Archive for October, 2012

Notebook: QB Aaron Murray’s struggles coming mainly versus elite defenses

Aaron Murray says balance and footwork -- not nerves -- led to his poor first-half performance against Florida. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Aaron Murray says balance and footwork — not nerves — led to his poor first-half performance against Florida. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

ATHENS — Aaron Murray is every bit the video junkie. But unlike normal, he dreaded getting up this past Sunday morning to head over to the football complex to review the tape of Georgia’s game against Florida.

Well, the first half at least.

“It was not good,” Murray said, but smiling and laughing as he did. “I tried not to go in but I had to get in here and watch the film. Definitely, there were some errors.”

Definitely.

The Bulldogs’ record-setting quarterback was breaking some personal records on infamy as he threw three interceptions in the opening two quarters against Florida. But Murray rebounded with a 45-yard touchdown pass in the second half and Georgia held on for decisive 17-9 win over the Gators.

Murray’s final line was not one of his better ones: 12-of-24 passing for 150 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions. But …

Continue reading Notebook: QB Aaron Murray’s struggles coming mainly versus elite defenses »

Notebook: Georgia’s Mark Richt believes Jarvis Jones is ‘best player in America’

ATHENS — Granted, he’s not exactly an unbiased analyst. But if you ask Georgia coach Mark Richt, the nation’s best college football player is on his team.

“I can’t think of a better player than Jarvis (Jones) in the whole United States of America,” said Richt, wrapping up his weekly news conference Tuesday. “He’s the best.”

A few minutes earlier, Richt had allowed that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o “is a great player as well. They might be, like, equally great, and they are both so important to their team.” But the more he thought and talked about it, the more Richt endorsed the Georgia linebacker as The Best.

“Jarvis is a pretty dynamic player to have the pass-rush ability and the ability to drop back and make the (interception),” Richt said, “or to be the guy who stops the run two or three yards back in the backfield. Just stones somebody who is trying to block him and makes the play right there.”

Jones ranks No. 1 in the nation in tackles for loss (2.33 per game), No. 1 …

Continue reading Notebook: Georgia’s Mark Richt believes Jarvis Jones is ‘best player in America’ »

Georgia’s players lay it on line for coaches as much as championships

Georgia nose guard John Jenkins and many other players don't take kindly to the incessant bashing their coaches receive from some fans. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Georgia nose guard John Jenkins and many other players don't take kindly to the incessant bashing their coaches receive from some fans. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

ATHENS — Moments after Georgia put the finishing touches on its 17-9 win over No. 2 Florida this past Saturday, coach Mark Richt and senior noseguard John Jenkins hugged near midfield. They spoke animatedly, laughed hard and hugged again. It was clearly a moment of unbridled joy.

Richt was asked Tuesday to recount their conversation, but he opted to keep their exchange to himself.

“I remember what it’s about but I won’t say,” Richt said with a grin. “But it was a good thing. Sometimes I’ll say some things to the team and I won’t even remember what I said to them. Then they’ll bring it up after the game. They’ll say, ‘we took care of you’ or ‘we had your back’ or whatever. It was one of those kinds of conversations.”

According to Jenkins, it was definitely one of those “we had your back” conversations.

In …

Continue reading Georgia’s players lay it on line for coaches as much as championships »

A look at UGA’s next opponent: Ole Miss

GEORGIA’S NEXT OPPONENT

Who: vs. Mississippi

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

TV; radio: CBS; 750, 95.5

About Mississippi

Record: 5-3, 2-2 SEC

Last time played: Georgia defeated Ole Miss 27-13 in Oxford last season.

Offense: Ole Miss has a balanced, up-tempo offense that ranks fifth in the SEC in passing, sixth in rushing and sixth in scoring. Sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace completed 29 of 37 passes for 278 yards and ran for 38 yards in last week’s 30-27 win over Arkansas. Running back Jeff Scott, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound junior, ranks fifth in the SEC with 87.4 rushing yards per game. Wide receiver Donte Moncrief is sixth in the SEC in receiving yards (67.5 per game). Randall Mackey, who moved from quarterback to wide receiver in the spring and added running back to his portfolio this fall, made his first start at receiver last week and caught seven passes for 99 yards.

Defense: Ole Miss ranks ninth in the SEC in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense. Redshirt freshman …

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

Richt, Bulldogs looking for ways reproduce last weekend’s intensity versus Ole Miss

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt and selected players met with the media on Tuesday to preview Saturday’s game against Ole Miss. The No. 6-ranked Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) are coming off a 17-9 win over then-No. 2-ranked Florida and will play host to the Rebels (5-3, 2-2) at Sanford Stadium in a 3:30 p.m. game that will be nationally televised on CBS.

The main question the Bulldogs were having to answer is how they can possibly replicate the high-intensity level they achieved against the rival Gators in Jacksonville in a Homecoming Game against a team over which they’re favored by two touchdowns.

“If you guys want to send a couple of tweets saying we’re soft, that might help,” senior linebacker Christian Robinson quipped.

Said Richt: “That’s a good question. You ought write a story about that, maybe make everybody mad. That’d be nice.”

The reality is, it’s very difficult for any team to play at peak level more than a few weeks a year and it’s especially difficult in consecutive …

Continue reading Richt, Bulldogs looking for ways reproduce last weekend’s intensity versus Ole Miss »

Notebook: Bulldogs’ Nor’easters keeping a close eye on Hurricane Sandy

By Ryan Black
Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS — John Jenkins was uncertain of his family’s welfare Monday night.

When Georgia’s senior nose tackle spoke to reporters after Monday’s practice, the Connecticut native hadn’t called home yet. With Hurricane Sandy pounding the Northeast, Jenkins has done the best he can keeping tabs on his family. His position coach, Rodney Garner, showed him some pictures from storm-struck Millford, about 30 miles from Stamford, where Jenkins’ grandmother lives. Jenkins spoke to her Sunday night.

“My grandmother said she’s ready for it to be over with,” he said. ” … Stamford has a beach right next to it, right over there in the New England Sound. The sound is between Greenwich and Stamford and my grandmother was saying in Greenwich, they were being evacuated to higher ground. So I don’t know.”

Jenkins, who is from Meriden, Conn., also spoke Sunday night to his mother, who lives farther north.

“I don’t know what’s going on up …

Continue reading Notebook: Bulldogs’ Nor’easters keeping a close eye on Hurricane Sandy »

Report: Florida strength coach shoved Georgia’s Corey Moore

Best account I’ve seen yet of the pregame skirmish that occurred before Georgia-Florida this past Saturday comes from Palm Beach Post reporter Jason Lieser.

I didn’t see but the very tail-end of the incident myself as it happened right around the time they were preparing for the pregame toss. But according to Lieser, Florida safety Matt Elam instigated the incident by bumping Georgia’s Devin Bowman. Apparently a bunch of Georgia players then responded to the taunts of Elam and teammate Dominique Easley, including Todd Gurley, Malcolm Mitchell, Corey Moore and Arthur Lynch.

Liesler reports that Florida strength coach Jeff Dillman interceded and ended up shoving Moore. That drew Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and some other assistant coaches and referees into the fray. This is the part I saw and skirmish quickly dissipated with both sides squawking as they went their separate ways.

Wrote Lieser:

Gators strength coach Jeff Dillman, who later had at least one very …

Continue reading Report: Florida strength coach shoved Georgia’s Corey Moore »

Georgia-Auburn game time set

Georgia’s Nov. 10 football game at Auburn will kick off at 7  p.m. and be televised on ESPN2, the SEC announced today.

If Georgia defeats Ole Miss in Athens on Saturday, the Bulldogs will be in position to clinch the SEC East championship and a berth in the SEC Championship game by winning at Auburn.

The Georgia-Ole Miss game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and be nationally televised on CBS, the Bulldogs’ second consecutive game on that network.

In other news today — albeit not surprising — Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the win over Florida. Jones had a career-high 13 tackles (12 solo), including 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles.

Continue reading Georgia-Auburn game time set »

UGA jumps to No. 6 in BCS standings

Georgia soared to No. 6 in this week’s Bowl Championship Series standings after Saturday’s victory over previously No. 2 Florida.

Ranked No. 10 last week, the Bulldogs also benefited from losses by three other teams that had been ahead of them in the BCS standings — Oregon State, Oklahoma and USC.

Alabama remained a solid No. 1 in the latest set of standings, released Sunday night. Kansas State moved up one spot to replace Florida at No. 2. Notre Dame jumped two spots to No. 3, while Oregon remained No. 4. The top four teams are undefeated.

Four SEC teams fill the Nos. 5 through 8 positions this week — LSU, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina in that order. LSU, Georgia and Florida have one loss apiece. South Carolina has two losses.

The top two teams in the BCS standings after the regular season and conference championship games will meet for the national title Jan. 7 in Miami.

In addition to Georgia’s upset win over Florida, other movers of the BCS standings this week were …

Continue reading UGA jumps to No. 6 in BCS standings »

Bulldogs need ‘more of same’ to beat Ole Miss and make Florida win stand up

ATHENS — Georgia’s 17-9 win over Florida on Saturday was impressive on multiple levels. The Bulldogs overwhelmed the Gators defensively, got timely plays in the running and passing games against one of the nation’s best defenses and scored an elusive victory over a Top 3 opponent.

But it will all be for naught if Georgia can’t close the deal the next two weeks. Yes, the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) are in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. But a loss to Ole Miss this Saturday or to Auburn the next week would make for a gnarly wipeout.

“(The Florida) victory doesn’t mean anything unless we keep winning,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “We know we’ve got to win. We know we’ve got to continue to play like we did this last game to give us the best chance.”

All Georgia did Saturday was give itself the tiebreaker over Florida should both teams finish the season with one SEC loss. South Carolina, which beat the Bulldogs 35-7 on Oct. 6, has since lost two games. Simply put, Georgia …

Continue reading Bulldogs need ‘more of same’ to beat Ole Miss and make Florida win stand up »

CBS picks up Georgia-Ole Miss game; Dogs move up to 6th in coaches poll, 7th in AP

ATHENS — For a second straight week, Georgia will play in the 3:30 p.m. game on CBS.

The national television network exercised its six-day option on Sunday and picked up the Bulldogs’ game against Ole Miss this Saturday at Sanford Stadium. CBS carried this past Saturday’s game between Georgia and then-No. 2 Florida, which the Bulldogs won 17-9. The Rebels (5-3, 2-2 SEC) are coming off a 30-27 win over Arkansas in Little Rock.

It will mark Georgia’s third appearance on CBS this season. The network also carried Georgia ’s 51-44 win over Tennessee in Athens on Sept. 29. Overall, the Bulldogs have appeared on CBS 70 times and posted a record of 40-29-1.

In related news, the Bulldogs moved up to No. 7 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll and to No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Georgia, which was No. 10 this past week, should also moved up in the BCS rankings, which will be released tonight.

GEORGIA-FLORIDA GAME COVERAGE

Continue reading CBS picks up Georgia-Ole Miss game; Dogs move up to 6th in coaches poll, 7th in AP »

Notebook: Malcolm Mitchell repents for personal foul with 45-yard TD catch

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell races 45 yards for a fourth-quarter TD just three plays after being yanked from the game by coach Mark Richt because of a taunting penalty. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell races 45 yards for a fourth-quarter TD just three plays after being yanked from the game by coach Mark Richt because of a taunting penalty. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Say this for Malcolm Mitchell: He sure knows how to make good after messing up.

Georgia’s sensational sophomore wideout was called for a personal foul/unsportsmanlike penalty midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 17-9 win over Florida. That in itself was not unusual. The Bulldogs were flagged 14 times for 132 times against the Gators, several of those of the personal-foul variety.

But this one was particularly egregious. Mitchell had just caught a first-down pass at the Florida 35 with the game hanging in the balance. But Mitchell drew a flag for taunting Florida cornerback Louchiez Purifoy after the catch. So instead, the Bulldogs were backed up to the 50.

Georgia coach Mark Richt let Mitchell have it. After a few choice words, Richt pulled Mitchell out of …

Continue reading Notebook: Malcolm Mitchell repents for personal foul with 45-yard TD catch »

Richt: ‘I’d say we were not soft’ (plus other postgame quotes)

WHAT THEY SAID AFTER GEORGIA’S VICTORY OVER FLORIDA

“I’d say we were not soft. The defense rose to the occasion, and everyone fought their tails off. There was a lot of emotion and two really good football teams getting after it.”

– Georgia coach Mark Richt

“I’ve said all season long — we’re not a team that has a lot of margin of error. Obviously, six (Florida) turnovers led to 10 (Georgia) points, critical plays in the game. … You’ve got to give (Georgia) credit. You’ve got to rise up to those opportunities you have, and you have to make those plays. They did and we didn’t, but six turnovers — wow. That’s tough to overcome.”

– Florida coach Will Muschamp

“What can this guy not do? He gets sacks, forces interceptions, forces fumbles.”

– Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo on linebacker Jarvis Jones’ huge game

“Jarvis is a great player. To come back from an ankle sprain the way he did … and come out here and do what he did, I’d pick him No. 1 in the draft.”

– Georgia wide receiver …

Continue reading Richt: ‘I’d say we were not soft’ (plus other postgame quotes) »

Dogs overcome Murray’s three first-half interceptions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It has become the norm in the Georgia-Florida football series: Georgia’s quarterback throws three interceptions.

Matthew Stafford did it in 2008, Joe Cox in 2009 and Aaron Murray in 2010 — all Georgia losses. On Saturday, for the fourth time in the past five Georgia-Florida games, UGA’s quarterback again was intercepted thrice — all in the first half this time.

Murray threw only eight passes in the half, connecting four times with Georgia receivers and three times with Florida defenders. The three interceptions were just one fewer than Murray had thrown in 199 passes in the season’s previous seven games.

“I was a little disappointed (at halftime),” Murray said, “but I told myself, ‘Hey, we’re still up 7-6. Start it over. It’s a new half. Go out there fresh and compete and finish the game up.’”

The game ended with one big difference from those other three-interception performances here: Georgia won, posting a 17-9 victory over the No. 2 Gators because the …

Continue reading Dogs overcome Murray’s three first-half interceptions »

‘Hurricane Jarvis’ sweeps through Florida’s offense for 17-9 Georgia win

Georgia's Jarvis Jones comes up with one of his two fumble recoveries against Florida. He also caused two fumbles and recorded 13 tackles and three sacks in his first game back from injury. (AJC photo  by Bob Andres)

Georgia's Jarvis Jones comes up with one of his two fumble recoveries against Florida. He also caused two fumbles and recorded 13 tackles and three sacks in his first game back from injury. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

JACKSONVILLE — Never mind all that “soft defense” talk. Georgia had Jarvis Jones back in the lineup.

The Bulldogs’ dynamic outside linebacker, who has missed two games with injuries and been hobbled much of the season’s first half, was feeling good and healthy on Saturday. Just ask Florida, which felt his wrath all night.

The 2011 All-American terrorized the Gators all night, finishing with 13 tackles, three quarterback sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Jones wasn’t the only reason, but he was a big reason the No. 10-ranked Bulldogs were able to knock off the No. 2 Gators 17-9 Saturday night at EverBank Field.

The victory gives puts the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) into the driver’s seat to repeat as SEC East champions and represent the division …

Continue reading ‘Hurricane Jarvis’ sweeps through Florida’s offense for 17-9 Georgia win »

Who wins Georgia-Florida? The answer, my friend, may be blowing in the wind

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –Greetings from the closed-in press box at EverBank Field. And I’m glad it’s closed it here.

It’s not raining and it’s certainly very pleasant outside. About 71 degrees last time I checked. But the wind we’ve all been writing about since I’ve been here is certainly present and accounted for. They’re blowing pretty constantly at about 19 miles an hour and gusting up to about 24 or 25. That said, here inside the stadium, which these days is completely bowled in, it doesn’t appear too bad. The skinny flags atop the uprights of the goal posts aren’t being blown crazy. Of course the ones across the to[ of the stadium are being blown straight. They’re blowing southeasterly, toward the end zone that has “Florida” painted in it.

Not trying to be Glenn Burns. I’m just sharing all this to let you know the winds are probably play a big part in this game. What I see now doesn’t make me think it’ll be a big factor in the passing game. But it’s definitely going to be a …

Continue reading Who wins Georgia-Florida? The answer, my friend, may be blowing in the wind »

Georgia gets yet another shot at Top 10 opponent; that it’s Florida is just a bonus

Georgia coach Mark Richt and the Bulldogs hope to be celebrating at the end of the Florida game like they were this time last year. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Georgia coach Mark Richt and the Bulldogs hope to be celebrating at the end of the Florida game like they were this time last year. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In September 2010, during his first year as Georgia’s athletic director, Greg McGarity had a meeting with all of the Bulldogs’ head coaches. He had several messages he wanted to convey, but one of the main ones was this: Don’t make Florida games bigger than any other.

McGarity has a unique perspective on the Georgia-Florida rivalry. A UGA graduate and one-time coach and athletic administrator for the Bulldogs, he also spent 18 years as the No. 2 man in the Gators’ athletic department. McGarity happened to arrive in Gainesville, Fla., not long after Steve Spurrier took over as football coach and swung the series in Florida’s direction.

During that time, McGarity noticed a trend among his former constituency. Defeating Florida — in any sport, but especially football — had become a fixation. …

Continue reading Georgia gets yet another shot at Top 10 opponent; that it’s Florida is just a bonus »

Georgia’s Jarvis Jones eager to wreak havoc again against Gators

Georgia's Jarvis Jones gave quarterback John Brantley and the Florida offense fits a year ago with four sacks and a forced fumble. (Photo by Getty Images)

Georgia's Jarvis Jones gave quarterback John Brantley and the Florida offense fits a year ago with four sacks and a forced fumble. (Photo by Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lost in all the talk about Georgia’s “soft defense” this week is one rather glaring fact: The Bulldogs have been playing with — and sometimes without — a banged-up Jarvis Jones.

The junior All-American has not been healthy since the second play of the Missouri game in Week 2, when he said he aggravated a groin injury he had suffered earlier that week. He’s also playing with a sore left knee, which he protects with a bulky brace, and an ankle injury suffered in the fourth quarter of the Oct. 6 South Carolina game.

As a result, Jones has missed a ton of practice time, two full games and a significant portion of others.

“I’ve just been getting a lot of treatment,” said Jones, who returned to practice this week in preparation for the Gators. “I’ve just been working really hard, coming …

Continue reading Georgia’s Jarvis Jones eager to wreak havoc again against Gators »

SEC Basketball Media Day notebook

HOOVER, Ala. – Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox insists he was disappointed when the SEC schedule came out and showed, for the first time in almost a half-century, no game at Kentucky for the Bulldogs.

“We’ve got to go to Arkansas; we’ve got to go to Missouri; we’ve got to go to Tennessee; we have to go to Florida; we have to go just about everywhere,” Fox said. “I mean, why not send us to Rupp (Arena), too?

“We like to play there. It’s a fun place to coach and play. So I was a little disappointed.”

You might have expected a different reaction, given that the Bulldogs’ all-time record against the Wildcats in Lexington, Ky., is 5-57.

The SEC schedule format is different than in the past because of the league’s expansion from 12 teams to 14 and from 16 conference games to 18. Each team has one designated opponent that it will play twice every season — South Carolina in Georgia’s case — while other home-and-home opponents will rotate from season to season.

This season …

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New teams command attention at SEC hoops Media Day

HOOVER, Ala. – Missouri is still seeking its first SEC win in football, but it figures to find faster success in its new league in basketball.

According to a preseason media survey, Missouri already is regarded as the third-best men’s basketball team in the 14-member SEC — behind only Kentucky, which won the national championship last season, and Florida, which reached the Elite Eight. And Missouri might have the league’s best player, junior point guard Phil Pressey, voted the SEC preseason player of the year by the same media panel.

The new teams on the block, Missouri and Texas A&M, were popular topics of conversation at the SEC’s annual Basketball Media Day, held here Thursday.

“They’re going to make us a bigger and deeper and better league,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “They’re good programs, both of them.”

Much of the discussion Thursday focused on Missouri, which was ranked among the nation’s top five teams for much of last season and won its final Big 12 …

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Notebook: Bulldogs look to resurrect rushing attack against run-stuffing Gators

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the three games leading up to the South Carolina game, Georgia averaged 301 yards and 5 touchdowns running the football. In the two games since, the Bulldogs have averaged 96 yards and one-half a TD.

The Bulldogs believe the truth that is their 2012 rushing attack lay somewhere in between those two samples. They’re probably not as mighty as they seemed when they were gashing Florida Atlantic for 328 yards on Sept. 15 or as meek as they were eking out 77 yards against Kentucky last week.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be that good every week,” said freshman tailback Keith Marshall, who had 164 yards against Tennessee and leads the backs with a 7 yards per carry average. “This is SEC football, you know. I think teams were just having to respect the run a little more than they were at the beginning of the season. That’s no excuse. I still think we’re capable of doing big things and I think we’ll get back to doing it.”

Fellow freshman tailback …

Continue reading Notebook: Bulldogs look to resurrect rushing attack against run-stuffing Gators »

Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell excited about getting ball in his hands against Florida

Malcolm Mitchell said there is nothing better to him than having the football in his hands and trying to make a play. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Malcolm Mitchell said there is nothing better to him than having the football in his hands and trying to make a play. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – In the first half of the Kentucky game this past Saturday, Malcolm Mitchell fielded a kickoff eight yards deep in his end zone. He took off to bring it out before Georgia’s Kyle Karempelis jumped in front with an emphatic stop sign at the goal line. Mitchell slammed on the brakes, then gave Karempelis a disgusted wave of contempt before taking a reluctant knee.

“I apologized later,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “I told Kyle, no matter what I say, do what you have to do and, if I try to run out of there, just tackle me right there in the end zone.”

Such is Mitchell’s mentality. He rarely fields a punt or a kick or takes a handoff or catches a pass he doesn’t think he can take “to the house.” That confidence coupled with Mitchell’s unique set of athletic gifts has made him into one of the league’s most dynamic …

Continue reading Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell excited about getting ball in his hands against Florida »

Notebook: Georgia’s offensive line will be shuffling again against Gators

ATHENS — Georgia’s offensive line will be shuffling again in the Florida game.

Juniors Dallas Lee and Kenarious Gates are expected to start as usual at left guard and tackle, respectively. But Lee has been playing on a bad ankle since the Tennessee game. So the Bulldogs are increasingly turning to junior college transfer Mark Beard, who they bring in at left tackle and slide Gates inside to guard when Lee needs to come out of games.

Beard played extensively this past Saturday against Kentucky. Lee continues to practice rather than rest the ankle, so his durability on Saturday will be closely monitored.

“Dallas has got to get healthy,” said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who called this a “competition week” to determine playing time on Saturday. “But it’s good that Mark got a lot of experience last week.”

Beard, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound sophomore, is starting to resemble the player Georgia thought it had recruited out of Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

“I think …

Continue reading Notebook: Georgia’s offensive line will be shuffling again against Gators »

A look at UGA’s next opponent: the Gators

NEXT FOR GEORGIA

Who: vs. Florida (in Jacksonville, Fla.)

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

TV; radio: CBS; 750, 95.5

About Florida

Record: 7-0, 6-0 SEC

Last time played: Georgia overcame a 17-3 second-quarter deficit to defeat Florida 24-20 last season, just the Bulldogs’ fourth victory over the Gators in the teams’ past 22 meetings.

Offense: Florida ranks last in the SEC in passing offense (137.7 yards per game) but third in the league in rushing offense (212.7 yards per game). The Gators’ leading rusher is senior tailback Mike Gillislee, who averages 93.1 yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel is 85-of-127 passing (66.9 percent) for 928 yards; four of his eight touchdown passes came in last week’s 44-11 victory over South Carolina. Driskel has run the ball 66 times for 321 net yards (4.9 per carry), including 11 carries for 177 yards against Vanderbilt.

Defense: The Gators rank No. 4 nationally in scoring defense (allowing 12.1 points per game), No. 7 in total …

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

UPDATED: UGA starting DE Abry Jones out for rest of regular season after ankle surgery

Georgia will have to juggle its defensive front after learning that starting defensive end Abry Jones is out 6 to 8 weeks following ankle surgery on Tuesday. (AJC photo by Brant Sander,lin)

Georgia will have to juggle its defensive front after learning that starting defensive end Abry Jones is out 6 to 8 weeks following ankle surgery on Tuesday. (AJC photo by Brant Sander,lin)

UPDATE ON STORY I FILED LAST NIGHT . . .

ATHENS — Abry Jones’ high school coach confirmed what had been floated around on social media and hinted by his Georgia coaches and teammates. The Bulldogs’ starting defensive end is likely out for the rest of the regular season after undergoing ankle surgery on Tuesday.

Kevin Kinsler, the head coach at Northside High in Warner Robins, is the only one to provide anything resembling a confirmation and then only reluctantly so. But he did confirm that Jones underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Hospital and is looking at a long recovery as a result.

“I’ve just texted back and forth with his parents a little bit and that’s it,” said Kinsler, who was Jones’ defensive coordinator when he was at Northside. “All we know is the …

Continue reading UPDATED: UGA starting DE Abry Jones out for rest of regular season after ankle surgery »

Georgia’s Mike Gilliard: ‘I felt disrespected and, yes, I definitely took it personally’

Linebacker Mike Gillard, here tackling a Florida Atlantic player, was not at all happy about Shawn Williams' characterization of his play at inside linebacker. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Linebacker Mike Gillard, here tackling a Florida Atlantic player, was not at all happy about Shawn Williams' characterization of his play at inside linebacker. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — OK, here are a few addendum’s from Tuesday’s post-practice interview opportunities. Todd Grantham, Mike Gilliard and Jarvis Jones talked about Shawn Williams’ comments on the defense and a few other things. So here they are kind of raw and unabridged:

SENIOR LINEBACKER MIKE GILLIARD:

On Williams’ remarks about Amarlo Herrera being the better linebacker . . .

“As a man, I wasn’t hurt at all. I felt disrespected. And, yes, I definitely took it personally. Today in the linebackers meeting, I stood up and told them, ‘no disrespect to Amarlo and Ogletree, but when I read that I felt disrespected and I’ll definitely taking it personally. But there’s no issue between me and Shawn Williams. All it is is fuel for the fire and basically its given me motivation to go out there and give …

Continue reading Georgia’s Mike Gilliard: ‘I felt disrespected and, yes, I definitely took it personally’ »

UGA notes: Richt might coach kickers; Tech, Georgia Southern return unsold tickets

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt suggested Tuesday that he might take on an added duty next season: direct responsibility for coaching the Bulldogs’ kicker and punter.

“One thing that I can do as head coach is at least spend time learning the kicking and punting fundamentals well enough to be their coach,” Richt said. “Right this minute I wouldn’t say I have enough expertise to do that, but I think this off-season it would be wise for me to do something like that because I am freed up enough to do that.

“And if that’s my contribution to special teams in the future, I think it’d be valuable.”

Richt’s comments came as Georgia continues to struggle on special teams and prepares to face a Florida team that excels in that area.

Georgia’s special-teams problems this season have included extra points (four misses, tied for most in the SEC), net punting (last in the SEC) and punt returns (eighth in the SEC). Florida leads the nation in punting and also ranks near the top of the SEC …

Continue reading UGA notes: Richt might coach kickers; Tech, Georgia Southern return unsold tickets »

Richt: ‘We’re playing Florida; we’re playing for a shot to go to Atlanta; that’s huge’

THEY SAID IT

Following are comments from Georgia coaches and players at Tuesday’s weekly news conference previewing Saturday’s game between the No. 10-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) and the No. 2-ranked Florida Gators (7-0, 6-0) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

COACH MARK RICHT

Opening statement . . .

“It’s Georgia-Florida. Looking forward to going to Jacksonville. It’s a big game for us and for them to decide who is going to take the lead in the SEC East. That’s what’s at stake. They’re an outstanding football team, obviously. They’re undefeated and No. 2 in the BCS and really have earned it the hard way, starting out the season at A&M and at Tennessee – two very tough places to play to start the season. I believe they got behind in both games and came back and won both. That kind of set the tone for their season. They’ve played outstanding defense. They are a very solid running football team, and their special teams have been off the chain, and that’s been their recipe …

Continue reading Richt: ‘We’re playing Florida; we’re playing for a shot to go to Atlanta; that’s huge’ »

UPDATED: Georgia players and coaches react to Shawn Williams ’soft defense’ comments

Georgia safety Shawn Williams believes Amarlo Herrera (52) should be playing the Mike linebacker more than Christian Robinson. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia safety Shawn Williams believes Amarlo Herrera (52) should be playing the Mike linebacker more than Christian Robinson. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Reaction to the incendiary comments from Georgia safety Shawn Williams about the Bulldogs “soft” defense and what players should be playing and how much fell mostly into two categories for teammates and coaches on Tuesday: One, there was a level of truth in what he said and, two, it was no big deal.

Overall Williams’ comments were considered as a motivational ploy by an impassioned player.

“I think Shawn is just a real passionate guy,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He loves Georgia and loves his team and wants us to play the best we can possibly play. . . . I think it was more public than you’d like. But, I mean, I really don’t think he meant any harm by it. I really don’t. I think his teammates know that and so it’s really not an issue.”

Williams told reporters after Monday night’s practice he thought …

Continue reading UPDATED: Georgia players and coaches react to Shawn Williams ’soft defense’ comments »

Georgia’s O-line eager for another chance against an elite defensive front

By Ryan Black
For The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS — Georgia was thoroughly beaten in every sense in its 35-7 loss to South Carolina on Oct. 6. As coach Mark Richt put it in his postgame press conference, the Gamecocks “whipped” his team.

No unit on the Bulldogs was more exposed in that game than the offensive line. The Gamecocks’ talented defensive line had its way for the duration, frustrating, flummoxing and fencing in what had been a high-powered Bulldogs’ offense. The holes for true freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall were plugged, protection for quarterback Aaron Murray was spotty at best, and the points, which came in abundance in the first five games, almost didn’t come at all. The Bulldogs scored a touchdown with 1:55 remaining to avoid their first shutout since 1995.

“Anytime you play a game and you don’t have the success that you hope for, especially when we were rolling right along with running the ball and protecting well enough to put …

Continue reading Georgia’s O-line eager for another chance against an elite defensive front »