Archive for April, 2012

Hines Ward: State players needn’t go anywhere but UGA

Hines Ward laughs after Mike Bobo's chip shot rolls off the green during Monday's Stadion Classic Celebrity Pro-Am at UGA Golf Course. (Audrey Brees, Jackson-Spalding)

Hines Ward laughs at one of Mike Bobo's shots during Monday's Stadion Classic Celebrity Pro-Am at UGA Golf Course. (Audrey Brees, Jackson-Spalding)

ATHENS — When it comes to preparing yourself for the NFL, there’s no better place to learn the trade than at Georgia.

At least that’s the opinion of Hines Ward, a 14-year NFL veteran, former Super Bowl MVP and UGA grad. Ward was at the UGA Golf Course on Monday to participate in the Celebrity Pro-Am for the Stadion Classic at UGA Nationwide golf tournament.

It’s just one of several trips Ward has made to visit his alma mater since announcing his retirement from professional football in March.

“I always love coming back to Athens and I always want to help the University of Georgia any way I can,” said Ward, who was playing in a group with Mike Bobo and some UGA boosters. “It’s great to play golf here, especially after Bubba [Watson] won The Masters. It’s great to be able to play with guys you played with like Mike Bobo, and it’s …

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Saturday a day of redemption for as six more Bulldogs go in NFL draft

Brandon Boykin's kick-returning skills -- the is one of three 100-yard returns he had -- figure to benefit him greatly with the Philadephia Eagles. (AP photo)

Brandon Boykin's kick-returning skills — the is one of three 100-yard returns he had — figure to benefit him greatly with the Philadephia Eagles. (AP photo)

Saturday represented “redemption day” in the NFL draft for a few Georgia Bulldogs.

Brandon Boykin and Orson Charles both projected as higher draft picks than when they were finally chosen in the fourth round. Charles, a tight end from Tampa who had a year of eligibility remaining, had to wait until the Cincinnati Benglas took him with the 116th pick overall early Saturday afternoon. Boykin, a defensive back and kick returner out of Fayetteville, went seven picks later to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Both were all-conference selections and highly-productive football players at Georgia, only to see their NFL stock devalued before the draft.

Charles had already been hurt by poor workouts when he was arrested for DUI in Athens on March 9. Boykin suffered a broken leg in the midst of an impressive performance in the Senior Bowl …

Continue reading Saturday a day of redemption for as six more Bulldogs go in NFL draft »

UGA’s Cordy Glenn ‘excited, relieved’ to be selected 41st in draft by Bills

Cordy Glenn's decision to return to Georgia his senior season to play left tackle made him a lot of money in the NFL draft on Friday. (UGA photo by Phillip Faulkner)

Cordy Glenn's decision to return to Georgia his senior season to play left tackle made him a lot of money in the NFL draft on Friday. (UGA photo by Phillip Faulkner)

Georgia’s Cordy Glenn had to wait a lot longer than he expected – longer than anybody expected really – but he realized his lifelong dream of becoming a professional football player Friday night.

Glenn, an offensive lineman from Riverdale, was selected by Buffalo with the ninth pick of the second round and 41st overall on Friday. The 6-foot-5 ½, 348-pound tackle was one of 26 players invited by the NFL to Radio City Music Hall in New York for Thursday night’s festivities only to go un-drafted. Glenn returned to Atlanta on Friday and it was back at home where he got the news that the Bills had selected him.

“I am happy,” Glenn said on the Buffalo Bills website. “One, I get to play left tackle and, two, Buffalo is one of my favorite teams. I am just happy I get to play football. I know where I am playing at now. It …

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Q&A: Daugherty Award recipient Dooley busier than ever as retiree

“Retired” is a misnomer for Vince Dooley. There was the late-April trip to Italy with wife Barbara, which was very retired-like. But then there was also the last half of this past week:

A speaking gig at a “Planned Giving” luncheon at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta on Wednesday; a consulting appointment at Kennesaw University Wednesday afternoon; the Athletes for a Better World awards gala at the Fox Theatre Wednesday night; a Thursday trip to East Lansing, Mich., to accept the Duffy Daugherty Award for lifetime achievement at Michigan State University; a Friday drive to Anniston, Ala., to speak at the Anniston Botanical Gardens and Museum; a Saturday book signing followed by attending the UGA Terry College of Business alumni gala. Then, on Sunday, Dooley will appear at the Atlanta Braves game for the annual presentation of the Vince Dooley Awards and Scholarships.

So while Dooley is technically retired from his 40-year vocation as UGA’s football coach and athletic director, …

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UGA football: Some questions answered, others linger for Bulldogs

The best thing about spring for Georgia coach Mark Richt, here jogging off the field after the G-Day Game, is the Bulldogs escaped without a single serious injury. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The best thing about spring for Georgia coach Mark Richt, here jogging off the field after the G-Day Game, is the Bulldogs escaped without a single serious injury. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

ATHENS – Georgia wrapped up its spring practice with a surprisingly exciting G-Day Game on April 14, won by the offense-oriented Red team 32-31 over the Black.

But, truthfully, there is really not much anyone can take out of a spring scrimmage. Did the offense look good or was the defense bad, etc.? Georgia coach Mark Richt probably put it all in perspective the best when he talked this week about the Bulldogs’ spring accomplishments.

“The most exciting thing for me might have been the fact that no one had an injury that would last more than a week or two after spring ball,” Richt said. “Right now the entire team should be healthy beginning in June to go through the entire off-season program. So if we don’t have any setbacks this summer, when we roll into camp it might be the first …

Continue reading UGA football: Some questions answered, others linger for Bulldogs »

Georgia lands legacy Houston Kessler as final signee of 2012 hoops class

We now know who was Georgia’s “Plan B” to Tony Parker.

Houston Kessler, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward out of Landmark Christian School in Fairburn, signed with the Bulldogs on Tuesday night and faxed in his signed letter-of-intent Wednesday morning, his coach confirmed.

“They have been watching him since his sophomore year,” Landmark Christian coach Chip McAllister said via email. “They have always really liked him. He had a huge year this year and as the season wore on things just fell into place.”

Kessler is a UGA legacy, the son of former Georgia basketball player Chad Kessler and the nephew of the late Alec Kessler, who starred for the Bulldogs’ 1990 SEC championship team. Kessler averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds as a senior at the Class A private school and finished as Landmark’s career scoring leader at 1,600 points. The War Eagles have gone 39-16 over the past two seasons, including a 20-8 mark in 2012 that was capped by a Round of 16 showing in the Class A state …

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Missouri’s Gary Pinkel expects ‘mammoth’ atmosphere for Georgia game

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel expects a raucous atmosphere for the school's first SEC game against Georgia on Sept. 8.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel expects a raucous atmosphere for the school's first SEC game against Georgia on Sept. 8.

Georgia fans have often asked me what awaits the Bulldogs when they visit Missouri on September 8th. Well, I’ve never been to Columbia, Mo., either. But I know the Tigers and their fans will be especially fired up for their first SEC game in history.

Here’s what Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel thinks:

“It will be mammoth here. Our fans are so excited about being a part of the SEC. That being the first game is going to make it a big, big, game here. People are talking about it already; rarely do they ever do that. They understand we’re playing a great Georgia team. We understand that. When we switched leagues, that enthusiasm really for that game and from our fanbase in general has been remarkably positive for us.”

Pinkel was taking part in his first SEC teleconference call on Tuesday. Thirteen of the 14 coaches — Arkansas’ new guy, John L. Smith, wasn’t due to be …

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Georgia ‘peaking at right time’ after capturing 34th SEC tennis title

The Georgia Bulldogs and coach Manny Diaz just added more SEC hardward to their crowded trophy case. (UGA photo)

The Georgia Bulldogs and coach Manny Diaz just added more SEC hardware to their crowded trophy case. (UGA photo)

Georgia is good in tennis. Everybody knows that. But sometimes it’s hard to truly appreciate the level of success the Bulldogs enjoy in that sport.

Georgia’s men’s team captured their 34th SEC championship this past weekend in Starkville, Miss. Just let that number wash over you for a few seconds. Then think about this one: The title was the 14th for coach Manny Diaz. That’s one more than the legendary Dan Magill, for whom Georgia’s vast tennis complex is named.

“Last night on the bus ride home it kind of hit me — I mean, 34, my Lord,” said Diaz, still groggy after rolling in at nearly 2 a.m. Monday. “It’s a lot of championships and just a whole lot of guys who made it happen. And I was thinking about Coach Magill. In my mind, this was for him.”

Magill, 91, was Diaz’s coach at Georgia and Diaz served as his assistant for many years.

As it often has, Georgia’s …

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Gym Dogs still making transition to Life After Yoculan

Following a legend such as Suzanne Yoculan, who won 10 national championships, has proven difficult Georgia gymnastics coach Jay Clark. (AJC photo)

Following a legend such as Suzanne Yoculan, who won 10 national championships, has proven difficult Georgia gymnastics coach Jay Clark. (AJC photo)

Suzanne Yoculan reflects on her early years as Georgia’s gymnastics coach and laughs. She is best known today for her 10 national championships at UGA but she was known for a lot of other things when she started out in the mid-1980s.

“I used to throw shoes across the room,” Yoculan says incredulously. “I would take my shoe off and wing it across the room at a girl because I was mad at her for something. I’m not kidding. I learned a lot those first few years.”

Yoculan shared that experience to illustrate how much there is for young coaches to learn. Yoculan points out that her successor at Georgia, Jay Clark, is also a young coach and is having to learn on the job. For that reason, she said, fans need to be patient with him.

“He hasn’t taken his shoe off and thrown it across the room,” Yoculan quipped, “so already he’s doing better …

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Mark Richt defends UGA’s disciplinary policies, actions of players

Georgia coach Mark Richt found himself defending UGA's disciplinary policies in his first stop on the UGA Days speaking tour Tuesday night in Augusta. (UGA photo)

Georgia coach Mark Richt found himself defending UGA's disciplinary policies in his first stop on the UGA Days speaking tour Tuesday night in Augusta. (UGA photo)

Georgia coach Mark Richt has spent a lot of time this spring talking about discipline and I’ve spent a lot of time writing about it. I’ve filed a dozen stories on the subject already in 2012, including THIS ONE about drug-testing and UGA’s philosophies on crime and punishment.

So it should come as no surprise to learn that discipline dominated the discussion Tuesday night in Augusta when Richt and other UGA coaches and administrators spoke at the first stop on the annual “UGA Days” tour across the Southeast. Addressing of crowd of more than 200 supporters, the first question/comment received was from a man complimenting him on the handling of disciplinary matters, even though it has resulted in the dismissal and/or suspensions or eventual suspensions of at least seven football players.

Richt thanked the man, then …

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Tailback Ken Malcome is on track for success with Bulldogs

Georgia's Ken Malcome has embraced his role on the team as a power runner who 'can carry the load.' (UGA photo by Rob Saye)

Georgia's Ken Malcome has embraced his role on the team as a power runner who 'can carry the load.' (UGA photo by Rob Saye)

ATHENS – This past summer, Ken Malcome said he hoped Georgia fans would call him by his hometown nickname of “Boo.” Less than a year later, Malcome has put the kibosh on that.

“I actually kind of stopped that,” Malcome said this past week. “Next year if I have a good year, I’ll let people call me that. I figured I haven’t done anything so I don’t deserve to be called Boo yet. I’ve told everybody just to call me Ken for now.”

Silly as it may seem, such a proclamation is just another sign of the tremendous growth in maturity the Bulldogs are observing in Malcome. The soon-to-be redshirt sophomore from Decatur started at tailback for the No. 1 offense in the G-Day Game this past Saturday. Not even six months before that, Malcome sat in coach Mark Richt’s office informing him of his intention to transfer due to a lack of playing time and general …

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Bubba Watson not only Bulldog burning it up in pro golf

Russell Henley hoist the winner's trophy after winning last years Stadion Classic at UGA Nationwide Tournament while still an amatuer. (Photo by Robert Matre reprinted with permission)

Russell Henley hoist the winner's trophy after winning last years Stadion Classic at UGA Nationwide Tournament while still an amatuer. (Photo by Robert Matre reprinted with permission)

ATHENS – It’s good to be a “Dawg” these days. At least that’s what former members of the UGA golf team are saying.

Three of them were back on campus on Monday as part of media day for the Stadion Classic at UGA. The annual Nationwide Tour event on the UGA Golf Course is set to tee off May 3-6. Defending champion Russell Henley – who won last year’s tournament while still a senior at Georgia – Hudson Swafford and Richard Scott are now Nationwide regulars and are back to play again. Scott, who played on the Bulldogs’ 2005 national championship team, is also a Nationwide player and accepted a sponsor’s exemption from the Stadion on Monday.

They represent a small part of what has been a really big year in pro golf for the Bulldogs. You may recall that 2000-2001 UGA letterman Bubba Watson recently …

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Backups come up with play of game as Red edges Black 32-21 in G-Day Game

Sophomore tailback Isaiah Crowell showed good form for the Red team during Saturday's G-Day Game at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Sophomore tailback Isaiah Crowell showed good form for the Red team during Saturday's G-Day Game at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

G-DAY GAME REPORT
By CHIP TOWERS & TIM TUCKER

Reuben Faloughi slapped the ball loose from quarterback Parker Welch and outside linebacker Ricky Lowe snatched it out of the air in mid-stride and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown.

“Ricky Lowe making a play,” Georgia coach Mark Richt marveled afterward. “That was awesome!”

Executed with just 1:40 left in the fourth quarter, that proved to be the game-winning play as Lowe’s Red team held on to defeat the Black 32-31 before 44,117. Made by one former and one current walkon, it was AJC Play of the Day for G-Day.

“That was more contact on the quarterback than we’ve had all spring,” Richt said with a laugh. “ . . . But the ball got hit, pops up and Ricky made a play and takes it to the house.”

That play represented one half of a surprisingly exciting ending to an otherwise dull …

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It’s Red vs. Black as UGA’s annual G-Day gets underway

ATHENS – Greetings from Sanford Stadium on an absolutely gorgeous Saturday afternoon. It’s 75 degrees and there isn’t a cloud in the sky that I can see from the South side press box.

The teams just came on the field to start their warmups for the 3 p.m. start. The Red Team, featuring the No. 1 offense, is dressed in red jerseys. The Black Team, featuring the No. 1 defense, is in white jerseys. If you’re unable to be here for the game, you’ll be able to watch a television replay at 5 p.m. this evening. In the meantime, the Georgia Bulldog Radio Network is broadcasting the game so check your local networks to listen in.

There’s been a lot going on in Athens all day. The baseball team is playing Ole Miss up at Foley Field. There was a fundraiser for Kasyn Olivadotti — the 4-year-old daughter of UGA linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti — who is battling Leukemia (check the Kasyn Cares Fund at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to see what you can do). And there was a flag football game …

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Georgia’s Murray, Jones, Jenkins garner MVP awards for spring practice

Athens – Georgia on Friday released its annual list of spring football practice awards.

Highlighting the list was most valuable player awards for quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason on offense and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and noseguard John Jenkins on defense. Also, for the second year in a row, offensive lineman Kolton Houston came away with the coveted “Coffee County Hustle Award.” He shared it this year with defensive end Garrison Smith and walkon wideout Michael Erdman.

Here’s the full list:

  • MVP (offense) – Aaron Murray, QB, Tampa, Fla.; Hutson Mason, QB, Marietta, Ga.
  • True Grit Award (offense) – Arthur Lynch, TE, Dartmouth, Mass.
  • Coffee County Hustle Award (offense) – Kolton Houston, OG, Buford, Ga.; Michael Erdman, SE, Merritt Island, Fla.
  • Most Improved Player (offense) – Ken Malcome, TB, Decatur, Ga.
  • Outstanding Walk-On (offense) – Merritt Hall, FB, Alpharetta, Ga.
  • MVP (defense) – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Columbus, Ga.; John Jenkins, NG, Meriden, Conn.
  • True …

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Richt gets big laugh out of Spurrier’s latest jab

Athens – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was in midseason form when he talked to ESPN’s Chris Low in a wide-ranging spring practice interview this week in Columbia.

The barbs were flying for the Gamecocks’ outspoken coach, and both Georgia and defending national Alabama were zinged in the process.

Asked about having to play the Bulldogs in October now rather than in the second game of the season under the previous schedule, Spurrier couldn’t resist taking a shot.

“I don’t know, I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended,” Spurrier said.

Informed of Spurrier’s remarks after Georgia’s practice Thursday evening, coach Mark Richt just laughed.

“How ’bout that; I think that that’s funny,” Richt said after a hardy chuckle. “That sounds like Steve.”

What makes it particularly funny is Spurrier has been so lax on discipline. His previous quarterback Stephen Garcia was suspended five times …

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Perception of Bobo varies greatly between fans, coaches

Georgia's offense has actually increased its production under the guidance of coordinator Mike Bobo.

Georgia's offense has actually increased its production under the guidance of coordinator Mike Bobo.

ATHENS – Mike Gottfried says Georgia fans should be careful what they wish for with regard to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. The long time college football analyst predicts Bobo likely will be leaving the Bulldogs sooner than they think  — and it won’t be under the circumstances they might expect.

“They won’t have him long,” said Gottfried, a sportscaster and former head coach at Pittsburgh and three other college programs. “He will be a head coach real soon. Coach Bobo is a great human being and a great coach and he’s going to be a great head coach some day, without any doubt.”

Gottfried’s comments illustrate g the disjoint there is between fans’ perceptions the job Bobo is doing and what people inside the business think.

To a large contingent in the Bulldog nation, he is “Bobo the Buffoon” and “Mike Boo-Boo.” He’s characterized in fan forums and chatrooms as a dimwit who …

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Defensive-minded Black Team favored over Red as G-Day rosters revealed

ATHENS – Georgia finally released its rosters for the G-Day Game late Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Basically the Black Team is the defensive team and the Red Team is the offensive team. The No. 1 units for those respective sides of the ball are represented and they’re stacked even deeper at certain positions. Accordingly, expect the Black, with two All-Americans and 10 returning starters, to be favored to win.
  • Quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason are both on the Red team, as well as tailbacks Isaiah Crowell and Ken Malcome and every standout wide receiver. The starting offensive line, as cited by position coach Will Friend earlier this week, is wearing red — LT Kenarious Gates, LG Dallas Lee, C David Andrews, RG Chris Burnette, RT Kolton Houston.
  • The Black team features the entire starting defense and includes newly minted cornerback Malcolm Mitchell. However, Mitchell is expected to have to sit out due to a recent hamstring pull.
  • Noseguard Kwame Geathers …

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Marc Deas: ‘It was blessing I was able to come back’

ATHENS – In his head, Marc Deas had moved on. All that was left was for him was  to decide betweenUCF or Georgia Southern.

But then the sophomore defensive back from Kissimmee, Fla., went to a cookout this past weekend and everything changed.

“I was away from the team for about a week and I went to a cookout and I was really enjoying the time with my teammates and stuff,” said Deas, who had informed coach Mark Richt on March 31 he wanted to transfer. “They were talking about the scrimmage and how everything was going. I really enjoyed my time with them and there was a bunch of laughs and smiles and that’s when I realized this is where I need to be.”

On Monday, Deas met with Richt and asked if he could return to the team. Richt reinstated Deas and the the 6-foot-1, 197-pound strong safety returned to practice for the first time in 11 days on Tuesday.

“He told me a couple of stories about how he can relate from him at Miami and his brother and the Air Force,” Deas said of Richt. …

Continue reading Marc Deas: ‘It was blessing I was able to come back’ »

Joe T: Georgia strength program ‘better off’ with hires of Thomas, Armstrong

Georgia head strength coach Joe Tereshinski (center) introduces assistants Sherman Armstrong (L) and John Thomas.

Georgia head strength coach Joe Tereshinski (center) introduces assistants Sherman Armstrong (L) and John Thomas.

ATHENS — Three weeks after hiring two major additions to his staff, Georgia strength and conditioning director Joe Tereshinski sat down before reporters on Tuesday to explain his motives and detail his plans.

Tereshinski, 58, took over the Bulldogs’ strength program in January of 2011 after serving as an assistant strength coach and video coordinator for the previous 29 years. After losing three of his assistants since the end of the 2011 season — a fourth will be departing for another job soon — Tereshinski brought in John Thomas from Penn State as senior associate director and Sherman Armstrong from Tampa as an assistant and speed specialist.

“The University of Georgia was very fortunate to get John Thomas to come down from Penn State, where he was the head strength coach for the last 20 years,” Tereshinski said. “I feel like I pulled off the biggest coup ever …

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Sophomore safety Marc Deas has change of heart, returns to Bulldogs

Georgia is fortunate to have gotten safety Marc Deas back into the fold to shore up depth in its depleted secondary. (UGA photo by Perry McIntyre Jr.)

Georgia is fortunate to have gotten safety Marc Deas back into the fold to shore up depth in its depleted secondary. (UGA photo by Perry McIntyre Jr.)

ATHENS – Georgia redshirt sophomore safety Marc Deas has decided to return to the Bulldogs.

Deas told coach Mark Richt he was quitting to seek a transfer on March 31. However, Deas remained enrolled at UGA and apparently has had a change of heart. UGA spokesman Claude Felton confirmed via email early Tuesday afternoon that Deas asked the coaching staff for a chance to return.

“[Deas] has had a change of heart and will be remaining with the Bulldogs,” Felton wrote.

That’s good news for Georgia, which has been decimated in the secondary due to other transfers and disciplinary suspensions. Senior cornerback Sanders Commings is suspended for the first two games of the season as discipline for an offseason arrests. Senior Branden Smith, the other starting corner, is also expected to be suspended after his arrest last mongth for …

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Ten@10: More changes ahead for UGA’s strength & conditioning, recruiting

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia is about to have another change within its strength and conditioning program. Rex Bradberry, who has served in one capacity or another in that department since 2002, is leaving UGA after accepting a position as a strength and conditioning specialist for the U.S. Army. Bradberry, 29, will be training Special Forces troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Bradberry

Bradberry

“I can’t go into much detail other than I will be handling all their physical training,” said Bradberry, who has already signed a contract but is awaiting security clearance. “I’ll be preparing those teams for battle and hopefully will prevent them from injury and help them save their lives. I’ll also be working with the ‘Wounded Warrior’ project. I’m doing a rehabilitation program for them to help bring them back to a more functioning way of life.”

Bradberry will be a civilian contractor and is not enlisting. He actually signed the contract two weeks ago but was told his security clearance …

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UGA’s Haack ‘exhausted with jubilation’ after watching Bubba Watson win Masters

UGA golf coach Chris Haack (middle) with UGA alums Angie and Bubba Watson during the UGA Stadion Classic in Athens in April 2011. (Photo by Bulldawg Illustrated)

UGA golf coach Chris Haack (middle) with UGA alums Angie and Bubba Watson during the UGA Stadion Classic in Athens in April 2011. (Photo by Bulldawg Illustrated)

ATHENS – Bubba Watson wasn’t the only one shedding tears of joy after the UGA graduate tapped in a one foot putt to win the 76th Masters golf tournament. One hundred miles away, Georgia golf coach Chris Haack and his longtime assistant Jim Douglas ended up in a tearful embrace in the living room of Haack’s Bogart home.

Haack, Douglas, some of Georgia’s current and former players and some extended family from Roanoke, Va., gathered there to watch the final round of the Masters on Easter Sunday. With Watson, a 2000-2001 Bulldog letterman, starting the day three shots off the lead, it began as a casual hope-fest. But when Watson bagged victory on the second playoff hole, it ended in a full-fledged bark-a-thon.

“It was pretty intense; it was crazy; a great time,” said Haack, his voice still hoarse and raw with emotion an …

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Practice update: Keith Marshall, Richard Samuel, Shawn Williams likely out for G-Day

ATHENS – Georgia fans have lost one of their best reasons to come to the G-Day Game next Saturday.

Keith Marshall, the highly-touted tailback out of Raleigh, has been effectively scratched from the lineup due to a hamstring injury suffered a week ago. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound midyear enrollee was unable to practice again Saturday as the Bulldogs conducted their second scrimmage of spring practice. Coach Mark Richt said the window is almost shut on him being able to play in the annual spring game.

“I would say the chance of Keith going is probably not very good,” Richt said. “Right at this minute I’d say he’s doubtful.”

That’s a shame because all spring reports on Marshall had been very positive.

“You can tell why he was the No. 1 running back in the country,” senior receiver Tavarres King said. “That kid is impressive.”

Said running backs coach Bryan McClendon: “Just a super guy, just very conscientious. He’s smart. He’s a sharp kid who wants to to do well at everything. …

Continue reading Practice update: Keith Marshall, Richard Samuel, Shawn Williams likely out for G-Day »

Video: Can Bulldogs overcome attrition and is there excitement about Missouri?

Here’s a little video chat I did earlier today with Noah Coslov of Cinesport about Georgia’s spring football practices. He asks me about how the Bulldogs are handling suspensions and attrition, how much excitement there is about the Missouri game and whether Mark Richt is feeling any pressure this year. . . .

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OG Kolton Houston drawing praise of coaches, players

ATHENS – Georgia is in the midst of a major rebuilding effort on the offensive line with only two returning starters. But there is at least one relative newbie who is showing a lot of promise.

Kolton Houston, a sophomore from Buford, had to sit out this past season because of an “NCAA eligibility issue.” That issue is expected to be resolved before next fall and there are strong indications the 6-foot-5, 291-pounder will be among Georgia’s starting five for the season opener.

“We’re expecting Kolton to be a good player for us this year,” offensive line coach Will Friend said. “He’s a good athlete, he’s got good strength, he can run well. He’s probably the best athlete of the guards that we’ve got, to be honest with you. If he can continue to get tougher and continue to improve, he’s going to be a good player for us.”

Interview requests for Houston continue to be denied. But his teammates on the line don’t mind talking him up.

“Kolton Houston, I’ve always been high on him,” …

Continue reading OG Kolton Houston drawing praise of coaches, players »

D-line provides hope, stability for Georgia’s defense

The return of John Jenkins at noseguard gives Georgia's defense reason for hope. (UGA photo by Jim Hipple)

The return of John Jenkins at noseguard gives Georgia's defense reason for hope. (UGA photo by Jim Hipple)

ATHENS – We know that Georgia will be missing a lot of pieces from its defense in the early going this coming season. But the Bulldogs won’t be missing some primary parts in the middle and that’s a big thing.

Pun intended.

Big John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers are back to man the middle from the noseguard position this fall. Not only are they present and accounted for this spring — by all accounts, they’ve managed to avoid the suspension bug that has been going around – but they’ve been playing at a high level.

“John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers are really, really coming on,” Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. “I’ve got to stay onto them about fundamentals and about steps, pad level, hand placement and just little things. . . . We may not be quite there, but I’ve been very, very, pleased with both kids.”

It can’t be overstated how important it is to have a …

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Will Friend: Georgia’s O-line needs to be more physical, better on assignments

I’ve had a lot of folks asking me about how the offensive line has looked so far. I had a chance to interview line coach Will Friend this past week on just that subject. Following are some of his observations so far:

Q: Who has had the best spring?

A: [Kenarious] Gates has had a good spring so far. We’re not far in it yet, but he’s had the best spring. The rest of the guys need to elevate like he’s done so far.”

Q: What’s the main improvement you’re looking for?

A: “Number one, with this group being younger, your offensive line has to be physical. That’s where your team gets its physicality from. I think they’ve got to be able to improve that part of it. Last year’s group, when they came to the park they were physical. That was the big thing they brought and that goes a long way as games go on. This group needs to be tougher, to play more physical, to be better on assignments. . . . And, of course, we’ve got to find some people we can count on.”

Q: Looks like junior guard …

Continue reading Will Friend: Georgia’s O-line needs to be more physical, better on assignments »

Georgia’s Katrina McClain joins Teresa Edwards in Naismith Hall of Fame

Congratulations to former Georgia star and U.S. Olympian Katrina McClain, who learned Monday she’s heading to the Naismaith Basketball Hall of Fame. Here’s the report from New Orleans filed by UGA’s Sports Communication office. . . .

McClain

McClain

Katrina McClain, Georgia Basketball’s first-ever National Player of the Year in 1987 who went on to become a three-time U.S. Olympian, has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall’s Class of 2012 was announced on Monday in New Orleans in association with the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

“It’s always good to feel like you’re part of a family,” McClain said at the ceremonies. “Knowing from the past, my best friend Teresa Edwards was inducted last year, she talked about how great the Naismith family is and how great the people from the Hall of Fame treat you. This is a wonderful feeling and I feel so honored.”

McClain’s basketball resume is as distinguished as virtually any player in women’s basketball history. She …

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TE Jay Rome stands out in Bulldogs’ first scrimmage of spring

ATHENS – Georgia held its first formal scrimmage of the spring Saturday at Sanford Stadium. And while the defense dominated as it has been throughout, there were some positive signs for the offense.

Namely, Jay Rome.

The redshirt freshman tight end from Valdosta got loose for two touchdowns, including a leaping grab in the corner of the end zone that had coaches and players buzzing long after the two-hour scrimmage concluded.

“It was pretty acrobatic,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He had to kind of turn his body and reach back and snag it. He landed off his feet and the ball didn’t come out.”

Rome’s other touchdown came on a 30-yard pass from Hutson Mason down the middle of the field, a la Orson Charles.

“I ran a little seam route up the middle,” Rome recounted. “I don’t know if it was a broken coverage or what but I looked up and there was nobody in the middle and I just reached up and caught the ball and jogged in. There was nobody around.”

But it was the short touchdown …

Continue reading TE Jay Rome stands out in Bulldogs’ first scrimmage of spring »