Archive for February, 2011

UGA lifts Ealey’s suspension (updated with comments from Richt)

(Updated 9 p.m. Saturday)

ATHENS — Washaun Ealey’s suspension lasted less than three weeks.

The Georgia tailback, suspended indefinitely from all team activities by coach Mark Richt on Feb. 8, has been “reinstated to full team standing,” UGA said Saturday.

That makes Ealey, Georgia’s leading rusher the past two seasons, eligible to participate in spring practice, which begins March 10.

“He’s done a very nice job of doing what I asked him to do,” Richt said Saturday night, “to take care of his business what I call the Georgia way, staying on top of things and being punctual and being prepared. . . . He’s done it with a very good attitude, and now I think he’s ready to integrate back in the rest of what’s going on at Georgia. I’m happy for him.”

Earlier Saturday, Richt said in a statement that Ealey will rejoin team activities Monday.

Ealey, a rising junior, was suspended after failing to report on time for an early-morning punishment run.

The incident was not Ealey’s first …

Continue reading UGA lifts Ealey’s suspension (updated with comments from Richt) »

New coach tells Bulldogs’ linebackers: ‘Run to the ball and hit something’

ATHENS — Kirk Olivadotti’s father didn’t push him into the family business.

Quite the opposite.

“I had a suspicion when I was in high school what I wanted to do, but my father always told me he was going to punch me right in the face if I became a football coach,” Olivadotti said. “So I kind of kept it from him.”

The 37-year-old son of long-time NFL defensive coach Tom Olivadotti is Georgia’s new inside linebackers coach, hired on Feb. 18 from the defensive staff of the Washington Redskins. He spent last week settling into his new job, meeting his players and watching film of their games and practices. Late Friday afternoon, he chatted amiably about growing up as the son of a coach, following in his father’s footsteps and now making the move to Georgia:

The advice he got from his father upon revealing his career choice: “Well, first he tried to talk me out of it. And then once he realized that I was [committed to] it, the one thing he said was, ‘It’s not really a …

Continue reading New coach tells Bulldogs’ linebackers: ‘Run to the ball and hit something’ »

‘We made a mistake’ by benching Rocky, UGA’s McGarity says

ATHENS — The big controversy in UGA sports recently, at least among some students, has been the missing Rocky Run.

Tom Fell is a UGA student who dresses like the Rocky and runs to the top of Stegeman Coliseum.

Tom Fell is a UGA student who dresses like the Rocky and runs to the top of Stegeman Coliseum.

Here’s the background. Tom Fell is a UGA student who for four seasons has dressed like the movie boxer Rocky and excited the crowds in the second half of home basketball games by running to the top of  Stegeman Coliseum. He was benched at last week’s game against Vanderbilt because the athletics department sold his time slot to insurance company Geico for an in-event advertisement.

The controversy came up at the UGA Athletic Board meeting Thursday, when student representative Trey Sinyard reported to the board: “I can say that this has been a big issue on campus. . . . The pulse on that is students feel the athletics association is over-commercialized.”

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity quickly responded that Rocky will run again.

“We have had internal discussions …

Continue reading ‘We made a mistake’ by benching Rocky, UGA’s McGarity says »

No change for Georgia-Florida ticket prices; big change for Sanford Stadium video board

(Updated 8 p.m.)

ATHENS — Ticket prices for the Georgia-Florida football game in Jacksonville will remain unchanged this year after UGA decided not to follow the Gators’ lead in raising them.

Florida’s athletics board voted in December to raise the prices by $10 per ticket, provided Georgia would go along. But Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told the board of directors of the UGA Athletic Association at its winter meeting Thursday that he would not propose hiking prices for the 2011 game.

That means prices will remain the same as the past four years — $40 for regular seats and $70 for club seats.

“It takes two to tango, so to speak,” McGarity told the board, “and we’re not ready to make that move yet.”

McGarity said he would recommend, probably at the board’s May meeting, possible price increases for the game in 2012 and beyond.

“Sometimes it’s good timing for one school and bad timing for another school,” said McGarity, who worked at Florida for 18 years before …

Continue reading No change for Georgia-Florida ticket prices; big change for Sanford Stadium video board »

Today’s fare: Athletic Board meeting, Butts-Mehre dedication and hoops

ATHENS – Good morning. It’s going to be another busy day on the Bulldogs beat.

  • The UGA Athletic Association board of directors will hold its regular quarterly meeting on campus. The agenda appears pretty light, although the board will hear, as usual, from UGA President Michael Adams, athletic director Greg McGarity, faculty athletics representative David Shipley and treasurer Tim Burgess.  Other items on the agenda include “renovation” of the Sanford Stadium video board and distribution of student football tickets. Also expect discussion of this year’s “Hartman Fund” contributions, which you can read about here, and the ticket price for the Georgia-Florida football game. The Florida athletic board tentatively approved a $10 price increase at its Dec. 15 meeting, pending a decision by UGA. UPDATE: McGarity said today that any increase would not take effect until the 2012 game. The board meeting starts at 1:30 p.m.; check back to ajc.com for updates.
  • The dedication ceremony …

Continue reading Today’s fare: Athletic Board meeting, Butts-Mehre dedication and hoops »

Yes, UGA has a No. 1-ranked team

UGA has a team at the top of a national poll.

Georgia’s softball team is ranked No. 1 -– for the first time in school history — in this week’s USA Today/National Fast Pitch Coaches Association Top 25 poll, released Tuesday.

The Bulldogs (10-0) received 16 of 30 first-place votes and moved ahead of previous No. 1 UCLA (9-1). Arizona is ranked No. 3, Florida No. 4 and Alabama No. 5.

Georgia has piled up some impressive statistics on its season-opening 10-game winning streak — outscoring its opponents 87-18, compiling a team batting average of .383 and a  team slugging percentage of .652, and holding opponents to a .176 batting average.

Georgia’s softball program finished the past two seasons ranked in the nation’s top five -– No. 4 in 2009 and No. 3 last season. The Bulldogs opened this season at No. 3 and climbed to No. 2 after the first week of the season.

Georgia next plays in a tournament in Cathedral City, Calif. The Bulldogs will face No. 19 Oklahoma State and No. 6 …

Continue reading Yes, UGA has a No. 1-ranked team »

QB Murray’s injury diagnosed: ‘just a little sprain,’ he says

(Updated 7:20 p.m.)

Bulldog Nation received a major scare Monday when word spread that Aaron Murray, Georgia’s starting quarterback, was spotted on campus on crutches. Before long, rumors snowballed of a possible broken leg or ankle.

Turns out, Murray had only sprained his right ankle and should be able to participate in spring football practice next month, UGA announced late Monday afternoon.

The injury occurred during a pick-up soccer game on campus on Saturday.

Murray was examined by team physicians, and X-rays were negative. An MRI on Monday afternoon confirmed the sprain diagnosis, UGA said.

“Thanks for all the prayers and concerns,” Murray said via Twitter, “but it’s just a little sprain and I’ll be up and going in no time.”

According to Georgia director of sports medicine Ron Courson, Murray will rehab the ankle under the supervision of the sports medicine staff and is expected to be available for spring practice, which starts March 10.

If the ankle isn’t fully healed …

Continue reading QB Murray’s injury diagnosed: ‘just a little sprain,’ he says »

Salaries revealed for UGA’s new football coaches

New Georgia assistant football coaches Will Friend and Kirk Olivadotti will be paid annual salaries of $200,000 and $250,000, respectively, according to documents obtained by the AJC under the state’s open records law.

The coaches’ contracts were not yet available, according to UGA, but their salaries were contained on “employee personnel report” forms.

Friend is the new offensive line coach, hired from Alabama-Birmingham to replace Stacy Searels, who left for Texas.

Olivadotti is the new inside linebackers coach, hired from the NFL’s Washington Redskins to replace Warren Belin, who left for the Carolina Panthers.

Searels and Belin had salaries of $290,000 and $190,000, respectively, at Georgia last year.

Continue reading Salaries revealed for UGA’s new football coaches »

Former UGA star Edwards is finalist for Hall of Fame

Dominique Wilkins is the only former University of Georgia player in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Teresa Edwards soon might join him there.

Teresa Edwards after winning gold medal in 1996 Olympics (AJC file photo)

Teresa Edwards after winning gold medal in 1996 Olympics (AJC file photo)

Edwards, a two-time All-American at UGA and a five-time Olympian, was named Friday among the 12 finalists for induction this year. A 24-member committee will determine which of the finalists get in; 18 votes are required for induction. The inductees will be announced April 3 at the men’s Final Four and enshrined in August in Springfield, Mass.

Edwards, a native of Cairo, Ga., put Lady Bulldogs basketball on the map in the 1980s. During her four seasons (1983-86), Georgia compiled a 116-7 record, won three SEC championships and reached the Final Four twice.

Her Olympics career spanned three decades, from 1984 in Los Angeles to 2000 in Sydney. She is the only U.S. basketball player, male or female, to compete in five Olympic Games. She was on teams that won gold medals …

Continue reading Former UGA star Edwards is finalist for Hall of Fame »

Georgia confirms hire of Olivadotti as inside linebackers coach

Georgia made it official Friday morning, naming Washington Redskins assistant coach Kirk Olivadotti as the Bulldogs’ new inside linebackers coach.

The hire had been expected for a couple of days, pending the completion of a pre-employment background check.

“In hiring an assistant, we look for someone who first is at the top level in football knowledge and competency,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement announcing the hire. “Then we want someone who is a teacher of the game, [will] be an example for young men, and can serve as a mentor for our student-athletes. We found all those qualities in Kirk.”

Olivadotti called the opportunity “exciting” and thanked Richt “for his confidence in what I can hopefully bring to the program.”

He replaces Warren Belin on the Georgia staff.  Belin left two weeks ago to become the Carolina Panthers’ linebackers coach.

Olivadotti  had been the longest-tenured member of the Redskins’ coaching staff, which he joined in 2000.  At various …

Continue reading Georgia confirms hire of Olivadotti as inside linebackers coach »

Redskins assistant headed to UGA, with strong endorsement from an ex-Dog

ATHENS — Georgia is expected to name Washington Redskins assistant coach Kirk Olivadotti to its defensive coaching staff by the end of the week.

And at least one former Bulldog says that is very good news.

“UGA you just got one hell of a coach in Kirk Olivadotti,” former Georgia and current Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels posted on Twitter.  “The defense just got a whole lot better. One of the smartest coaches I have ever known. Enjoy success with him on board. Congrats K.O.”

Georgia hasn’t announced the hire, but the Washington Post reported that Olivadotti is leaving the Redskins to accept the position. Assistant-coaching hires at Georgia often are delayed for a day or longer while pre-employment background checks are completed.

Olivadotti, 37, would fill the position vacated two weeks ago when inside linebackers coach Warren Belin resigned after one year at UGA to accept a job as linebackers coach with the Carolina Panthers.

Olivadotti has been on the Redskins’ staff …

Continue reading Redskins assistant headed to UGA, with strong endorsement from an ex-Dog »

Big home game for Dogs tonight; big road turnaround this season

Big basketball game in Athens tonight, Georgia vs. Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. It’s big for Georgia because:

  • A win over a team with Vanderbilt’s RPI (15) would be helpful come Selection Sunday.
  • A win would put the Bulldogs, who have finished fifth or sixth in the  SEC East for seven consecutive seasons, in sole possession of second place in the division with five games to go.
  • A win at home would be well-advised and well-timed, what with the Bulldogs’ next two games at Tennessee and Florida.
  • A win would achieve a split of the season series against Vanderbilt, which beat Georgia 73-66 in Nashville.

———-

Lost in the shuffle of Saturday’s crazy game at South Carolina is that the victory assured Georgia a winning road record — a feat that definitely should be noted in the context of recent history.

Georgia is 6-2 on the road this season — a dramatic turnaround from its 0-11 road record last season, 2-28 over the past three seasons and 8-63 over the past seven seasons.

Georgia …

Continue reading Big home game for Dogs tonight; big road turnaround this season »

FYI … Georgia’s 2011 football schedule

The ACC released Georgia Tech’s (and other conference teams’) 2011 football schedules this afternoon. So just in case that news has any of you looking around for Georgia’s schedule –- most of you, I know, already have memorized it –- I figured I’d post it here again:

Sept. 3: vs. Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome.

Sept. 10: vs. South Carolina in Athens.

Sept. 17: vs. Coastal Carolina in Athens.

Sept. 24: at Ole Miss.

Oct. 1: vs. Mississippi State in Athens.

Oct. 8: at Tennessee.

Oct. 15: at Vanderbilt.

Oct. 29: vs. Florida in Jacksonville.

Nov. 5: vs. New Mexico State in Athens.

Nov. 12: vs. Auburn in Athens.

Nov. 19: vs. Kentucky in Athens.

Nov. 26: at Georgia Tech.

A few things jump out:

  • The difficulty and the magnitude of the first two games.
  • Eight of the 12 games are in the state of Georgia.
  • After trips to Tempe, Ariz., Stillwater, Okla., and Boulder, Colo., the past three seasons, the longest trip will be to … Oxford, Miss.
  • There’s an …

Continue reading FYI … Georgia’s 2011 football schedule »

From the notebook: a move up in the East … and a coach’s first loss to Tech

A few notes to start the week:

  • The SEC East men’s basketball standings are worth a glance today. Among the teams behind Georgia in the division: Kentucky and Tennessee.

Florida 9-2

Georgia 6-4

Vanderbilt 6-4

Kentucky 5-5

Tennessee 5-5

South Carolina 4-6

Each has been a struggle, but Georgia has won three consecutive SEC games — at Arkansas on a last-second free throw, at home over Auburn in overtime and at South Carolina in that inexplicable game Saturday in which Georgia allowed nine points in the first half and 47 in the second half and saw a 23-point lead dwindle to two in the course of 10 minutes before winning by four.

The Bulldogs, though, are 0-3 against the next three teams on their schedule –- Vanderbilt in Athens on Wednesday night, then Tennessee on the road Saturday and Florida on the road Feb. 24.

The Vanderbilt game will be a battle for sole possession of second place in the East. The Commodores are coming off a home victory over Kentucky and are No. 15 in the …

Continue reading From the notebook: a move up in the East … and a coach’s first loss to Tech »

Herschel Walker chimes in on the Dogs’ ‘Dream Team,’ and other notes

A few quick notes to start the day:

  • Herschel Walker became the latest to chime in on Georgia’s recruiting class. “How about that Dawgs ‘Dream Team’ Coach Mark Richt recruited?” Walker posted Thursday evening on Twitter. “We finally kept our Georgia boys at home. Nice job Coach.” Walker previously had expressed concerns about elite prospects leaving the state.
  • Georgia basketball signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received a high honor Thursday: He was chosen as a McDonald’s All-American. The shooting guard from Greenville (Ga.) will be one of 24 players in the prestigious all-star game March 30 at Chicago’s United Center.  According to the game’s website, 10 previous McDonald’s All-Americans went on to play for UGA: Terry Fair (a 1979 selection), Dominique Wilkins (1979), James Banks (1980), Vern Fleming (1980), Donald Hartry (1982), Melvin Howard (1983), Litterial Green (1988), Shaun Golden (1989), Carlos Strong (1992) and Damien Wilkins (1999).
  • Mark Fox will coach against …

Continue reading Herschel Walker chimes in on the Dogs’ ‘Dream Team,’ and other notes »

First day on the job for Georgia’s new offensive line coach

ATHENS – Will Friend was a two-time All-SEC offensive lineman at Alabama in the 1990s, but by the end of his playing days there, it was obvious his future was in coaching.

Friend, who started work Tuesday as Georgia’s newly hired offensive line coach, recalled a meeting about his future with his position coach, Neil Callaway, after his senior season at Alabama:

“Right after the season, he called me in and said, ‘Hey, listen, whatcha going to do?’

“I said, ‘Well, I don’t know.’

“He said, ‘Well, you ain’t going to be able to play any pro ball.’

“I said, ‘I didn’t think so.’

“He said, ‘I think you can coach.’”

That’s how Friend’s  career started. He worked three years as a graduate assistant coach under Callaway at Alabama, then one year as an assistant at West Alabama, one year as a high school coach in Tuscaloosa, two years as a graduate assistant at Georgia (under Callaway), two years as offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb, four years as offensive line coach at UAB (again …

Continue reading First day on the job for Georgia’s new offensive line coach »

Richt says Ealey will be ‘back in good standing’ if he does things ‘the Georgia way’

(Updated 6 p.m.)

ATHENS — Tailback Washaun Ealey’s future in the Georgia football program appears uncertain.

UGA said Tuesday that Ealey has been suspended from team activities “at this time” and left open the question of whether he will be reinstated.

“We have certain expectations and standards that apply to all our student-athletes,” coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “We expect them to do things the right way, the Georgia way. If Washaun does things the Georgia way, he’ll be back in good standing.”

Ealey’s suspension is believed to stem from missing an early-morning disciplinary run.

Although suspended from off-season activities, Ealey “is still here and still on the team,” Georgia senior associate athletic director Claude Felton said.

Even before this issue, Richt had raised the possibility of Isaiah Crowell –- the prized tailback signed last week — starting the 2011 opener. Richt also has said Ken Malcome, redshirted as a freshman last season, will contend for playing …

Continue reading Richt says Ealey will be ‘back in good standing’ if he does things ‘the Georgia way’ »

Georgia hires UAB’s Will Friend as offensive line coach (updated)

Will Friend celebrated his 36th birthday Monday by becoming Georgia’s offensive line coach.

Friend, who held the same position at Alabama-Birmingham for the past four seasons, was an All-SEC offensive lineman at Alabama in the 1990s and a graduate assistant coach at Georgia in 2003-04.

He fills the position vacated on the Georgia staff by last month’s departure of Stacy Searels for the same job at Texas.

At UAB, Friend worked under head coach Neil Callaway, who was Georgia’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2001-06. Callaway became UAB’s head coach in 2007 and immediately hired Friend, who had been offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb for two years after his graduate-assistant stint under Callaway at Georgia.

“I got to see first-hand his work ethic when he was a graduate assistant on our staff,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement announcing the hire, “and since that time he’s developed into a seasoned, top-notch offensive line coach.”

The hire, …

Continue reading Georgia hires UAB’s Will Friend as offensive line coach (updated) »

Offensive line coach still looks Friend-ly; SEC East standings still look jumbled

A few notes to start the day:

  • Mark Richt expects to name a new offensive line coach early this week, and all indications continue to point toward UAB’s Will Friend.

Two other candidates who had expressed strong interest in the position have been told they won’t get the job.

As for when the hire is made and announced, that probably depends on how long it takes to complete a routine pre-employment background check. UGA typically uses an outside firm to conduct the checks, which sometimes get completed more quickly than others.

Anyway, if you missed it, here’s a bit of bio on Friend from Friday’s blog:

As an offensive guard at Alabama in the 1990s, he was a four-year starter and a two-time All-SEC player. He was named to Alabama’s Team of the Decade.

He has been Alabama-Birmingham’s offensive line coach for the past four years and before that was offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb for two years. UAB’s head coach is Neil Callaway, a former offensive coordinator and offensive …

Continue reading Offensive line coach still looks Friend-ly; SEC East standings still look jumbled »

Uga VIII laid to rest in Sanford Stadium; ‘passed away in his sleep, on his bed, with his toys’

Uga VIII was laid to rest at a private burial ceremony Saturday in Sanford Stadium, according to a statement from the Frank W. “Sonny” Seiler family, the long-time owners of the University of Georgia’s English bulldog mascots.

All of Uga VIII’s predecessors also are interred at the stadium — in a mausoleum in the stadium’s southwest corner.

Uga VIII died Friday, just a month after being diagnosed with lymphoma, a common cancer in dogs. He was 16 months old and served a half-season as Georgia’s mascot.

On hand for Saturday’s private ceremony were members of the Seiler family and two of Uga VIII’s veterinarians, the family’s statement said. Wendy Seiler, whose husband Charles is the mascots’ chief handler, read a eulogy to Uga VIII:

“Just two months ago, Uga VIII was getting settled in our home. He seemed to take great pride in rearranging our furniture and redistributing our son’s toys in a neat pile in the backyard.

“Uga VIII never really got a chance to get used to the game …

Continue reading Uga VIII laid to rest in Sanford Stadium; ‘passed away in his sleep, on his bed, with his toys’ »

Grantham: John Jenkins will ‘make immediate impact’ on defense … and might play a bit on offense

ATHENS — Todd Grantham might have been the happiest guy in Stegeman Coliseum for Saturday’s Georgia-Auburn basketball game.

The Georgia football team’s defensive coordinator found out for sure Saturday afternoon that he will have 6-foot-4, 340-pound junior-college star John Jenkins at nose guard next season.

“I think he’ll make an immediate impact,” Grantham said in an interview at halftime of the basketball game.

Grantham wasn’t surprised that Jenkins chose Georgia, but “you never really know until it’s official. We knew he liked us a lot. We knew he felt like this was home. We thought we [showed] him he was needed and how he could fit in.”

Jenkins, who starred the past two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, announced his decision to sign with Georgia at a news conference at his former high school in Connecticut.   UGA confirmed that it has, indeed, received Jenkins’ signed letter of intent.

Grantham said the addition of Jenkins will allow the Bulldogs to …

Continue reading Grantham: John Jenkins will ‘make immediate impact’ on defense … and might play a bit on offense »

Interestingly, Dogs post job opening for defensive ends coach (w/ updated info)

ATHENS — Georgia didn’t waste any time posting the job opening created by Warren Belin’s resignation Thursday as inside linebackers coach. The position was posted Friday on the UGA employment website.

What’s interesting, though, is that the “replacement” position is advertised as a defensive ends coach, not an inside linebackers coach.

From the posting: “This position serves as Assistant Coach in the area of Defensive Ends.”

That would seem to suggest some sort of reshuffling of responsibilities is at least being contemplated on the defensive staff.

Update from an interview Saturday with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham: Georgia “obviously could go a couple different ways” in filling the position, Grantham said.  “We’re basically in the process of looking at it right now,” he said. “We’re going to hire the best person for Georgia and the best fit for Georgia.” But as for the job posting clearly identifying the opening as defensive ends coach, Grantham said: “I wouldn’t put …

Continue reading Interestingly, Dogs post job opening for defensive ends coach (w/ updated info) »

Georgia mascot Uga VIII dies

University of Georgia President Michael Adams places a collar on Uga VIII before the Oct. 16 homecoming game. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

University of Georgia President Michael Adams places a collar on Uga VIII before the Oct. 16 homecoming game. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Uga VIII died Friday, at not quite 17 months old and after only a half-season as the University of Georgia mascot.

The white English bulldog was diagnosed early last month with lymphoma, a common cancer in dogs.

“We all mourn the loss of Uga VIII, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Seiler family at this time,” said Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, referring to the Frank W. “Sonny” Seiler family of Savannah, long-time owners of the Uga line of mascots.

Uga VIII, born Sept. 12, 2009, took over as the Bulldogs’ mascot at the Oct. 16, 2010, homecoming football game against Vanderbilt in Sanford Stadium. He served for the final six games of the regular season but did not travel to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl because of what was thought at the time to be a gastrointestinal condition.

After the cancer diagnosis, Uga VIII …

Continue reading Georgia mascot Uga VIII dies »

A ‘Friend’ as OL coach? Dogs No. 18?

A few quick notes this morning . . .

  • There’s some chatter that Will Friend could become Georgia’s next offensive line coach, although no word — nor indication of imminent word — from UGA. Just in case, here’s a bit of background on Friend:

As an offensive guard at Alabama in the 1990s, he was a four-year starter and a two-time All-SEC player. He was named to Alabama’s Team of the Decade. He has been UAB’s offensive line coach for the past four years and before that was offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb for two years. UAB’s head coach is Neil Callaway, a former offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Georgia. In fact, Friend helped Callaway with Georgia’s offensive line for two years as a graduate assistant.

Continue reading A ‘Friend’ as OL coach? Dogs No. 18? »

UGA assistant coach leaves for NFL

Warren Belin is leaving the Georgia football coaching staff after just one season for the NFL.

Belin, the Bulldogs’ inside linebackers coach, has resigned to accept a position as a defensive assistant coach with the Carolina Panthers, UGA senior associate athletic director Claude Felton confirmed.

Belin, 43, joined the Georgia staff in February 2010 from Vanderbilt, where he coached linebackers for eight years.  A native of Marshville, N. C., and a graduate of Wake Forest, Belin has 20 years of college coaching experience, also having worked at Cornell, East Tennessee State, William & Mary and SMU.

“Warren made some outstanding contributions to our team and program in his year with us,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement Thursday night, “and we wish him the very best in his new role with the Panthers.”

In addition to coaching inside linebackers at Georgia, Belin was in charge of the Bulldogs’ kickoff coverage unit, which ranked first in the SEC last season.

Belin …

Continue reading UGA assistant coach leaves for NFL »

Richt plans Dream Team II

ATHENS –- Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked who first came up with the idea of pitching a “Dream Team” in recruiting.

“I really don’t remember whose idea it was,” he said.

“It was actually yours,” recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said.

“It was my idea?” Richt said. “I didn’t want to take credit [if] someone else thought of it first.”

Georgia built its 2011 recruiting efforts, which culminated with Signing Day on Wednesday, around the high-profile notion of assembling a Dream Team of in-state talent. The Bulldogs wound up signing the state’s top three prospects, four of the top five and eight of the top 12.

The concept of a Dream Team was born almost a year ago as Georgia coaches embarked on what they knew would be a crucial recruiting season in a talent-rich state.

His memory jogged, Richt said: “As you’re looking at the guys you really want the most, you kind of dream about that as a coach, and that’s where I just came up with the idea: ‘This is my Dream Team. This is …

Continue reading Richt plans Dream Team II »

Dogs move a tight end to fullback, are close to hiring offensive line coach

ATHENS –- Three non-recruiting bits of news:

  • 1. Position change. Georgia is moving Bruce Figgins from one of the team’s deepest positions, tight end, to one of its thinnest, fullback.

Figgins, a rising senior, worked some at fullback in Liberty Bowl practices in December, but the plan now is to make him a “fulltime fullback,” coach Mark Richt said Wednesday. “We think that’s going to be a really good move for Bruce,” Richt said.

Georgia returns a wealth of talent at tight end: Orson Charles, the 2010 starter; Aron White, the 2009 starter; and Arthur Lynch, who redshirted last season. Plus, Georgia signed a highly regarded tight end, Jay Rome, as part of its “Dream Team” recruiting class.

The 6-4, 265-pound Figgins figures to get a chance to contribute more at fullback, where the top two players last season -– starter Shaun Chapas and backup Fred Munzenmaier –- graduated.

  • 2. Coaching search. Richt expects to fill the offensive-line coaching position, vacated by Stacy …

Continue reading Dogs move a tight end to fullback, are close to hiring offensive line coach »

Richt calls this recruiting class ‘best bunch’ in his 11 years at UGA (Updated)

Mark Richt and his assistant coaches just wrapped up a visit with the 200 or so fans celebrating Signing Day at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. Some highlights of what the coaches had to say:

  • Richt: “We all know our [2010] season wasn’t the best, and there have been a lot of things we have had to battle — maybe a little bit more than other years when it comes to recruiting. But I really believe that this class will end up being the largest and most talented and the best bunch in the 11 years now.”
  • As for what’s still to come on this Signing Day, Richt said: “We hope we finish as strong as we think we will. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
  • After a fan thanked Richt for his work at Georgia, Richt said:  “The best is yet to come, I can promise you.”
  • Secondary coach Scott Lakatos called Nick Marshall, from Wilcox County, “one of the most amazing athletes we have in this class. . . .  I usually don’t get a chance to coach those kind of guys because they’re usually over on …

Continue reading Richt calls this recruiting class ‘best bunch’ in his 11 years at UGA (Updated) »

Georgia QB-turned-WR Logan Gray to transfer

Georgia quarterback-turned-wide receiver Logan Gray plans to transfer to another school for his final season of football eligibility after graduating from UGA in May.

According to UGA, Gray told coach Mark Richt that he wants to play at an undetermined school closer to his Columbia, Mo., home while pursuing a Master’s degree.  He will complete his bachelor’s degree in speech communication at Georgia this semester.

Gray’s departure means Georgia will head toward the 2011 season without three wide receivers from last season’s team.  A.J. Green left school early to enter the NFL draft, and Kris Durham completed his eligibility.

After redshirting in 2007 and serving as a backup quarterback in 2008 and 2009, Gray competed for Georgia’s starting quarterback job in spring practice last year. He was moved to receiver after Aaron Murray won the No. 1 quarterback job.

Gray considered transferring before the 2010 season but opted to remain at UGA. He played in all 13 games last season, …

Continue reading Georgia QB-turned-WR Logan Gray to transfer »