Archive for September, 2010

Idaho State returns 2,000 tickets, which UGA puts on sale

ATHENS – Georgia will put 2,000 tickets to its Nov. 6 home football game against Idaho State on sale to the general public this morning.

The tickets became available when they were returned to UGA from Idaho State’s 2,500-ticket allotment.

The tickets are $45 apiece and can be purchased starting at 10 a.m. today online (www.georgiadogs.com) or by phone (1-877-542-1231).

The game is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff in Sanford Stadium.

Continue reading Idaho State returns 2,000 tickets, which UGA puts on sale »

Grantham returns Spurrier’s barb

ATHENS — Todd Grantham took note of Saturday’s barb from Steve Spurrier –- and returned the volley Tuesday night with a reference to Spurrier’s lack of success in the NFL.

Spurrier, the South Carolina coach, poked at Grantham, the Georgia defensive coordinator and long-time NFL assistant, after Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore had 182 yards rushing against the Bulldogs by saying: “That little inside zone play, the NFL doesn’t run that play. That’s a new scheme, I guess.”

Grantham was asked after Georgia’s practice Tuesday if he saw Spurrier’s comment.

“Yeah, that was texted to me,” Grantham replied with a grin. “I appreciate his assistance, you know. But we actually knew what plays they were running. And they actually run that play in pro ball, and our offense actually runs that play, too. So we’re kind of on top of our game.

“It was kind of an out-of-left-field comment,” Grantham added. “I kind of took it more as a shot at the NFL. I really wasn’t sure if it was …

Continue reading Grantham returns Spurrier’s barb »

Last in SEC in rushing, Georgia expects TB King to play this week

ATHENS — Georgia, which ranks last in the SEC in rushing two weeks into the season, expects to have its tailback tandem intact for the first time this year Saturday against Arkansas.

Caleb King, who missed last week’s game at South Carolina because of a sprained ankle suffered in the season opener, “should practice this week and be fine,” coach Mark Richt said Tuesday.

Washaun Ealey, who was suspended from the opener because of an off-season arrest, returned against South Carolina but seemed less effective without running mate King.

King and Ealey formed a formidable tandem at the position in the second half of last season.

Georgia is averaging 122.5 yards rushing through two games,  ranking 89th among the nation’s 120 major-college teams.  King had 47 yards on 10 carries against Louisiana-Lafayette, getting just one carry in the second half after injuring an ankle late in the first. Ealey had 75 yards on 19 carries against South Carolina and lost a critical fumble near the …

Continue reading Last in SEC in rushing, Georgia expects TB King to play this week »

Georgia-Idaho State game to be on Channel 2 WSB-TV

(Updated Nov. 5)

Here’s a reminder about Saturday’s game:

Georgia’s game against Idaho State -– the one UGA game this season that isn’t part of the SEC television contracts — will be televised on Channel 2 WSB-TV.

Kickoff will be 12:30 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

The SEC television contracts with CBS and ESPN allow each school to produce one game per season outside those contracts. Typically that one game is shown on pay-per-view, but Georgia opted to put this year’s on free TV, athletic director Greg McGarity said.

“This free-of-charge broadcast is a way to give back to our fans throughout the state,” McGarity said in September. “We believe making the game available on WSB-TV and its coverage area is a way to show our appreciation to Bulldogs around our state.”

The game will be available in the 53-county Atlanta TV market, as well as on cable systems in Albany, Macon, Savannah, Columbus, Chattanooga, Greenville and Tallahassee, according to UGA. The telecast also will be …

Continue reading Georgia-Idaho State game to be on Channel 2 WSB-TV »

Richt agrees with caller who says Dogs were ‘timid’ at times

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

  • Richt concurred with a caller who said Georgia players looked “timid” and “afraid to hit somebody” at times in the loss to South Carolina.

“Defensively, there were a couple of times when you’re right — I think ‘timid’ is a very kind description of what happened,” Richt said. “There were a couple of times when I thought we turned it down, quite frankly.”

He said the issue will be addressed this week through competition for playing time and starting roles, as well as more physical practices with the scout team to “work hard on the fundamentals of stepping on a guy’s toes and putting your face on him and wrapping up.”

  • Richt also expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the running game.

“As far as the run blocking is concerned, I would have to say that I would be expecting more than we’re getting right now,” he  said. “We’ve got to do a better job of providing more space for these guys.”

Richt added that “we need …

Continue reading Richt agrees with caller who says Dogs were ‘timid’ at times »

Game time, TV set for Georgia-Mississippi State

After three consecutive noon-ish starts, Georgia will play its first night game of the season Sept. 25 at Mississippi State.

The game will begin at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and be televised on Fox Sports Net, the SEC announced today.

Other SEC games on Sept 25 include Alabama at Arkansas (3:30 p.m. on CBS) and South Carolina at Auburn (7:45 p.m. on ESPN).

Meanwhile, as previously announced, the Georgia-Arkansas game on Saturday in Sanford Stadium is scheduled for a noon start (or a couple of minutes thereafter). The game will be on ESPN, the SEC said today.

Georgia’s game at South Carolina last week started at noon and the Bulldogs’ season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette at 12:21 p.m.

From earlier today:

Gamecocks ‘really controlled line of scrimmage,’ Spurrier says; does that mean changes for Dogs?

Continue reading Game time, TV set for Georgia-Mississippi State »

Gamecocks ‘really controlled line of scrimmage’, Spurrier says; changes ahead for Dogs?

Georgia needs to play more — and bigger — people on the defensive line. And it needs to get better play from a couple of positions on the offensive line “or make some changes there.”

Those were Mark Richt’s answers Sunday when asked about an observation from South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier that the Gamecocks “really controlled the line of scrimmage” against the Dogs on Saturday.

“I don’t know if it was total domination. It was actually a pretty close game to the very end,” Richt said on a conference call. “But I think we’ve got to learn our personnel a little bit better.”

On the defensive line, he said, “we’ve probably got to get our bigger men in there, ‘Bean’ [Justin Anderson] and [Kwame] Geathers. We’ve got to find a way to get them in the game more, got to find the right combination in some of our looks. That’ll help us.”

Neither Anderson nor Geathers played against South Carolina, according to Georgia’s participation chart. Richt said the Dogs also need to get Abry …

Continue reading Gamecocks ‘really controlled line of scrimmage’, Spurrier says; changes ahead for Dogs? »

Dogs fall out of polls, earliest to be unranked since 2001

More in the aftermath of Saturday’s game:

What we learned, injury report and more.

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Georgia fell out of the college football polls released Sunday, the first time since 2001 the Bulldogs have been unranked this early in the season.

Saturday’s 17-6 loss at South Carolina dropped the Dogs out of both the USA Today coaches’ poll and the Associated Press media poll.

Georgia was ranked Nos. 19 and 22 in the coaches’ and AP polls, respectively, last week.

This is the first time since 2001, Mark Richt’s first season as coach, that the Bulldogs have fallen out of the rankings in the season’s opening month.  Last season, the Bulldogs dropped out of both polls in early October.

Arkansas, which will play Georgia in Athens on Saturday, is ranked No. 12 in the latest AP poll and No. 13 in the coaches’.

South Carolina benefited in the polls from the victory over Georgia, jumping from No. 24 to No. 13 in the AP poll and from No. 25 to No. 16 in the coaches’.

Georgia Tech also fell …

Continue reading Dogs fall out of polls, earliest to be unranked since 2001 »

A.J.’s tweet, Spurrier’s dig, Caleb’s absence, and more

(Please click here for the game story on Georgia’s loss to South Carolina.)

COLUMBIA – The suspended A.J. Green shared his feelings about Saturday’s loss via Twitter.

“I’m sick,” he tweeted.

“But we will bounce back,” he added. “[W]hen I get back someone will have a price to pay. [T]rust me!!!!!”

In Green’s absence, seven Georgia players caught passes against South Carolina, led by Kris Durham’s three for 76 yards, including a long of 55.

“You can’t replace A.J.,” Durham said. “I tried to step up. We all tried to step up our game. But you can’t replace that. He’s one of the best players in college football.”

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South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier appreciated some postgame words from Mark Richt.

“I shook hands with the opposing coach, and he said, ‘Coach, you have a heck of a team,’” Spurrier said. “I don’t think anyone has ever told us that before [at South Carolina].”

In his postgame news conference, Spurrier took just a little dig at Georgia’s new defensive …

Continue reading A.J.’s tweet, Spurrier’s dig, Caleb’s absence, and more »

UGA: Green appeal hearing not set yet

COLUMBIA – Georgia hasn’t been informed when an NCAA committee will hear the school’s appeal of wide receiver A.J. Green’s four-game suspension, athletic director Greg McGarity said Saturday.

UGA expects the appeal to be heard sometime next week. The hearing will be conducted by conference call.

The group that hears the appeal, the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, is made up of officials from NCAA member schools. That’s a different group than the NCAA staff members who handed down the four-game suspension. The committee typically decides on appeals within a day or two of a hearing.

Georgia is expected to present what it believes to be mitigating factors in an attempt to get a game or two shaved off Green’s suspension.

McGarity declined to comment on the NCAA ruling in the case or the grounds for Georgia’s appeal. He said he would discuss the matter publicly after the appeal is decided.

The NCAA said that according to the facts of the case submitted …

Continue reading UGA: Green appeal hearing not set yet »

Counting down to high noon in Columbia …

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Good morning from Williams-Brice Stadium, where Georgia and South Carolina — minus one player each — will kick off around 12:01 p.m. The game will be on ESPN2.

The weather forecast calls for a high temperature of 88 this afternoon, with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.

A couple of comments from the Georgia camp this week pretty much sum things up entering the game. Coach Mark Richt said he expects “another knock-down drag-out in Columbia,” typical of the down-to-the-wire games that have defined the series recently (seven of the past nine meetings decided by seven points or fewer). And tight end Orson Charles crystallized the perception of the game’s significance: “This game,” he said, “is going to set the tone for our season.”

The two leading receivers from last year’s Georgia-South Carolina game, Georgia WR A.J. Green and South Carolina TE Weslye Saunders, won’t be playing in this one.

Green, as you know, is serving the second game of a four-game NCAA …

Continue reading Counting down to high noon in Columbia … »

Report: Former UNC player, considered agent by NCAA, bought Green’s jersey

The person who paid Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green $1,000 for his Independence Bowl jersey is a former North Carolina football player whom the NCAA considers an agent, ESPN.com reported Thursday night.

Chris Hawkins identified himself in Facebook messages to Green as a financial advisor and memorabilia collector, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.

The report quoted Hawkins as saying: “I didn’t come at A.J. like a marketer or an agent. I’m not an agent. I talked to him about ‘Good game this’ and ‘Good game that.’ I wanted the jersey because I collect jerseys.”

Green was suspended for four games by the NCAA on Wednesday for violation of the organization’s rule against accepting benefits from agents.

Georgia is appealing the decision to the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement in hopes of having the length of the suspension reduced. The appeal is expected to be considered next week. Green is not eligible to play during the appeal …

Continue reading Report: Former UNC player, considered agent by NCAA, bought Green’s jersey »

Green receives four-game ban; UGA plans appeal

(Updated 8:40 p.m.)

ATHENS – The NCAA came down hard Wednesday on A.J. Green, ordering Georgia’s star wide receiver to sit out four games as punishment for selling a game jersey to a sports agent.

Green sold the jersey he wore in last season’s Independence Bowl for $1,000, according to the facts of the case stipulated by Georgia.

The school plans to appeal the NCAA ruling in hopes of having the length of the suspension reduced. The appeal could be heard next week, coach Mark Richt said.

Green was held out of last week’s season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, pending the results of the NCAA investigation, which began in July. He must sit out the Bulldogs’ next three games -– Saturday at South Carolina, Sept. 18 at home vs. Arkansas and Sept. 25 at Mississippi State –- unless the appeal is successful.  He will be eligible to return for the Oct. 2 game at Colorado.

“Certainly I’m disappointed with the outcome,” Richt said. “However, we have games to play, and that’s where our …

Continue reading Green receives four-game ban; UGA plans appeal »

Caleb King’s twisted ankle, and other notes

ATHENS – Notes that have nothing to do with A.J. Green:

  • Wondering why Caleb King got only one carry in the second half last Saturday? “I twisted my ankle right before the first half ended,” he said Tuesday. He called it “nothing serious” and said he is practicing without problem this week.
  • Mark Richt reconfirmed that three players who were suspended from last week’s game because of recent arrests — tailback Washaun Ealey, split end Tavarres King and safety Alec Ogletree –- will play this week “if they behave.” King is No. 1 on the depth chart at split end (ahead of Marlon Brown), and Ealey is No. 2 at tailback (behind Caleb King). Ogletree, a freshman, is slated to play on special teams.
  • Logan Gray will get a few practice snaps at quarterback “here and there,” Richt said, but is basically considered a receiver “right now.” Richt: “He’s a guy who we all believe can play. He knows what to do; he runs good routes; he’s got good hands; he’s a physical blocker. He’s definitely …

Continue reading Caleb King’s twisted ankle, and other notes »

Bulldogs, Gamecocks aren’t far apart in the polls

ATHENS – Georgia-South Carolina games tend to be close, with seven of the past nine decided by seven points or fewer. This week’s polls portend a typically competitive contest Saturday in Columbia.

Both teams are ranked, and not far apart.

In the week’s Associated Press media poll, Georgia is No. 22 and South Carolina No. 24. In the USA Today coaches’ poll, Georgia is No. 19 and South Carolina No. 25.

“I would have to imagine another knockdown dragout in Columbia,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday.

Three voters in the AP poll, by the way, ranked Georgia as high as No. 13.

Continue reading Bulldogs, Gamecocks aren’t far apart in the polls »

JerseyGate: UGA still waiting for word from NCAA on Green case (updated)

(Updated 1:45 p.m. Wednesday)

ATHENS – Georgia officials continue to anxiously await a ruling from the NCAA on the eligibility of star wide receiver A.J. Green. Coach Mark Richt said early this afternoon that there is “nothing new” on the matter today.

The investigation includes whether Green received an impermissible benefit by allegedly selling a game jersey, a person familiar with the matter told the AJC.

It is against NCAA rules for players to accept money for memorabilia.

The penalty in such a case typically would depend on several factors, including the amount of money received and the player’s cooperation with the NCAA.

Georgia held Green out of last week’s season opener, saying it was doing so “pending a ruling from the NCAA clarifying his status.” Richt said Tuesday that Green will practice with the team as usual “until we know something one way or another.”  Richt made it clear that he expects to get a ruling before Saturday’s SEC opener at South Carolina.

“I’d be …

Continue reading JerseyGate: UGA still waiting for word from NCAA on Green case (updated) »

Richt (and Spurrier) impressed with Georgia defense

To kick off Georgia-South Carolina week, some notes from the coaches’ Sunday conference calls:

  • Mark Richt still wasn’t talking about the A.J. Green situation, but he did have some things to say about another wide receiver who missed Georgia’s first game. Tavarres King was suspended for the opener but will play against South Carolina and will “definitely have an impact on this game,” Richt said.
  • King “has been practicing extremely well,” Richt said. “He’s in great condition. He had a super summer. He seems to be a lot more confident than a year ago. He’s beginning to become more physical in the blocking aspect.”
  • Richt liked a lot that he saw from the defense in its debut under Todd Grantham, including the welcomed fact that it had no penalties. “I thought our guys had some very good judgment on not taking a shot on a guy when he was on his way out of bounds,” Richt said. “Or after he let the ball go.”
  • Georgia had five penalties against Louisiana-Lafayette, four on …

Continue reading Richt (and Spurrier) impressed with Georgia defense »

What the Dogs were saying after the game …

Partial transcript of post-game interviews (provided by UGA):

Coach Mark Richt:

“It was a good start. It’s a credit to everybody involved. It takes so many people to put the plan together and to have a team effort like that. I want to thank everybody for the job they did. And I want to thank the Bulldog Nation for coming out and supporting us.”

“The defense really stifled Louisiana-Lafayette. We did have one mental error, and one mental error can be the difference between seven points and a shutout. The defense did an exceptional job of shutting them down. The guys were locked in and played extremely hard and disciplined. There were an awful lot of positives.”

“Aaron Murray did well. He’s definitely got some things to learn from. We’ve already pointed some out and we’ll probably have more when we see the tape. That’s part of the learning and growing process. … We didn’t put a tremendous amount in the plan. We tried not to overwhelm them with the plan, especially Murray.”

“It’s …

Continue reading What the Dogs were saying after the game … »

UGA’s Adams says A.J. Green case ‘being handled by our lawyers’

(Updated 5 p.m.)

ATHENS – University of Georgia President Michael Adams expects the NCAA’s investigation of star wide receiver A.J. Green to be resolved “soon,” but he wouldn’t predict the outcome of the case.

“It’s being handled by our lawyers,” Adams said in an interview Saturday.  “I know the outline of it, as I should, but what the verdict is going to be or any of the details, I both can’t and shouldn’t talk about until it is over.”

Asked if he considers it to be a serious matter, Adams said: “I don’t know yet. It doesn’t appear to be at this stage.”

Georgia did not play Green in Saturday’s 55-7 season-opening victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, announcing two hours before the game that he would be held out “pursuant to UGA Athletic Association policy and pending a ruling from the NCAA clarifying his status.”

The NCAA informed Georgia on July 21 that it was launching an inquiry and would interview one player — Green, it soon became clear — “to determine his knowledge of or …

Continue reading UGA’s Adams says A.J. Green case ‘being handled by our lawyers’ »

A.J. Green won’t play today as NCAA probe continues

ATHENS – A.J. Green, Georgia’s star wide receiver, will not play in today’s season opener because of a continuing NCAA investigation.

Georgia said in a statement barely two hours before kickoff that Green will miss the game “pursuant to UGA Athletic Association policy and pending a ruling from the NCAA clarifying his status.”

The NCAA informed Georgia on July 21 that it was launching an inquiry and would interview one player “to determine his knowledge of or involvement in, directly or indirectly, any violations of NCAA legislation.”

Earlier this week, Green and Georgia coach Mark Richt declined to say whether Green would play, saying they could not comment on the NCAA matter. As late as Friday night, Georgia had hoped it would receive a ruling from the NCAA before the game.  Just after 10 a.m. today, Georgia gave up the wait and announced that Green would not play.

The NCAA is conducting investigations at a number of schools, centered around player-agent dealings and players …

Continue reading A.J. Green won’t play today as NCAA probe continues »

Game Day! Previewing Georgia vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Three storylines

  • Breaking in a new quarterback. Aaron Murray, Georgia’s redshirt freshman QB, will be playing in his first real football game in 21 months and in his first college game. It’ll be a chance for him to grow into the job a bit before going on the road to South Carolina a week later. The Dogs need him to manage the offense, make good decisions and avoid costly mistakes. Oh, and one more thing: Stay healthy.
  • Debuting a new defense. You’ve heard about it since January. Now it’s showtime for Georgia’s 3-4 defense. New defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who has never before attended a game in Sanford Stadium, promises an aggressive, attacking style designed to pressure the quarterback and create turnovers. The players are looking forward to putting the new D on display. “I think a lot of people will be very happy with what they see,” linebacker Darryl Gamble said.
  • Who’s missing. Georgia will be playing without running back Washaun Ealey, last season’s leading …

Continue reading Game Day! Previewing Georgia vs. Louisiana-Lafayette »

Richt suspends Ogletree after arrest

(Updated 5 p.m.)

One day before what was to have been his college-football debut, Georgia freshman safety Alec Ogletree was arrested on a misdemeanor theft-by-taking charge and suspended from at least the Bulldogs’ opening game.

Ogletree, a highly touted recruit from Newnan, was charged by UGA Police in connection with the mid-June theft of a motor-scooter helmet, valued at $35, outside a campus building.

Coach Mark Richt, who earlier this week said Ogletree would be one of the few freshmen to play in Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, announced the suspension Friday afternoon. About an hour earlier, Ogletree turned himself in to the Clarke County Jail on an arrest warrant issued the day before.

“Certainly it’s an unfortunate sequence of events,” Richt said in a statement. “I’m disappointed in the situation and will continue to gather information as the case is processed through the proper legal channels.

“In the meantime, Alec is still responsible for a …

Continue reading Richt suspends Ogletree after arrest »

Alabama hears from NCAA, but Georgia doesn’t

The NCAA issued a ruling Thursday in one agent-related investigation, declaring Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus ineligible for two games. But no ruling came down in several other cases, including Georgia’s.

Georgia did not hear from the NCAA on the matter Thursday and has not gotten any indication of whether it’ll hear before Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, associate athletic director Claude Felton said Thursday night.

Dareus was penalized by the NCAA for accepting $1,787 in improper benefits during two trips to Miami, where an agent-hosted party triggered NCAA probes at several schools.  The NCAA required Dareus to donate that amount of money to a charity of his choice as a condition of reinstatement after missing two games.

Georgia was informed of an NCAA inquiry on July 21, and wide receiver A.J. Green said the next day that UGA officials asked him about the Miami party and that he was not there. Green otherwise has declined to comment about …

Continue reading Alabama hears from NCAA, but Georgia doesn’t »

Still no answers at UGA on NCAA inquiry, Green’s status

ATHENS – Three days before Georgia’s opening football game, coach Mark Richt still had no answer to the persistent question of whether an NCAA inquiry launched in July will affect the status of star wide receiver A.J. Green.

“Are you expecting A.J. to play Saturday?” Richt was asked at his post-practice media briefing Wednesday evening.

“A.J. Harmon? Yeah,” Richt replied, referring to a backup offensive lineman.

“Green,” the questioner corrected.

“You know I can’t talk about that,” Richt said. “It’s a good try, though. I just can’t talk. I don’t know the answer to anything other than I’m not supposed to talk about the situation. And I really don’t know.”

The NCAA informed Georgia in late July that it was launching an inquiry at the school -– part of a series of probes at multiple schools about football players’ dealings with agents. An e-mail from the NCAA to UGA stated that investigators planned to interview one Georgia player. Green has said that UGA officials asked him if …

Continue reading Still no answers at UGA on NCAA inquiry, Green’s status »

Richt confirms Smith as punt returner (updated)

ATHENS — It was a good conversation piece for the off-season, but you can put aside the idea of A.J. Green as Georgia’s punt returner.

“As it turned out, Branden Smith looks to be our No. 1 [punt-return] guy right now and Carlton Thomas our No. 2,” coach Mark Richt said today. “A.J. can do it. There may come a situation where we say, ‘You know what, let’s put him back there and do it.’”

Or there may not.

Richt noted that punt returners can get “splattered” as soon as they catch the ball and that there’s risk of “an overzealous player deciding they’re going to knock out A.J. Green. So we’re not too thrilled to put him in that situation. If need be, he can do it, but as it turned out we feel Branden Smith is our best option there.”

Green, Georgia’s star receiver, said several times during the spring and summer that he would like to return punts, as he did in high school. But Green said last week that he expected Smith to win the job.

“He’s explosive, man,” Green said.

Smith, a …

Continue reading Richt confirms Smith as punt returner (updated) »

Sturdivant’s second comeback

ATHENS — Trinton Sturdivant, attempting a comeback after missing almost all of the past two seasons because of knee surgeries, is listed as the No. 2 left tackle on Georgia’s depth chart this week.

“We don’t have to work him in quick right now,” offensive line coach Stacy Searels said after practice Tuesday, “but I would like to see him play Saturday and get some quality reps and gain some confidence.

“Anytime you have two major surgeries like he did, it’s going to take awhile to get that confidence back.”

After starting every game at left tackle as a freshman, Sturdivant blew out his left knee in preseason camp in 2008 and missed the entire season. Then, after making it back to the starting lineup for the 2009 opener, he reinjured the same knee in that game and had to start the surgery/rehab process all over again.

“Trinton is being smart and making sure he’s not doing anything that will hurt him during his return,” right tackle Josh Davis said Tuesday. “In my opinion, …

Continue reading Sturdivant’s second comeback »