Archive for September, 2012

Video: Vanderbilt gets Bulldogs’ full attention after last year’s postgame skirmish

Following is yet another installment of my weekly “Back Porch Chats” with the video folks at CineSport. This week it was Tara Petrolino asking me what the storylines are for the No. 5-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (3-0), who play host to Vanderbilt (1-2) on Saturday night at Sanford Stadium (7:45 p.m., ESPN2). . . .

Continue reading Video: Vanderbilt gets Bulldogs’ full attention after last year’s postgame skirmish »

Notebook: Defensive numbers not what Georgia expected

ATHENS — Forty-sixth, 42nd, 57th and 43rd.

That’s Georgia’s national rank in scoring defense (21.0 ppg), total defense (345.3ypg), rushing defense (145.3 ypg) and pass defense (200 ypg), respectively, heading into Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.

It’s safe to say that’s not where the Bulldogs expected to be at this point of the season, especially when two of their first three opponents happened to be Buffalo and Florida Atlantic. They came into the season nine starters returning from a unit that finished fifth in the nation in total defense last year.

But the Bulldogs’ defenders remain confident and prefer to point instead to the number in the team’s win column.

“Me personally, I know how good we are,” junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “Some of the numbers that y’all see, I know they’re not the greatest and they’re not like they were last year, but it’s still early. We haven’t done a lot on defense as far as a lot of our packages and stuff like that. So …

Continue reading Notebook: Defensive numbers not what Georgia expected »

Nomination of Georgia QB Aaron Murray to Allstate AFCA Good Works team is a big deal

Among Aaron Murray's many volunteer service activities has been to participate in the annual ESP (Extra Special People) pageant. Georgia's quarterback was named to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works team because of his community service activism. (Photo by Bulldawg Illustrated)

Among Aaron Murray's many volunteer service activities has been to participate in the annual ESP (Extra Special People) Big Hearts Pageant. Georgia's quarterback was named to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works team because of his community service activism. (Photo by Bulldawg Illustrated)

If you were reading Tuesday’s football notebook closely — and all the way to the end — you may have noticed that Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works team. I know at least some of you read it because I heard from you.

A few folks thought I was burying good news at the bottom in the “Etc.” section of the notebook. That certainly was the not the intention. The fact is, I got word of Murray’s accomplishment kind of late in the day after all my interviews at the weekly news conference had been conducted — including a session with Murray — and I was committed to a lot of other news items by then. UGA’s actual news release on the Good Works award …

Continue reading Nomination of Georgia QB Aaron Murray to Allstate AFCA Good Works team is a big deal »

No regrets for Todd Grantham: Vandy game ‘was heated, but no big deal’

Georgia defensive end Ray Drew (47) holds back defensive coordinator Todd Grantham from going after Vanderbilt coach James Franklin at the end of last year's game in Nashville.

Georgia defensive end Ray Drew (47) holds back defensive coordinator Todd Grantham from going after Vanderbilt coach James Franklin at the end of last year's game in Nashville.

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS -- Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Tuesday expressed no remorse over his actions at the end of last year’s Vanderbilt game, nor is he dreading how those events might affect this year’s contest at Sanford Stadium.

“No,” Grantham stated flatly when asked if he regretted his actions. “I understood what all was happening. Like I said, everybody’s competitive, it’s heated out there. It’s really not a big deal. I guess that’s football.”

Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin had to be separated by players and referees as they engaged in a nose-to-nose shouting match shortly after the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win in Nashville last October. The two teams meet for the first time since on Saturday at 7:50 p.m.

Grantham said that it’s …

Continue reading No regrets for Todd Grantham: Vandy game ‘was heated, but no big deal’ »

Georgia LB Amarlo Herrera proving to be much more than a fill-in

If you look close you can see the smile through Amarlo Herrera's facemask as he returns an interception 35 yards for a touchdown against Florida Atlantic this past Saturday night. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

If you look close you can see the smile through Amarlo Herrera's facemask as he returns an interception 35 yards for a touchdown against Florida Atlantic this past Saturday night. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Georgia’s Amarlo Herrera has a reputation that precedes him. He’s known as a hard-hitting, run-stuffing linebacker whose specialty is jacking up running backs between the tackles.

So when the 6-foot-2, 245-pound block of granite deftly back-pedaled into the deep middle zone , read the tight end on a crossing route, broke on the ball an d jumped to snatch it away, then bolted down the sideline 35 yards for a touchdown against Florida Atlantic, you can understand the ensuing mob that smothered him in celebration in the end zone.

“Actually he surprised me there,” said fellow linebacker Mike Gilliard. “I didn’t think he could run like that. Shoot, he surprised all of us when he scored. That’s why we were all riled up. We were happy for him.”

Herrera thinks his …

Continue reading Georgia LB Amarlo Herrera proving to be much more than a fill-in »

A look at UGA’s next opponent: Vanderbilt

GEORGIA’S NEXT OPPONENT

Who: Vanderbilt

When: 7:45 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens

TV; radio: ESPN2; 750, 95.5

About Vanderbilt

Record: 1-2 (0-1 SEC)

Last meeting: In a game remembered for contentious play throughout and a confrontation between Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham afterward, UGA won 33-28 in Nashville on Oct. 15, 2011.

Offense: Austyn Carta-Samuels, a junior who transferred to Vanderbilt last year after two seasons as a starter at Wyoming, is listed as the No. 1 quarterback on this week’s depth chart. He surprisingly started over senior Jordan Rodgers in last week’s 58-0 rout of Presbyterian, completing 13 of 20 passes for 195 yards. Franklin said he won’t decide on his starting QB vs. Georgia until perhaps Thursday. … Senior tailback Zac Stacy has 2,260 career rushing yards, an average of 5.5 per carry. … Junior wide receiver Jordan Matthews has 18 catches for 276 yards in Vandy’s first three games, …

Continue reading A look at UGA’s next opponent: Vanderbilt »

Richt: Malcolm Mitchell to stay on defense but offensive reps to rise

Following are some of the highlights from today’s news conference with Georgia head coach Mark Richt and some of the Bulldogs’ players:

GEORGIA COACH MARK RICHT

On whether Malcolm Mitchell will remain on defense …

“Malcolm will definitely stay with the defense as far as being ready to play. I imagine he will still play. His offensive reps will increase, and he’ll probably start to spend some meeting time with the offense as well. I’m thinking about trying to find a way to split time with him if he can manage it. We think it can work for us. He’s a guy who I think is in good enough condition. I know he’s smart enough to understand what’s going on on both sides of the ball with the experience he’s had. We need him on special teams too. He’s going to play offense, defense and special teams off and on for the rest of the year I would think.”

On Vandy’s two-quarterback situation with Austyn Carta-Samuels and Jordan Rodgers . . .

“I don’t know if Coach Grantham got to watch any …

Continue reading Richt: Malcolm Mitchell to stay on defense but offensive reps to rise »

Notebook: Georgia’s Cornelius Washington likes ‘a good confrontation’

By RYAN BLACK
Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS — While Georgia and Vanderbilt exchanged heated words on the field following last season’s game in Nashville, UGA’s Cornelius Washington was nowhere to be found.

Serving a two-game suspension due to a DUI arrest, he was at home watching on television. A year later, he rues not having been in the middle of the action.

“I like a good confrontation and that seems like one I would have enjoyed being a part of,” the senior outside linebacker said Monday.

Washington also took a different tack than most of his teammates did two weeks ago. Unlike the fallout from Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s “old man football” comment — where Georgia refused to fire back — Washington tackled this week’s popular topic head-on.

“I think it’s something we do care about,” he said of the contentious tone of last year’s meeting. “It’s a pride thing. It’s a competitive thing. When somebody comes out and challenges …

Continue reading Notebook: Georgia’s Cornelius Washington likes ‘a good confrontation’ »

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin jokes of vacationing at Disney World with Todd Grantham

ATHENS – The first volleys have been fired and the stage has been set.

From this point forward, expect a whole lot of comments from both the Vanderbilt and Georgia sides about “just focusing on the game” and “executing fundamentals” and the like. But give Commodores’ coach James Franklin credit for having a sense of humor about it.

Franklin was asked at his weekly news conference Monday about his relationship with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham following last year’s heated post-game exchange.

“Yeah, actually our families went on vacation,” Franklin quipped. “Disneyworld. We were floating in the pool together drinking Mai Tais.”

Obviously Franklin was just having a little fun with it. And thank goodness for that because most everybody else is going to tiptoe around the subject this week.

Franklin noted that he’s never played at Georgia’s Sanford Stadium. “I’s sure we’re going to get a really warm welcome,” he said.

Franklin said he and Grantham have crossed paths …

Continue reading Vanderbilt coach James Franklin jokes of vacationing at Disney World with Todd Grantham »

‘Salary restructure’ means increases for Mike Bobo, Rodney Garner, 4 other UGA coaches

ATHENS — Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, assistant head coach Rodney Garner and four other assistant football coaches received base-salary pay increases as a result of a salary restructuring plan, according to documents released to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bobo’s base pay was increased by $57,500 to $300,000 and Garner’s by $32,500 to $275,000 in “salary-action requests” approved in June and activated on July 1. Wide receivers coach Tony Ball, offensive line coach Will Friend, tight ends coach John Lilly and running backs coach Bryan McClendon all received $10,000 increases to $210,000 a year.

UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity emphasized that the increases were “not raises” — the coaches’ total compensation remains the same — but rather a re-appropriation as the result eliminating longevity/retention bonuses for Georgia’s coaches.

“None of it is new money,” McGarity said. “It’s a re-appropriation of their longevity bonuses. It’s just an adjustment in how …

Continue reading ‘Salary restructure’ means increases for Mike Bobo, Rodney Garner, 4 other UGA coaches »

Georgia-Tennessee game time set

The Georgia-Tennessee football game on Sept. 29 in Athens will start at 3:30 p.m.and will be nationally televised on CBS, it was announced today.

The game will be Georgia’s first this season on CBS and will stop a string of three consecutive night games for the Bulldogs.

Announcers for the game will be Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), and Tracy Wolfson (sideline).

Tennessee (2-1 after losing to Florida) plays Akron (1-2) Saturday in Knoxville (7:30 p.m. on CSS). Georgia (3-0) plays Vanderbilt (1-2) Saturday in Athens (7:45 p.m. on ESPN2).

MORE UGA STORIES:

COMPLETE POSTGAME COVERAGE OF UGA’s VICTORY OVER FLORIDA ATLANTIC:

Continue reading Georgia-Tennessee game time set »

UGA notes: Richt says focus on football, ‘not on the extra-curricular,’ vs. Vandy

No doubt there will be a lot of chatter leading up to Saturday’s Georgia-Vanderbilt game in Athens about the shouting match between Vandy coach James Franklin and  UGA defensive  coordinator Todd Grantham after last year’s game between the same teams. But UGA head coach Mark Richt doesn’t seem interested in feeding the feud.

Richt reiterated on his weekly teleconference Sunday evening what he had said late Saturday night: that UGA will  be “ready” for the game, that he has a lot of respect for Vanderbilt’s team and that “we know it’s going to be a battle.” And “that’s  really about it,” he said.

Pressed on whether  he’ll address with his team the fireworks from the end of last season’s game in Nashville, Richt said: “I think the big thing is to make sure we just concentrate on playing football and not on the extra-curricular. Because those things turn into penalties. … I don’t want anything to take focus  off of executing [or] take  focus off of doing the right things …

Continue reading UGA notes: Richt says focus on football, ‘not on the extra-curricular,’ vs. Vandy »

UGA climbs to No. 5 in AP poll

Georgia climbed to No. 5 in the Associated Press college football poll released Sunday, up two spots from last week.

Georgia (3-0) is one of three SEC teams in the nation’s top five, according to the AP’s media vote, and the two SEC West teams that met for last season’s BCS title once again are 1-2 in the poll.

Alabama is No. 1 for the third consecutive week, receiving 58 of 60 first-place votes. LSU moved up one spot to No. 2 after previously No. 2 USC tumbled out of the top 10 in the aftermath of a 21-14 loss at Stanford. LSU got the two first-place votes that didn’t go to Alabama.

Oregon is No. 3 and Florida State No. 4. Georgia, No. 7 last week, moved ahead of Oklahoma, as well as USC, in the AP poll. Oklahoma is No. 6 after being tied with FSU at No. 5 last week.

In the USA Today coaches’ poll also released Sunday, the top four teams are the same as in the AP poll, but Georgia and Oklahoma are flip-flopped. In the coaches’ poll, Oklahoma is No. 5 and Georgia No. 6.

South …

Continue reading UGA climbs to No. 5 in AP poll »

Video: A record-setting night for Georgia’s offense

ATHENS – A video report from Georgia’s 56-20 win over Florida Atlantic Saturday night.

MORE GAME COVERAGE

Continue reading Video: A record-setting night for Georgia’s offense »

Notebook: Commings’ returns at safety, Jarvis sits and Jenkins starts

ATHENS – Georgia put Sanders Commings to work quickly upon his return from a two-game suspension.

A 13-game starter at cornerback last season, the Bulldogs utilized Commings at free safety instead. He played there most of the game Saturday, though he said afterward he did get some snaps at the boundary corner.

“It wasn’t that difficult because I always rep both,” said Commings, who finished with 4 tackles and a pass break-up. “It felt great just to be back out there with the guys. It’s great just to put all that other stuff behind me.”

Outside linebacker Chase Vasser also returned from a two-game suspension and made an impact. The junior compiled 7 tackles and added a forced fumble, 1.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback pressure.

Meanwhile, linebacker Alec Ogletree and free safety Bacarri Rambo, both starters, remained sidelined due to suspensions for the third consecutive week. They’re thought to be serving four-game suspensions but Richt is still not saying.

“I don’t know,” …

Continue reading Notebook: Commings’ returns at safety, Jarvis sits and Jenkins starts »

What they said after Georgia’s win over Florida Atlantic

“We really challenged our guys to go back to work. There was a lot of patting on the back about how great we did in the second half [at Missouri]. They responded with great practices during the week and came out and played well. The effort was outstanding, and when they had an opportunity to make plays they made them.”

– Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo on Georgia’s school-record 713-yard output vs. Florida Atlantic

“I wish we had taken care of the ball. I don’t like the turnovers, I don’t like a pick-six, I don’t like throwing interceptions in the red zone. Those were negatives, and we’ve got to continue to build and learn that can cost us some games. But I did like the effort and the way we answered in the first half.”

— Bobo on the negatives for the offense

“I was pretty upset about that interception. I felt like I had probably one of my most complete games I’ve had since I’ve been here, and that kind of stunk to finish the game like that.”

– Georgia quarterback Aaron …

Continue reading What they said after Georgia’s win over Florida Atlantic »

UGA’s two freshman tailbacks top 100 yards: ‘They’re probably thinking their plan is going pretty good so far’

ATHENS — Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have a lot in common –- both from North Carolina, both highly recruited tailbacks, both University of Georgia freshmen.

Oh, and roommates, too.

Saturday night, they had something else in common: 100-plus yards rushing.

It was a race to see which of the two would reach triple digits first against the outmatched Florida Atlantic defense, and as it turned out they did so on back-to-back plays early in the third quarter — Marshall first on a 13-yard run, then Gurley on a 38-yard touchdown run that gave Georgia a 42-14 lead with 10:18 remaining in the quarter.

Neither played much after that as Georgia went deep into its roster for the completion of a 56-20 victory at Sanford Stadium.

Gurley finished with 111 yards and Marshall with 104, both getting 10 carries and both scoring one touchdown.

“It was probably … what they envisioned,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said afterward. “They are good friends, and they wanted to play together and …

Continue reading UGA’s two freshman tailbacks top 100 yards: ‘They’re probably thinking their plan is going pretty good so far’ »

UPDATED: Georgia Bulldogs steamroll FAU 56-20 on record-setting offensive night

Georgia tailback Todd Gurley breaks free on a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter against Florida Atlantic on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia tailback Todd Gurley breaks free on a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter against Florida Atlantic on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — Georgia and its fans got what they paid for and Florida Atlantic got its $1 million check as the Bulldogs rolled over the Owls 56-20 on Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.

The win gets No. 7 Georgia off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2008, when it began the season ranked No. 1. The Bulldogs (1-0 SEC) play host to Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1) on Saturday.

Georgia simply overwhelmed their Sun Belt Conference visitors with offense. The Bulldogs rolled up a school-record 713 yards — breaking the 1993 record of 667 yards versus Southern Miss — and did it with strong running and passing.

Tailbacks Todd Gurley (111) and Keith Marshall (104) each went over 100 yards rushing — the first freshman pair to do that in a game since Thomas Brown and Danny Ware in 2004 — …

Continue reading UPDATED: Georgia Bulldogs steamroll FAU 56-20 on record-setting offensive night »

‘In Russ they trust:’ Uga IX is inaugurated at Sanford Stadium

UGA President Michael Adams "collars" Russ the bulldog, officially inaugurating the dog as Uga IX shortly before Saturday night's kickoff against Florida Atlantic. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

UGA President Michael Adams "collars" Russ the bulldog, officially inaugurating the dog as Uga IX shortly before Saturday night's kickoff against Florida Atlantic. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Everybody loves Russ it seems, even Mark Richt. On the eve of Russ’ inauguration as an official Uga mascot – “collaring” it’s called in these parts – the Bulldogs’ head coach talked about how Russ exemplifies a football player who has been overlooked but just did his job to the best of his ability and finally got a break.

“You know what, the guy, he could have gotten bitter,” Richt said with a laugh this week. “Everybody was saying that he couldn’t get it done. It was a little bit like Kwame Geathers hearing about John Jenkins so much. He didn’t like it, so he bowed his neck and won the job. I’m proud of him.”

Russ, an 8-year-old half-brother of Uga VII, has served as interim mascot for 25 games over four seasons when Ugas VII and VIII died. He’ll be sworn in as the …

Continue reading ‘In Russ they trust:’ Uga IX is inaugurated at Sanford Stadium »

Marlon Brown proving to be quite a catch for Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs are expecting split end Marlon Brown to come through for them this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

The Georgia Bulldogs are expecting split end Marlon Brown to come through for them this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Mark Richt didn’t much care for the question. He was asked if he thought Marlon Brown was injury-prone.

“I don’t think that term is fair,” Georgia’s coach said. “I think most anybody who gets injured is unlucky.”

If that’s the case, there must be a broken mirror somewhere in Brown’s past. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior has yet to play a full season for the Bulldogs because of one nagging injury or another. But Brown has always picked up the pieces and moved on, and never did he look more healthy and vibrant than Saturday against Missouri.

Brown was the star of the Bulldogs’ offense, hauling in eight passes for 106 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the 41-20 victory. As Georgia enters Saturday’s game against Florida Atlantic, he’s viewed as one of the team’s potent weapons.

“A quarterback’s dream,” Georgia’s Aaron Murray called …

Continue reading Marlon Brown proving to be quite a catch for Bulldogs »

UGA Athletic Board moves $30M in search of better return

ATHENS – The University of Georgia Athletic Association’s board of directors voted Friday to invest $30 million from cash reserves through the UGA Foundation, which manages non-athletic donor funds for the school, in an attempt to get a higher rate of return.

The UGA Athletic Association currently has about $68 million in reserves, money that it says is in the bank drawing little interest.

The plan is to put slightly less than half of the reserves “to work for us in maybe a more aggressive stance to help us meet both current and future long-term needs of the association,” Tim Burgess, UGA senior vice president for finance and administration and Athletic Association treasurer, told the board before the vote.

Board member Jeffrey Dorfman, a UGA professor, spoke and voted against the action.

“I think before we move $30 million of Athletic Association money into a different form of investment, the people that are going to manage that investment ought to come here and make a …

Continue reading UGA Athletic Board moves $30M in search of better return »

Money game: UGA-Florida Atlantic pays off for both sides

Florida Atlantic is assured of setting one Sanford Stadium record Saturday night: The Owls will pocket the largest paycheck of any visiting team in Georgia football history.

Georgia will pay Florida Atlantic $1 million for making the trip to Athens — a reflection of the rising cost of scheduling presumed easy victories against FBS nonconference opponents that don’t require a return engagement on their campus.

UGA scheduled the game and agreed to the seven-figure payout after canceling a two-year, home-and-home series with Louisville to accommodate last season’s opener against Boise State in the Georgia Dome.

“We were fortunate [FAU] was available to play on this date,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said this week. “But to make the date work, there was an expectation we had to pay a million dollars. That has kind of become the going rate.”

He isn’t complaining. Even after the record payout, UGA will clear about $1.7 million from the game, according to figures in the …

Continue reading Money game: UGA-Florida Atlantic pays off for both sides »

Video: Lots of room for improvement as Georgia steps out of conference

Cinesport’s Noah Coslov wants to know what Georgia needs to improve on, what the future hold for Jarvis Jones and what does the schedule have in store for the Bulldogs.

Continue reading Video: Lots of room for improvement as Georgia steps out of conference »

Todd Gurley, Georgia’s backs feel like there’s much room to improve

The Bulldogs and tailback Todd Gurley feel like there is a lot of room to improve in the running game. (UGA photo by Evan Stitchler)

The Bulldogs and tailback Todd Gurley feel like there is a lot of room to improve in the running game. (UGA photo by Evan Stitchler)

ATHENS — You may have noticed Georgia has been tossing the ball around a good bit. And that’s just in the running game.

The Bulldogs this season are utilizing the toss — or lateral — more often when they run the football. And unlike in past years, when that usually meant an outside running play, Georgia is doing it when it intends to carry the ball between the tackles.

That’s no accident. It’s a wrinkle the Bulldogs picked up from LSU, which utilized that tactic to great effect last year.

“It’s basically the old-school power,” Georgia coach Mark Richt explained. “We’ve handed it off over the years; most everybody in the country still hands it off. [But] LSU has been a team that’s tossed it like that and you could see the benefit of it on film when we watched LSU do it.”

Richt said the advantage of it is two-fold. One, it actually …

Continue reading Todd Gurley, Georgia’s backs feel like there’s much room to improve »

Notebook: Bulldogs mulling over possible redshirt for WR Blake Tibbs

ATHENS — At this point it’s becoming clear what freshmen are going to play for the Bulldogs this year. The only real mystery is Blake Tibbs.

The speedy wide receiver from Lithonia’s M.L. King High hasn’t played so far. But Georgia’s coaches discussed the redshirt equation on Wednesday and they haven’t ruled out Tibbs contributing just yet.

“He’s one guy who hasn’t played a snap yet, but before it’s over, he might and he might not,” Richt said. “It’s a little similar to Chris Conley last year.”

Conley did not play in the first three games last season but was activated after injuries sidelined Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten and Malcolm Mitchell. He ended up playing in all 11 remaining games and finished with 16 catches and 2 TDs.

“We realized we’re not going to make it through the season without playing this kid,” Richt said. “And we’re glad we did because he made a lot of plays for us. [Tibbs is] a guy who could end up playing.”

Of the 16 freshmen Georgia brought in, only …

Continue reading Notebook: Bulldogs mulling over possible redshirt for WR Blake Tibbs »

Georgia’s Commings, Vasser remorseful after 2-game suspensions

Georgia's Chase Vasser, here tackling South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore last season, brings much more experience to the strongside outside lilnebacker position. (UGA photo)

Georgia's Chase Vasser, here tackling South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore last season, brings much more experience to the strongside outside lilnebacker position. (UGA photo)

ATHENS – Georgia’s Sanders Commings contradicted himself Tuesday. On one hand he said the hardest thing about his two-game suspension was having to sit home and watch the Missouri game Saturday. Later, he said the toughest part was the shame he felt from the seemingly endless stream of media reports that came out the past six months.

The bottom line, Commings said, is it has been a long and hard road, and he is glad it’s over. Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser were reinstated this week after two-game suspensions for offseason arrests. Both players will play their first games of the season Saturday night against Florida Atlantic.

“It was pretty tough,” said Commings, who spoke to reporters for the first time since his January 21 arrest for domestic violence. “But it’s been a …

Continue reading Georgia’s Commings, Vasser remorseful after 2-game suspensions »

Notebook: Add coach Mark Richt to Georgia’s injured list

Coach Mark Richt was injured on this play in which he went in hard to hug senior Richard Samuel following his tackle on a Missouri fake punt. (UGA photo by Rob Saye)

Coach Mark Richt was injured on this play in which he went in hard to hug senior Richard Samuel following his tackle on a Missouri fake punt. (UGA photo by Rob Saye)

ATHENS — Here’s the abridged version of notes from today’s presser and practice:

  • Coach Mark Richt is injured. He suffered an abrasion and slight contusion of the chin in celebratory hug of Richard Samuel after Missouri’s thwarted fake punt. “I think my chin just rubbed back and forth on his shoulder pad and the meshing of his jersey and just wore a hole there,” said Richt, who hasn’t been able to shave since. “But that was a lot of fun.”
  • Bulldogs still playing “wait and see” game on suspended defenders Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree, who are still listed as the starters at free safety and inside linebacker, respectively. Official response this week “We’ll wait to see for sure what happens.” But they’re expected to be out two more games.
  • Richt on whether fullback Zander Ogletree is also suspended: “Zander …

Continue reading Notebook: Add coach Mark Richt to Georgia’s injured list »

Sanders Commings: ‘Missing games probably easiest part’

Having defensive back Sanders Commings to play either cornerback or safety is a big deal for Georgia's defense. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

Having defensive back Sanders Commings to play either cornerback or safety is a big deal for Georgia's defense. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

ATHENS — Georgia senior cornerback Sanders Commings, his two-game suspension served, has been cleared to play in Saturday’s game against Florida Atlantic. A two-year starter at boundary corner, Commings was listed Tuesday as the the backup to Malcolm Mitchell at that position. He could play some at safety.

But Commings’ assignments in his first game back was the not primary topic of conversation as the Augusta native spoke to media for the first time since his late January arrest for domestic battery. Commings spoke candidly about how much it hurt having his previously spotless reputation sullied and being unable to compete with his teammates.

“That was the biggest punishment,” Commings said, “what I had to go through off the field, what I had to put my family through, the university through, all of that. Missing the games, …

Continue reading Sanders Commings: ‘Missing games probably easiest part’ »

A look at UGA’s next opponent: Florida Atlantic

NEXT OPPONENT

Who: vs. Florida Atlantic

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

TV; radio: CSS;  750, 95.5

About Florida Atlantic

Record: 1-1 (0-1 Sun Belt)

Last time played: First meeting

Offense: Florida Atlantic ranked 120th –- last — among FBS teams in total offense last season. FAU is averaging 12 points per game this season – a 7-3 win over FCS team Wagner followed by a 31-17 loss at Middle Tennessee. Quarterback Graham Wilbert, 6-foot-6 senior, completed 25 of 32 passes in the loss.

Defense: Linebacker David Hinds, the Owls’ most experienced defensive player, had 110 tackles last season and has 21 in the first two games this season. The Owls allowed 480 yards against Middle Tennessee last week (302 rushing).

Special teams: Running back Travis Jones had 51 kickoff-return yards and 112 all-purpose yards against Middle Tennessee.

What you should know: Florida Atlantic’s first football season was 2001. After starting in Division I-AA, the Owls moved to I-A (now called FBS) in 2005. They …

Continue reading A look at UGA’s next opponent: Florida Atlantic »

Notebook: Bulldogs eager to get back their suspended teammates

By Ryan Black
Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS – Piece by piece, Georgia’s defense is coming back together.

Linebacker Chase Vasser and cornerback Sanders Commings are set to come off their two-game suspensions to play against Florida Atlantic on Saturday night. And their teammates can’t wait to see them back on the field.

“I texted them right after we got back on the bus and I included all of the other guys who weren’t there and said, ‘That was for you guys,’” linebacker Christian Robinson said. “Now people are starting to come back and we’re excited. They can just jump on. They don’t have to keep worrying with some of the regret of not being there.”

Even with two key cogs on defense back in the fold, the Bulldogs still have to guard against a letdown coming off their win against the Missouri Tigers. Florida Atlantic will enter Sanford Stadium 1-1 overall, but 0-1 in conference play after dropping its Sun Belt opener against Middle Tennessee State last week …

Continue reading Notebook: Bulldogs eager to get back their suspended teammates »