking since being unranked entering the 2001 season, coach Mark Richt’s first in Athens.

“I’m thankful we’re ranked,” Richt said after this morning’s practice. “It’s important to be ranked. I hope we play well enough to move up. That’s the plan.”

The preseason rank marks Georgia’s return to the AP poll after falling out on Oct. 4 last season. Georgia started the 2009 season No. 13 but was not ranked after the fourth week of the season.

The Bulldogs are ranked No. 21 in the USA Today coaches’ preseason poll, released earlier this month.

Georgia is among six SEC teams, the most of any conference, ranked in the AP poll. Two SEC teams are in the top four: No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Florida. Arkansas, which will play Georgia in Athens on Sept. 18, is ranked No. …

Continue reading Richt on poll: ‘I hope we play well enough to move up. That’s the plan.’ »

Juggling topics with A.J. Green, from NCAA to NFL to unicycles

ATHENS — Since word got out last month that the NCAA’s investigation of possible improper dealings between players and agents had reached Georgia, A.J. Green has declined comment on the matter except to say he has never been to Miami, scene of an agent-affiliated party that triggered the probe at several schools.

After practice Friday, Green said he looks forward to saying more.

“I hope it’s coming up soon,” he said. “It should be sometime next week, or whenever. I don’t know.”

He said the issue has “not at all” been a distraction.

On another topic, Georgia’s star wide receiver said he is focused on making the most of his junior season, not on the widespread expectation that he’ll enter next year’s NFL draft.

“You just can’t get caught up in the hype and that kind of stuff,”  Green said. “You’re still in college; you’ve still got another year. There’s nothing like college. When you get in that real world, it’s nothing but business. Around here . . . you can have fun hanging …

Continue reading Juggling topics with A.J. Green, from NCAA to NFL to unicycles »

Details of McGarity’s agreement with UGA spelled out

ATHENSGreg McGarity’s agreement with the University of Georgia calls for him to receive one year’s pay as severance if he is fired without cause as the school’s athletic director.

A three-page memorandum of understanding, signed by McGarity and UGA President Michael Adams,  and obtained Friday by the AJC in response to an open-records request, also spells out conditions under which McGarity could be fired for cause.

Those conditions include “certain violations” of NCAA, SEC or UGA rules  and failure “to act at all times on and off the campus with appropriate recognition of the fact that the reputation of the University also depends in part on public respect for and approval of those persons associated with its athletics program.”

In the case of termination for cause, no further payments would be made.

McGarity was hired last week to succeed Damon Evans, who resigned in the aftermath of a June 30 DUI arrest in Atlanta. Evans received a settlement of about $237,500 — three …

Continue reading Details of McGarity’s agreement with UGA spelled out »

Richt sees Ogletree brothers and Owens playing this year; Gray out 7-10 days

This from AJC correspondent Andy Johnston in Athens:

Georgia coach Mark Richt said freshmen Alec (safety) and Alexander (fullback)  Ogletree and Derek Owens (cornerback) most likely will play this year, but wouldn’t comment on who will redshirt.

“We’re still determining that,” Richt said. “You go one, two, three, four games into the season, and you might be thinking you’re going to redshirt a guy and then he doesn’t redshirt.”

Richt said the Ogletrees and Owens might spend most of their playing time this season on special teams.

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Receiver Logan Gray, who sprained his ankle at the end of Tuesday’s practice, could be out anywhere from 7-10 days, Richt said.

“It’s a shame,” Richt said. “Logan has been practicing so well, and had his best practice [Tuesday], and then he ends up spraining his ankle right at the very end. Seems to be the way it goes, though.”

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More notes from today’s practice to come on …

Continue reading Richt sees Ogletree brothers and Owens playing this year; Gray out 7-10 days »

Georgia AD job drew 88 applicants; ankle sprain keeps Logan Gray out of practice

By the time Georgia hired Greg McGarity as its athletic director, 88 people had applied for the position, many of them with little or no experience in sports management.

Georgia released the full list of applicants Wednesday morning in response to an open-records request from the AJC.

Forty-nine of the names, including McGarity’s, were released Aug. 5 in response to a previous request by the AJC.

New names on the latest list included former Georgia football player Matt Stinchcomb, Missouri executive associate athletic director Whit Babcock and Sacramento State athletic director Terry Wanless.

———————–

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston in Athens:

Receiver Logan Gray was in a walking boot and didn’t practice on Wednesday after turning his ankle in Tuesday’s practice.  He is listed as day-to-day, according to UGA.

Gray was one of the offensive highlights in Saturday’s scrimmage with three catches, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Gray “had his best day since …

Continue reading Georgia AD job drew 88 applicants; ankle sprain keeps Logan Gray out of practice »

LB Gamble says coaching change helped him (plus practice notes)

(Updated 8:15 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt thinks his team’s two most improved players since the spring might be safety Shawn Williams and linebacker Darryl Gamble.

You’d expect a sophomore, like Williams, to be making major strides at this point. But Gamble’s progress is particularly noteworthy since he’s a fifth-year senior who started 11 games last season and switched positions in the final week of spring practice, shifting from inside linebacker to outside.

Gamble credits the influence of defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Todd Grantham.

“I guess it’s like finding love for the game again because I was in a slump,” said Gamble, adding that he and former linebackers coach John Jancek “didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. Having Coach Grantham here just gives me an extra boost of energy.”

Grantham has said Gamble is pushing Cornelius Washington for a starting spot at outside linebacker.

“I’ve never had a complete year; I’ve always had little …

Continue reading LB Gamble says coaching change helped him (plus practice notes) »

UGA will induct Zeier, Ferguson into Circle of Honor

Debbie Ferguson and Eric Zeier, record-setters on Georgia’s track and football teams in the 1990s, will be inducted next month into UGA’s Circle of Honor, which is the school’s highest tribute for former athletes and coaches.

Ferguson, a sprinter, won four individual national titles during her Georgia career and was the SEC athlete of the year in women’s track and field in 1998 and ‘99. She competed in four Olympics for the Bahamas, winning a gold medal as a member of a 400-meter relay team in 2000.

Zeier, Georgia’s quarterback from 1991-94, set a long list of school and SEC records. He still holds a number of UGA records, including most passing yards in a season (3,525 in 1993). Zeier’s career totals of 11,153 passing yards and 67 touchdown passes are second in UGA annals only to David Greene’s totals (11,528 yards and 72 TDs).

Ferguson and Zeier will be inducted into the Circle of Honor at a banquet on Sept. 17 and will be recognized at the Georgia-Arkansas football game …

Continue reading UGA will induct Zeier, Ferguson into Circle of Honor »

Awards groups keep watch over UGA players

For weeks, college football’s various awards organizations have been coming out with their preseason “watch lists” –- compilations of candidates, usually in the dozens, for postseason honors.

Here’s a roundup of UGA players who have been named to the watch lists:

  • Wide receiver A.J. Green for the Walter Camp Award, which recognizes the “player of the year”; the Maxwell Award, which recognizes the “most outstanding player”; and, of course, the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the top receiver.
  • Tailback Washaun Ealey for the Maxwell Award.
  • Outside linebacker Justin Houston for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, both of which recognize a defensive player of the year, and the Butkus Award, which goes to the best linebacker.
  • Offensive tackle Clint Boling for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman.
  • Ben Jones for the Outland Trophy and the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the best center.
  • Aron White for the John Mackey Award, …

Continue reading Awards groups keep watch over UGA players »

Two players who left UGA team are happy to be back

ATHENS – Two players who briefly left Georgia’s football team this month seem happy to be back.

Freshman linebacker Dexter Morant, who was gone for three days because of homesickness, and sophomore cornerback Branden Smith, who was gone for eight days because of an academic issue, spoke with reporters Monday for the first time since rejoining the team.

Morant said he left Athens on Aug. 3 because “I’m not used to being away from home.” But he said he realized he’d made a mistake soon after arriving home in Manning, S.C.

“A lot of my friends, when they saw me at home, were, like, ‘What are you doing here? You quit football?’ They were, like, ‘Man, we were depending on you,’” Morant said. “They kind of made me feel bad all over again. . . I realized I made the wrong decision.”

A chat with his high school coach, who cautioned against a decision that might lead to regrets later, also helped steer him back to Athens, Morant said.

“In a way, I don’t regret what I did,” he said, …

Continue reading Two players who left UGA team are happy to be back »

UGA football walk-on gets scholarship

ATHENS – Junior fullback Josh Sailors, a walk-on member of Georgia’s football team, has been awarded a scholarship.

Sailors, a graduate of Oconee County High School, has been a reserve fullback and scout-team member the past two seasons. A biology major, he twice has been on the SEC academic honor roll.

He is the fourth UGA walk-on to be awarded a scholarship this year by coach Mark Richt. The others are cornerback Chad Gloer, snapper Ty Frix and linebacker Reuben Faloughi.

Continue reading UGA football walk-on gets scholarship »