Archive for November, 2010

McGarity expects Richt back next season (updated with Richt reaction to Colorado interest)

AUBURN, Ala. – Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said Saturday that he expects Mark Richt to remain the Bulldogs’ coach next season.

“Sure I do,” he said before the game against Auburn. “Absolutely.”

Asked if he’s ready to say unequivocally that he wants to retain Richt — often rumored to be on the occupational “hot seat” –  as Georgia’s coach next season, McGarity elaborated:

“I’d say, based on the first 10 games, [there's] no question about that. I know we’re 5-5 [before Saturday's loss], but you go back and you look at all the dynamics involved — how close the games were. It’s not like we’re dealing with situations here of lop-sided losses, of being non-competitive. There are some games we wish we could have won by taking care of the ball a little better or making certain tackles or interceptions. You go back and play that through your mind, and if you dwell on it too long, it’ll just eat you up. You’ve just got to focus on getting better every day and do what you …

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Report: Colorado interested in Richt

Colorado, which beat Georgia earlier this season and later fired its coach, is interested in talking with Georgia’s Mark Richt about the position, the Denver Post reported today, citing an unnamed source “close to Colorado’s search.”

Richt, in his 10th season as Georgia’s coach, has said repeatedly over the years that he wants to complete his coaching career at UGA.

The Denver Post report also says former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti has had preliminary talks with Colorado about the job and that a search committee is expected to be named next week.

Richt makes about $2.8 million as Georgia’s coach, and Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn has said the school likely won’t pay more than $2 million for its new coach, according to the Post.

Georgia lost 29-27 at Colorado on Oct. 2.  The Buffaloes haven’t won since then, losing five consecutive games. The school fired coach Dan Hawkins this week.

Richt lived in Broomfield, Colo., for part of his childhood before his family moved to …

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Georgia-Auburn preview: Can Dogs tie the series at 53-53-8?

Georgia vs. Auburn at a glance:

When, where, TV

3:30 p.m. Saturday, Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium, CBS

3 storylines

  • 1. The Cam Newton Show. The Auburn quarterback, the most talked-about player in college football, will be on center stage. Will he be distracted by the rampant reports of alleged improprieties in his recruitment and academic record? Or will he run roughshod over Georgia, as he has over most opponents? (He is the only player in the country this season with five games of 170-plus rushing yards.)
  • 2. Division title on the line. An Auburn victory would clinch the SEC West title and a berth in the Dec. 4 conference championship game in Atlanta for the Tigers -– regardless of what happens in their Nov. 26 game against Alabama. It figures to be an electric environment in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
  • 3. Seeking a signature win. Although Georgia has won four of its past five games, it has not beaten a team with a winning record this season. The Bulldogs (5-5, 3-4 SEC) have …

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Video: 3 keys vs. Auburn

CineSport’s Noah Coslov and the AJC’s Tim Tucker discuss Georgia’s three keys for success on Saturday against Auburn.

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Bulldogs sign three basketball players

News from the first day of college basketball’s early signing period:

Georgia received signed letters of intent Wednesday from three players who previously had committed to the Bulldogs: 6-6 guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Greenville (Ga.) High, 6-10 forward Tim Dixon of Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian School and 7-foot center John Florveus of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

Caldwell-Pope is rated the third best shooting guard in the nation and 11th best overall prospect by Rivals.com. He averaged 29.7 points per game for Greenville last season.

Dixon transferred to Oldsmar after playing three seasons at Kendrick High in Columbus, where he averaged 16.1 points, 11 rebounds and 6.4 blocks per game last season.

Florveus averaged four points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a freshman at Hillsborough last season.

The three players will join the Bulldogs for the 2011-12 season. Caldwell-Pope and Dixon are currently entering their high-school senior seasons and Florveus …

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Chizik: Cam Newton ‘will be playing against the Georgia Bulldogs’

Auburn coach Gene Chizik had one thing he wanted to say unequivocally on the SEC coaches’ weekly conference call with the media today.

Cameron Newton will be playing Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs,” Chizik said, “and I want to get that off the table.”

Amid various reports of alleged improprieties in Newton’s recruitment and academic record, Chizik declined to answer questions about the matter, saying he would entertain only queries related to Saturday’s game.

Earlier on the conference call, Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs are preparing to face Newton, Auburn’s Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback.

“We really haven’t tried to keep up with that at all,” Richt said of the controversy swirling around Newton. “I think it could be a distraction to us, so we’re keeping our blinders on and studying the film and getting the plan and making sure we’re prepared for him being the quarterback.

“As much as some people think it might could be a distraction to them, it …

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Fox: Thompkins ‘a long way away from playing’

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston …

Preseason SEC player of the year Trey Thompkins will not play in Georgia’s season opener Friday night against Mississippi Valley State while he recovers from a high ankle sprain.

“He’s been living in the training room,” coach Mark Fox said Tuesday. “It’s still swollen. He’s able to walk on it, I think, but it’s still in a protective boot. We’ll keep aggressively treating him and re-evaluating him every couple of days.”

Thompkins, who averaged 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds last year, injured his right ankle chasing a loose ball in a scrimmage on Oct. 30. He watched from the bench as Georgia defeated Augusta State 85-48 in an exhibition game on Thursday.

Fox isn’t sure when Thompkins will be ready to play.

“My trainer came today and said he did a little better,” Fox said. “I said, ‘So he gets to play and dress out?’ He said, ‘No.’ … He’s a long way away from playing. I know that.”

Continue reading Fox: Thompkins ‘a long way away from playing’ »

Georgia saw Cam Newton as ‘more of a tight end prospect’

ATHENS – Sound bites from Mark Richt’s news conference today:

  • On Auburn quarterback Cam Newton: “Just when you thought [Tim] Tebow left town, he showed up again in another jersey.”
  • On recruiting Newton as a high school player: “I remember him. He was a very talented guy, a guy that we did look at. We actually had him pegged as more of a tight end prospect. A lot of it had to do with what we like to do offensively,  more of a fit [issue] than any disrespect to his ability to play quarterback. He’s proven to be pretty darn good, though.”
  • On whether he expects Newton to be distracted by all the controversy swirling around him: “It was swirling last week.  It didn’t seem to bother him last week. So I doubt it. . . . Usually, when you start playing ball, no matter what’s going on around you, it’s  a haven for an athlete be in his element and shut the world out and go have some fun and play ball.”
  • On who will simulate Newton in Georgia’s practices this week: “Well, we’ve …

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Cam Newton is on SI cover — and on Bulldog Nation’s mind

A few notes to start the day . . .

  • The quarterback that Georgia’s defense will be chasing Saturday is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. Cam Newton is the first Auburn football player to make the cover of SI’s weekly issue since Bo Jackson 25 years ago, according to the school.  Newton shares this week’s cover with TCU’s Andy Dalton and Oregon’s LaMichael James as SI takes a look at the BCS and a possible Auburn-Oregon national-title game.  Jackson shared the Dec. 2, 1985, cover with Iowa’s Chuck Long and Plymouth (N.H.) State’s Joe Dudek.
  • Not surprisingly, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton was a big topic of conversation on Mark Richt’s weekly radio call-in show Monday night.  As an example of Newton’s powerful running, Richt mentioned something he saw on Auburn film: a third-and-1 situation against Mississippi State on which  Newton ran for the first down and collided with a middle linebacker.  “The linebacker, you would think, would just knock his rear …

Continue reading Cam Newton is on SI cover — and on Bulldog Nation’s mind »

Georgia-Auburn: ‘It’s what college football is all about,’ Chizik says

It isn’t the bitterest of Georgia’s football rivalries. Just the oldest and most competitive.

Georgia and Auburn first played in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park in 1892. They have played 113 times since then. Auburn has won 53. Georgia has won 52. They have tied eight.

So, if Georgia were to win this year’s meeting at Auburn on Saturday, the Deep South’s oldest college-football rivalry would pull completely even at 53-53-8.

After all these games, all these years, only 56 points separate the teams. Georgia has scored 1,778 and Auburn 1,722.  The average score in their meetings is 15.7-15.2.

“I think that as we go on during the week the younger guys will get a better picture of what this rivalry is and has been over the years and what it’s meant,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Sunday. “It’s just a great rivalry. It’s what college football is all about.”

At 113 games, the Georgia-Auburn series is older than Georgia-Georgia Tech (102 games) and Auburn-Alabama (74 games).

Georgia has won …

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What Mark Richt had to say after win over Idaho State

Opening comments:

“Good to have a victory. Good to be 5-5 at this point. And we got a chance to play a couple of great football teams [the next two games]. We start out with Auburn and are looking forward to that. I know Auburn is one of the best teams in the country, so we’re looking forward to that opportunity next week.

“But today was a day I thought our defense and special teams kind of sparked our offense. I thought we were a little bit shaky in the beginning throwing and catching, but once [Aaron] Murray settled down and started hitting his target, everything started to work offensively too. Just a good team victory. I’m glad we got a lot of young guys opportunities to play, and we had a couple of older guys who hadn’t gotten a chance to play much in their careers get in there too. It’s fun to give those guys that opportunity. It means a lot to them. I’m very happy for those guys to get a chance to play and play well.”

On the three interceptions by Georgia defensive …

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Georgia 55, Idaho State 7: Read all about it

A roundup of the AJC’s coverage of Georgia’s victory over Idaho State:

My game story, which notes the game went as designed:

ATHENS — The Georgia and Idaho State football programs got exactly what they bargained for. Georgia got a big win, and Idaho State got a big check.

In a game that was true to both teams’ place in college football’s pecking order, Georgia breezed to a 41-0 halftime lead and a 55-7 victory Saturday, and Idaho State received $525,000 from UGA for making the 2,000-mile trip from Pocatello to Athens.

The outcome was what is supposed to happen when the Big Sky Conference meets the SEC, when a school with an $8 million athletics budget plays a school with an $85 million athletics budget, when a team that plays its home games before an average of 5,500 fans in an indoor arena steps into 92,000-seat Sanford Stadium.

Jeff Schultz’s column, which looks ahead to next week’s game:

. . . Hello, Auburn.

“I know we’ve got a chance to win,” A.J. Green said …

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Georgia-Idaho State preview: Bengals bring 7-game losing streak to Athens

Please follow @ajcuga on Twitter for updates during the game, and please join the conversation on Jeff Schultz’s live blog.

Georgia-Idaho State at a glance:

12:30 p.m. Saturday in Sanford Stadium

3 storylines

  • 1. Out of their leagues. This game pits an FBS (formerly Division I-A) team, Georgia, against an FCS (formerly Division I-AA) team, Idaho State. You know how such games tend to go. Idaho State is 1-14 against FBS opponents since the start of the 2000 season, with the lone victory coming at Utah State (27-24) 10 years ago. Since then, Idaho State has lost to FBS teams Arizona State, Oklahoma, Utah State (four times), Boise State (twice), Idaho (twice), Oregon State, UNLV, Kentucky and San Diego State.
  • 2. The bowl push. Yes, a victory over Idaho State (1-7 overall, 0-6 in the Big Sky Conference) would count toward the six wins Georgia (4-5, 3-4 SEC) needs for bowl eligibility. Presuming a victory over the Bengals, Georgia then would need to win at BCS No. 2 Auburn on …

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Video: 3 themes vs. Idaho State

CineSport’s Noah Coslov turns to the AJC’s Tim Tucker to discuss three major themes that define Georgia’s game on Saturday against Idaho St.

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Trey Thompkins, preseason player of year, sidelined with ankle injury

ATHENS -– Georgia’s basketball team apparently will open the season without its best player.

Junior forward Trey Thompkins, recently voted the SEC’s preseason player-of-the-year, has a high ankle sprain that will keep him out of Thursday night’s exhibition game against Augusta State and make his chances “extremely slim” of playing in the regular-season opener Nov. 12 against Mississippi Valley State, coach Mark Fox said Wednesday.

“I think it’s a pretty significant injury,” Fox said. “It’s a high ankle sprain, which is the worst kind. It’s fairly severe. It couldn’t happen at a worse time for him or our team. But injuries are a part of the game, and we’re going to have to rally the troops and adjust.”

Fox said there is no firm timetable for Thompkins’ return.

“Could be two weeks. Could be a month. Kind of depends on how he responds to the treatment,” Fox said. “So we basically have left it [that] we’re going to treat him as aggressively …

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Grantham regrets choke sign: ‘Sometimes you get caught up in heat of moment’

(Updated 7:15 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, caught on camera making a choking gesture toward Florida’s kicker near the end of last Saturday’s game, expressed regret about the incident Tuesday.

“As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” Grantham said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened.

“It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.”

Grantham said he has talked with Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity and coach Mark Richt about the incident, “and we’re ready to move forward.”

Asked if he feels that he owes an apology to the Florida kicker, Chas Henry, Grantham said: “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.”

Earlier Tuesday, at his weekly news conference, Richt also addressed the Grantham controversy.

“I’m aware of it, and I would just say that emotions run high,” Richt said. “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do. I …

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Richt: ‘We are going to end up turning this thing around’

A few notes from Mark Richt’s weekly radio call-in show Monday night. . . .

  • Richt said he was “very proud” of  the Georgia team’s effort against Florida, “but the bottom line is we turned it over four times to [Florida's] one and you’re not going to win many games that way. . . . There was a lot more than that to that ballgame, but as we know the turnover stat is the one that is the most devastating in those types of ballgames.”
  • The team was “crushed” by the loss, Richt said. “We all were.”
  • A caller scolded Richt for his 2-8 record vs. Florida and asked how he’s going to turn it around.

“I think that the game this Saturday was a game that could have gone either way, but it didn’t go our way,” Richt said. “People are tired of hearing that, and I’m kind of tired of it myself. I don’t like the record myself. But we are going to keep banging, and we are going to end up turning this thing around. I thought it was going to happen on Saturday, but it didn’t.

“So what are we …

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Game time, TV set for Georgia-Auburn

Georgia’s Nov. 13 football game at Auburn will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be nationally televised on CBS, the network said today.

Georgia has won its past four games against Auburn, but the Tigers, led by Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback Cam Newton, are 9-0 and ranked No. 2 in this week’s BCS standings. Georgia is 4-5.

Auburn’s ranking and record are obviously attractive to CBS. The network, which has the top choice of SEC games each week, chose Auburn-Georgia over the Nov. 13 South Carolina-Florida game, which figures to be for the East’s berth in the SEC championship game.  South Carolina-Florida will start at 7:15 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2.

Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will call Georgia-Auburn for CBS, along with sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson.

The game will be Georgia’s second of the season in the 3:30 p.m. ET window on CBS. The first was last Saturday’s 34-31 overtime loss to Florida in Jacksonville.

Both Georgia and Auburn play FCS (formerly Division I-AA) …

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