Archive for December, 2010

Mascot Uga VIII sidelined from bowl by illness; ‘Russ’ returns

MEMPHIS — Uga VIII will miss the Liberty Bowl on Friday because of illness.

Georgia’s bulldog mascot is sidelined with a “gastro-intestinal condition,” the university announced late Thursday afternoon, and did not make the trip to Memphis.

“Russ,” the former interim mascot, again will fill in, as he did for the final two games last season and the first six this year. Russ has bowl experience, having been in Shreveport for Georgia’s victory over Texas A&M in last season’s Independence Bowl.

Uga VIII took over as Georgia’s mascot at the Oct. 16 homecoming game against Vanderbilt.

Georgia plays Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

– Tim Tucker

Please follow @ajcuga on Twitter for the latest news and notes from the Liberty Bowl on the Bulldogs.

Continue reading Mascot Uga VIII sidelined from bowl by illness; ‘Russ’ returns »

Liberty Bowl preview: Can Dogs avoid first losing season in 14 years?

Please join the conversation on Jeff Schultz’s live blog during the game.

Previewing Georgia vs. Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl (3:30 p.m. Friday on ESPN):

3 storylines

  • 1. Winning season or losing season? Georgia enters the game with a 6-6 record. A victory would keep give the Bulldogs their 14th consecutive winning season, albeit barely. A loss would give the Bulldogs their first losing season since a 5-6 record in 1996, Jim Donnan’s first season as coach.
  • 2. A program-building game? Central Florida has made substantial strides in seven seasons under coach George O’Leary, winning two Conference USA championships and becoming nationally ranked for the first time (No. 24 in the latest coaches’ poll). A nationally televised bowl win over an SEC opponent would be a significant next step in the growth of the UCF program.
  • 3. Battle of the freshman quarterbacks. UCF’s Jeff Godfrey and UGA’s Aaron Murray are the nation’s top two freshmen quarterbacks in pass efficiency …

Continue reading Liberty Bowl preview: Can Dogs avoid first losing season in 14 years? »

UGA gives Williams permission to talk to schools about transfer

MEMPHIS – Georgia backup safety-linebacker Nick Williams has been given permission to speak with other schools about transferring, UGA said Wednesday night.

Williams has expressed interest in transferring from Georgia to another school but has not told UGA that he definitely will do so, according to associate athletic director Claude Felton. Williams will be released from his scholarship by Georgia if he chooses to leave.

Meanwhile, he remains eligible to play in Friday’s Liberty Bowl game against Central Florida.

Williams, a junior, has shifted several times between safety and linebacker for the Bulldogs.  He began his season at safety but has been working at inside linebacker recently. He has played in eight games this season, starting none and making three tackles.

Please follow @ajcuga on Twitter for updates on the Bulldogs.

Continue reading UGA gives Williams permission to talk to schools about transfer »

Notes from Memphis: Sturdivant, others face decisions on future

MEMPHIS – Three items to start the day:

  • Georgia offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, who started six games this season after missing almost all of the previous two seasons because of knee surgeries, is undecided on whether to enter the 2011 NFL draft or return for another year with the Bulldogs.

“I don’t have a clue,” he said Tuesday. “We’ll just see how everything plays out. We’ll see after the bowl game how it looks. . . . I haven’t really weighed all my options with my family.”

Sturdivant described his 2010 season as “all right” but “no All-American type year.” Mark Richt put it this way: “He’s had a good season. Hopefully he’ll come back and have a great season next year.”

Sturidvant said he feels “very close” to regaining the pre-injuries form that made him a season-long starter at left tackle as a freshman in 2007.

“At first, there was a little issue with, ‘Oh, is he going to fall into the mental battle?’” Sturdivant said. “But now I’m at the end of the season, and …

Continue reading Notes from Memphis: Sturdivant, others face decisions on future »

Video: 3 keys to the Liberty Bowl

CineSport’s Noah Coslov chats with the AJC’s Tim Tucker about the three keys to Georgia’s Liberty Bowl game against Central Florida:

Continue reading Video: 3 keys to the Liberty Bowl »

Georgia, Ohio State agree to play twice in football

MEMPHIS — Georgia and Ohio State have agreed to meet in football during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said Tuesday.

McGarity said he and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith signed a “memorandum of understanding” on the games, one of which will be played in Georgia’s Sanford Stadium and the other at Ohio State.

“I know that’s a long time away,” McGarity said, “but bottom line is you’ve got to have some of those things in place.”

He added: “Not all of the details are worked out as far as seats and things — just the memorandum that we would basically play each other, home and home, in ‘20 and ‘21.”

McGarity said it hasn’t been determined yet which year the game will be played at which site.

“We haven’t figured that out yet,” he said. “We know we’re going to play each other on campus, and we’ll figure all that stuff out in a year, two years. Who knows what the landscape will look like in 2020? But you’ve got to plan that far in advance to do …

Continue reading Georgia, Ohio State agree to play twice in football »

Georgia plans later G-Day game

Three items to start the day:

  • To some, it has been a tough call: watching the third round of the Masters or attending G-Day. You won’t have to make that choice next April.

Plans are “being finalized” to move Georgia’s spring football game back a week to April 16, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity told me as we waited at Hartsfield-Jackson for a (delayed) flight to Memphis on Monday. The Masters will be played April 7-10.

The G-Day game has been played on Masters Saturday the past couple of years. McGarity figures G-Day will benefit in terms of attendance and media attention by not overlapping the Masters.

He said the shift worked best for the football program because UGA’s spring-semester classes will start later than a year ago – Jan. 10 instead of Jan. 7 — and added that eliminating the conflict with the Masters is a “byproduct” of the change.

“It allows us to make sure we get every bit of off-season conditioning that we can get in place [before spring …

Continue reading Georgia plans later G-Day game »

Academic issues sideline Caleb King, 2 others from Liberty Bowl

Tailback Caleb King and two other Georgia football players won’t play in the Liberty Bowl because of academic issues, UGA said Sunday.

The other players are backup cornerback Derek Owens and reserve offensive lineman A.J. Harmon.

According to UGA, King won’t be allowed to play in the game because he violated the athletics department’s attendance policy by missing five academic-related appointments, while Owens and Harmon are ineligible for the game under NCAA academic rules. Those rules require players to earn at least six credit hours in the semester preceding a bowl.

Georgia plays Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

The game will be the fifth this season missed by King, who is the Bulldogs’ second leading rusher with 430 yards on 80 carries. He was held out of two games because of a high ankle sprain and was suspended for two others because of an arrest for failing to appear in court to address a speeding ticket.

King, a junior, started four …

Continue reading Academic issues sideline Caleb King, 2 others from Liberty Bowl »

New volleyball coach hired

By Ken Sugiura, AJC staff writer

Georgia has hired Nebraska assistant coach Lizzy Stemke to be its new volleyball coach. Stemke replaces Joel McCartney, who was fired near the end of the 2010 season.

In Stemke’s four years as a Nebraska assistant, the Cornhuskers reached the NCAA tournament four times, won three Big 12 titles and had an overall record of 116-15. An All-American at Wisconsin and a past member of the U.S. national team, Stemke will be running her own college team for the first time. McCartney was 62-55 in four seasons and 29-45 in the SEC.

Continue reading New volleyball coach hired »

On vacation until Memphis …

(Note: The UGA blog will be on hiatus while I take a week’s vacation before heading to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl.)

Georgia will be without its starting fullback in the Liberty Bowl.

Shaun Chapas, a senior who recently was named permanent captain of the 2010 team, won’t play against Central Florida on Dec. 31 because of ankle surgery, coach Mark Richt announced Saturday.

That means Chapas’ UGA career ended with the Nov. 27 victory over Georgia Tech.

After battling problems with his left ankle for most of the season, Chapas underwent surgery Friday.

Georgia has three other fullbacks who are getting work in practice as bowl preparations continue: senior Fred Munzenmaier, freshman Zander Ogletree and redshirt freshman Dustin Royston. In addition, backup tight end Bruce Figgins, a junior, is getting some practice time at fullback.

Figgins’ move is “not necessarily a full-time change,” Richt said in a news release, “but we are getting him some work there because of depth …

Continue reading On vacation until Memphis … »

Read Aron White’s graduation speech here

Aron White speaks at commencement ceremony Friday in Stegeman Coliseum as UGA President Michael Adams watches. (UGA Photo)

Aron White speaks at commencement ceremony Friday in Stegeman Coliseum as UGA President Michael Adams watches. (UGA Photo)

Georgia football player Aron White was the student speaker at UGA’s fall-semester commencement ceremony Friday. The tight end from Columbia, Mo., was chosen for the honor by a committee appointed by the Student Government Association. White graduated with a degree in management. Here is the text of his speech:

I would like to start by saying good morning and welcome to our friends and family that have joined us to commemorate this occasion. But more importantly I would like to say congratulation to all of my fellow graduates.

Some of you might have recognized my name or face and thought to yourself, ‘What is a football player doing giving our commencement speech? Haven’t we given them enough attention? Surely we could have found a more intelligent or eloquent speaker.’ To which I would reply I am sure both of those things could have been …

Continue reading Read Aron White’s graduation speech here »

Two UGA football players aid accident victim

ATHENS – Georgia football players Washaun Ealey and Michael Gilliard went to the aid of a campus bus driver involved in an accident on a wet, icy street Wednesday night.

Ealey and Gilliard said they were on their way home from a campus dining hall when a UGA bus, traveling in front of them, left the road and collided with a tree. The bus was unoccupied other than the driver.

“I stopped the car, and we got out and ran to the bus,” Ealey said Thursday. “We had to pry the door open, and we went in there to see if she [the driver] was alright. She was alright. She was thanking God she didn’t get hurt.”

The players said they stayed on the bus with the driver until police and an ambulance arrived.

“Those two guys did a very good deed,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “They stopped and helped out, and I’m proud of them. They assisted someone who was in distress, which is a good thing.”

The accident occurred near the corner of Sanford Drive and Cedar Street.

Ealey, a tailback, and …

Continue reading Two UGA football players aid accident victim »

What Mark Richt had to say at Liberty Bowl news conference …

ATHENS –Mark Richt flew back into town from a recruiting trip, just in time for his pre-Liberty Bowl news conference today.

Here are a few of the topics he touched upon:

On former Georgia player Will Muschamp’s hiring as head coach at Florida: “I think Will is a very fine coach. I don’t know if he’ll admit [it] to everybody, but he’s still a Georgia man in a lot of ways. I think he’ll do well. He’s a very good coach and a very good person.”

On the changes in Georgia’s strength program (earlier this month Richt reassigned Dave Van Halanger and named Joe Tereshinski director of strength and conditioning): “First of all, I think Dave Van Halanger is an outstanding strength coach. He’s as good as any out there. . . . But I think there are different ways to do things, and I want to go a little bit more old school, I guess, and get after it a little bit differently. By no means am I saying it’s just the strength area we need to improve on when it comes to winning the fourth quarter …

Continue reading What Mark Richt had to say at Liberty Bowl news conference … »

Houston, Butler named AP second-team All-Americans (w/ full list)

Two Georgia football players, outside linebacker Justin Houston and punter Drew Butler, were named second-team All-Americans by the Associated Press today.

Houston, who leads the SEC in sacks with 10, has been collecting honors this month. He was named first-team All-SEC by both the media and the coaches, and he was named first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.

Butler, a first-team AP All-American last season, was named to the second team this time behind first-team punter Chas Henry of Florida.

Here are the full AP All-America teams:

FIRST TEAM

Offense

Quarterback — Cam Newton, junior, 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Auburn.

Running backs — LaMichael James, sophomore, 5-9, 185, Oregon; Kendall Hunter, junior, 5-9, 200, Oklahoma State.

Tackles — Gabe Carimi, senior, 6-7, 327, Wisconsin; Nate Solder, senior, 6-9, 315, Colorado.

Guards — Rodney Hudson, senior, 6-2, 282, Florida State; John Moffitt, senior, 6-5, 323, Wisconsin.

Center — Chase …

Continue reading Houston, Butler named AP second-team All-Americans (w/ full list) »

Commencement roster: UGA athletes who will graduate Friday

Thirty-nine University of Georgia athletes will be among the approximately 1,700 undergraduate students receiving their degrees at fall-semester commencement ceremonies Friday morning in Stegeman Coliseum.

Sixteen current football players will graduate, including tight end Aron White and offensive lineman Tanner Strickland, both of whom are redshirt juniors with one season of eligibility remaining.

White, who is graduating with a degree in management and a minor in African-American studies, will be the student speaker at the commencement ceremony, according to UGA.

In addition to the current athletes graduating, Fred Gibson, who played football and basketball for the Bulldogs from 2001-04, and Corey Butler, who played basketball from 2007-09, will receive their degrees in housing and microbiology, respectively.

Here is the roster of current athletes graduating Friday (with their hometowns and majors):

Baseball: Alex McRee, Gainesville, Ga., Biology; Nathan Moreau, Lilburn, …

Continue reading Commencement roster: UGA athletes who will graduate Friday »

Green named Georgia’s MVP at banquet (plus: other awards and Team of Decade)

Wide receiver A.J. Green received the “Vince Dooley Most Valuable Player of the Year” award at Georgia’s annual football gala Saturday night in Athens.

Many other awards and honors also were handed out:

  • Most Valuable Offensive Player: Quarterback Aaron Murray.
  • Most Valuable Defensive Player: Outside linebacker Justin Houston.
  • Most Valuable Special Teams Players: Placekicker Blair Walsh and punter Drew Butler.
  • Overall permanent captain: Fullback Shaun Chapas.
  • Offensive captain: Lineman Clint Boling.
  • Defensive captain: Linebacker Akeem Dent.
  • Special teams captain: Butler.
  • David Jacobs Award (for player who portrays courage, spirit, character and determination): Chapas.
  • Leon Farmer Award (for dedication to the strength and conditioning program): Chapas and Boling.
  • Most Improved Players: Wide receiver Marlon Brown (offense); linebacker Darryl Gamble and safety Bacarri Rambo (defense); safety Shawn Williams and cornerback Sanders Commings (special …

Continue reading Green named Georgia’s MVP at banquet (plus: other awards and Team of Decade) »

Three UGA players named first-team All-SEC by coaches (w/ full teams)

Three Georgia players are on the coaches’ All-SEC first team, which was named today. That’s two more than on the media’s first team, named Monday.

Outside linebacker Justin Houston was voted to the first team by the league’s coaches, as he was by the Associated Press’ media panel.   Joining Houston on the coaches’ first team are Georgia offensive lineman Clint Boling and placekicker Blair Walsh.

Georgia also has three players on the coaches’ second team: wide receiver A.J. Green, tight end Orson Charles and punter Drew Butler.

Boling, Walsh, Green and Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent were named second-team All-SEC by the media.

Here are the coaches’ All-SEC selections (ties denoted by *):

FIRST TEAM

Offense

TE D.J. Williams Arkansas 6-2 251 Sr. Little Rock, Ark.

OL Derek Sherrod Mississippi State (T) 6-6 305 Sr. Columbus, Miss.

OL Lee Ziemba Auburn 6-8 319 Sr. Rogers, Ark.

OL DeMarcus Love Arkansas (T) 6-5 315 Sr. Lancaster, Texas

*OL James Carpenter Alabama (T) 6-5 300 Sr. …

Continue reading Three UGA players named first-team All-SEC by coaches (w/ full teams) »

Houston, but not Green, named first-team All-SEC by media (w/ full teams)

Outside linebacker Justin Houston, who leads the SEC in sacks, was the only Georgia player named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press today.

A.J. Green, you ask?

The wide receiver was one of four Georgia players named second-team All-SEC in the AP vote. The others: offensive lineman Clint Boling, inside linebacker Akeem Dent and placekicker Blair Walsh.

Green, an AP first-team All-SEC selection the previous two seasons, was suspended from the first four games this season by the NCAA for selling his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000.  South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery and Alabama’s  Julio Jones were named the first-team All-SEC wide receivers. Jeffery has 79 catches for 1,387 yards and nine touchdowns this season; Jones, 75 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns; Green, 49 catches for 771 yards and nine TD’s.

Georgia punter Drew Butler was not selected to the first or second team despite being one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award. Butler won the award, …

Continue reading Houston, but not Green, named first-team All-SEC by media (w/ full teams) »

It’s official: UGA vs. Central Florida in Liberty Bowl

It’s official. Georgia will play in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31.

What became apparent eight days ago became official late this afternoon, when the Liberty Bowl formally announced that Georgia will play in the New Year’s Eve game in Memphis. The opponent will be Central Florida, coached by former Georgia Tech coach George O’Leary.

The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be televised by ESPN.

Georgia’s invitation to the Liberty had been expected since the Bulldogs clinched bowl eligibility by beating Georgia Tech on Nov. 27. In an interview about an hour after that game, Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart made it pretty clear his bowl intended to invite the Bulldogs (6-6).

The only thing that could have derailed the Dogs’ invitation might have been if the SEC had not put two teams in BCS bowls.

Central Florida clinched its berth in the Liberty Bowl on Saturday by beating SMU 17-7 in the Conference USA championship game. The Knights are 10-3 and ranked No. 24 in this …

Continue reading It’s official: UGA vs. Central Florida in Liberty Bowl »

Tereshinski: ‘We’re going to prepare this team for the fourth quarter’

Joe Tereshinski, named Thursday to take over as the Georgia football program’s director of strength and conditioning, started his new job by meeting with the players at 6 a.m. Friday.

Five hours later, he talked with reporters on a conference call.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

  • He thanked Mark Richt for the opportunity, thanked the position coaches who have called to express support and thanked all the strength coaches he has worked with over the years, including predecessor Dave Van Halanger (”the second winningest strength coach in America”).
  • He said he understands the responsibility and importance of the job to the school, the players and the Bulldog Nation. “This job is not taken lightly by me in any way,” he said. He also said: “Everybody realizes that we have to go in a different direction and become stronger, become quicker and turn this program around.”
  • As for changes, Tereshinski said a nutritionist and graduate assistants will “closely monitor” the …

Continue reading Tereshinski: ‘We’re going to prepare this team for the fourth quarter’ »

Van Halanger out, Tereshinski in, as Dogs’ strength coach

Dave Van Halanger, who has been the Georgia football program’s director of strength and conditioning for the past decade, was reassigned Thursday.

Van Halanger was shifted to a new position as administrative assistant to coach Mark Richt, who named Joe Tereshinski, a former Georgia player and long-time staffer, to succeed Van Halanger as strength and conditioning director.

Van Halanger –- one of the first people Richt hired upon arriving at Georgia in January 2001 — has more than three decades experience as a strength coach and is well known for his grueling off-season “mat drills.” But Georgia’s strength training, like many other aspects of the program, has drawn criticism as the Bulldogs have posted back-to-back disappointing seasons.

The reassignment of Van Halanger, 57, came exactly one year after Richt’s last staff shakeup. On Dec. 2, 2009, following a 7-5 regular season, Richt fired three assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Willie …

Continue reading Van Halanger out, Tereshinski in, as Dogs’ strength coach »