Archive for May, 2011

Over-signing update: SEC coaches prefer to stick with current 28 rule

Destin, Fla. — Georgia football coach Mark Richt was obviously uncomfortable with the position he’s been placed in here at the SEC Spring Meetings. Fairly or unfairly, the perception is he has become the face of opposition for over-signing.

That’s not entirely accurate, he said, though he does favor any limits that prevent student-athletes from being wronged in the scholarship process.

“First of all, I think everybody should have a right to manage their own numbers,” Richt said before going into the football coaches meeting Tuesday. “I think every university should he able to do that. All I’ve said is if you sign 25 guys and there’s only room 20 and, after summer, you have to tell two or three of them they have to wait until January and they’re shocked, I don’t think that’s right. . . .

“That’s all I’ve ever said about it. I’ve never accused anybody of anything.”

Football coaches and athletic directors here are discussing a “roster management package” that could place further …

Continue reading Over-signing update: SEC coaches prefer to stick with current 28 rule »

‘Over-signing’ just one issue to be addressed at SEC Meetings

Destin, Fla. – Greetings from the Emerald Coast. I’m covering the SEC Spring Meetings this week at the Sandestin Hilton. It’s the yearly gathering of the league’s presidents, athletic directors and coaches.

It’s expected to be an eventful week. Perhaps you’ve heard a thing or two about something called “over-signing?” Well, they’re supposed to introduce legistlation here this week that will outlaw that practice and address other issues regarding “roster management,” including grayshirting and midyear and summer enrollment.

But that’s not all. There are several proposed changes for men’s basketball, including the elimination of divisions from the tournament seeding process and expanding the conference schedule to 18 or more games. And other stuff. Here’s a link to a summary of topics expected to be discussed over the next four days.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get an audience with Georgia coaches Mark Richt and Mark Fox later this morning. Why don’t you let me know if there …

Continue reading ‘Over-signing’ just one issue to be addressed at SEC Meetings »

Diamond Dogs get 3 seed, open NCAA Tournament in Oregon

David Perno has led Georgia to six of its 10 NCAA Tournament bids, including the one the Bulldogs received Monday. They'll play in Corvallis, Ore.

David Perno has led Georgia to six of its 10 NCAA Tournament bids, including the one the Bulldogs received Monday. They'll play in Corvallis, Ore.

Athens — The Georgia Bulldogs received an NCAA tournament bid as expected on Monday. That they’ll have to travel all the way across the country to play is but a minor hindrance.

After playing the nation’s most difficult schedule, the resilient Bulldogs (31-30) were rewarded with a three seed in the Corvallis, Ore., Regional during the Road to Omaha Selection Show on Monday. Georgia will open against No. 2 seed Creighton (44-14). Two-time national champion Oregon State (38-17) is the top seed and Arkansas-Little Rock (24-32) is No. 4.

The Bulldogs won three games — including two against Top 5 teams Florida and South Carolina — at the SEC Tournament in order to meet the selection committee’s criteria of finishing with an over-.500 record. There was some speculation that, with 16 wins over Top 25 teams and a No. 16 RPI, Georgia may …

Continue reading Diamond Dogs get 3 seed, open NCAA Tournament in Oregon »

Rewind: Diamond Dogs take care of biz in Hoover, await NCAA selection

THE MONDAY MORNING REWIND:

The NCAA’s Division I baseball selection show, aka “The Road to Omaha,” will air at noon today on ESPN. Sometime shortly after that the Georgia Bulldogs will learn their postseason fate.

Some might think their overall record — 31-30 — may be cause for concern. But those who have followed this process closely for many years say the Dogs have nothing to worry about today.

Georgia players gather around injured center fielder Jonathan Taylor before Saturday's first game against Florida in the SEC Tournament. (AP photo)

Georgia players gather around injured center fielder Jonathan Taylor before Saturday's first game against Florida in the SEC Tournament. (AP photo)

“The Bulldogs are a lock,” said Jim Callis, managing editor of Baseball America and an authority on college baseball. “They have the toughest strength of schedule in the country, the 16th-best RPI and they were the fourth-best team in the SEC, behind three of the top overall teams in the nation. The only thing they had to worry about was finishing over .500, and they pulled out three straight wins to do it. They’ll probably be a No. 3 …

Continue reading Rewind: Diamond Dogs take care of biz in Hoover, await NCAA selection »

Johnathan Taylor expected to attend Georgia-Florida baseball game at SECs

Georgia did it again. The Bulldogs won their second game in a row at the SEC Tournament, this time knocking off top-seeded South Carolina 4-2 in the third round on Friday.

The Bulldogs (30-29), who lost on the tournament’s first day, will face elimination for a third time this afternoon (about 1 p.m. or so) against Florida, which they’ll have to beat twice to reach the championship game.

Georgia has to win today’s game in order to meet the NCAA tournament’s criteria of finish with an over-.500 record. Of course, you knew it would come down to this right? It was only logical in the sadistically difficult season that has been 2011 for the Bulldogs. You knew they’d push it to the absolute brink.

They’ll definitely have motivation on their side. The Gators (43-15) are a Top 5 team and already assured of postseason play. Plus, Georgia is expecting to receive a visit from injured center fielder Johnathan Taylor. Paralyzed and wheelchair-bound since an early-season outfield …

Continue reading Johnathan Taylor expected to attend Georgia-Florida baseball game at SECs »

Georgia football coach Mark Richt has full support of Adams, McGarity, athletic board

Georgia AD Greg McGarity (L) and President Michael Adams will have the most to say about coach Mark Richt's future as the Bulldogs' football coach. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia AD Greg McGarity (L) and President Michael Adams will have the most to say about coach Mark Richt's future as the Bulldogs' football coach. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

St. Simons Island — Truth or fiction, reality or perception, the general thought on Georgia football is that this is a critical season for head coach Mark Richt. Virtually every preseason story that has been written on the Bulldogs so far, has placed Richt on the proverbial “hot seat.”

But there are only a handful of people whose opinions really matter on this subject, chiefly UGA President Michael Adams and Athletic Director Greg McGarity.

It is them, and to some degree the Georgia Athletic Association executive board gathered here at the King & Prince Resort this week, that will ultimately decide Richt’s fate. So I asked them how they felt about things.

“First of all, the guy that has the most to say about it is the AD,” said Adams, presiding over the board’s annual end-of-the-year meeting here the …

Continue reading Georgia football coach Mark Richt has full support of Adams, McGarity, athletic board »

UGA athletic board approves ticket price increase for Georgia-Florida game, other stuff

St. Simons Island — Unless you’ve been following me on Twitter @ajcuga — and you really should — you haven’t heard much from me this morning. That’s because I’ve been covering the annual spring meetings of the Georgia Athletic Association’s executive and full board all day.

They finally adjourned for lunch and golf. Me? Well, after wolfing down a chicken sandwich I get to sit down and let you know what all happened in the Butler Room at the historic King & Prince Resort.

In two words — nothing historic.

The biggest news of the day was probably the board’s approval of Athletic Director Greg McGarity’s recommendation to increase the price of individual tickets for the annual Georgia-Florida football game in Jacksonville.

Ticket prices — which McGarity points out have been the same for the last five years — were raised from $40 to $60 for regular seats and $70 to $100 for club level seating for the 2012 season. Florida’s athletic board approved the same increase at its fall …

Continue reading UGA athletic board approves ticket price increase for Georgia-Florida game, other stuff »

Mark Richt says decision to sell Lake Hartwell property was Christian motivated

Mark Richt said the decision of sell his second home on Lake Hartwell was in order to be able to give more to the less fortunate. (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

Mark Richt said the decision of sell his second home on Lake Hartwell was in order to be able to give more to the less fortunate. (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

I had to laugh earlier today when a colleague at work pointed out that the independent blog “SportsByBrooks” was reporting that Mark Richt had placed his Lake Hartwell home up for sale.

Predictably, “Brooks” — aka freelance journalist Brooks Melchior, 43, of Los Angeles — makes the leap that Richt selling off his property surely must mean that Richt is in real trouble as the head football coach of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Writes Brooks: “Normally, I don’t subscribe to a coach putting a home up for sale as a sign of anything, but in this case, it might be applicable. . . . Richt doesn’t strike me as a guy out to flip houses, so I think it’s reasonable to surmise that last year’s 6-7 record — and the subsequent outcry emanating from Athens — may have something to do with the coach making over his real estate portfolio.”

I …

Continue reading Mark Richt says decision to sell Lake Hartwell property was Christian motivated »

Ten@10: Mark Richt says Will Muschamp’s Florida victory guarantee ‘a good thing’

Mark Richt has been receiving warm welcomes on the annual Bulldog Club tour, which stopped in Albany Tuesday night. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mark Richt has been receiving warm welcomes on the annual Bulldog Club tour, which stopped in Albany Tuesday night. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Football coach Mark Richt was speaking again Tuesday night, this time down in Albany on the latest stop of the Bulldog Club tour. Gentry Estes of Dawgs247.com was on the scene and asked Richt about two things specifically: (1) Had he heard the remarks of Florida coach Will Muschamp guaranteeing a Gator victory in Jacksonville in late October? (2) And what’s this stuff about Ken Malcome being listed fourth team behind Caleb King, Carlton Thomas and walkon Brandon Harton on the recently-released post-spring depth chart?

On Question 1, Richt said he was “notified immediately by plenty of people” of Muschamp’s remarks. As for his reaction to it, Estes reports Richt said with a smile, “I thought that was a good thing.”

As for Harton being ahead of Malcome, Richt said: “It’s just the way we saw it. We just laid the …

Continue reading Ten@10: Mark Richt says Will Muschamp’s Florida victory guarantee ‘a good thing’ »

Longtime UGA assistant and Auburn football star Jim Pyburn dies (UPDATED)

Jim Pyburn was one of the first "bonus babies" of the 1950s, getting $48,000 up front from the Baltimore Orioles in 1955. (Photo from Auburn Athletics)

Jim Pyburn was one of the first "bonus babies" of the 1950s, getting $48,000 up front from the Baltimore Orioles in 1955. (Photo from Auburn Athletics)

Athens – Most people around Georgia remember Jim Pyburn as the fiery assistant coach who loyally served Vince Dooley for 16 seasons and was defensive coordinator Erk Russell’s right-hand man.

Loran Smith remembers that, too. But he also remembers the young, athletic Jim Pyburn who was one of the most successful two-sport stars in college athletics. Not only was Pyburn an All-America end at Auburn, but he was one of the best professional baseball prospects of his era.

“Jim was one of the first ‘bonus babies’ of the 1950s,” said Smith, resident sports historian for UGA. “He was given a $48,000 bonus when he was 19 years old in 1955. But what they did back then was they made those guys ride the bench with the major-league club for two years. Consequently, a lot of those guys never made it.”

Pyburn played for three years with the …

Continue reading Longtime UGA assistant and Auburn football star Jim Pyburn dies (UPDATED) »

Georgia football releases preseason depth chart

Georgia just released it’s post-spring depth chart on Monday afternoon. There were virtually no surprises, though in some areas such as offensive line is becomes very apparent how severe the lack of depth is. Two walk-ons are among the two-deep there.

Following is the entire list. Let’s hear your thoughts . . .

2011 GEORGIA PRE-SEASON DEPTH CHART

(starters in bold)

OFFENSE

SE 15 Marlon Brown (6-5, 222, Jr.)

82 Michael Bennett (6-3, 208, RFr.)

28 Israel Troupe (6-1, 222, Sr.)

19 Michael Erdman (5-10, 191, RFr.)

85 Greg Lanier (6-1, 189, Sr.)

25 Rhett McGowan (6-0, 190, RSo.)

18 Evan Wells (6-1, 174, Fr.)

LT 71 Cordy Glenn (6-5, 348, Sr.)

67 Hugh Williams (6-5, 254, RFr.)

LG 72 Kenarious Gates (6-5, 328, So.)

75 Kolton Houston (6-5, 291, RFr.)

64 Dallas Lee (6-4, 300, RSo.)

C 60 Ben Jones (6-3, 316, Sr.)

58 Ben Reynolds (6-2, 255, RSo.)

RG 68 Chris Burnette (6-2, 313, RSo.)

73 Brent Benedict (6-5, 312, RFr.)

RT 79 Justin Anderson (6-5, 342, Sr.)

74 Austin Long (6-5, 304, …

Continue reading Georgia football releases preseason depth chart »

Jake Scott: Hall of Famer verifies motorcycle ride over Coliseum, rift with Vince Dooley

Q&A WITH JAKE SCOTT

The legendary and often misunderstood Jake Scott took time out from his busy fishing-and-traveling-the-world schedule to be interviewed via conference call this past Friday. The occasion for this rare media opportunity was Scott’s recent selection to be inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame. The actual induction ceremonies will take place in December at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Jake Scott laughs during halftime ceremonies last year when he was included in the Miami Dolphins' Hall of Honor. (Photo by the South Florida Sun Sentinel).

Jake Scott laughs during halftime ceremonies last year when he was included in the Miami Dolphins' Hall of Honor. (Photo by the South Florida Sun Sentinel).

Scott, a native of Greenwood, S.C., who played football for Georgia from 1966-68, was an All-SEC and All-America safety and kick returner for the Bulldogs. He still holds the school record for career interceptions with 16, which he collected in the only two seasons he was eligible for the Bulldogs, 1967-68. Freshmen were ineligible to play in 1966 and he …

Continue reading Jake Scott: Hall of Famer verifies motorcycle ride over Coliseum, rift with Vince Dooley »

Rewind: Georgia baseball soldiers on to SECs after disappointing weekend

Coach David Perno's Diamond Dogs head to the SEC Tournament needing at least three wins to earn an NCAA regional bid. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Coach David Perno's Diamond Dogs head to the SEC Tournament needing at least three wins to earn an NCAA regional bid. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

THE MONDAY MORNING REWIND

It’s official. The 2011 Georgia Bulldogs are the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking team in the history of college baseball.

OK, I can’t actually verify that. But suffice it to say these boys have been put through the ringer this season.

Case in point: This weekend’s series against Vanderbilt. Needing to win at least two of three games against the nation’s No. 3-ranked team, the Bulldogs instead lost two to the Commodores. And they did it in the most excruciating manner possible.

On Thursday, Georgia pulled off a stunning come-from-behind 5-4 victory behind the stellar pitching of Michael Palazzone and some gritty work at the plate. That got the Bulldogs two games above .500 and offered hope for an advantageous weekend.

On Friday, the Diamond Dogs fell behind early but fought back to trail 4-3 midway …

Continue reading Rewind: Georgia baseball soldiers on to SECs after disappointing weekend »

Palazzone leads Diamond Dogs to 5-4 win over No. 3 Vanderbilt

Athens – In the biggest game of the year, Michael Palazzone came up with his biggest game.

After getting knocked around for three runs in the second inning and another in the third, Georgia’s talented right-hander settled down and pitched nearly flawlessly the rest of the way as the Bulldogs came from behind to defeat No. 3 Vanderbilt 5-4 at Foley Field.

Palazzone threw 62 pitches in the first three innings but just 54 over the final six frames. Only six of those were balls as be retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced.

“That was as good as I’ve seen him all year,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “To rebound and do what he did against a team like Vanderbilt was unbelievable.”

The Bulldogs were counting on him. Normally Georgia’s second-game starter in SEC series, Perno elected to move up Palazzone to the first day in order to break their streak of poor SEC starts – they’d lost the first game in the last five conference series – and set the pitching for the rest of the …

Continue reading Palazzone leads Diamond Dogs to 5-4 win over No. 3 Vanderbilt »

Dogs to open 2013-14 football seasons against Clemson

Athens — Georgia will open the 2013 and 2014 football seasons against Clemson.

The Bulldogs will play Clemson at Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31, 2013, then face the Tigers at Sanford Stadium on Aug. 30 the following year. It will be the first games in this storied rivalry since 2003.

Georgia and Clemson agreed to play in 2013-14 several years ago but just recently settled on the opening dates for those seasons, according to UGA spokesman Claude Felton.

Georgia has played Clemson 62 times — more than any other non-conference opponent other than Georgia Tech — and leads the series 41-17-4. The Bulldogs have won the last five games between the two.

UGA’s other non-confererence home games in 2013 are against North Texas and Appalachian State. They get Charleston Southern and South Alabama in ‘14.

In other scheduling news Thursday the Georgia basketball team announced it will play host to Cincinnati on Dec. 2 as part of the Big East-SEC Challenge.

“Cincinnati will certainly prove to …

Continue reading Dogs to open 2013-14 football seasons against Clemson »

Video: Staying healthy, avoiding off-field trouble are Bulldogs’ offseason priorities

I’ve been asked to do these video updates with Cinesport from time-to-time here. In this one Noah Coslov asks me about the offensive line post-A.J. Harmon and off-the-field issues. As you’ll note, there’s a reason I’m a writer and not a television reporter. But let me know what you think anyway. . . .

Continue reading Video: Staying healthy, avoiding off-field trouble are Bulldogs’ offseason priorities »

Ten@10: Richt says Isaiah Crowell must master pass protection to be ‘full-time back’

Isaiah Crowell will have to do more than run the ball well to play extensively as a freshman, coach Mark Richt said. (Photo by The Ledger-Enquirer reprinted with permission)

Isaiah Crowell will have to do more than run the ball well to play extensively as a freshman, coach Mark Richt said. (Photo by The Ledger-Enquirer reprinted with permission)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia coach Mark Richt, speaking at a UGA Alumni Association event in Gainesville on Tuesday, reiterated that true freshman Isaiah Crowell will likely be a big part of the Bulldogs’ running game this season. But he also cautioned that Crowell will have to compete with Caleb King and the other tailbacks and that his ability to master pass protection would dictate how much he’s able to play.

“Backs have responsibility to protect on certain blitzes,” Richt said. “If one guy doesn’t know how to do it, he’s a liability at that moment. Can you turn and hand the guy the ball or toss it to him on a sweep or throw him a screen? You can do all those things and he doesn’t have to block anybody. But to constantly pull him in and out of the game every time you’re going to throw the ball with a …

Continue reading Ten@10: Richt says Isaiah Crowell must master pass protection to be ‘full-time back’ »

UGA’s Mark Richt vague on A.J. Harmon, concerned about O-line

Gainesville – Georgia coach Mark Richt didn’t shed any more light on the sudden departure of A.J. Harmon on Tuesday, but he acknowledged that his loss was yet another blow to a precariously thin offensive line.

Richt was here at the Gainesville Civic Center to speak at a “UGA Day” alumni gathering. Beforehand he spoke with reporters about Harmon, a junior offensive tackle from Jefferson County who left the program Tuesday for “personal reasons.”

Asked if he could expound on the reason for Harmon’s departure, Richt quipped, “No, that’s why you say it’s personal reasons. That’s all I can tell you about that. I wish him the best. Good kid.”

Harmon (6-5, 320), a rising junior, projected as a possible starter at right tackle and was going to be at least a primary backup at both right and left tackle. Coupled with the loss of starting left tackle Trinton Sturdivant to a season-ending knee injury and other injury issues, the Bulldogs’ situation on the offensive line is potentially …

Continue reading UGA’s Mark Richt vague on A.J. Harmon, concerned about O-line »

Offensive lineman A.J. Harmon leaving UGA for “personal reasons”

Rising junior A.J. Harmon is leaving the Georgia football team for “personal reasons,” according to UGA’s sports communication office.

Harmon

Harmon

Harmon, who projected as a potential starter at right tackle for the Bulldogs, intends to “transfer to another institution,” according to a very brief new release distributed Tuesday. No other information was immediately available. However, Harmon’s departure coincides with the completion of UGA’s spring semester. Harmon had to sit out the Liberty Bowl last December due to an academic-related suspension.

Neither Harmon nor head coach Mark Richt could be reached for comment.

J.B. Arnold, Harmon’s coach at Jefferson County High School, also has not talked to Harmon but desperately wants to.

“He called me one day last week and said he was leaving Georgia and that’s all I know,” Arnold said Tuesday. “I told him that we needed to sit down and talk before he did anything, but I haven’t heard from him since.”

Harmon signed with Georgia as a …

Continue reading Offensive lineman A.J. Harmon leaving UGA for “personal reasons” »

Elusive UGA legend Jake Scott selected for induction into College Hall of Fame

Jake Scott had 16 interceptions in two seasons at Georgia, which is still a UGA record. (UGA photo)

Jake Scott had 16 interceptions in two seasons at Georgia, which is still a UGA record. (UGA photo)

Jake Scott is going into the College Football Hall of Fame. It’s about time.

The former University of Georgia All-America safety (1966-68) and Super Bowl MVP for the Miami Dolphins was officially selected for induction on Tuesday. He becomes the 16th UGA player or coach to be so honored.

Rumor has it that they tried to induct Scott before but could not reach him. Claude Felton, Georgia’s director of sports communications, doesn’t think that’s true.

But Felton knows better than anybody how hard Scott can be to get hold of. Notably absent from UGA’s news release announcing Scott’s induction was any comment from Scott.

“We weren’t able to get in touch with him,” Felton told me Tuesday. “He’s gone to another island or something. But he knows he’s being inducted.”

Scott has lived on the western-most point of the western-most island of Hawaii, Kauai, since 1982. There he has been …

Continue reading Elusive UGA legend Jake Scott selected for induction into College Hall of Fame »

NG John Jenkins working hard in preparation of June arrival at UGA

John Jenkins signs his letter-of-intent to attend Georgia as his mother Maryanne Baker looks on. (Photo by Scout.com)

John Jenkins signs his letter-of-intent to attend Georgia as his mother Maryanne Baker looks on. (Photo by Scout.com)

John Jenkins has heard the rumors and, quite frankly, he’s not too happy about them.

The big nose guard from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, who was one of the most heralded members of Georgia’s 2011 signing class, is presently back home in Meriden, Conn., getting ready to join the Bulldogs this summer. But even up there in what he describes as a very intensely focused environment, he has been hearing the scuttlebutt that an apparent academic snafu had jeopardized his eligibility at UGA.

“Yeah, I don’t know exactly where that came from,” Jenkins said Tuesday. “Everything is good. Everything is straight. I’ll be there in June. All it is is rumors. I don’t know where it starts. Regardless, I’m going to be playing against Boise State and that’s all I’m thinking about right now.”

Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 360-pound JUCO All-American, is expected to be a big …

Continue reading NG John Jenkins working hard in preparation of June arrival at UGA »

Rewind: Diamond Dogs drop two but slip into SEC Tournament

MONDAY MORNING REWIND:

It was a weekend of good news and bad news for the Georgia baseball team. The bad news is it lost two-of-three to Kentucky and watched its ace pitcher get rocked for the second consecutive week. The good news is the Bulldogs managed to pull out a hard-fought 7-6 win on Sunday and qualified for the SEC Tournament in the process.

The berth into the eight-team conference tournament was especially critical, for it is now Georgia’s only realistic path into postseason play. The Bulldogs are 26-26 overall with four regular-season games to play. They still have a relatively strong RPI — No. 25, according to Monday morning’s projections — but have to finish at least a game above .500 to be considered by the NCAA selection committee. Now at least there is always the chance of getting on a roll in Hoover.

“I’m very proud of the team, I’ve never felt better about winning just one game in a series, but we had to have this one for a lot of reasons including clinching …

Continue reading Rewind: Diamond Dogs drop two but slip into SEC Tournament »

UGA Mailbag: Special seasons, academic eligibility and ‘walk-up songs’

mailbag(1)THE MAILBAG

Here we are in mid-May and all I got was football questions. Well, that’s life in The Dirty South, right? . . .

JAWJeRDAWG asks: If we can get some continuity out of both the OL and secondary, do you think UGA could have a special year in 2011?

Chip: I’ve been covering college sports for 25 years and I can tell you in all certainty that anything is possible.

First of all, I believe continuity on the offensive line is one of the big factors that determine success in college football. Georgia has already been hit there with the loss of Trinton Sturdivant. But I think they’re actually OK up front if they can stay somewhat settled and develop a little more depth there between now and Game One.

Secondary, in my opinion, is more a product of how you play in the front seven. Left un-pressured and/or un-confused, SEC quarterbacks and receivers can simply shred defenses at this level. I think Year Two in coach Todd Grantham’s system and the infusion/development of new …

Continue reading UGA Mailbag: Special seasons, academic eligibility and ‘walk-up songs’ »

Ten@10: Freshman TB Isaiah Crowell won’t inherit experienced O-line like Dyer, Lattimore

Marcus Lattimore ran behind an experienced offensive line as a freshman at South Carolina last season. (AP photo)

Marcus Lattimore ran behind an experienced offensive line as a freshman at South Carolina last season. (AP photo)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. With Washaun Ealey’s departure, the inevitable questions about whether Isaiah Crowell can match the freshman performances of last year’s star SEC tailbacks are in full force. But while Crowell’s high school accolades — nation’s No. 1-rated running back, 10-plus yards per carry — are similar to South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Auburn’s Michael Dyer, they had something Crowell will not have: An experienced and intact offensive line.

Auburn had the best offensive line in the country, starting four seniors and a junior, including All-American tackle Lee Ziemba. They paved the way for Dyer (1,093 yards) and run-first quarterback Cam Newton (1,473). South Carolina brought back four returning starters last season when Lattimore came in and rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Georgia’s offensive line this season will be a comparative …

Continue reading Ten@10: Freshman TB Isaiah Crowell won’t inherit experienced O-line like Dyer, Lattimore »

Washaun Ealey: ‘I want to be a premier back’ and not ‘have to share backfield’

Washaun Ealey has not returned my phone calls seeking comment but Gentry Estes over at Dawgs247.com was able to talk to him. Here’s a link to that report (registration required).

Ealey

Ealey

Ealey told Estes that the decision to transfer was as much his as it was Georgia’s and that the main reason he wanted to leave was not having to share carries with Caleb King, Carlton Thomas, Ken Malcome and, of course, incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell.

“I’m a person where I want to be a premier back,” Ealey told the website. “If I was to play here, I would have had to share the backfield with Caleb and Carlton also. Then they were going to try to give the freshman Isaiah his chance. He probably was going to get some carries at the beginning of the year too. I just felt like I didn’t want to be in that mix of things anymore.”

Ealey said the decision to leave “was best for me” and that he does not have a destination yet.

“I just wasn’t feeling the vibe, I guess,” he …

Continue reading Washaun Ealey: ‘I want to be a premier back’ and not ‘have to share backfield’ »

With Washaun Ealey’s departure, heat’s turned up on Caleb King, not Isaiah Crowell

Caleb King has averaged more than five yards per carry the last two seasons but has struggled with injuries and suspensions. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Caleb King has averaged more than five yards per carry the last two seasons but has struggled with injuries and suspensions. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

A lot of people may feel like the pressure was turned up on incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell when Georgia and tailback Washaun Ealey decided to part ways this week. I disagree.

As a five-star prospect and the No. 1-rated running back prospect in America, much already was expected of Crowell. And no matter how you slice it, he’s still a true freshman. He’s going to be given the latitude of the learning curve, at least in the early going. He’s not going to be expected to know everything and to do everything just right.

No, if you ask me the heat has been turned up on Caleb King.

King is the fifth-year senior. By default, he is the incumbent starter at tailback.

As such, King is supposed to have the playbook mastered at this point. He should be as proficient a pass blocker as he is a ball carrier. At 23 years old, he’s …

Continue reading With Washaun Ealey’s departure, heat’s turned up on Caleb King, not Isaiah Crowell »

UGA starting TB Washaun Ealey granted unconditional release by Bulldogs (UPDATED)

Washaun Ealey led the Bulldogs with 811 yards rushing and 11 TDs as a sophomore last season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Washaun Ealey led the Bulldogs with 811 yards rushing and 11 TDs as a sophomore last season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Athens – Can a team lose its leading rusher and actually become a better team?

The Georgia Bulldogs are about to find out. They granted Washaun Ealey — their starting tailback and an 800-yard rusher last season — his unconditional release on Monday.

The announcement was made in a vague, three-paragraph news release distributed by the UGA Sports Communication office Monday night. It was characterized as a mutual decision.

“Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks,” head coach Mark Richt said in the release. “We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest.”

Georgia officials confirmed that Ealey is academically eligible to play next season. Ealey could not be reached for comment so his next destination is unknown.

Ealey’s mother, Joanne Ealey, said she was unaware of this latest …

Continue reading UGA starting TB Washaun Ealey granted unconditional release by Bulldogs (UPDATED) »

UGA golfer Russell Henley beats the pros, passes on the bucks

Russell Henley was not interested in the $99,000 that went with this trophy. (Photo by Al Kooistra reprinted with permission)

Russell Henley was not interested in the $99,000 that went with this trophy. (Photo by Al Kooistra reprinted with permission)

MONDAY MORNING REWIND

Athens — Russell Henley did something Sunday that has been done only one other time in the history of the Nationwide Tour. The University of Georgia senior beat a field full of professional golfers to win the Stadion Classic at UGA golf tournament.

Henley shot a 3-under-par 68 — his third consecutive round in the 60s on the University of Georgia golf course — to best pro Troy Kelly by two strokes and take home the first-place trophy.

He did not, however, take home the $99,000 first prize. Playing as an amateur, he wasn’t eligible for it. In fact, with his 16th-place finish in the U.S. Open last year, that’s at least $213,480 in professional prize money

With the win, Henley does have 60 days to decide if he wants to join the Nationwide Tour and play under “tournament winner” status for the remainder 2011 season. To that Henley also said no thanks.

“They talk about how much money you can make playing pro golf, but I’ve never played golf to win money,” …

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Mailbag: Big John Jenkins, Diamond Dogs, O-line and what about ‘Boo?’

mailbag(1)THE MAILBAG:

CBB1 asks: I read your story about the Georgia baseball team and its chances of making the NCAA tournament. My question is, has an at-large team has ever gotten in with a losing record?

Chip: I turned to my old friend Jim Callis of Baseball America for this (Jim and I went to college together and worked alongside each other at the school newspaper). As luck would have it Jim had recently answered a question on this specific subject for the “Ask BA” feature he does for his publication. Interestingly, the question came to him from Stephen Hartzell of 960 The Ref’s “Morning Show” fame, so clearly it’s on a lot of folks’ minds.

Anyway, Callis said the NCAA informed him that an over-.500 record is a requirement for making the NCAA tournament field of 64. Since the field expanded from 48 to 64 teams in 1999, only two teams have made the NCAA playoffs with a record of just one game over .500: UCLA (30-29) in 1999 and Houston (29-28) in 2001. Both teams received No. 3 …

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Ten@10: Lindsay Scott weighs in on ‘Valdosta boys,’ A.J. Green, NFL lockout

THE TEN AT 10:

1. OK, you asked for it, so now you’ve got it. The “Ten@10″ has been resurrected here on The UGA Blog. I haven’t decided yet whether it will be a regular feature or, if so, when or how often it might run. But there’s a lot of stuff going on at Georgia right now, so it seemed a good time to blow off the dust and break it back out here. Let’s see how it goes. . . .

Lindsay Scott (24) knows a little something about catching and running. (Special photo from UGA)

Lindsay Scott

2. I got to spend a little time with Georgia football legend Lindsay Scott over at the UGA Golf Course on Monday.  The star receiver from the Bulldogs’ 1980 national championship team was looking fit and in great spirits before teeing off in the “Celebrity Am” for the Stadion Classic tournament.

Scott has lived and worked in Valdosta pretty much ever since retiring from pro football. So, like anybody else living in “Winnersville,” he has kept up with high school football. So I asked him what he thought about the two players Georgia signed from down there, Malcolm Mitchell and Jay …

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