Archive for December, 2012

Georgia, Nebraska each seek motivational edge in Capital One Bowl

Georgia's Aaron Murray seeks his first bowl victory as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. He's 0-2 entering Tuesday's the Capital One Bowl. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia's Aaron Murray seeks his first bowl victory as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. He's 0-2 entering Tuesday's the Capital One Bowl. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Crazy things tend to happen in bowl games and they are notoriously hard to predict. But generally if you can identify the most motivated team you will have identified the eventual winner.

Good luck trying to do that with Georgia and Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are coming off a devastating SEC Championship loss in which they literally finished five yards short of a BCS championship berth. On the same day hundreds of miles away in Indianapolis, the Cornhuskers (10-3) suffered arguably their most humiliating defeat in the history of the program. They gave up 539 yards rushing in falling to Wisconsin 70-31 in the Big Ten Conference championship.

With Georgia locked out of a BCS bowl opportunity and Nebraska embarrassed in its last game, it could be …

Continue reading Georgia, Nebraska each seek motivational edge in Capital One Bowl »

Notebook: Merritt Hall back in rotation at fullback, outlook poor for Abry Jones

ORLANDO, Fla. — Early in the year, as tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall were ripping off long runs right and left, Georgia coaches were careful to mention what a good job Merritt Hall was doing paving the way for them. But the Bulldogs lost their starting fullback to a severe ankle injury on the first play of the Florida game and the redshirt freshman has played very little since.

But after playing only on the kickoff return ream in the SEC Championship game, Hall now appears set to get back in the rotation in the backfield. He said his ankle is “80 to 90 percent” healthy, but that’s enough for him to help.

“I feel great out there on the practice field,” Hall said. “I feel like I’m getting people out of the hole and I’m able to drive off my ankle well enough to be able to get the job done.”

Hall said he has been rotating with junior Zander Ogletree in practice and expects to do the same in Tuesday’s game.

Outlook poor for Abry …

Continue reading Notebook: Merritt Hall back in rotation at fullback, outlook poor for Abry Jones »

Georgia’s Jarvis Jones motivated by prospect of becoming a No. 1 draft pick

Jarvis Jones and teammates celebrate after his strip of Florida's Jordan Reed clinched the Bulldogs' victory. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Jarvis Jones and teammates celebrate after his strip of Florida's Jordan Reed clinched the Bulldogs' victory. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

ORLANDO, Fla. – When you ask Jarvis Jones whether it’s important to him to become the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, you start to get an idea where his head is at regarding making an early jump for the pros.

No, Jones still has not said definitively whether he’ll be leaving Georgia after this, his junior, year. But seeing how he is projected as a consensus top five selection by the most respected draft analysts, it’s generally thought to be a foregone conclusion that the two-time All-American will go ahead take the NFL millions now. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft.

But being the top overall pick is clearly something about which Jones has given some sincere thought. Asked if it was important to him to be selected No. 1, Jones answers the question with a question.

“Has there ever been a …

Continue reading Georgia’s Jarvis Jones motivated by prospect of becoming a No. 1 draft pick »

Georgia’s Marlon Brown: ‘Never unlucky, never unfortunate, just blessed’

Georgia senior receiver Marlon Brown was on his way to a huge season when a season-ending knee injury in the ninth game cut it short. He finished with 469 yards on the season and 851 and eight touchdowns in his career. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia senior receiver Marlon Brown was on his way to a huge season when a season-ending knee injury in the ninth game cut it short. He finished with 469 yards on the season and 851 and eight touchdowns in his career. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Q&A WITH MARLON BROWN

ORLANDO, Fla. – There are some out there who might say that Marlon Brown’s career was a disappointment, that he didn’t live up to expectations. A 5-star signee out of Memphis, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver never earned even All-SEC honorable mention honors or had 500 yards receiving in a season. But it could be argued that there is not a more beloved teammate among the Georgia Bulldogs than Brown, whose attitude on and off the field permeates everything he does.

Nowhere was that more evident than on Nov. 3 when Brown suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the third quarter against Ole Miss. Brown, the Bulldogs’ leading receiver at the time, was in the midst of a huge game. He’d just made his third catch …

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Georgia has a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Nebraska in Capital One Bowl

Georgia's Keith Marshall breaks loose on a 62-yard touchdown run against Auburn. The freshman tailback has less yards rushing than Todd Gurley but led the Bulldogs in runs of more than 50 yards. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia's Keith Marshall breaks loose on a 62-yard touchdown run against Auburn. The freshman tailback has less yards rushing than Todd Gurley but led the Bulldogs in runs of more than 50 yards. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ORLANDO, Fla. — After Todd Gurley ran for 1,260 yards this season – and 122 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in the SEC Championship game – the tendency is to think that fellow freshman Keith Marshall is a less valuable back for Georgia at this stage in his young career.

Marshall had just two carries against Alabama. But offensive coordinator Mike Bobo insisted Saturday that Marshall remains more of a 1-B option to Gurley. Injuries and extenuating circumstances, he said, had more to do with Marshall’s reduced presence toward the end of the season than Gurley’s special talents.

“(Marshall) did not get as many touches in the Alabama game, but that’s just how the game went and how the other guy was running the ball,” Bobo said during a …

Continue reading Georgia has a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Nebraska in Capital One Bowl »

With personnel in flux, Dogs’ defense must guard against distractions

ORLANDO, Fla. – Georgia players say the biggest difference is when they’re on the practice field. That’s when they notice Rodney Garner is not there screaming at the top of his lungs. That’s when it’s evident that Big John Jenkins is not out there laughing and joking around with his teammates.

The rest of it, they insist, is business as usual.

As the Bulldogs prepare for Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl matchup with Nebraska, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is great potential for distraction. Forget the fun and sun of Orlando and its enormous array of amusement parks. Between coaches leaving (Garner to Auburn), players losing eligibility (Jenkins) and others contemplating early entry into the NFL draft (Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and Kwame Geathers), this could be one pack of discombobulated Dogs by the time they kick off against the Cornhuskers on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

“A lot of situations have occurred from the last game to now,” said Jones, a junior …

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Bowl update: Status quo for Georgia’s offensive line after all (UPDATED)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Here are some quick hits from Georgia and Nebraska’s preparations for the Capital One Bowl. There is a news conference this afternoon featuring Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones and both coordinators. Check back for more updates.

THE BIG NEWS

Heading into bowl practices back in Athens, with the 32-28 loss to Alabama still fresh on their conscious, Georgia coaches declared a full-scale open competition on the offensive line. But as the workouts phase from competition to walk-through stage here at the bowl site, it looks like the Bulldogs will line up pretty much the same way.

“I think we’ll probably be like we were toward the end of the season,” Georgia line coach Will Friend said before Saturday’s practice at Celebration High School. “We had good practices in Athens and we had good practices here. They got to compete every day and I thought it was good to kind of open it up. But it’ll be pretty much like we ended the season.”

One of the reasons the Bulldogs …

Continue reading Bowl update: Status quo for Georgia’s offensive line after all (UPDATED) »

Notebook: Abry Jones plans to play in bowl, Alec Ogletree mum on NFL (UPDATED)

ORLANDO, Fla. – How much Abry Jones can play against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday will come down to whether his body can pull off what his heart wants him to do.

Jones, a senior and starting defensive end for Georgia, has been out for the last nine weeks following ankle surgery. He returned to practice in a mostly-unlimited capacity this week and has been cleared to play in the game.

But there is definitely reservation in Jones’ voice when he talks about returning to the field for the first time since the seventh game of the season.

“I’m trying to,” Jones said of playing in the game. “I’ve been moving around a little bit. . . . It’s my senior year and I missed so much and I just want to play one more game with the fellas. If I feel confident enough and they let me play, I’m going to play. That’s what I want to do. But it’s just how I feel pretty much.”

Jones estimated he is about “75 to 85” percent recovered from the left ankle injury …

Continue reading Notebook: Abry Jones plans to play in bowl, Alec Ogletree mum on NFL (UPDATED) »

Notebook: Tight ends happy to be back in Bulldogs’ plans

ORLANDO, Fla. — If a recent trend continues, we’ll see more in the passing game out of tight ends Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome in the Capital One Bowl.

For most of the 2012 season, the primary role of Georgia’s tight ends was to block. But their contributions in the passing game picked up as the season progressed. Lynch and Rome each caught at least one pass in the Bulldogs’ past five games. They combined for 22 catches and 330 yards and a touchdown during that stretch.

Most notably, Rome scored Georgia’s first touchdown in the SEC Championship game against Alabama. And Lynch had the last reception of the season, a 26-yarder down to the 5-yard line where the game eventually ended.

“It’s a lot more fun,” Rome said of being involved in the passing game. “Football is fun whether it’s just blocking or if I get to catch routes. But at the end of the year we started to become a more primary target, and I think it’s great. It’s fun out there catching …

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Georgia’s ‘Dream Team’ recruiting class goes for 22nd win in Capital One Bowl

ORLANDO – Because of what happened with Isaiah Crowell, there is a tendency to think Georgia’s recruiting class of 2011 – better known as the “Dream Team” – was anything but dreamy.

Crowell, the No. 1-rated running back in the nation coming out of high school, was the crown jewel of that class. But after earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors, Crowell was unable to make it to a second season with Georgia. He was dismissed this past summer after his arrest on felony weapons charges.

But there were a lot of other elite prospects who signed in that 2011 class, which was rated among the top five in the nation of that year, and most remain prominent members of the 2012 team. Together they’ve helped the Bulldogs win 21 games and two SEC Eastern Division championship the past two seasons.

“We’re still here; we’re still standing strong,” said Malcolm Mitchell, a wide receiver from Valdosta who has 1,237 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns since becoming a Bulldog. “A …

Continue reading Georgia’s ‘Dream Team’ recruiting class goes for 22nd win in Capital One Bowl »

Georgia’s John Jenkins out for bowl game due to academics

Georgia will be without one of its most formidable defensive weapons when it plays Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1.

John Jenkins, a senior who started all 13 games at noseguard for the Bulldogs, was unable to meet academic requirements to maintain his eligibility for the bowl game. Georgia coach Mark Richt shared that news with reporters after the team convened at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel Wednesday evening.

“John Jenkins will not be coming to the bowl due to an academic-related issue,” Richt told reporters. “I think John Jenkins has been awesome for Georgia. I’ve been really proud of what he’s accomplished for us and just really want to wish him the very best  because he’s been a blessing to our program.”

Jenkins has sat out bowl practices and been listed with a concussion since the Bulldogs returned to action following final exams on Dec. 12. Richt was asked this past Thursday if the Bulldogs suffered any academic casualties after fall semester but …

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Sheldon Dawson, Jonathan Taylor, Blake Tibbs among Bulldogs waiting in the wings

ATHENS – The reality of college football is only 11 players can be on the field at any one time and rarely do more than 50 play in a given game. So with an 85-scholarship maximum, there are always going to be a number of talented athletes not seeing any game action.

This is the time of year coaches start to focus on those players. With a month between the end of the regular season and the bowl game, teams are able to take a closer look at athletes that have been waiting in the wings for their opportunities to play. So for the Bulldogs the 15 practices since the SEC Championship game has been as much about preparing for the future as it has been preparing for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl.

“We’ve got some talented guys on our campus and more that we’re recruiting,” Georgia coach Mark Richt. “We’re going to find out what they can do.”

The Bulldogs had a small signing class in 2012 and have a small roster overall. They ended up …

Continue reading Sheldon Dawson, Jonathan Taylor, Blake Tibbs among Bulldogs waiting in the wings »

During month without games, Bulldogs try to put SEC title game defeat behind them

By Ryan Black
For the AJC

One month.

By the time Georgia takes the field for the Capital One bowl on Jan. 1, exactly one month will have passed since it lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship. On Friday, the Bulldogs had their last practice in Athens before they head to Orlando to continue their bowl preparations in the Sunshine State. All the while, Christian Robinson knows people are unsure how the Bulldogs will respond to their crushing, 32-28 loss to the Crimson Tide. Doubters’ questions are grounded in Georgia’s bowl results the last two seasons, falling to Central Florida in a humiliating 10-6 loss in the Liberty Bowl in 2010 and a 33-30 triple-overtime defeat to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl last year, a game the Bulldogs led 16-0 at halftime.

Despite that evidence, Robinson assured he and his teammates are motivated to end the season on the right note.

“We all realize we came up a little short and that’s really disappointing,” the senior inside linebacker …

Continue reading During month without games, Bulldogs try to put SEC title game defeat behind them »

Who’s top Dog all-time in games played? Tavarres King, UGA says

Wide receiver Tavarres King has played in more football games for Georgia than anyone else in school history. The Capital One Bowl will be his 56th — and his last.

“The time flew by,” King said recently. “It feels like just yesterday I was getting dropped off by my parents over there at ECV (East Campus Village).”

King has squeezed about as much into his college career as possible. He graduated early from Habersham Central High School and enrolled at UGA in January 2008. He played in the first four games of the ’08 season before a season-ending ankle injury resulted in a medical redshirt. He played in 12 games in 2009, 12 in 2010 and 14 in 2011, and the Jan. 1 bowl game against Nebraska will be his 14th this season.

UGA confirmed it all adds up to a school career record for games played, and it will be a tough number to top because King played the maximum games allowed in a medical redshirt season.

Tavarres King had 205 receiving yards in last season's Outback Bowl vs. Michigan State. (AP photo)

Tavarres King had 205 receiving yards in last season's Outback Bowl …

Continue reading Who’s top Dog all-time in games played? Tavarres King, UGA says »

Hutson Mason bides his time as Georgia’s ‘QB-in-waiting’

Hutson Mason hasn't played much during his three seasons in Athens, but the Bulldogs like what they've seen. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Hutson Mason hasn't played much during his three seasons in Athens, but the Bulldogs like what they've seen. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — There has been much debate at the end of 2012 about whether or not Aaron Murray will – or should – turn pro after the season concludes. But there has been no debate whatsoever about who will play quarterback for Georgia if and when Murray makes that jump.

Hutson Mason is unchallenged as the Bulldogs’ heir apparent. In fact, so set is the plan for succession, there is no need for the word “apparent.” Better to call him “QB-in-waiting.”

So confident are Georgia’s coaches and players in Mason’s abilities, they speak of him in the same reverent tones as a seasoned starter.

“When he gets the opportunity he’s going to make some plays, I have no doubt about that,” junior tight end Arthur Lynch said of the 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback. “I’m positive about that and I think Aaron would be the first to tell …

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UPDATED: Football assistant Rodney Garner leaving Georgia ‘to get Auburn back on track’

Rodney Garner has served as Georgia's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for 15 years. He has been Mark Richt's assistant head coach since 2005. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Rodney Garner has served as Georgia's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for 15 years. He has been Mark Richt's assistant head coach since 2005. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – In the end, Rodney Garner felt like he could no longer ignore his alma mater’s calls for help.

Garner, Georgia’s assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach for the past 12 years, accepted an offer to handle the same jobs at Auburn, where he played offensive line and started his coaching career. He will also receive a significant salary increase from the $300,000 a year he earned with the Bulldogs.

But as Garner adamantly pointed out in an exclusive interview with the AJC Thursday night, “this is not about the money.”

“It was a very difficult decision,” Garner said. “I’ve been approached many times about this opportunity. But it’s my alma mater. It may be more of a pride thing, just looking at where they are right now and feeling like I …

Continue reading UPDATED: Football assistant Rodney Garner leaving Georgia ‘to get Auburn back on track’ »

Notebook: Abry Jones probable for bowl game, but injuries abound for Bulldogs

By Ryan Black
For the AJC

ATHENS – Though Georgia’s injury list has continued to grow since the end of the SEC Championship game, one key defender may be on the verge of returning.

Defensive end Abry Jones injured his left ankle on the first drive of Georgia’s victory over Kentucky on Oct. 20 and has not played since. But the senior from Warner Robins has continued to rehab the injury, and after seeing how well he ran Thursday, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt felt optimistic about Jones’ chances of playing in the Capital One Bowl.

“It’s definitely a possibility; I think it’s more of a probability now, just watching him run today,” Richt said following Thursday’s practice. “I think today gave him more confidence, because he was running pretty hard. He’s not in the best condition right this minute, but he ran about as fast as he could and felt good. I was going from one drill to the other — from the defensive field to the offensive field — and I saw him …

Continue reading Notebook: Abry Jones probable for bowl game, but injuries abound for Bulldogs »

Notebook: Richt not convinced secondary’s returnees ‘mature enough’ to get job done next year

By Ryan Black
For the AJC

ATHENSMark Richt believes there is talent returning to his team’s secondary next season. The problem is, he hasn’t seen it on the field yet.

With Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo, Branden Smith and Shawn Williams graduating, the only underclassman defensive back who has seen significant playing time this season is sophomore Damian Swann, who has started all 13 games.

The impending departures have left Richt feeling uncertain about the state of his secondary for 2013.

“I have no earthly idea who is going to play DB for us next year based on the maturity level of the group that we have here right now,” he said. “I don’t think they’re mature enough to be the starters and I told them, ‘You’re competing with guys that aren’t even here yet. We’re recruiting our tails off and we’re going to bring some guys in here. You guys are here and we’re going to compete and we’re going to see who really belongs back there. Don’t …

Continue reading Notebook: Richt not convinced secondary’s returnees ‘mature enough’ to get job done next year »

Georgia looks to shore up run defense before taking on Nebraska’s ‘Big Red Machine’

Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree racked up a lot of tackles against Alabama (11), but too often it was not at or near the lilne of scrimmage. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree racked up a lot of tackles against Alabama (11), but too often it was not at or near the lilne of scrimmage. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

ATHENS -- For all the adoration heaped upon Georgia’s defense and its cavalcade of all-star players this season, it hasn’t been all that good at the one thing considered a cornerstone of being great – stopping the run.

The fact is, the Bulldogs exited the 2012 regular season ranked among the bottom third in the nation in rush defense. They’ve given up an averaged 177.77 yards per game, which is 77th among 120 FBS teams.

Most notably, the last time we saw it in action, the Georgia defense gave up 350 yards on the ground to Alabama in the SEC Championship. For all the debate about whether the Bulldogs should have spiked the ball or not in the closing seconds, it could be argued the inability to stop the run is the reason they lost the game 32-28.

“Some of it was just wrapping them up better,” Georgia …

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Notebook: Tight end Jay Rome uncertain about basketball future

ATHENS — With the Georgia basketball team is clearly in neeed of some help, Jay Rome hasn’t decided yet whether he can offer any.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end joined the basketball team as a forward and played in seven games last year. He remains undecided about this year.

“Both coaches are still going to allow me to do it if I choose to but I’m not really sure myself if I want to go through with it again this year,” Rome said on Tuesday. “I haven’t made a decision yet. It’s something me and my dad are going to talk about, something I’m going to pray about and talk to Coach Richt and Coach Fox about.”

After redshirting in football last season, Rome played in all 13 games this season with one start. He caught 11 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, including a 19-yarder against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. In basketball, Rome  averaged 0.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 2.4 minutes.

Rome, an all-state basketball player at Valdosta High, has always been …

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Mark Richt puts end to debate; Malcolm Mitchell to play offense only

ATHENS – The Malcolm Mitchell debate is a debate no more.

Mark Richt put an abrupt end to the speculation over what the sophomore’s role on the team will be going forward.

“What do I think (his role) is going to be? Wide receiver,” Richt said matter-of-factly after Tuesday’s practice. “I doubt he plays any more corner.”

Mitchell, a sophomore who played both cornerback and split end this season, expressed mixed emotions recently about continuing his career as a two-way player. Meanwhile, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham each said this week they’d like to have him full-time on their respective sides of the ball, but ultimately deferred to Richt.

Richt was able to weigh in on it publically for the first time on Tuesday, and he didn’t pussyfoot around the issue.

“I just think he needs to play one position,” he said. “. . . If he’s going to be the best he can be at either position, I think he needs to …

Continue reading Mark Richt puts end to debate; Malcolm Mitchell to play offense only »

Bulldogs ‘win one for the kids,’ 58-49 over Mercer

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ATHENS – Turns out a building full of school children was exactly what the Georgia Bulldogs needed.

More than 4,000 kids had Stegeman Coliseum rocking with high-pitched noise for Tuesday’s 11:30 a.m. tip against Mercer. The Bulldogs responded with just their third victory of the season, 58-49 over Mercer.

And while the children, who came from Athens area elementary schools, were invited well before last week’s tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the significance of their presence was not lost upon coach Mark Fox or his players.

“With what happened in Connecticut, you couldn’t look at those kids without thinking about it,” Fox said of the Dec. 14th shooting, which left 27 dead. “I mean, I’ve got kids who go to elementary school. I can’t imagine what some of those families are going through. So often in this country we lose sight of the things that are the most important. . . . So today did feel different, and I hope those kids had a …

Continue reading Bulldogs ‘win one for the kids,’ 58-49 over Mercer »

Notebook: Open competition for starting spots on offensive line

ATHENS – Technically it’s just bowl practice. But for Georgia’s offensive lineman, the month of December may seem more like preseason camp.

The Bulldogs’ offensive coaches made a pronouncement regarding the line almost as soon as the SEC Championship game ended: Every position is up for grabs and the starting lineup will be determined during the 15 practices leading up to the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl.

“That’s how we put it to those guys,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “The five that are going to play, we’ll figure out between now and the bowl who’s going to be where. I do think the line played extremely well this year and got better. But there’s always room for improvement, and any time there’s competition that’s good for the group.”

The Bulldogs were seemed stable up front this season. They played just three different starting lineups – including the same for the first nine games – and shuffled it around only because of injuries. …

Continue reading Notebook: Open competition for starting spots on offensive line »

Updated: Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell conflicted about future as ‘two-way’ player (with poll)

Adds comments from offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham . . .

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell (26) continued to attend the Bulldogs' defensive meetings until the week of the Georgia Southern game. The question is whether he should attend them anymore going forward. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell (26) continued to attend the Bulldogs' defensive meetings until the week of the Georgia Southern game. The question is whether he should attend them anymore going forward. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

ATHENS – Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell is one conflicted football player.

With the regular season and final exams in the rear-view mirror and a bowl game still a ways down the road, Mitchell has been able to reflect some on the “Great Experiment” that the 2012 season was for him. He went through spring practice and into the season expecting to be a two-way player. He said what came to pass wasn’t exactly what he envisioned, but neither was it anything approaching a disappointment.

In the end, Mitchell played the first four games as a cornerback and the last nine as a wide receiver. He never truly played both in one game, save for an occasional offensive play …

Continue reading Updated: Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell conflicted about future as ‘two-way’ player (with poll) »

Foul shooting derails Georgia in humiliating overtime loss to Iona, 81-78

Georgia's Brandon Morris gets his shot contested by Iona's Curtis Dennis (33) and Tavon Sledge during the Bulldogs' 81-78 overtime loss on Saturday. (AP photo by Richard Hamm)

Georgia's Brandon Morris gets his shot contested by Iona's Curtis Dennis (33) and Tavon Sledge during the Bulldogs' 81-78 overtime loss on Saturday. (AP photo by Richard Hamm)

ATHENS – You got the feeling when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer, this might be Georgia’s night.

It wasn’t.

Instead, the Bulldogs did what has been typical of them this season. They missed free throws and key shots down the stretch and watched in disbelief as Iona made all the clutch plays to win 81-78 in overtime.

The loss dropped Georgia to 2-7 – its worst nine-game start since 1970 — and adds to the list of defeats to small-time opponents, including Youngstown State and Southern Miss. Mercer (5-5) is up next on Tuesday.

The Gaels, a New York team out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, improved to 4-4.

“That was a tough loss,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “I’m sick of losing, as our team is, but we’ve got to play better basketball. That’s …

Continue reading Foul shooting derails Georgia in humiliating overtime loss to Iona, 81-78 »

Notebook: Bulldogs’ Kwame Geathers says don’t count him gone just yet

ATHENS – Because most of his brothers, uncles and cousins left college early to play pro football, most assume Georgia’s Kwame Geathers will follow a similar path.

Not necessarily, Geathers said Friday.

“It’s not right to assume at all,” said Geathers, a 6-foot-6, 355-pound junior from Georgetown, S.C. “They let me make my own decisions, so it’s up to me. Sometimes I feel like, ‘all right, break the tradition.’ They were all in college for three years. I’ve been here for four years already, so I feel like I’m already breaking it a little bit.”

The Bulldogs would definitely appreciate Geathers sticking around. They’re already going to lose John Jenkins and Abry Jones off the line. Junior linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree are expected to turn pro and a total of nine senior starters will be graduating off Georgia’s defense.

That will certainly leave a leadership void for next season.

I’d like to have that leadership role, to be a guy for the …

Continue reading Notebook: Bulldogs’ Kwame Geathers says don’t count him gone just yet »

No missed playing time for Georgia players’ actions in SEC Championship game

ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Richt said he has disciplined freshman cornerback Sheldon Dawson for an incident in the SEC Championship game in which it appears Dawson tried to poke the eyes of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. But he said Dawson won’t miss any playing time and no other UGA players are being punished for their actions in that game.

Richt also declined comment about the SEC’s decision to not suspend Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial for his illegal hit on quarterback Aaron Murray. Richt addressed the situations at the end of the Bulldogs’ practice Friday afternoon.

“Dawson, I did (discipline), yes,” Richt said. “I’m not going to give detail of it. But, yeah, and Dawson saw it. He realizes it was a bad thing and a bad image for him and for Georgia. He understood why I needed to discipline him. It won’t be any playing time.”

Video shows Dawson sticking his fingers in Milliner’s facemask after a scrum for a loose ball following an Alabama kickoff return early in …

Continue reading No missed playing time for Georgia players’ actions in SEC Championship game »

No SEC suspension for Bama’s Quinton Dial for hit on Aaron Murray

ATHENS – If Quinton Dial is going to receive any discipline for his illegal hit on Aaron Murray in the SEC Championship game, it’s not going to come from the SEC office.

That was the word Friday as the SEC sent out a short news release stating that it had reviewed several plays from the Dec. 1 matchup between Georgia and Alabama and that it would be leaving punishments decisions to the respective schools. In addition to Dial’s hit on Murray at the end of a first-half interception, Georgia’s Sheldon Dawson appears on video to be trying to gouge the eyes of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at the end of a kickoff return. Also, Bulldogs’ linebacker Alec Ogletree was flagged during the game for a “targeting” hit on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.

“The Southeastern Conference has completed its review of video from the 2012 SEC Football Championship Game. Several plays involving both teams were reviewed. After review, all subsequent action will be handled internally by the two …

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Georgia’s Dallas Lee says ‘no thanks’ to joining his family for BCS game in Miami

Georgia guard Dallas Lee (64) offers a forced smile for a photo with brother Dillon Lee in the minutes immediately after the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. (Photo by Rob Saye)

Georgia guard Dallas Lee (64) offers a forced smile for a photo with brother Dillon Lee in the minutes immediately after the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. (Photo by Rob Saye)

ATHENS — Dallas Lee’s parents have begged him to go with them to Miami for the BCS National Championship game. But if Georgia’s starting left guard couldn’t go as a participant, he said he definitely wasn’t going to go as supportive brother.

“I’m still a little upset so I’m not going,” Dallas said. “I’m going to watch it on TV at the house. I’m a little too upset about it to go down there and have fun.”

Lee’s family was the subject of many profiles heading into the SEC Championship as Dallas and his brother, Alabama linebacker Dillon Lee, were facing off from opposite sidelines. But after that game ended excruciatingly close for the Bulldogs, with time running out on the  at the Crimson Tide 5 in a 32-28 loss, Dallas said he just can’t bring himself …

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Georgia’s Ken Malcome ‘not too happy with situation’ at tailback

Georgia's Ken "Boo" Malcome does not begrudge the success of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall but is not happy with getting mainly mop-up duty in Georgia's tailback rotation. (UGA photo)

Georgia's Ken "Boo" Malcome does not begrudge the success of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall but is not happy with getting mainly mop-up duty in Georgia's tailback rotation. (UGA photo)

ATHENS – For Georgia it’s a good problem to have. But for Ken Malcome, it’s more than a little frustrating.

Everybody knows about the successes of freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall this season. Gurley was named a Freshman All-American by The Sporting News on Thursday. He became just the second Georgia true freshman to surpass 1,000 yards in a season (1,260 to date) and scored 17 touchdowns, including a 100-yard kickoff return. Marshall emerged as Gurley’s primary backup and ran for 723 yards and 8 scores.

Lost in the smoke of that fire has been Malcome, who actually began the season as the starting tailback. The redshirt sophomore from Decatur has appeared in 10 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, averaging 27.2 yards and 5 carries in those contests.

As Georgia prepares for its …

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