Archive for September, 2010

Emptying the notebook before heading to Colorado …

  • An interesting observation from Mike Bobo about running back Carlton Thomas, the Bulldogs’ smallest player:  “Carlton has never been in a green jersey his whole career here.” Green jerseys are worn at practice by players who have injuries that preclude them from contact.
  • Drew Butler and Blair Walsh can’t wait to kick in Colorado’s mile-high air.

Butler visited a friend in Denver in May and took the opportunity to punt a few balls while he was there. He said they traveled about 3-5 yards longer and were in the air about two-tenths of a second longer, adding to his hang time. “When it’s humid and it’s wet here in the summer, the thick air just holds the ball down, but out there, it’s crisp and the ball flies,” Butler said. “It’s fun kicking.”

Walsh, whose career-long field goal is 53 yards at Oklahoma State in 2009, said he’d like to try a field goal of 60-plus yards in Saturday’s game and will try a kick from 70 yards in warm-ups.

  • A 1-3 record is a shock to …

Continue reading Emptying the notebook before heading to Colorado … »

Video: 3 keys vs. Colorado

CineSport’s Noah Coslov and the AJC’s Tim Tucker discuss Georgia’s three keys for success on Saturday night at Colorado:

Continue reading Video: 3 keys vs. Colorado »

Vanderbilt returns 1,200 tickets, which UGA will put on sale

Georgia will put 1,200 tickets to its Oct. 16 home football game against Vanderbilt on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. Friday.

The tickets were returned by Vanderbilt from its 2,800-seat allotment for the game.

The tickets are $50 each.

Also, Georgia has about 900 tickets remaining for the Nov. 6 game against Idaho State from the 2,000 that Idaho State returned two weeks ago. Those tickets are $45 each.

Tickets for both games can be ordered online (www.georgiadogs.com) or by phone (1-877-542-1231).

Georgia’s next home game, Oct. 9 vs. Tennessee, will be the Bulldogs’ 60th consecutive sellout at Sanford Stadium –  every home game since Mark Richt became coach. The last Georgia home game not to sell out was the Nov. 25, 2000, game against Georgia Tech.

Continue reading Vanderbilt returns 1,200 tickets, which UGA will put on sale »

UGA adds Charleston Southern, Georgia Southern to future football schedules

Georgia has added Charleston Southern to its home football schedule for 2014 and Georgia Southern for 2016, UGA associate athletic director Arthur Johnson said this morning.

The Nov. 22, 2014, game will be Georgia’s first ever against Charleston Southern, while the Nov. 19, 2016, game will continue the Bulldogs’ trend of playing Georgia Southern once every four years.

Georgia will pay Charleston Southern $450,000 and Georgia Southern $525,000 for making the trips to Athens.

Both schools are Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) members.  FCS teams command payouts considerably smaller than Football Bowl  Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams. The going rate for getting a FBS team to play in your stadium without demanding a return trip is close to $1 million.

Georgia typically plays one FCS opponent per season.

Charleston Southern played at Florida last season and lost to the Gators 62-3.  Georgia is 4-0 against Georgia Southern; the teams played in …

Continue reading UGA adds Charleston Southern, Georgia Southern to future football schedules »

‘Not to slam the others,’ but Colorado insists it was consensus champ over Tech in ‘90

One week after playing in a loud, lively, cowbell-clanging stadium in Starkville, Miss., Georgia expects to find another charged environment in Boulder, Colo.

In conjunction with the Georgia-Colorado game at Folsom Field on Saturday, the Buffaloes will celebrate the 20th anniversary of, as Colorado puts it, “the 1990 consensus national championship team.”

After the 1990 season, Colorado finished No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and Georgia Tech No. 1 in the United Press International poll. Both schools can rightfully claim national championships for that year.

But Colorado insists it was the “consensus” champion, explaining its position at length in a media release previewing this week’s game against, ironically, Tech’s arch-rival:

Now apparently, our use of the word “consensus” upsets a few folks around the country. It’s not to slam the others, but rather to strengthen CU’s case for that season since many point to the Fifth Down game or the clip on Raghib Ismail’s punt …

Continue reading ‘Not to slam the others,’ but Colorado insists it was consensus champ over Tech in ‘90 »

Richt wants team to be a ‘model’ of how to handle adversity

UGA’s transcript of  Mark Richt’s weekly news conference on Tuesday:

Opening statement:

“It’s a beautiful day out there and a great day to get better. That’s what we are going to try to do in practice today. Let’s talk a little bit about Colorado. Dan Hawkins is a good friend of mine actually. We got to know each other through the Nike Head Coaching Trips that Katharyn (Richt) and I used to go on. We haven’t gone on one for a while, but we got to know Dan and his wife. He’s just a great guy and an outstanding coach. He has his team going. They are 2-1 and ready to have a big game with us. From what I understand, they’re having their big blackout there. They are having the 20-year reunion of their 1990 National Championship team. I saw a list of all the players who look like they are going to come, so it looks like they are going to be revved up. Plus they had an open date to get all fired up about it too, so we’ll have a tremendous challenge as we go into the lion’s den, so to …

Continue reading Richt wants team to be a ‘model’ of how to handle adversity »

Fumbles will cost Ealey starting job, playing time this week

ATHENS — Washaun Ealey’s fumbles cost Georgia dearly in losses to South Carolina and Mississippi State, and they will cost the sophomore tailback some playing time this week at Colorado.

“He’s going to play, but if a guy is turning it over, you’ve got to take some playing time away from him,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Tuesday night.

Bobo and running backs coach Bryan McClendon said either Caleb King or Carlton Thomas will start at tailback Saturday and get some snaps that otherwise would have gone to Ealey. All three tailbacks played last week and, according to the coaches, will again this week.

Ealey has started at tailback the past three games, but his fumbles inside the opponent’s 5-yard line denied Georgia potential touchdowns at South Carolina and Mississippi State.

Both of Ealey’s fumbles resulted from “a slip in his technique,” McClendon said. “We have to make sure that can’t happen. It’s so hard to win in this league, but you make it that much harder when …

Continue reading Fumbles will cost Ealey starting job, playing time this week »

A.J. Green: I sold jersey for ‘extra cash’ during spring break

ATHENS — Having served his four-game NCAA suspension for selling a jersey for $1,000, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green on Tuesday told why he did it and how he got caught.

Green said he sold his Independence Bowl jersey to have “extra cash” during spring break and that the NCAA found out about it after asking him to turn over his bank records. He said he complied with the request.

“They had every bank statement going back to February ‘09,” Green said. “They looked and saw that [$1,000 deposit] and they were, like, ‘Hey, where did you get the money from?’ I told them. I’m not going to lie to them . . . and jeopardize my whole season.”

Green, eligible to play for the first time this season Saturday at Colorado, spoke to reporters in a UGA conference room Tuesday afternoon — his first interview since being suspended by the NCAA.

The star receiver did not deny knowing that selling the jersey was against NCAA rules, saying he “didn’t really think it through” and …

Continue reading A.J. Green: I sold jersey for ‘extra cash’ during spring break »

What Greg McGarity has to say …

A few notes from a conversation Monday with Greg McGarity:

  • Georgia’s new athletic director concurred with Mark Richt’s decision to dismiss Demetre Baker from the football team after the freshman linebacker’s arrest early Sunday. “When Mark talked to me about it, I was fully supportive of his recommendation,” McGarity said. Asked if this reflects a new zero-tolerance approach to arrests on the football team, McGarity said: “It’s up to the coaches, but yeah, I think Mark has had enough. And he’s made it very clear to the players what is expected.”
  • McGarity talked at length during the interview about his scheduling philosophy, which is quite different from his predecessor’s. (I’ll have a full story on that later in the week.)  Suffice to say, this week’s trip to Colorado wouldn’t be happening under McGarity’s philosophy, as demonstrated by Monday’s news that a scheduled 2015-2016 series with Oregon has been canceled. McGarity’s basic philosophy is that Georgia should have …

Continue reading What Greg McGarity has to say … »

Richt: ‘I understand why everybody’s bent out of shape’

Mark Richt heard the pain of Georgia football fans on his radio call-in show Monday night and, near the end of the hour, said he understands it.

“I appreciate all the fans, even the ones that are really, really hurt and upset and mad, whatever it might be,” Richt said. “Georgia football is great because of the fans, and I understand that.  And I understand why everybody’s bent out of shape.

“I mean, we want our team to win. And when it’s not, everybody wants to know why and they want answers and sometimes they think they’ve got the answers and sometimes they just want to see us do a better job, period, and I understand that and I appreciate that.

“So to all the fans out there: I’m not happy. The boys aren’t happy. Our coaching staff isn’t happy right now. We’re not going to be until we start playing the kind of ball where we can win the games. . . . We’re going to keep banging away until that happens for us. I just hope everybody supports these guys through it all.”

With …

Continue reading Richt: ‘I understand why everybody’s bent out of shape’ »

Video: Help is on the way

Continue reading Video: Help is on the way »

Georgia-Oregon games canceled; Georgia-Tennessee game time set

Georgia and Oregon have agreed to cancel a home-and-home football series that was scheduled in 2015 and 2016.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said today that the decision was a mutual one between him and Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens.

On Georgia’s end, the move reflects McGarity’s preference to have seven home games each season. The 2015 game was to have been played in Eugene, Ore., and the 2016 game in Athens.

Since both schools wanted out of the series, no buyout was involved, McGarity said.

“It had to be a win-win,” McGarity said. “I don’t feel comfortable at all about buying out contracts. . . . If [Mullens] had said, ‘We really need to play these games,’ then they would still be on the schedule. We would not [buy out contracts]; I don’t think that’s the right thing to do as an institution.”

++++++++++

The Georgia-Tennessee football game in Athens on Oct. 9 will kick off at 12:21 p.m. and be televised by the SEC Network, it was announced today.

The game, of …

Continue reading Georgia-Oregon games canceled; Georgia-Tennessee game time set »

Richt kicks linebacker off team after arrest (updated)

(Updated 7 p.m.)

The number of Georgia football players arrested this year reached double figures Sunday, when freshman linebacker Demetre Baker was jailed in Athens on DUI and other charges.

By the end of the day, Baker was out of jail but no longer a Bulldog, kicked off the team by coach Mark Richt.

Baker, 19, was arrested early Sunday morning by Athens-Clarke County Police on charges of underage possession of alcohol and improper driving, in addition to DUI, according to police records.

He was the 10th Georgia football player arrested this year and the fourth to be dismissed from the team.

Richt said Baker “was fully aware of the possible consequences that could result from this type of poor judgment” and is “now paying a severe penalty.”

Baker’s UGA career ends without him ever playing in a game for the Bulldogs. The Orange Park, Fla., native was being redshirted this season and did not accompany the team to Saturday’s game at Mississippi State.

He was booked into the …

Continue reading Richt kicks linebacker off team after arrest (updated) »

Read all about it: Complete coverage of UGA’s loss to Mississippi State

A Sunday morning roundup of the AJC’s coverage of Georgia’s loss to Mississippi State:

My game story, which notes the Bulldogs are on their first three-game losing streak in 20 years:

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Bad turned to worse — much worse — for Georgia’s football team here Saturday night.

The Bulldogs lost their third consecutive game in an already ugly season, failing to score a touchdown until it was too late to matter and falling to Mississippi State 24-12.

The loss was Georgia’s first in Starkville since 1951 and first anywhere to Mississippi State since 1974, and it gave the Bulldogs (1-3, 0-3 SEC) their first three-game losing streak since 1990 and first 0-3 SEC record since 1993.

Jeff Schultz’s column, which notes the Dogs are 2-7 in their past nine SEC games:

… The Bulldogs are 0-3 in the SEC. They stand alone in the conference in that regard. Behind Mississippi State, behind Vanderbilt, behind the schools you used to joke about. They are no longer the team that can …

Continue reading Read all about it: Complete coverage of UGA’s loss to Mississippi State »

Richt: ‘We’ve got to look within, starting with me, as to the things that have kept us’ from success

For a complete roundup of the AJC’s coverage of Georgia’s loss to Mississippi State, please click here.

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Partial transcript of Mark Richt’s news conference following Saturday night’s 24-12 loss to Mississippi State:

Opening comments: “We’re definitely in  a position that I’ve never been in as  a player or a coach. . . .  It’s certainly not a good place to be, but we are where we are. We’ve got to stay together, and I’ve seen no signs of change in my mindset that we’re a close-knit family. But we’ve also got to look within, starting with me, as to the things that have kept us from having the success that we want. That’s what we’re going to do.” (Later, asked for specifics, Richt said:  “I’m not going to say anything right now, because I’m not sure. I need time to watch and reflect.”)

“I want to congratulate Coach Mullen and Mississippi State on the great job they did. They came out ready to play. They played hard, and they did what they had to do to win the …

Continue reading Richt: ‘We’ve got to look within, starting with me, as to the things that have kept us’ from success »

Notebook: King’s return, Green’s absence and, oh yes, cowbells

For a complete roundup of the AJC’s coverage of Georgia’s loss to Mississippi State, please click here.

(Updated 11:45 p.m.)

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Georgia got a number of players back on the field from injuries Saturday night.

Tailback Caleb King, who had missed the previous 2 ½ games with a sprained right ankle, entered the game against Mississippi State late in the first quarter.

He was the third Georgia tailback into the game, following starter Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas. King entered the game on Georgia’s next possession after a goal-line fumble by Ealey thwarted a scoring opportunity. King broke free for a 12-yard gain on his first play since the season opener, but that proved to be the highlight of his night. He finished with 23 yards on nine carries.

Meanwhile, Branden Smith, Shaun Chapas and Marcus Dowtin returned to action after missing the previous game with a concussion, sprained ankle and shoulder stinger, respectively.

Smith started Saturday at cornerback. …

Continue reading Notebook: King’s return, Green’s absence and, oh yes, cowbells »

Miss. State coach recruited Murray for Gators (and lots more notes)

Cleaning out the notebook before heading to Starkville:

  • If Dan Mullen, the Mississippi State coach and former Florida offensive coordinator, had gotten  his way, Aaron Murray would be a Gator. Mullen said this week that he has known Murray since the UGA QB was a freshman at Plant High School in Tampa. That’s when Murray came on the Gators’ recruiting radar.

“Watching him develop now,” Mullen said, “you see a guy who has a lot of talent,  has a very, very strong arm and has the athletic ability to improvise and get himself out of trouble and make plays with his legs.”

  • One day this week, Kris Durham was wearing the gear of two of pro sports’ losingest franchises — a Detroit Lions T-shirt and a Kansas City Royals cap. There’s an explanation. Durham’s former roommate is Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, and his brother-in-law is Royals relief pitcher Blake Wood.
  • On the practice field early this week, defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos was heard reminding his players, …

Continue reading Miss. State coach recruited Murray for Gators (and lots more notes) »

Georgia an underdog at Mississippi State?

Georgia has not lost a football game to Mississippi State since 1974. Georgia has not lost in Starkville, Miss., since 1951.

But as of Wednesday night most Vegas sports books had Mississippi State as a 1-point favorite over Georgia in Saturday’s game in Starkville.

These are strange times, indeed,  in UGA football.

As you know all too well, Georgia lost at South Carolina for the first time in 10 years and lost to Arkansas for the first time in 17 years and is 0-2 in the SEC for the first time in 17 years.

The next streak on the line is Georgia’s nine consecutive victories over Mississippi State. That streak dates to a 38-14 UGA loss in 1974 in Jackson, Miss.

The schools have played only 21 times in football despite both being charter members of the SEC. They have met only twice since 1997. Georgia leads the series 16-5.

Georgia’s all-time record in Starkville is 4-1, the lone loss a 6-0 defeat in 1951. Georgia won in Starkville in 1982, 1988, 1996 and 2005.

The teams also …

Continue reading Georgia an underdog at Mississippi State? »

Dogs’ 0-2 SEC start means ‘you don’t see as much of the love as you used to’

ATHENS – Georgia players are well aware of how their 0-2 SEC record is being received  and reviewed by some fans and fellow students.

“Yeah, it’s different [on campus],” offensive tackle Josh Davis said Tuesday. “You don’t see as much of the love as you used to when you won a couple of games. But that’s to be expected; nobody wants to go to a university where the football team isn’t doing well at the time.

“We have great fans,” Davis said, “and they’re not used to losing like this. We’re not used to losing like this. . . . All we have to do is come out and win games, and everybody will be happy then. . . . I’ve heard things, but you got to take it with a grain of salt. It’s not [the fans'] fault we lost games; it’s our fault we lost games.”

When a reporter prefaced a question with the observation that fans aren’t happy with the team’s start, coach Mark Richt replied: “They’re not? Neither am I. Neither is my mom, I can tell you that.”

As for how the team is dealing mentally …

Continue reading Dogs’ 0-2 SEC start means ‘you don’t see as much of the love as you used to’ »

Transcript of Richt’s news conference …

Here’s a partial transcript of Mark Richt’s news conference today:

Opening statement:

“Mississippi State, we are going to their house. We are going to the home of the cowbells. Watching TV copy, they ring them. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be something we are going to have to deal with from an offensive standpoint. I think coach (Dan) Mullen has really done a fine job there. He has his team playing hard. He has his team playing very well, actually. I know they haven’t had the victories they are looking for just like we haven’t, but we know there are a lot of good teams in this league that may not win every week. It’s just hard to do that.”

“I know it’s going to be a loud crowd. It’s definitely going to be a hostile environment. It’s going to be a night game. It will be the first night game for us this year. It will be interesting to actually let the guys sleep in a little bit on Saturday before the game and have a little more time to meet and prepare on that Saturday. …

Continue reading Transcript of Richt’s news conference … »

Caleb King says ‘100 percent’ he’s playing, but other injuries pile up for Dogs

(Updated 8 p.m.)

ATHENS – After entering the season “as healthy as we’ve been in a long time” — coach Mark Richt’s assessment early this month — Georgia’s football team has seen its injury list grow lengthy in a hurry.

Several key players remain questionable for Saturday’s game at Mississippi State: cornerback-punt returner Branden Smith (concussion), fullback Shaun Chapas (ankle) and offensive guard Chris Davis (knee and hip).

The news  is better for Georgia on another key player, tailback Caleb King, who is expected to play Saturday after missing the past 2 ½ games with a sprained right ankle.

“I know 100 percent I’m playing in this game,” King said after practice Tuesday night.

King acknowledged that he thought he would play last week, too. This time, though, running backs coach Bryan McClendon agrees with him.

“He’s definitely going to play,” McClendon said.

Smith, who suffered a concussion in practice early last week, is “getting better,” Richt said, but has not been …

Continue reading Caleb King says ‘100 percent’ he’s playing, but other injuries pile up for Dogs »

Richt: ‘0-2 for the first time in 10 years, and it’s not a comfortable spot’

richtphoto

Listening in on Mark Richt’s weekly radio call-in show Monday night:

  • As you’d expect with Georgia’s 0-2 start in the SEC, there was some discord in Bulldog Nation. The first caller asked Richt for reasons to continue to invest in the program, asked the coach “to sell me” on Georgia football “not just for this year but 2-3 years down the road.”

Richt replied: “The bottom line is if you’re a true fan, in my opinion, you’re going to support your team no matter what. I don’t think you’re going to just love the boys when they win and hate on them when they lose, you know. . . . Our league is one that is a very, very tough league, and we’re not always going to win. We find ourselves 0-2 for the first time in 10 years, and it’s not a comfortable spot. It’s not a spot we want to be in. But it’s not like we got shellacked and run off the field. We actually, I thought, represented very well, even though we lost.

“The bottom line, of course, is the win. But the way the guys fought . . …

Continue reading Richt: ‘0-2 for the first time in 10 years, and it’s not a comfortable spot’ »

‘It was my fault,’ Dogs’ Shawn Williams says

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston in Athens:

Georgia safety Shawn Williams is shouldering the responsibility for Saturday’s loss.

He missed tackling Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs at the 25-yard line, and Childs ran into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds left.

“It was my fault,” Williams said Monday night, following Georgia’s practice. “I missed the tackle.”

Williams played most of the second half, his first extended playing time of the season. He saw the play on game film on Sunday.

“I just had to move on,” Williams said. “There was nothing I could do about it.”

Continue reading ‘It was my fault,’ Dogs’ Shawn Williams says »

Read all about it: the aftermath of Georgia’s loss to Arkansas (updated)

(Updated 10 p.m. Sunday)

A roundup of the AJC’s coverage of Georgia’s loss to Arkansas:

My game story, which notes the calendar seemed turned back:

ATHENS — It felt a lot like 1993 in Sanford Stadium on Saturday.

For the first time in 17 years, Georgia lost to Arkansas. For the first time in 17 years, the Bulldogs dropped to 0-2 in the SEC.

Georgia tried to avoid this daunting hole by rallying from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game 24-24 with about four minutes to play, but the Dogs’ defense, which twice earlier had allowed easy touchdowns on blown coverages, committed another gaffe at the end as Arkansas clinched a 31-24 victory.

Jeff Schultz’s column, which notes Georgia’s 2-6 record in its past eight SEC games:

ATHENS – It’s not about one player not being here. It’s not about playing a freshman quarterback or having a certain soft spot on the depth chart or the big, bad NCAA being out to get Georgia.

When a program sinks to lows not seen since the Ray Goff …

Continue reading Read all about it: the aftermath of Georgia’s loss to Arkansas (updated) »

UGA’s Adams on (1) A.J. Green case and (2) football arrests

ATHENS – University of Georgia president Michael Adams said the school did everything it could to get star wide receiver A.J. Green’s suspension reduced, but he did not quarrel with the NCAA’s rejection of the appeal.

“It’s certainly not too light,” Adams said of Green’s four-game suspension,”and yet I’m not in a position to criticize the NCAA. They are trying to send a message about contact with agents and agent runners and representatives.”

Green was suspended for selling his Independence Bowl jersey to a person the NCAA considers an agent, former North Carolina football player Chris Hawkins. An NCAA committee late Friday rejected Georgia’s attempt to get the suspension shortened.

“I don’t think A.J. knew what he was dealing with,” Adams said, meaning an agent. But the fact Hawkins met the NCAA definition of an agent is “part of why I believe they stuck with four games instead of less,” Adams said.

Adams, in an interview before Saturday’s game against Arkansas, said the …

Continue reading UGA’s Adams on (1) A.J. Green case and (2) football arrests »

Branden Smith, Shaun Chapas won’t play for Dogs today

ATHENS — Georgia cornerback-punt returner Branden Smith and fullback Shaun Chapas will not play in today’s game against Arkansas, UGA said this morning.

Smith will miss the game because of what coach Mark Richt called “concussion-like symptoms” from a hit in practice this week, and Chapas is sidelined with a sprained ankle suffered last week against South Carolina.

Also, defensive lineman Justin Anderson and inside linebacker Marcus Dowtin will miss  miss today’s game because of a toe injury and shoulder stinger, respectively.

Meanwhile, UGA says tailback Caleb King, who has been battling a sprained ankle, will be dressed out and “available to play” today.  He missed last week’s game with a sprained ankle and, after practicing well early in the week, was limited at Thursday’s practice. It’s unclear how much he’ll play today.

Fred Munzenmaier will start in Chapas’ place at fullback. Richt said earlier in the week that Carlton Thomas and Logan Gray would be the next options at …

Continue reading Branden Smith, Shaun Chapas won’t play for Dogs today »

NCAA rejects appeal of A.J. Green suspension (updated)

(Last updated 10:15 p.m.)

Georgia will have to play without star wide receiver A.J. Green for two more games, including Saturday’s against Arkansas in Sanford Stadium.

An NCAA committee Friday rejected Georgia’s appeal of the four-game suspension handed Green last week for selling his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000 to a person the NCAA considers an agent.

Georgia had hoped to have the suspension shortened, but the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, after hearing the appeal by conference call Friday morning, informed UGA officials late in the day that the original penalty will stand.

That means Green, who sat out Georgia’s first two games, will remain sidelined for the crucial game against No. 12 Arkansas and the Sept. 25 game at Mississippi State. He’ll be eligible to return for the Oct. 2 game at Colorado.

While the original suspension was imposed by NCAA staff, the appeal was heard by a committee consisting of officials from colleges and …

Continue reading NCAA rejects appeal of A.J. Green suspension (updated) »

Petrino’s return, Sturdivant’s comeback, Murray’s progress, etc.

ATHENS – Saturday’s game in Sanford Stadium will be Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino’s first in the state of Georgia since he abruptly resigned as the Falcons’ coach with three games left in the 2007 season.

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Petrino said Wednesday of his return to Georgia. “This game is all about our players.”

Petrino, who bolted the Falcons for Arkansas, is 15-12 (5-11 SEC) as the Razorbacks’ coach.

++++++++++

Georgia offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, who missed almost all of the past two seasons because of knee injuries, played just one series — three snaps — against South Carolina last week. It was his first action of the season after missing the opener with a stomach ailment.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo thinks Sturdivant will play more as he gains confidence in his surgically repaired knees.

“He’s healthy,” Bobo said. “Anytime a kid goes through two major knee surgeries, it’s something that is hard for anybody to understand what he might be thinking. …

Continue reading Petrino’s return, Sturdivant’s comeback, Murray’s progress, etc. »

‘Concussion-like symptoms’ sideline Branden Smith

ATHENS – Georgia might be without cornerback and punt returner Branden Smith for Saturday’s game against Arkansas.

Smith did not practice Wednesday because of what coach Mark Richt called “concussion-like symptoms.”

“He actually got knocked out of bounds at yesterday’s practice and had a contact-related headache,” Richt said Wednesday night. “I’m not even sure on his status [for Saturday], to be honest with you.”

If Smith doesn’t play, Carlton Thomas and Logan Gray “would be the top two candidates” to return punts, Richt said. Sanders Commings and Jordan Love would get more work at corner, Richt said. Smith also would be missed on offense, where he tends to be used for a few plays per game.

Other injury updates: Fullback Shaun Chapas, who sprained an ankle against South Carolina, did not practice Wednesday. He was in a walking boot and remains questionable at best for Saturday. . . .  Nose Justin Anderson is doubtful for the game, Richt said, because of “a turf toe issue that …

Continue reading ‘Concussion-like symptoms’ sideline Branden Smith »

A.J. Green appeal will be heard Friday

(Updated 9 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia’s appeal of wide receiver A.J. Green’s four-game suspension will be heard by an NCAA committee Friday, UGA associate athletic director Claude Felton said.

The appeal will be heard via conference call by a quorum of the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, consisting of officials from other schools and conferences.

Asked Wednesday night if he expects a ruling on the same day as the hearing, Georgia coach Mark Richt said: “I can only hope that.”

Green, who didn’t play in Georgia’s first two games, will have to sit out Saturday’s game against Arkansas and the Sept. 25 game at Mississippi State unless his suspension is shortened.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Wednesday the Razorbacks have to prepare as if Green will be on the field Saturday, while Richt said Georgia has approached this week from the premise that Green won’t play.

“And then if it turns out he can play . . . we certainly can use him,” Richt said.

Georgia …

Continue reading A.J. Green appeal will be heard Friday »