Archive for June, 2012

UPDATE III: Georgia TB Isaiah Crowell dismissed after weapons arrest

Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell, who rushed for 850 yards as a freshman last season, was expected to start for the Bulldogs this fall.

Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell, who rushed for 850 yards as a freshman last season, was expected to start for the Bulldogs this fall. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

UPDATED: CROWELL DISMISSED FROM TEAM

ATHENS – Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell has been dismissed from the team following his arrest early Friday morning on three weapons charges.

Georgia coach Mark Richt made the announcement in  short news release sent out by UGA Sports Communications at 5 p.m. on Friday.

“We have a dedicated and committed group of men who are working hard to prepare for the coming season,” Richt said. “Our total focus will be directed toward the team and this effort.”

Crowell, a sophomore from Columbus, was booked at 3:37 a.m. on charges of possessing a concealed weapon, having a weapon in a school zone and having an altered ID mark on that weapon. His bond, originally set at $7,500, was raised to $9,500 late Friday morning. According to booking records, Crowell was released early Friday …

Continue reading UPDATE III: Georgia TB Isaiah Crowell dismissed after weapons arrest »

Former Bulldog Jon Stinchcomb happy to walk — not limp — away from football

Counting down the days to their annual "Countdown to Kickoff," former Bulldogs David Greene, Jon Stinchcomb and Matt Stinchcomb gather at Children's Heathcare of Atlanta on Thursday. (Special photo)

Counting down the days to their annual "Countdown to Kickoff," former Bulldogs David Greene, Jon Stinchcomb and Matt Stinchcomb gather at Children's Heathcare of Atlanta on Thursday. (Special photo)

Things are a little different for Jon Stinchcomb this summer. Make that a lot different.

For the past nine years, Stinchcomb has about this time been preparing for the rigors of preseason camp with the New Orleans Saints. Last year the veteran offensive tackle had the added anxiety of doing it in under a cloud of uncertainty and on balky knees to boot.

Nevertheless, he put that aside for one weekend each July to join his brother Matt Stinchcomb and buddy David Greene in hosting the annual Countdown to Kickoff preseason football event in Athens. But he always did so knowing the heat and humility of football was just around the next corner.

Not this year. Jon Stinchcomb is now a 32-year-old retiree. He and wife Ali are what he calls “stay-at-home parents.” They have a 2 1/2 -year old …

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AD Greg McGarity looking for better overall performance from UGA athletics

ATHENS – I had a brief conversation with Greg McGarity yesterday and it was clear to me that the annual all-sports standings are very important to Georgia’s still relatively new AD.

McGarity

McGarity

It was revealed earlier this week that the Bulldogs finished 18th in the annual Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings (formerly known as Sears Cup), presented by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). That was up slightly from 20th last year. I honestly didn’t think much of it and McGarity wanted to know if I was going to write anything about it. I told him I planned to mention it in some upcoming notes but hadn’t planned to do much more with it.

Taking a closer look, I saw that Georgia tallied 833.25 points — third among SEC teams (Florida and LSU were ranked ahead) — and produced five top 10 national finishes in women’s swimming (2nd), women’s tennis (5th), men’s tennis (5th), women’s gymnastics (7th) and softball (9th). Stanford was first in the …

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Video: Will college football playoff grow larger than four teams?

Now that college football has adopted a four-team football, will it grow larger in the future? Eight teams? Sixteen teams? CineSport’s Noah Coslov and Sporting News’ Will Leitch discuss this and potential selection committee members:

Continue reading Video: Will college football playoff grow larger than four teams? »

Video: College football approves four-team playoff

The university presidents and chancellors who oversee the BCS agreed Tuesday, at a meeting in Washington, to introduce a four-team college-football playoff beginning in the 2014 season. Check out this CineSport video for details on the playoff and comments from the chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee:

Continue reading Video: College football approves four-team playoff »

New rules help UGA’s Mark Fox get young hoops Dogs ready for season

Georgia coach Mark Fox feels new rules that allow coaches to work with players over the summer, coupled with a team trip to Italy in August, will help the young Bulldogs develop quickly for next season. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Georgia coach Mark Fox feels new rules that allow coaches to work with players over the summer, coupled with a team trip to Italy in August, will help the young Bulldogs develop quickly for next season. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Got a few minutes with Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox on an SEC teleconference call yesterday. The Bulldogs’ fourth-year coach, coming off a 15-17 season in which they failed earn a postseason tournament bid, sounded upbeat and confident about the prospects for the coming season.

“This is a team I’m looking forward to coaching,” said Fox, who is 50-46 (19-29 SEC)  since coming to UGA from Nevada. “Unlike last year where we had lost so much productivity, this year I think we go in returning a great deal of the previous team and I think we’ll have a group that will certainly be more experienced. As they mature physically and get a little older and work in the weight room, they will also be more physical, which was certainly an issue for us …

Continue reading New rules help UGA’s Mark Fox get young hoops Dogs ready for season »

10 Things: Georgia D-coordinator Todd Grantham hopes to become head coach

Ten Things You Should Know About . . .

TODD GRANTHAM

ATHENS – Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham recently agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Bulldogs that pays him $825,000 a year and keeps him among the highest-paid assistant coaches in the country.

The buyout clause in his contract – $60,000 the first year, $40,000 the second and $20,000 in the third – is waived if Grantham leaves for a head coaching or NFL coordinator’s job. While he insists he is in no hurry to do so, Grantham is not shy about sharing that his ultimate goal is to become a head coach.

Grantham sat down for an interview this past week. Here are 10 things you should know about him:

Happy camper

First, he is clear on how his ambitions mesh with his current job.

“First of all, I like the job I have,” said Grantham, the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator since 2010. “I enjoy being the defensive coordinator at Georgia. I enjoy coordinating and I enjoy football in general. But I …

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10 Things: UGA’s Rodney Garner ‘blessed’ to be part of SEC for 28 years

Big man on campus: Rodney Garner -- aka 'Coach G' -- has been defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgia since 1998, and assistant head coach since 2005. (AJC photo)

Big man on campus: Rodney Garner — aka 'Coach G' — has been defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgia since 1998, and assistant head coach since 2005. (AJC photo)

Ten Things You Should Know About . . .

RODNEY GARNER

Just back from vacation. Following is the second installment in a series profiling all of Georgia’s assistant football coaches. The first one was on defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and ran in print two weeks ago. I’ve now posted it HERE as a blog so you may comment on it if you wish. They will be published weekly between now and preseason camp.

ATHENS – Asked to reflect on his coaching career, Rodney Garner is taken aback when he starts to count up the years and the stops along the way. Georgia’s assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach, Garner is entering his 15th season with the Bulldogs, 23rd as a full-time coach and 28th as an associate of the Southeastern Conference.

“That within …

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Catching up with D.A. Layne, who earns a college degree at 33

When Georgia basketball player D.A. Layne left school early for the NBA draft 11 years ago, he made a promise to two important people in his life.

“I promised my mother and my grandmother that I’d eventually get my degree,” Layne said Thursday. “My grandma passed two years ago, and on her deathbed we spoke again about it, and she really stressed to me that would be one of the proudest moments for her. I promised her again I would.

“A couple of weeks later, I talked to Georgia. I tried to go back to Georgia and graduate, but I would physically have had to go back to Athens and I couldn’t do that at the time. So I transferred my credits to Phoenix and took online courses the past two years.”

Layne, now 33, said he’ll celebrate “one of the proudest moments of my life” Sunday when he receives a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix during the school’s Atlanta campus commencement ceremony at Gwinnett Arena.

Layne, a former Wheeler High standout, played at …

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NCAA releases APR figures; here’s how UGA teams scored

All of the University of Georgia’s sports teams scored well above the NCAA-mandated cutoff in the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures released by the NCAA this afternoon.

A Division I team with an APR score — a four-year measure of the academic eligibility and retention of athletes –  below 930 can face penalties such as reductions in practice time or scholarships if the team also had at least one athlete leave school academically ineligible.  Additionally, a team with a four-year APR score below 900, including 930 or less in the two most recent years included in the calculation, can be declared ineligible for postseason play.

Georgia teams incurred no penalties, all scoring 955 or higher. Two posted perfect scores of 1,000: the men’s golf and women’s gymnastics teams.

The Georgia football team’s four-year APR score was 970, compared to a national average in that sport of 948. The UGA men’s basketball team scored 960, compared to a national average of 950.

Georgia’s …

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Georgia officially names new women’s golf coach

Georgia announced today the hiring of Josh Brewer as head coach of its women’s golf team.

Brewer, an assistant coach for the women’s and men’s golf teams at Southern California since 2008, replaces Kelley Hester, whose contract was not renewed by UGA after five years in the job. Hester last week was named the women’s golf  head coach at Furman.

Brewer, a native of Brownstown, Ind., earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees (in business management and kinesiology, respectively) from Indiana, where he lettered on the golf team from 1994-98. He was an assistant men’s golf coach at Indiana from 2003-08.

Brewer sent a message this afternoon that he is “currently on a plane for first recruiting trip.” He added: “Go Dawgs!”

“Josh has experienced tremendous success at every level of his golf career,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “… We are confident Josh will be able to bring a very high level of experience to our program.”

“I have been blessed to learn under …

Continue reading Georgia officially names new women’s golf coach »

Kelley Hester gets women’s golf job at Furman, Dogs tab USC assistant

ATHENS – Kelley Hester, Georgia’s women’s golf coach for the past five years, didn’t stay unemployed for long. The UGA graduate landed the head coaching job just up the road at Furman, she confirmed Friday.

Meanwhile, it appears that the Bulldogs have tabbed Josh Brewer to replace Hester as the Lady Dogs’ coach. Brewer, 36, has been assistant women’s golf coach at Southern Cal since 2009 and was a men’s golf assistant at Indiana before that. Brewer played golf for the Hoosiers from 1995-98.

Hester was informed by athletic director Greg McGarity on May 31 that her five-year contract, set to expire on June 30, would not be renewed. The decision came as a surprise to many as the Lady Bulldogs finished the season ranked No. 9 in the nation by Golfstat and No. 12 by Golf Week, had two All-Americans and had signed the best player in South America. However, Georgia failed to advance to the NCAA Golf Championships for a third consecutive year.

Hester will begin her new job on July 1 …

Continue reading Kelley Hester gets women’s golf job at Furman, Dogs tab USC assistant »

Georgia Bulldogs sharply focused on 2012 football season

Sorry for the delay in getting some of this out to you guys. Hope you saw my STORY and BLOG from the Pigskin Preview on Tuesday at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon. If not, you can read them HERE and HERE. Meanwhile, here’s more of what was said from the UGA contingent at the Pigskin Preview down in Macon yesterday:

JUNIOR QUARTERBACK AARON MURRAY

On walkon FB Merritt Hall, who is listed as starter heading into summer camp . . .

“He’s a crazy dude, that’s for sure. He reminds me of somebody like Ben Jones in that he’s just a crazy football player that’s dirty and ready to put his head in the pile and just knock people around. That’s the kind of fullback that you want, somebody that’s not afraid of contact, who’s just going to fill that hole and get it open. Whatever linebacker shows up first, he’s taking their head off. I’m excited about it him. I know we have some other guys, Zander [Ogletree] and the guy who just got here who’s a freshman [Quayvon Hicks]. Hicks is a …

Continue reading Georgia Bulldogs sharply focused on 2012 football season »

Bulldogs highlight annual ‘Pigskin Preview’ at Georgia Sports Hall of Fame

MACON – I’ve been down here at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in downtown Macon for the annual Pigskin Preview roundtable with all the football-playing schools in the state. This thing has really grown over the years. There are now 15 college football teams in the state, including Mercer, which won’t play until next year but is now fielding a team of 88 players.

The teams represented were Albany State, Clark Atlanta, Fort Valley State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Georgia Military College, LaGrange, Mercer, Morehouse, Savannah State, Shorter, Valdosta State, West Georgia and UGA.

I had to monitor all of them as the AJC’s only representative here but, for the purpose of this blog at least, I know it’s only Georgia you’re interested in hearing about. So here is a quick, raw rundown of what I saw and heard from the Bulldogs here today:

>>> Junior quarterback Aaron Murray and senior safety Shawn Williams were the player representatives for Georgia. Murray …

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Georgia’s Rodney Garner believes 2012 D-line stacks up with some of his best

Rodney Garner believes Georgia's 2012 defensive line can stack up with some of the best he has coached for the Bulldogs. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Rodney Garner believes Georgia's 2012 defensive line can stack up with some of the best he has coached for the Bulldogs. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner is not one to toss a lot of bouquets, especially in the middle of the summer with actual games still three months from being played. But he can’t suppress his excitement (a relative term here) when it comes to the group set to hold the line for the Bulldogs this fall.

Noseguards Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins, defensive ends Abry Jones and Garrison Smith and backups Sterling Bailey, Ray Drew, Mike Thornton and Cornelius Washington, provide Georgia with the three most important needs of an exceptional D-line — size, athleticism and depth. They also bring some intangibles to the equation, according to Garner.

“I’m proud of these guys. I really am,” Garner said this past week. “I’m proud of the type of young men that the are. I’m proud of the things they …

Continue reading Georgia’s Rodney Garner believes 2012 D-line stacks up with some of his best »

New contract provides glimpse into philosophies of Richt, McGarity

Mark Richt insists he has no plans to do anything other than to coach Georgia for the forseeable future. (UGA photo)

Mark Richt insists he has no plans to do anything other than to coach Georgia for the forseeable future. (UGA photo)

ATHENS — For those of you who are into such minutiae, following are some of more intricate details regarding Mark Richt’s new five-year contract. That is followed by a Q&A with Richt from his teleconference call Thursday night with reporters and some left-over comments from athletic director Greg McGarity.

Obviously the primary media focus was on the lowered buyouts of the new agreement, both for Georgia and for Richt. Richt’s $2 million minimum penalty for leaving was waived and Georgia’s per-season payout for dismissing Richt was cut 66 percent after the 2013 season.

But McGarity was positively defiant that this was not some kind of omen that a parting of ways is imminent (as Georgia’s competitor’s will surely claim). He insisted it is his general philosophy that an established coach who has been successful at a high level should not be …

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Georgia D-coordinator Todd Grantham gets 3-year, $2.475 million deal (updated)

Todd Grantham's Georgia defense finished fifth in the nation in total yardage surrendered this past season. (UGA photo)

Todd Grantham's Georgia defense finished fifth in the nation in total yardage surrendered this past season. (UGA photo)

Updated with quotes from Grantham and more contract details . . .

ATHENS – Georgia’s Todd Grantham went from being the second-highest paid defensive coordinator in the country to the fourth-highest paid D-C in the SEC despite receiving a hefty raise and a three-year contract extension from the Bulldogs on Friday.

UGA released a draft of the newly-amended, 29-page contract contract per an open records request Friday morning. According to it, Georgia is going to pay Grantham $825,000 a year over the next three years to coordinate the Bulldogs’ defense. That represents a raise of $75,000 a year.

But because the market for defensive coordinators has been so active in the past year, Grantham actually fell back in the pack slightly in the SEC. Alabama’s Kirby Smart ($950,000) and LSU’s John Chavis ($900,000) received salary increases after last season and …

Continue reading Georgia D-coordinator Todd Grantham gets 3-year, $2.475 million deal (updated) »

Mark Richt finally gets contract extension, and so does Greg McGarity

ATHENS – On the day that Georgia football coach Mark Richt’s protracted contract extension was finally finalized, the Bulldogs took steps to make sure that Greg McGarity remained their athletic director beyond that.

As expected, Richt received a new five-year contract that will extend his agreement with Georgia through the 2016 football season. The new deal — in the works since the second week of this past December — was announced during a special meeting of the Georgia Athletic Association’s executive board, which convened via teleconference call Thursday evening.

What wasn’t expected was UGA President Michael Adams’ announcement that the board had also approved his motion for a two-year contract extension for McGarity through December of 2017. McGarity, Georgia’s AD since August of 2010, also received a salary increase from $460,000 to $500,000 in 2012 and $550,000 in 2013 and beyond.

“I’ve watched him make some tough personnel decisions this spring and …

Continue reading Mark Richt finally gets contract extension, and so does Greg McGarity »

UGA’s Todd Grantham gets involved on front end of recruiting process

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham loves the recruiting aspect of college coaching, and the Bulldogs have benefited from that. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham loves the recruiting aspect of college coaching, and the Bulldogs have benefited from that. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS -- For the most part, I stay out of recruiting these days. The AJC’s Michael Carvell does an outstanding job of taking care of that. But it’s hard not to notice the positive impact Todd Grantham has had on Georgia’s recruiting.

What is somewhat unusual is how intensely Grantham is involved in recruiting despite being a defensive coordinator. Oftentimes, coordinators reserve their involvement until late in the process. That’s because they have so much responsibility with regard to game-planning and lineups and the like. But since he arrived in Athens three years ago, Grantham has been as active on the recruiting trail as he has been in the meeting room, and he does it on the front end.

Outside linebacker/defensive-end types such as Sterling Bailey, Ray Drew, Josh Dawson, Josh Harvey-Clemons and …

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Levi Hyams drafted by Braves, Kyle Farmer says no to Yankees (updated)

ATHENS – Georgia senior second baseman Levi Hyams was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 19th round of the Major League Baseball draft on Wednesday. He’s the second Bulldog picked in this year’s draft by the Braves — sophomore left-hander Alex Wood was chosen by them in the second round on Tuesday — and the eighth overall, including five signees.

Hyams

Hyams

“I feel very fortunate to be drafted, and I was very excited when I got the news,” said Hyams, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Oceanside, Calif. “The past four years have been the greatest of my life and I have no regrets. I know my stats were not as good this season, but when I came back for my senior year, it was because I wanted another year with the boys and Coach [David] Perno and to be at UGA. I felt like all those were positives, and I really appreciate everything Georgia and the program did for me, and the friendships I’ve made.”

Junior shortstop Kyle Farmer also was drafted Wednesday, going to the New Yankees …

Continue reading Levi Hyams drafted by Braves, Kyle Farmer says no to Yankees (updated) »

UGA’s Alex Wood thrilled to be drafted by Atlanta Braves (updated)

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM WOOD . . .

ATHENS – I talked to Georgia pitcher Alex Wood this evening. The Bulldogs’ crafty left-hander was drafted in the second round by our own Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Georgia left-hander Alex Wood recorded the lowest ERA by a starter (2.73) since 1989 as a sophomore this past season. (UGA photo)

Georgia left-hander Alex Wood recorded the lowest ERA by a starter (2.73) since 1989 as a sophomore this past season. (UGA photo)

First, here’s some quick thoughts from Wood, who was at home with friends and family when the Braves selected him with the 85th pick overall.

General thoughts . . .

“I’m extremely excited. I think it worked out great. I couldn’t be in a better place, so I’m definitely excited to get started.”

On whether he was a Braves fan growing up . . .

“My main team was actually the Mets, which is kind of funny now. I watched the Braves a lot growing up, but my dad is actually from Long Island, so that’s my roots to the Mets. But I’ve been a bigger Braves fan since I got into school. All my friends are braves fans so it’s hard not to be one once you get to …

Continue reading UGA’s Alex Wood thrilled to be drafted by Atlanta Braves (updated) »

Jordan Jenkins, other new Bulldogs start adjustment to college football life

Jonathan Taylor and Jordan Jenkins pose for their first photo as roommates at the University of Georgia on Tuesday. (Jenkins family photo)

Jonathan Taylor (L) and Jordan Jenkins pose Tuesday for their first photo as roommates at the University of Georgia. (Jenkins family photo)

ATHENS – It has been an emotional couple of days for Ronald Jenkins and his wife Phyleshia. But they have a good attitude about it.

Of dropping off his son Jordan Jenkins at UGA this week and leaving him behind to try to fulfill a dream, Ronald Jenkins quipped, “Well, our grocery bill will be considerably less.”

That’s true. But the reality is, it is a watershed moment for players and parents when these kids start their college football careers. It’s exciting and nerve-racking for both. And the process the Jenkins are going through is being repeated about 14 times over early this week. That’s how many new Bulldogs are showing up to begin classes by Friday and off-season workouts sometime next week.

Three of Georgia’s 19 signees enrolled in January and have been with the team for six months now. Two others …

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Georgia-Auburn game is safe, SEC goes with 6-1-1 schedule format

DESTIN, Fla. — The SEC completed its annual spring meetings Friday with votes aimed at preserving rivalries in regular-season football and maintaining the conference’s clout in the postseason.

The league, soon to consist of 14 schools, overwhelmingly approved a football scheduling format that will keep the 120-year-old Georgia-Auburn game intact annually.

But after siding with history on that vote, the presidents of the SEC schools bucked tradition by unanimously endorsing a national four-team football playoff.

The SEC’s support of the proposed playoff came with a caveat that will be contentious in negotiations with other conferences. The SEC wants the nation’s top four teams in the playoff field, a position at odds with other leagues — the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and Big East — that want to give preferential treatment to conference champions.

After producing the past six national champs and placing two teams in last season’s BCS title game, the SEC is adamant that as many of its …

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UGA fires Kelley Hester as women’s golf coach

ATHENS – Georgia women’s golf coach Kelley Hester has been dismissed by athletic director Greg McGarity.

Hester

Hester

Hester, 38, said she met with McGarity on Thursday in Athens. An official announcement from UGA will come Friday afternoon.

“My contract was up and he didn’t renew it,” Hester said Friday morning. “He just said he didn’t have the confidence in me to lead the program in the direction he felt like it should go.”

Hester, who played for the Bulldogs from 1992-96, was the head coach at Arkansas for five years before accepting Georgia’s offer to return to her alma mater. Her first signee was Marta Silva Zamora of Spain, who became just the second four-time All-American in UGA history and was the 2011 National Player of the Year. Hester helped produce 11 All-Americans during in time in Athens. She signed Manuela Carbajo Re, the top-ranked junior in South America, earlier this year.

However, Georgia failed to advance out of regionals and on to the NCAA Championships in each …

Continue reading UGA fires Kelley Hester as women’s golf coach »